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Replacing CV Joints on your Porsche 911 Carrera
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing CV Joints on your Porsche 911 Carrera

Time:

4 hours4 hrs

Tab:

$350

Talent:

***

Tools:

Hex socket tool set

Applicable Models:

Porsche 996 Carrera models (1999-05)
Porsche 997 Carrera models (2005-12)

Parts Required:

CV Joints or complete axles, CV joint grease, gaskets, CV boots

Hot Tip:

Use the weight of the car to hold the axle while you loosen the axle nut

Performance Gain:

Smoother drivetrain

Complementary Modification:

Replace your rear wheel bearings

One of the most common suspension items to replace or service on the Carrera is the constant velocity (CV) joints that connect the wheels to the transmission. These bearings, packed in grease, experience a tremendous amount of use throughout the years and thus have a tendency to wear out after about 100,000 miles or so. One of the clear signs that the joints need replacing is the distinct sound of a clunk, clunk, clunk coming from the rear axle when the car is in motion.

In some cases, the boots that cover and protect the CV joints will be torn and will need replacing. The procedure for replacing the boots is very similar to the procedure for replacing the entire joint. New boots should be installed each time a CV joint is replaced.

For the Carrera, Porsche sells only the inner CV joints or a complete replaceable axle. The new axle contains both the inner and outer CV joints, as well as the boots that cover and protect them. Although the inner Carrera CV joints are available separately, I typically recommend installing the complete axle. All you need to do is bolt it up to the car, and you don't have to mess with disassembly or CV joint grease.

If you are going to be replacing the entire axle, then you first need to loosen up the big axle nut. With the car on the ground, in gear, and the emergency brake on, remove the center hubcap (see Figure 3 of Pelican Technical Article: Tire and Wheel Sizing on the Porsche 911 Carrera), and use a long breaker bar to loosen up the drive shaft flange axle nut. This nut is tightened to more than 460 Nm (340 ft-lbs)--it will take quite a bit of force to loosen it up. Lift the car up again and remove the wheel once more. If you are going to be replacing the inner CV joint only, then you can leave this nut alone.

The next step in replacement of boots, joints, or the axle is to jack up and raise the car off of the ground and remove the road wheels (see Pelican Technical Article: Jacking Up Your Porsche 911 Carrera). Then, remove the bolts from the inner CV joint using a hex socket (see Figure 2). In order to gain access to the CV bolts, rotate the wheel of the car until you can clearly get your hex socket on the bolts. Then, pull the emergency brake and place the transmission into first gear. This will allow you to loosen the bolts without having the axle spin. When you have removed all the bolts that you can from this angle, release the brake, take the car out of gear, and rotate the wheel until you can reach the next set of bolts. When all of the bolts are removed, suspend the end of the drive axle with some rope or wire.

With the CV joint disconnected from the transmission, you can work on replacing either one of the CV boots or the inner CV joint. If you're replacing the entire axle, then you can skip these steps, as the axles come complete with new joints and boots. Remove the six bolts and the half-moon washers from the joint and pry off the dust cap (blue arrow, Figure 2). Then remove the circlip that holds the CV joint onto the axle (Figure 3). Cut or disconnect the clamp that holds the boot to the shaft, and the old CV and boot should simply slide off of the shaft. In general, it's a really bad sign if large balls from the bearing start falling out. That's a clear indicator that you need to replace the joint. If you are reusing the joint again, make sure that you carefully place it in a plastic bag and avoid getting any dirt or grime in it. Even a crystal of sand or two accidentally placed in the CV joint can help it wear out prematurely. Inspect both CV joints for any wear prior to installing them back into the car. If you are simply replacing the boots, then carefully pry the old boot off of the joint. It is pressed onto to the end of the joint in a similar manner as the dust boot.

With the inner CV joint and boot completely removed, your axle should resemble the inset of Figure 4. If you are replacing the boot on the outer joint, undo the clamp, and remove the boot and cover. Replacement boots aren't typically sold with the metal mounting plate attached, so you'll have to pull the old boot off of the plate and transfer the new one to it. Reinstall using a new pinch clamp, but don't tighten it quite yet. Reassemble your old CV or a new one onto the axle. With the new boot attached, rotate the joint through its entire motion before tightening the small, inner boot clamp--you don't want it to be too tight.

