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Pelican Technical Article:

Axle Replacement

Jared Fenton

Time:

4 hours4 hrs

Tab:

$100 to $200

Talent:

*****

Tools:

30mm 12-point socket, triple square M8 driver w/extension,

Applicable Models:

VW Jetta GL (1998-05)
VW Jetta GLS (1998-05)
VW Jetta GT (1998)
VW Jetta K2 (1998)
VW Jetta Wolfsburg (1998-99)

Parts Required:

Axles

Hot Tip:

Have a helper stand on the brakes to help loosen the axle nut

Performance Gain:

Smoother drivetrain

Complementary Modification:

Replace front sway bar links

The wear points in the axle assemblies are the constant velocity (CV) joints that transmit power from the transmission to the wheels. These bearings are packed in grease, but tend to wear out after about 100,000 miles. One of the clear signs that the joints need replacing is a distinct "clunk, clunk, clunk" sound coming from the front wheels when turning.

In some cases, the boots that cover and protect the CV joints will be torn. This is usually a good indication that the CV joints are wearing out, as the boots keep the lubricating grease inside the joint.

The new axle contains both the inner and outer CV joints, as well as the boots that cover and protect them. Although the CV joints can be rebuilt, I recommend installing the complete axle.

Replacing the axle assemblies requires you to jack up the front of the car and secure it on jack stands. See our article on Jacking up your Mk4 Jetta for more information.

Left and Right Sides - The first step is to loosen, but do not remove the 30mm 12 point nut (green arrow) securing the axle to the wheel hub.
Figure 1

Left and Right Sides - The first step is to loosen, but do not remove the 30mm 12 point nut (green arrow) securing the axle to the wheel hub. You'll need a long breaker bar or an impact wrench to get it loose. You may want to have a helper nearby to hold the brake pedal down with the car in gear. This will help to hold the axle while loosening the nut. Another option is to remove the center cap from the wheel, put the tire back on and lower it to the ground. The weight of the car, in gear with the brakes applied should be enough for you to get it loose. When fitting a new nut, lower the car on to the ground and torque the nut to 200Nm (148 ft./lbs.), then loosen 1/2 turn. Now re-torque the nut to 50Nm (37 ft./lbs.).

Left and Right Sides - Loosen and remove the 16mm bolt (green arrow) holding the sway bar end link to the lower control arm.
Figure 2

Left and Right Sides - Loosen and remove the 16mm bolt (green arrow) holding the sway bar end link to the lower control arm.

Left and Right Sides - Loosen and remove the three 13mm bolts (green arrows) holding the control arm to the wheel hub.
Figure 3

Left and Right Sides - Loosen and remove the three 13mm bolts (green arrows) holding the control arm to the wheel hub.

Left and Right Sides: The axles are held to either side of the transmission with six triple square M8 bolts running through the CV joint.
Figure 4

Left and Right Sides: The axles are held to either side of the transmission with six triple square M8 bolts running through the CV joint. Typically, three of the bolts are accessible at a time as shown here (green arrows). You simply turn the axle to access all of them. It is not uncommon to have the bolt heads caked with dirt or grease. I recommend cleaning the area beforehand. Having the fastener heads caked in grease and dirt can cause the tool to slip out of the bolt and possibly strip it out.

Left and Right Sides: Here's a quick way to rotate and then lock the axle when removing the inner bolts.
Figure 5

Left and Right Sides: Here's a quick way to rotate and then lock the axle when removing the inner bolts. Position the axle so you can access one side of the CV joint. Then stick a screwdriver through the caliper and rotor. As you rotate the tool, the axle will butt up against the caliper and lock it in place.

Right Side Axle: Loosen and remove the six bolts around the CV joint using the triple square M8 driver.
Figure 6

Right Side Axle: Loosen and remove the six bolts around the CV joint using the triple square M8 driver. DO NOT try to use a Torx or Allen head driver to do this. You will strip out the bolts. Once the bolts are removed, carefully lower the CV joint down. Be careful, as there is grease on the backside of the joint.

Left and Right Sides - Use the screwdriver to pull the wheel hub assembly (green arrow) out of the control arm (yellow arrow).
Figure 7

Left and Right Sides - Use the screwdriver to pull the wheel hub assembly (green arrow) out of the control arm (yellow arrow).

Left and Right Sides - You'll now need to drive the axle out of the wheel hub.
Figure 8

Left and Right Sides - You'll now need to drive the axle out of the wheel hub. Rotate the axle nut (green arrow) until the threads are just flush with the face of the axle. Use a hammer to tap the end of the axle out of the wheel hub. Once the axle frees up, unscrew the nut fully and pull the axle out.

Left Side Axle: Removing the left side axle is a little different from the right.
Figure 9

Left Side Axle: Removing the left side axle is a little different from the right. Note the heat shield (green arrow) mounted over the axle. You'll need to remove this to gain better access to the bolts.

Left Side Axle: Loosen and remove the two 16mm bolts holding the heat shield to the engine block.
Figure 10

Left Side Axle: Loosen and remove the two 16mm bolts holding the heat shield to the engine block. Pull the heat shield over the axle and out of the way.

Left Side Axle: Now loosen and remove the six bolts, three at a time (green arrows), locking the axle as described in Picture 5.
Figure 11

Left Side Axle: Now loosen and remove the six bolts, three at a time (green arrows), locking the axle as described in Picture 5. Be sure to torque each bolt to 20Nm (15 ft./lbs.) plus an additional 90-degree turn.

Left and Right Sides - Be sure to replace the small gaskets (green arrows) on the CV joints attached to the transmission.
Figure 12

Left and Right Sides - Be sure to replace the small gaskets (green arrows) on the CV joints attached to the transmission. These keep the grease from flying out. You'll also need to pack the transmission end of each axle with new CV grease prior to installation. Really work it in. You want all open gaps in the joint between the balls and races to have a coat of grease.

And here's the finished result with the axles removed.
Figure 13

And here's the finished result with the axles removed. Installing the new axles is the reverse order of assembly.

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Page last updated: Sat 12/3/2016 03:09:52 AM