Can't remove CV half-shaft axle from transmission !?

Discussion in '1st Gen 1981-1990 CVH' started by gasfree, Oct 30, 2011.


  1. gasfree

    gasfree FEOA Member

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    Okay, probably addressed before but I can't find it using "search"...

    I want to replace the front CV axle assemblies on my '86 Escort diesel with 5-speed manual. I removed the old half-shafts weeks ago as part of an engine pull. The problem is I could never completely remove the right axle. The driver's side came out of the transaxle easily with a good jerk on the steering knuckle. The passenger side didn't go so well. I ended up ripping the inboard boot away from the outer race, leaving the end of the axle with the outer race still inserted in the transaxle. Prying didn't work either and scared me.

    [​IMG]

    How do I safely get this stub out of the transaxle? I have an '85 Ford Service Manual which should be applicable to my '86. (Only difference I notice is that my axles use the "tripod" CV joint which Ford started using with the 85-1/2 model.) The manual says "If the CV joint assembly cannot be pried from the transaxle, insert Tool T81P-4026-A or equivalent through the left side and tap the joint out." What's so special about this tool? Can I use a wooden dowel (cut off broom handle?) to punch out the axle stub from the inside?

    I don't have shipping plugs required per the manual, either, but I've read that a wood dowel inserted in the transaxle would serve the same purpose -- that is, to prevent the gears from dislocating. I haven't done this yet on the left side since I still have the axle stub in the right side and I understand that is enough to prevent gear dislocation. (Gawd, I hope that's right!!) If I can punch it out using a wooden dowel all the way through the transaxle from the left side, do I just keep the dowel in place until ready to put in the new half-shaft?

    Thanx!
  2. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, one axle still in the trans is enough to keep the gears in place.
    Mine are 2nd gen Escorts, but much the same with the CV joints. It is a little scary, that it takes so much force to pop the axles out. It may help to support the part sticking out of the trans, so it will slide a little easier on the internal bushing surface that it rotates on.
    I find that it sometimes takes me driving a wedge shape up between the transaxle housing and the remaining axle part to get it started out. The wedge (cold chisel) I use is of course tapered, and about the right 'width' to fit up between the trans and the axle. I drive it from the bottom, so as to be 'lifting' the axle, and not asking it to be forced so much against the sides of the bushing the axle rides in.
    I have also used a large screwdriver, 18" long, with a 3/8" square shaft, and with the tip in place against the axle, and the shaft bearing agsinst the case of the transaxle, that smacking the end of the screwdriver with a hammer, to knock it sideways, will pry the axle out.

    To knock it out from the other side.....
    I dont know what the Ford tool # xxx looks like, but I suspect it is simply either a soft steel rod, or one with a brass tip. I would think a piece of 3/8" or 1/2" rod, (such as the mild steel reinforcing rods used in concrete construction would work). It just has to pass between the pinion shaft and the side of the left-to-right opening. You dont want to use a hardened rod, since the end of the axle is somewhat hardened, as are the internal splines on the diff. gears; and I think a wooden dowel would be too soft. But a hardened rod might crack some metal off the end of the axle - and it would fall down into the differential.
    After its out its a good idea to stick in a chunk of broom handle or PVC tubing, to keep the gears from sliding around. The way they are made, one gear can slide down when the opposite one slides up. The one that slides down can fall out of place - - and getting it back intto place would be about like building a ship-in-a-bottle, but a bottle you couldnt see into. The gears are exactly the same weight, and wont leap around unless maybe you dropped the trans or turned it on its side - but if the trans was carried in the back of a pickup truck for a few miles, I can imagine those differential gears jouncing around somewhat.

