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Discussion Starter #1
Not sure if this should be in suspension or driveline but here goes...

I was replacing the lower ball joint on my '98 Forester(Massive PITA but I finally got through with it) on the front passenger side. When I got everything back together I noticed that it seemed like the axle was really loose. I can physically pull it up and down with about an inch of deflection. I can't really move it in or out though. If I spin the hub, the boot twists; in other words if I were to drive it as is, it would rip the CV boot...so I know something is not right.

Is it possible that when I unbolted the spindle/hub from the lower control arm that the axle popped out? If so, how do I go about putting it back in? Could the axle just be broken?
 

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The outer CV has that much play? Does the hub move within the knuckle when you move the axle or is it just the axle moving? When my wheel bearing was VERY bad (worse than should ever be driven on) the hub and axle could be moved around in the knuckle about that much.

Is the axle nut tight on the hub, with the pin in?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The outer CV has that much play? Does the hub move within the knuckle when you move the axle or is it just the axle moving? When my wheel bearing was VERY bad (worse than should ever be driven on) the hub and axle could be moved around in the knuckle about that much.

Is the axle nut tight on the hub, with the pin in?
Yea I didn't touch the pin or axle nut. Also maybe worth mentioning is it is very easy to turn the front passenger hub by the lug bolts, where the driver side is a bit tougher to turn...I would assume the driver side is normal.
 

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2004 Forester 4EAT
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Sounds like the shaft (center part of axle) came out of the outer joint. If you're adventurous, you could remove the outer CV boot and find out why. I do not know by what means these are held together. I would just replace the axle though. Too much can go wrong when an axle breaks.
 

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forgot to ask, when you spin the stub axle by the lug nuts, does the axle shaft spin with it, or is there a bunch of play?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Sounds like the shaft (center part of axle) came out of the outer joint. If you're adventurous, you could remove the outer CV boot and find out why. I do not know by what means these are held together. I would just replace the axle though. Too much can go wrong when an axle breaks.
How does one remove the boot...or rather remove the band around it?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
forgot to ask, when you spin the stub axle by the lug nuts, does the axle shaft spin with it, or is there a bunch of play?
When I spin the hub by the lugs, the axle does not spin.
 

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2004 Forester 4EAT
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Outer joint definitely came apart then. You need to open the boot up to find out what came apart before you drive on this. My guess is that when you pulled the lower ball joint, it extended the shaft out of the joint. There should be some means of a stop so this does not happen. It's usually some kind of ring.
 

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2004 Forester 4EAT
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Sorry, didn't read your first reply. You will need to cut it off. You can buy replacements at the auto parts store or dealer. You will not need the crimping tool for the replacement clamps.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Alright, what can I expect upon removing the boot? Isn't it full of grease?
 

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Alright, what can I expect upon removing the boot? Isn't it full of grease?
Yes it is. I had a similiar issue this past weekend while swapping struts. The driver side front alxe boot came unclamped started to slide out of the knuckle. Lucky for me I caught it and put it back into the boot and the knuckle back together. I lost some grease, but not much. I then took a pair of plyers and clamped the clamp to hopefully tighten it up.
 

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Yes. You will need to buy some cv grease. I do not know exactly how it's put together, but there should be some means of keeping the splined shaft into the joint (ring, clip). Good luck. Gotta go be dad now.:starwars:
 

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Yes. You will need to buy some cv grease. I do not know exactly how it's put together, but there should be some means of the splined shaft into the joint. Good luck. Gotta go be dad now.:starwars:

Thanks for the tip. Im not going to mess with it. If I have problems down the road I will replace the whole axle.
 

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Tuned,
Was there any type of a stop on the shaft? Does it just use the suspension to keep it from sliding out? That would be the first modern axle I've seen that way. I know bugs are that way.
 

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I'd pull back the boot, and inspect the joint closely: there should be a circlip somewhere on the shaft that locks it into the joint, or the circlip could still be "inside" the CV joint. If you don't see a circlip (because of all the grease you very well might not be able to), try to push the joint and the shaft together: you should eventually hear/feel the circlip snap into its groove, at which point you should not be able to pull the two apart (without tools, that is). If you DO see a circlip, look for a groove on the shaft into which it should fit, place it in that groove, then push the joint and shaft together.

The boot can be clamped back onto the CV joint with a band clamp (it's tight in that area: make sure the screw on the band clamp doesn't hit anything when the axle rotates); I've even used nylon ties successfully. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the tips so far! I haven't had a chance to get back into the garage yet but I'll keep the thread updated with what I find.
 

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The "outboard" joint closest to the wheel does not come apart normally.

The "inboard" tripod joint closest to the tranny just moves back and forth in the tulip housing. The only thing keeping it from coming out is the assembly dimensions. When you replaced the lower ball joint you had to disconnect it from the knuckle, which would allow extra movement.

So, to fix, you will likely need to undo the ball joint (or the control arm where it attaches to body) to get movement and slowly and gently put the axle back together. If the boot is not damaged and the clamps are located OK then you will likely not need to do anything else then.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Alright, well I finally got around to this yesterday. Cut the band off, carefully removed the new balljoint and used a rod to straighten out the hub joint. Carefully lined up the axle and pushed it into the joint. Pushed the whole assembly over on to the balljoint and hammered it all back into place. Once the spindle was locked in to place, I pulled the axle into the hub until I heard a POP. At that point it seemed the axle was back in place as I couldn't move it much any more. I used a nylon strap for now0_o on the boot, just to get it out of my garage. All seemed well during the test drive!
 

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I know this is a little late but what about the DOJ axle pin? Without that the axle could have some serious play no?
 
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