CTS 2003-2005

Removal & Installation

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  1. Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the precautions in the beginning of this section.
  2.  
  3. Remove or disconnect the following:

    Front wheel
     
    Stabilizer shaft link
     
    Drive shaft nut
     
    Outer tie rod end from the steering knuckle
     
    Ball joint from the steering knuckle
     

  4.  
  5. Press the axle shaft through the hub.
    WARNING
    To prevent damage to the inner CV-joint, do not pull on the axle shaft to remove it from the transaxle.



    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. Use a puller to press the axle shaft through the hub/bearing assembly

  6.  
  7. Place a drain pan under the transaxle to catch any transaxle fluid that leaks out when the axle shaft is removed.
  8.  
  9. Remove the axle shaft from the transaxle by prying between the transaxle and the inner CV-joint housing.
  10.  

To install:

  1. Install or connect the following:

    Axle shaft in the transaxle. Verify that it is seated by pulling on the housing
     
    Axle shaft through the hub/bearing assembly
     
    Ball joint and torque the nut to 40 ft. lbs. (55 Nm)
     
    Tie rod end and torque the nut to 22 ft. lbs. (30 Nm) plus an additional 120 degree turn
     
    New drive shaft nut and torque it to 118 ft. lbs. (160 Nm) on all except Impala models or 159 ft. lbs. (215 Nm) on Impala models
     
    Stabilizer shaft link and torque the nut to 17 ft. lbs. (23 Nm)
     
    Front wheel
     

  2.  
  3. Check the transaxle fluid level.
  4.  
  5. Check the front alignment and adjust, if necessary.
  6.  

Automatic Transaxle



  1. Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the Precautions Section.
  2.  
  3. Remove the wheel.
  4.  
  5. Insert a drift or punch into the brake rotor and against the caliper to prevent the wheel hub from turning.
  6.  
  7. Remove and discard the hub spindle nut.
  8.  
  9. Remove or disconnect the following:

    Brake rotor
     
    ABS sensor
     
    Parking brake cable bracket
     
    Upper ball joint nut
     

  10.  
  11. Separate the upper ball stud from the knuckle.
  12.  
  13. Support the lower control arm with a suitable jack.
  14.  
  15. Remove or disconnect the following:

    Lower shock mounting bolt
     
    Lower control arm-to-knuckle mounting bolt
     
    Trailing arm-to-knuckle mounting bolt
     
    Adjustment link-to-knuckle mounting bolt
     

  16.  
  17. Install Wheel Hub Removal Tool J-42129 to the wheel hub.

    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. Using wheel hub removal tool J-42129-CTS

  18.  
  19. Use the Wheel Hub Removal Tool to disengage the halfshaft from the wheel hub.
  20.  
  21. Remove the knuckle assembly from the vehicle.
  22.  
  23. Using a suitable tool, carefully release the halfshaft from the rear differential enough to install Seal Protector J-44394 over the halfshaft into the differential output shaft seal.

    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. Install seal protector J-44394 to prevent the splines of the halfshaft to cut the output shaft seal.

  24.  
  25. Remove the halfshaft from the vehicle and discard the halfshaft retaining ring.
  26.  

To install:

  1. Install a new halfshaft retaining ring.
  2.  
  3. If previously removed, carefully install Seal Protector J-44394 into the differential output shaft seal.
    NOTE
    Failure to install J-44394 as indicated may cause the splines of the wheel drive shaft to cut the differential output seal.

  4.  
  5. Install the halfshaft until the splines are past Seal Protector J-44394. Ensure the retaining ring is installed in the upright position.
  6.  
  7. Remove Seal Protector J-44394.
  8.  
  9. Install or connect the following:
    NOTE
    Loosely install all fasteners before tightening.



    Knuckle assembly
     
    Adjustment link-to-knuckle mounting bolt. Tighten to 129 ft. lbs. (175 Nm).
     
    Trailing arm-to-knuckle mounting bolt. Tighten to 129 ft. lbs. (175 Nm).
     
    Lower shock mounting bolt. Tighten to 111 ft. lbs. (150 Nm).
     
    Lower control arm-to-knuckle mounting bolt. Tighten to 129 ft. lbs. (175 Nm).
     
    Upper ball joint mounting nut. Tighten to 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm) plus 210 degrees.
     
    Parking brake cable bracket. Tighten to 44 ft. lbs. (60 Nm).
     

  10.  
  11. Remove the jack from the lower control arm.
  12.  
  13. Install or connect the following:

    ABS sensor
     
    Brake rotor
     

  14.  
  15. Install a drift or punch into the brake rotor and against the caliper to prevent the wheel hub from turning.
  16.  
  17. Install a new hub spindle nut and tighten to 118 ft. lbs. (160 Nm).
  18.  
  19. Install the wheel.
  20.  
  21. Check the fluid level in the rear differential.
  22.  

