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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Drive Axle Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$25 to $200

Talent:

***

Tools:

27mm socket, 19mm, 13mm wrench, 6mm Allen, large breaker bar or impact wrench

Applicable Models:

VW GTI (2006-09)

Parts Required:

New axles or CV boots, axle bolt

Hot Tip:

Loosen the 27mm bolt first

Performance Gain:

Eliminate slop in the drive train

Complementary Modification:

Replace ball joints

Like many modern manufacturers Volkswagen shares components and even platforms across its many model lines. This article is based on one of those shared components but the work may have been performed on a different model than your vehicle. While some fasteners and other hardware types and sizes may be different, all of the information you need to safely complete the project is included in this article. If you have any questions, comments or feedback please contact us using the comment section below or join us on one of the world's best automotive forums for additional assistance.

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 thrown 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. 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 27mm axle bolt that holds the drive shaft to the hub. The bolt is on under a tremendous amount of torque. The simplest way to do this is to use an impact wrench or gun to break the bolt loose. Electric impact guns can be purchased inexpensively now and make a great addition to your shop tools. 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 bolt 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 the front of the vehicle on jack stands. See our tech article on jacking up your vehicle. Wear safety glasses anytime you work under your car.

Remove the front wheel from the side of the 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.
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 27mm socket through the center (red arrow). Next, place the largest breaker bar you have on the socket and break the bolt 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 bolt.

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 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 27mm axle bolt (red arrow).
Figure 3

This photo illustrates the 27mm axle bolt (red arrow). Make sure you replace this bolt when reinstalling the axle.

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

The axle is going to need to be slid out from the hub (red arrow). To accomplish this you will need to change 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'mm 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. Loosely install the axle bolt to use to push against it.

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

Fully remove the six 12-point 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 easily 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.

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

At the hub end axle inspect the boot (yellow arrow), the 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:
ck Comments: What size are the 6 bolts around the flange?
July 21, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I think they are 10mm, not sure of the thread pitch.

- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Matt Comments: Should I apply grease to the splines on the axle before installing it?
April 14, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Apply some clean transmission fluid. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
marco Comments: If just the outer CV boot needs to be replaced, could it be done without removing the entire axle?
November 4, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I have done it., you have to knock the end of the cv joint off, then install boot and reassemble it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Willy Comments: I need to replace inner cv boot on a 2007 2.5 rabbit with a auto tranny driver side. It does not have the 6 bolts. to the diff. Do I just pull the drive axel out of tranny?/
November 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If there are no bolts, the axle shaft will pop out. You have to overcome the circlip that holds it in. Use a prybar and a swift levering action to pop it out. be prepared to catch any leaking oil in a pan, when the axle is removed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Mon 12/5/2016 02:37:08 AM