GM Astro/Safari 1985-1996 Repair Guide

Halfshaft

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION




CAUTION
Do not allow the halfshaft to fully extend. The joint may become separated from the axle shaft, resulting in halfshaft failure and vehicle damage.

1990-93 Vehicles

See Figure 1



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Fig. Fig. 1: Separating the halfshaft from the hub-1990-93 vehicles

In order to loosen the halfshaft retaining nut, you will have to be able to hold the shaft from turning. One acceptable method is to insert a drift into the opening at the top of the brake caliper and through the vanes of the rotor. If you do not have one available, an assistant can apply the brakes while you loosen the nut. BUT, the easiest way, would be to remove the cotter pin and nut locking retainer, then loosen the nut, just slightly, while the vehicle is still on the ground.

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable for safety.
  2.  
  3. Unlock the steering column so the linkage is free to move.
  4.  
  5. Raise the front of the vehicle and support safely using jackstands.
  6.  
  7. Remove the front tire and wheel assemblies.
  8.  
  9. If not done earlier, remove the cotter pin and nut locking retainer.
  10.  
  11. Remove the axle nut and washer.
  12.  

IMPORTANT: Support the lower control arm with a jackstands to release spring tension.

  1. Remove the lower shock absorber nut and bolt.
  2.  
  3. Matchmark the halfshaft flange to the output shaft flange, then remove the halfshaft flange-to-output shaft bolts. Again, you will have to keep the assembly from turning, so insert a drift through the opening in the top of the brake caliper into the vanes of the brake rotor.
  4.  
  5. Use a Posilock® Puller model 110 or equivalent to push the halfshaft through the hub, then remove the halfshaft from the vehicle.
  6.  

To install:
  1. Install the halfshaft to the hub, then install the axle washer and nut.
  2.  
  3. Insert a drift through the opening in the top of the brake caliper into the vanes of the brake rotor to keep the halfshaft from turning, then tighten the shaft nut to 160-200 ft. lbs. (220-270 Nm).
  4.  
  5. Install the nut locking retainer and a new cotter pin.
  6.  
  7. Align and install the halfshaft to the output shaft flange, then install the retaining bolts and tighten to 60 ft. lbs. (80 Nm).
  8.  
  9. Install the lower shock bolt and nuts, then tighten to 18 ft. lbs. (25 Nm).
  10.  
  11. Check and refill the front drive axle if any fluid was lost. Remember that the vehicle MUST be level. Refer to General Information & Maintenance of this information for more details.
  12.  
  13. Install the tire and wheel assemblies, then remove the jackstands and carefully lower the vehicle.
  14.  


WARNING
Make sure the ignition switch is in the OFF position before connecting the negative battery cable otherwise the engine control computer could be INSTANTLY destroyed when voltage is applied.

  1. Connect the negative battery cable and check for proper operation.
  2.  

1994-96 Vehicles

See Figures 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7



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Fig. Fig. 2: A drift can be inserted through the top of the caliper and the rotor vanes to keep the shaft from turning



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Fig. Fig. 3: The brake line bracket should be removed from the upper control arm to provide additional knuckle travel



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Fig. Fig. 4: Disconnect the lower shock fasteners and position the shock out of the way



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Fig. Fig. 5: Disconnect the upper ball joint from the knuckle, so it be repositioned for clearance



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Fig. Fig. 6: Wire the knuckle assembly to the upper control arm in order to provide clearance while preventing brake line damage



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Fig. Fig. 7: Use a suitable separator tool to drive the axle shaft from the hub

In order to loosen the halfshaft retaining nut, you will have to be able to hold the shaft from turning. One acceptable method is to insert a drift into the opening at the top of the brake caliper and through the vanes of the rotor. If you do not have one available, an assistant can apply the brakes while you loosen the nut. BUT, the easiest way, would be to remove the cotter pin and nut lock, then loosen the nut, just slightly, while the vehicle is still on the ground.