    The reason the other side came out so easily, was probably because when you yanked on the spindle, the axle was able to move a few thousandths of an inch before the 'snap-ring' came up against the little 'ramp' it hits, and so was more willing to be compressed the rest of the way, and pass under the splines on its way out. This is not to say that I think its a big deal to shove in on the axle and then yank outward. I find it usually takes a lot more -violence- than that.
    Good Luck.
  3. marshpoprock

    marshpoprock FEOA Member

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    Try renting an axle shaft puller from a local parts store like Advanced. It has a flat piece that goes around your inner shaft and with the slide hammer, pops them right out. Just be sure to have the opposite side axle installed prior.
  4. 88ESCORTV6

    88ESCORTV6 FEOA Member

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    a long prybar type rod and a big hammer does the trick for me.

    you put prybar on back of cv shaft and knock on the end of the bar in a manner that makes it go out.

    or ig its really not good weld a piece of chain on it and tie the chain on a sleeg hammer and use it to pull it off.
  5. FordMan59

    FordMan59 FEOA Member

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    When I had to remove the axles to replace them in my '88 Pony I used a 12" flat pry bar between the axle and the transmission housing. I just got the pry bar in place and gave it a quick jolt and the axle came out without any problem. Actually the drivers side axle was more of a challenge than the passenger side when I did mine.
  6. UnexplodedCow

    UnexplodedCow FEOA Member

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    Pickling fork. $8 for one from most hardware stores. The link below is to Sears, for a 2 pack.

    http://www.sears.com/k-tool-internation ... 915416000P

    I use these for popping out axles because they work. If the wedge part won't work, lock the fork tongs around the axle hub, pry it back against the tranny housing, and hit the end with a hammer. It will pop out. I've used this method for a long time and have never damaged anything.

    I've busted up my knuckles by using a pry bar and hammer before, because the bar will slip off. The fork won't. Plus, by tapping it upward it wedges in, loading the circlip, and usually takes a small hit from the hammer. A stubborn clip will be much harder. Also, I've never noticed a re-used clip to be of any concern, or less stubborn than a new one, unless it was damaged. They can be re-used 99% of the time.
  7. JOEG5982

    JOEG5982 FEOA Member

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    The Ford Special tool is a round shaft with a notch in the end.

    The notch fits over the shaft holding the spider gears in the differential and the ends of the notch contact the end of the Inner CV joint shaft. That is why a drift will not work--you have to get around the spider/side gear shaft.

    You then hit the end of the tool (sticking out of the side of the transaxle which has no CV joint stuck into it) with a hammer and drive out the "stuck" cv joint.

    Pry bars and picle forks, wedges, etc. all work, but it is scarry how much force it takes to overcome that circlip.
  8. UnexplodedCow

    UnexplodedCow FEOA Member

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    And then you have to ask...what if both are "stuck?" Then one must use a pry bar or fork, or wedge.
  9. JOEG5982

    JOEG5982 FEOA Member

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    Correct!

    I use the Ford special tool (where the diff is stock--on my Quaife-equipped trannys you can use a simple brass drift) only where I have been able to get one side off with the pry bar. Typically the passenger side comes off easily. I have made a special tool out of an ancient chevy valve compressor tool because it has the proper wedge shape and fits between the case and the inner cv joint to start; then you just beat on it to increase the wedge leverage effect until it pops the joint.

    Care is taken so you do not wreck the Diff side seal or the tranny case.

    Cheers.
  10. UnexplodedCow

    UnexplodedCow FEOA Member

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    I usually replace axle seals because it's an inexpensive part that I've seen leaking more than once. I've usually had more problems on passenger side than driver. Go figure.
  11. gasfree

    gasfree FEOA Member

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    Thanx again to all! Great forum. I finally got the stub out using more or less the prybar-and-hammer technique. What helped was a You-tube video where the mechanic suggested incrementally rotating the axle around and beating/prying in different positions. Eventually, the circlip gets to a "sweet spot" where you are able to pop it out. Thought I'd pass that along.

    But man, what a PITA it was to get the ball joint back in the steering knuckle! I tore a ball joint boot so now I guess I'll have to get a new control arm. :mad: Fortunately I didn't tear the outboard CV boot on my new axle.

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