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I dont know anything at all about swapping engines/transaxles, but I have never in my life seen axle shafts that stuck out from the transaxle like that; though when reinstalling axle shafts I have had it stop at that point, until I lifted the inner cv joint to help guide it into the bushing it fits into. Getting it that last half inch usually requires smacking the outer end with a good size lead hammer. (The soft face of the lead hammer prevents damage to the outer end of the axle shaft where it is threaded.)
There is a metal ring that fits in a groove running around the inner end of the splines on the inner axle joint. Its purpose is to expand into a similar groove inside the differential, and keep the axles from trying to move outward.
Looking at the axle shafts for a 94 escort with 1.9L versus a 1.8L engine, I see different part numbers for them on an online parts supplier site.
 

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Which axles are you using? The 1.9 axles won't fit in the 1.8 tranny.
 

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Try supporting the inner joint of the axle a little bit, so its 'straight-in' to where its going into the transaxle, then pushing 'inward' on the hub end - or smacking it inward with a soft faced hammer. Thats what I find works well on the 1.9L trannies. If you put the hub nut onto the threads, but facing backwards, you can run the nut to where you have a flat surface for banging it with a hammer, without damaging threads. I usually only have to hit it once, & not a very hard blow - if I am holding that inner end so its 'straight-in' for the enlarged section of the inner end. Thats the part that mates to the oil seal on the transaxle.
 
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