Because the outer joint is essentially a press-fit in the hub and the steering knuckle also needs to be disconnected from the lower control arm, special tools are needed for this job, including a good-quality hub/spindle puller. Use care is using substitutes or expensive damage may result. In general, halfshaft service is not for the inexperienced or ill-equipped.


WARNING
Use care when removing the halfshaft. Tri-pot joints can be damaged if the drive axle is over-extended. It is important to handle the halfshaft in a manner to prevent over-extending. Protect the CV-joint boots. Don't let them contact tools or other components. In addition, procure new service replacement hub nuts and tie rod end torque prevailing nuts. The originals, once removed, should not be reused.

  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle.
  2.  
  3. Remove the wheel and tire assembly.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the stabilizer shaft link by removing the through bolt where it passes through the lower control arm and connects to the stabilizer shaft.
  6.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Prevent the rotor from turning by inserting a drift pin through the caliper and into the rotor



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Remove the spindle nut (1) and washer (2)

  1. Remove the front halfshaft, or drive axle, spindle nut. The torque specification on this nut is 150 ft. lbs. (205 Nm). To keep the brake rotor and hub assembly from turning when removing the nut, insert a suitably sized drift pin or other suitable tool through the brake caliper inspection opening into the brake rotor's ventilation openings. This should lock the assembly in place so the spindle nut can be loosened. It is good practice to wire-brush any exposed threads on the end of the spindle and apply a generous coating of penetrating oil.
  2.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Use a suitable puller to separate the tie rod end from the steering knuckle

  1. Detach the tie rod end from the steering knuckle by removing the torque prevailing hex nut. It should be replaced with a new part. This design tie rod has a tapered joint that GM says has been designed to separate easily, unlike previous joints of this type. If required, use a tie rod puller tool to separate the tie rod end from the steering knuckle.
  2.  


WARNING
Use care when working around the steering knuckle. If equipped with ABS brakes, there is a wheel speed sensor that reads off a toothed wheel that is part of the outer CV-Joint. The sensor wiring attached to the knuckle should be treated carefully.

  1. Separate the ball joint from the steering knuckle by removing the cotter pin and loosening the nut. Do not remove the nut yet. Install a ball joint puller to separate the joint from the knuckle. By keeping the nut in place as the puller is being used to press the ball stud from the knuckle, the threads on the ball stud are protected so the ball joint can be reused. Now remove the puller and the nut and detach the ball joint stud from the steering knuckle.
  2.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Remove the cotter pin with needlenose pliers, and discard the pin



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. With the slotted nut removed, separate the hub assembly from the lower balljoint. The halfshaft is not shown in this view

  1. Separate the axle from the hub using a hub puller. Don't try to hammer on the end of the spindle or the outer CV-joint and possibly also the hub bearing will be damaged. Use a hub puller to press the spindle out of the hub. It is good practice to leave the hub nut in place to protect the threads on the spindle as the hub puller presses the spindle free of the hub.
  2.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Use a suitable puller to separate the halfshaft from the hub and bearing assembly



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Using a large prytool to carefully separate the inner CV-joint from the transaxle case



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Be very careful to avoid damaging any components when prying the halfshaft from the axle



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. GM recommends their slide hammers used with C-shaped plates to pull the halfshafts



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Carefully remove the halfshaft from the vehicle



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. The transaxle end of the halfshaft is grooved with a retaining circlip (1)



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. While the halfshaft is removed, be sure not to get any dirt or other debris in the transaxle case



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Use care when handling the halfshaft to avoid damaging it

  1. Remove the halfshafts (drive axles) from the transaxle, as follows:
    1. Right Side: GM recommends their axle shaft removing set which consists of C-shaped plates that fit behind the inner CV-joint, between the joint and the transaxle housing. A slide hammer attaches to the C-plates so the halfshaft can be popped free of the transaxle.
    2.  
    3. Left Side: Using the subframe for leverage, carefully separate the halfshaft from the transaxle with a suitable prytool in the groove provided on the inner joint.
    4.  

  2.  


WARNING
Do not put the wheels back on the vehicle and attempt to move the vehicle with the drive axles removed from the hub and wheel bearings. The wheels could fall off, dropping the vehicle to the ground and causing personal injury and/or expensive damage to the vehicle.

To install:

  1. Clean all parts well. Inspect the halfshafts and the CV-boots. Service, if required, using the Overhaul procedures found in this section.
  2.  


NOTE
Use care handling the halfshafts to avoid damage to the boots and clamps.