Whether you're reinstalling your old CV or using a new one, I recommend repacking the joint with grease. Also make sure that you place plenty of grease in and around the boot. Move the joint in and out as you insert the grease to make sure that you get it well lubricated, as the new CV joints do not come pre-greased. My preferred choice of lube is Swepco 101--a $12 tube should be good for about four joints total. When reinstalling the bolts into the transmission flange, make sure that the bolt threads are free of grease. Any grease on the threads can cause the bolts to come loose and create a dangerous situation. Also, all your CV bolts should be checked after about 500 miles of driving.

If you are replacing the entire axle, then there are two different methods you can use. You can remove the entire wheel bearing carrier (detailed in Pelican Technical Article: Replacing Wheel Bearings on your Porsche 911 Carrera), or you can slide the axle out of the hub if you have enough clearance. Unfortunately, you have to remove a bunch of suspension components and lift the rear wheel carrier up high in order to get the axle out from underneath the transmission (see Figure 6). In addition, the axle will often get stuck in the wheel hub due to corrosion or rust--it may need some encouragement with a big hammer to be removed.

Once you have the entire assembly back together, take the car out for a drive, and check the rear for noises. All should be smooth and quiet, and the boots should no longer leak.

Shown here is an inner CV joint replacement kit.
Figure 1

Shown here is an inner CV joint replacement kit. The kit comes complete with the joint, the boot, a new boot clamp, new bolts, a new circlip, a new axle nut, and enough CV joint grease to lubricate the joint. On the 911 Carrera, the outer CV joint is not available separately, but must be purchased as part of a complete axle. This is because the joint is integrated into the stub axle and cannot be separated. If the boots are damaged and leaking, then you should replace them, because dirt and debris can find their way inside.

This photo shows the process of disconnecting the inner CV joint from the transmission.
Figure 2

This photo shows the process of disconnecting the inner CV joint from the transmission. Use a hex socket tool to easily remove each of the six bolts that secure the joint to the transmission. With the joint disconnected, remove the bolts and the half-moon washers. There is a dust cap (blue arrow) that protects the CV joint. Carefully pry this dust cap off to access the circlip underneath.

The CV joint is held onto the axle by a circlip, which is very difficult to see in this photo.
Figure 3

The CV joint is held onto the axle by a circlip, which is very difficult to see in this photo. The two orange arrows point to the ends of the circlip that must be removed by using a set of special circlip pliers designed specifically for the task (inset).

The four CV joints are located in the rear of the car, attached to both the transmission flanges and the stub axles on the trailing arms.
Figure 4

The four CV joints are located in the rear of the car, attached to both the transmission flanges and the stub axles on the trailing arms. I recommend that you replace the joints in pairs--either both of the inside ones or both of the axles. Chances are if one of the joints is showing signs of wear and deterioration, then the other three will not be far behind. This photo shows the new CV joint installed with a new boot and boot clamp (purple arrow). The inset photo shows the axle with the boot and CV removed. You need to remove everything off of the inside end of the axle as shown, in order to slide on new boots for both the inner and outer joints.

If you are replacing the entire axle, then you need to remove the outer axle nut (yellow arrow: front axle of a 996 Turbo shown).
Figure 5

If you are replacing the entire axle, then you need to remove the outer axle nut (yellow arrow: front axle of a 996 Turbo shown). This is best done with the car on the ground by placing a long breaker bar on the nut while the wheel holds it steady. Pry off the small inner hubcap to gain access to this nut while the wheel is still on the car (see inset photo and Figure 3 of Pelican Technical Article: Tire and Wheel Sizing on the Porsche 911 Carrera).

There are two methods you can use to remove the axle from the car.
Figure 6

There are two methods you can use to remove the axle from the car. You can remove the wheel bearing carrier as detailed in Pelican Technical Article: Replacing Wheel Bearings on your Porsche 911 Carrera, or depending upon which transmission and drive train you have (manual/Tiptronic/C4), you may have to lift the wheel carrier and remove a few different rear suspension pieces to gain enough clearance to be able to pull the axle assembly out of the car. As you can see in this photo, clearance is tight no matter what you do.

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Comments and Suggestions:
bruce Comments: on the 997 - how is the CV joint removed from the shaft- I have seen a press tool but can a standard tool be used
October 21, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It has to be pressed or knocked off, once removed from vehicle. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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