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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Axle Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$25 to $200

Talent:

***

Tools:

30mm 12 point socket, 19mm, 13mm wrench, 6mm Allen, large breaker bar or impact wrench

Applicable Models:

VW Golf GTI (1999-00)
VW Golf GTI 1.8T (2002-05)
VW Golf GTI 20th Anniversary (2003)
VW Golf GTI 337 (2002)
VW Golf GTI GLS (2001)
VW Golf GTI GLX (2000-01)
VW Golf GTI VR6 (2002-05)

Parts Required:

New axles or CV boots, axle nut

Hot Tip:

Loosen the 30mm nut first

Performance Gain:

Eliminate slop in the drive train

Complementary Modification:

Replace ball joints

Your drive axles or drive shafts can wear out over time or get damaged during use. The most common problem for drive axles is the tearing of the CV boot. This will cause the CV grease to be throw out from the CV joint and allow contaminants in. Lack of grease or contaminants in the CV will quickly lead to failure of the joint. This article will not cover replacing or repacking the CV boot (please see one of our articles on repacking your CV joint and replacing the CV boot) but will cover the removal of the axles. Whether you are working on the boots or replacing the axles the drive axles will need to come out of the car. Volkswagen do not sell separate CV joints for the drive axles so if yours are bad you will need to replace the whole drive axle and CV joint assemblies as one piece.

The most difficult part of the job is breaking loose the 30mm 12 point self locking axle nut that holds the drive shaft to the hub. The nut is on under a tremendous amount of torque. The simplest way to do this is to use an impact wrench to break the nut loose. Electric impact guns can be purchased inexpensively and make a great addition to your tool kit. If you do not have an impact gun you can remove the center cap on the front wheel, leave the car on the ground and insert the 30mm socket through the center. Next, place the largest breaker bar you have on the socket and break the nut loose. I ended up having to put a three foot pipe on the end of the breaker bar to get enough leverage.

Raise and support front of vehicle on jack stands. See our tech article on jacking up your vehicle.

Remove front wheel from side of vehicle you are replacing the drive axle on.

If you do not have an impact gun you can remove the center cap on the front wheel, leave the car on the ground and insert the 30mm socket through the center (red arrow).
Figure 1

If you do not have an impact gun you can remove the center cap on the front wheel, leave the car on the ground and insert the 30mm socket through the center (red arrow). Next, place the largest breaker bar you have on the socket and break the nut loose. I ended up having to put a three foot pipe on the end of the breaker bar to get enough leverage. If you do have an impact gun remove the wheel before using the impact gun on the nut.

There are six 12 point bolts holding the axle to the flange (red arrow) two shown).
Figure 2

There are six 12 point bolts holding the axle to the flange (red arrow) two shown). Some people like to remove the two 13mm blots (yellow arrows) holding the turbo shield (passenger side only) in place and remove it but it is not necessary. Loosen the six 12 point bolts holding the axle to the flange. You will need to stop the axle from turning by either having someone apply the brakes or inserting a screwdriver between the disk and caliper.

This photo illustrates the 30mm 12 point axle nut (red arrow).
Figure 3

This photo illustrates the 30mm 12 point axle nut (red arrow). The nut has a Nylex insert and is single use only. Make sure you replace this nut when reinstalling the axle.

The axle is going to be pushed out from the hub (red arrow).
Figure 4

The axle is going to be pushed out from the hub (red arrow). To accomplish this you will need to mark the position of the ball joint and remove the three 13mm nuts and bolts (yellow arrow, one shown).

You will need to remove the ball joint end of the tie rod.
Figure 5

You will need to remove the ball joint end of the tie rod. The inside of the tie rod bolt is slotted for a 6mm Allen wrench (red arrow), you will most likely need to use the Allen wrench to hold the tie rod while unscrewing the 19mm nylex nut (yellow arrow).

Depending on the age and condition of the tie rod end you may need to use a pickle fork or ball joint remover (red arrow) to separate the ball joint from the bearing housing.
Figure 6

Depending on the age and condition of the tie rod end you may need to use a pickle fork or ball joint remover (red arrow) to separate the ball joint from the bearing housing.

By removing the tie rod end and the ball joint the hub now has enough room to move forward while pressing the axle out.
Figure 7

By removing the tie rod end and the ball joint the hub now has enough room to move forward while pressing the axle out. Use a standard three arm press (red arrow) and push the axle out from the hub.

With the hub loose the axle can easily be separated from the hub.
Figure 8

With the hub loose the axle can easily be separated from the hub.

Fully remove the six 12point bolts from the flange and remove the axle from the car.
Figure 9

Fully remove the six 12point bolts from the flange and remove the axle from the car.

This photo illustrates the axle removed from the vehicle.
Figure 10

This photo illustrates the axle removed from the vehicle. You can now inspect both rubber CV boots (red arrows).

On the end of the axle that attaches to the transmission you should carefully inspect the boot (red arrow) the clamp and the end of the axle (green arrow).
Figure 11

On the end of the axle that attaches to the transmission you should carefully inspect the boot (red arrow) the clamp and the end of the axle (green arrow). If you find any heat discoloration on the flange there is a very good chance there is damage inside the CV. This axle is fine.

At the wheel hub end of the axle inspect the boot (yellow arrow), clamps and the spindle and thread for any damage or discoloration (red arrow).
Figure 12

At the wheel hub end of the axle inspect the boot (yellow arrow), clamps and the spindle and thread for any damage or discoloration (red arrow). Installation is the reverse of removal.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Jim Comments: Building a custom !! need MkIV GTI inner CV joint drive flanges to adapt to to my custom type 1 trans. Machining and wedling as needed by Me.
March 9, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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