  1. Push the halfshaft into the transaxle. Verify that the halfshaft is seated by grasping the inner joint housing and pulling. It is important to make sure the halfshaft is seated. Do NOT pull on the drive axle shaft, only on the inner CV-joint.
  2.  
  3. Install the halfshaft/drive axle end into the hub and bearing assembly.
  4.  
  5. Connect the ball joint to the steering knuckle. Tighten the nut to 40 ft. lbs. (55 Nm). Align the slots in the nut to the cotter pin hole in the ball stud by tightening the nut further, if required. DO NOT loosen the nut to align the holes for the cotter pin. Install a new cotter pin.
  6.  
  7. Connect the tie rod end to the steering knuckle. Use a new service replacement torque prevailing nut and tighten to 18 ft. lbs. (25 Nm) plus an additional 180° of rotation.
  8.  
  9. Install a new service replacement front wheel drive axle nut. To keep the brake rotor and hub assembly from turning when tightening the nut, insert a suitably sized drift pin or other suitable tool through the brake caliper inspection opening into the brake rotor's ventilation openings, locking the assembly in place so the spindle nut can be tightened. Torque the nut to 150 ft. lbs. (205 Nm).
  10.  
  11. Install the stabilizer through bolt from the bottom of the control arm to the stabilizer bar link and tighten the nut to 17 ft. lbs. (23 Nm).
  12.  
  13. Install the front wheel and tire assemblies. Torque the wheel nuts to 100 ft. lbs. (140 Nm).
  14.  
  15. Lower the vehicle.
  16.  
  17. Since some transaxle fluid may be lost when the halfshafts are disconnected, check the fluid level. Please see the procedure in this section.
  18.  
  19. GM recommends that since the steering tie rod and the ball joint were disturbed, that the front end alignment should be checked and adjusted if necessary.
  20.  

Manual Transmission



  1. Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the Precautions Section.
  2.  
  3. Remove the wheel.
  4.  
  5. Insert a drift or punch into the brake rotor and against the caliper to prevent the wheel hub from turning.
  6.  
  7. Remove and discard the hub spindle nut.
  8.  
  9. Remove or disconnect the following:

    Brake rotor
     
    ABS sensor
     
    Parking brake cable bracket
     
    Upper ball joint nut
     

  10.  
  11. Separate the upper ball stud from the knuckle.
  12.  
  13. Support the lower control arm with a suitable jack.
  14.  
  15. Remove or disconnect the following:

    Lower shock mounting bolt
     
    Lower control arm-to-knuckle mounting bolt
     
    Trailing arm-to-knuckle mounting bolt
     
    Adjustment link-to-knuckle mounting bolt
     

  16.  
  17. Install Wheel Hub Removal Tool J-42129 to the wheel hub.

    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. Using wheel hub removal tool J-42129-CTS

  18.  
  19. Use the Wheel Hub Removal Tool to disengage the halfshaft from the wheel hub.
  20.  
  21. Remove the knuckle assembly from the vehicle.
  22.  
  23. Using a suitable tool, carefully release the halfshaft from the rear differential enough to install Seal Protector J-44394 over the halfshaft into the differential output shaft seal.

    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. Install seal protector J-44394 to prevent the splines of the halfshaft to cut the output shaft seal.

  24.  
  25. Remove the halfshaft from the vehicle and discard the halfshaft retaining ring.
  26.  

To install:

  1. Install a new halfshaft retaining ring.
  2.  
  3. If previously removed, carefully install Seal Protector J-44394 into the differential output shaft seal.
    NOTE
    Failure to install J-44394 as indicated may cause the splines of the wheel drive shaft to cut the differential output seal.

  4.  
  5. Install the halfshaft until the splines are past Seal Protector J-44394. Ensure the retaining ring is installed in the upright position.
  6.  
  7. Remove Seal Protector J-44394.
  8.  
  9. Install or connect the following:
    NOTE
    Loosely install all fasteners before tightening.



    Knuckle assembly
     
    Adjustment link-to-knuckle mounting bolt. Tighten to 129 ft. lbs. (175 Nm).
     
    Trailing arm-to-knuckle mounting bolt. Tighten to 129 ft. lbs. (175 Nm).
     
    Lower shock mounting bolt. Tighten to 111 ft. lbs. (150 Nm).
     
    Lower control arm-to-knuckle mounting bolt. Tighten to 129 ft. lbs. (175 Nm).
     
    Upper ball joint mounting nut. Tighten to 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm) plus 210 degrees.
     
    Parking brake cable bracket. Tighten to 44 ft. lbs. (60 Nm).
     

  10.  
  11. Remove the jack from the lower control arm.
  12.  
  13. Install or connect the following:

    ABS sensor
     
    Brake rotor
     

  14.  
  15. Install a drift or punch into the brake rotor and against the caliper to prevent the wheel hub from turning.
  16.  
  17. Install a new hub spindle nut and tighten to 118 ft. lbs. (160 Nm).
  18.  
  19. Install the wheel.
  20.  
  21. Check the fluid level in the rear differential.
  22.  

 
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