Axle problems on a 1997 with manual transmission

Discussion in 'Tech & Repair' started by PiscesMike, Mar 20, 2017 at 12:28 PM.

  1. PiscesMike

    PiscesMike New Member

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    Greetings all, and thanks in advance for any thoughts or ideas you can throw my way.

    I have a 1997 Escort with a 5 speed manual transmission. The car needed a new drivers side axle very badly, and after a torturous battle, we got the old one out.

    We're currently trying to get the new one installed, but when we put it in, the axle still feels loose, is easy to pull back out, and seems to spin freely (by hand) even if the car is in gear. This is the first time I've had the pleasure (yes, I am a sado-mascichist) of replacing an axle and things just don't seem correct.

    Is the axle supposed to spin freely like that after it goes in if the car is in gear. Shouldn't it set up tightly and not move until the engine is driving the transmission (when in gear)?

    Or are we missing something here? We did lose a bit of transmission fluid, which I'll fill up before starting of course but I can't imagine that things would be spinning like this is everything is OK.

    Thanks again for any help!
  2. PiscesMike

    PiscesMike New Member

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    Wrong axle. Derp!
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  3. pextor

    pextor Moderator Staff Member

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    I always check the new axle against the old axle to make sure it's the right one.
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  4. Tnashua

    Tnashua Gearhead / hot rodder with a soft spot for Scorts

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    Might want to replace the transmission seal while you have it apart...
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  5. FordMan59

    FordMan59 FEOA Member

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    Are you sure you're getting the axle pushed all the way in and the circlip on the end of the axle is snapping into place? Just as the old axle was hard to get out it's possible it could take a small amount of persuasion to get the new one to lock in. I've never changed more than 2 or 3 of these axles but haven't ever run into a problem like you're describing. You might also want to check to be sure they put a circlip on the end of the new axle and that you're not just pushing it in and there's nothing there to lock it into the transmission. The new axle shouldn't spin freely in the transmission with the transmission in gear. In the last couple of inches of play before the axle seats try giving it a pretty quick hard push all at once and see if it will snap in.
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  6. PiscesMike

    PiscesMike New Member

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    Yeah, it was the wrong axle. We got the correct one and got it installed almost instantly.

    The issue arose because my family mechanic was the one who actually bought the axle ~4 months ago when I had him doing some other work on the car. He was going to replace it, but found out he couldn't get the old one out. After a lot of wrangling and cussing, we finally went for the correct tool and got the slide hammer, slide hammer extension, and crow foot and she popped out on three whacks.

    Unfortunately I guess when he got the first axle he didn't realize the car was non-ABS and a manual. At any rate, that part is done now, and we're onto more pressing issues - the brakes!

    Thanks!
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  7. PiscesMike

    PiscesMike New Member

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    Yeah, we did check them quickly. The new axle had an instruction insert that specified that "the new axle may not look exactly like the old one due to manufacturing differences". Since this was the first time ever doing one, the couple of differences seemed like they would have fallen into that category. Sadly, no.

    Thanks!
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  8. rbailin

    rbailin FEOA Member

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    The non-ABS part doesn't matter, you can easily remove the toothed ring with a gear puller just to get it out of the way if you don't need it. But the manual vs. automatic axles are not interchangeable.
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  9. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    And the axles from an automatic transmission are harder to remove, because the "web" of the transmission case is larger. The crowfoot has be be just the right size, or it wont fit into place.
    When re-installing I find I have to smack the outer end of the CV axle with a hammer to make it pop that last 1/2" inch into having the circlip expand into the splines inside the tranasaxle.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017 at 11:46 AM
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  10. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I dont know about 3rd gen Escorts, but thought the cv axles were the same for automatics and manual transmissions on the 2nd gen. Escorts. I will have to check that.

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