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable for safety.
  2.  
  3. Unlock the steering column so the linkage is free to move.
  4.  
  5. Raise the front of the vehicle and support safely using jackstands.
  6.  
  7. If equipped, remove the front axle skid plate.
  8.  
  9. Remove the front tire and wheel assemblies.
  10.  
  11. If not done earlier, remove the cotter pin and nut locking retainer.
  12.  
  13. Remove the axle nut and washer. To keep the assembly from turning, insert a drift through the opening in the top of the brake caliper into the vanes of the brake rotor.
  14.  
  15. Matchmark the halfshaft flange to the output shaft flange, then loosen (BUT do not remove at this time) the halfshaft flange-to-output shaft bolts. Again, you will have to keep the assembly from turning.
  16.  
  17. Disconnect the brake hose support bracket from the upper control arm to allow for extra knuckle travel.
  18.  
  19. Disconnect the outer tie rod end from the knuckle. Push the linkage toward the opposite side of the vehicle, then support the outer tie rod up and out of the way to provide necessary clearance.
  20.  


WARNING
DO NOT use a wedge type tool to separate the joint from the knuckle or damage may occur.

  1. Position a floor jack or jackstand to support the lower control arm.
  2.  


CAUTION
The support MUST remain under the control arm for the duration of the procedure to hold the spring in position otherwise serious personal injury could result.

  1. Remove the lower shock absorber nut and bolt. Compress the shock absorber and wire up, out of the way.
  2.  
  3. Remove the cotter pin and stud nut, then separate the upper ball joint from the steering knuckle.
  4.  
  5. Tip the knuckle outward and toward the rear of the vehicle, then wire the knuckle to the upper control arm to prevent stretching and damaging the brake hose.
  6.  
  7. Cover the shock mounting bracket and the ball stud on the lower control arm with a rag to prevent possible damage to the drive axle seal during removal or installation.
  8.  
  9. Drive the splined shaft from the knuckle using J-28733-B or an equivalent shaft removal tool.
  10.  
  11. Remove the halfshaft flange-to-output shaft bolts which were loosened earlier, then carefully lower and remove the halfshaft from the vehicle.
  12.  

To install:
  1. Wipe the wheel bearing seal area on the knuckle clean, then check the seal for cuts or tears. If the seal is cut or torn, check the wheel bearings for damage and replace the seal.
  2.  
  3. Lubricate the wheel bearing seal lip.
  4.  

Make sure the shock bracket and the control arm ball stud are both still covered with rags to help prevent possible damage to the CV-joint boot.

  1. Carefully push the halfshaft into the hub, then install the axle washer and nut, but do not tighten yet.
  2.  
  3. Align the matchmarks made earlier, then loosely install the halfshaft flange to the output shaft flange using the retaining bolts.
  4.  
  5. Install the upper ball joint to the steering knuckle, then tighten the retaining nut and install a new cotter pin. Now is a good time to lube the upper ball joint.
  6.  
  7. Install the shock absorber and secure using the nut and bolt.
  8.  
  9. Install the outer tie rod to the steering knuckle, tighten the retaining nut and install a new cotter pin.
  10.  
  11. Reposition and secure the brake hose bracket to the upper control arm.
  12.  
  13. If not done already, insert a drift through the opening in the top of the brake caliper into the vanes of the brake rotor to keep the halfshaft from turning, then tighten the shaft nut to 160-200 ft. lbs. (220-270 Nm) for 1994-95 vehicles or to 147 ft. lbs. (200 Nm) for 1996 vehicles.
  14.  
  15. Align and install the nut locking retainer, then install a new cotter pin. DO NOT back off the nut or tighten it more than specified in order to align the retainer and install the cotter pin. The retainer should allow sufficient adjustment in order to install a pin.
  16.  

Be sure to bend the cotter pin so the retainer is held snugly in place to prevent rattling.

  1. Tighten the halfshaft-to-output shaft flange bolts to 60 ft. lbs. (80 Nm).
  2.  
  3. Check and refill the front drive axle if any fluid was lost. Remember that the vehicle MUST be level. Refer to General Information & Maintenance of this information for more details.
  4.  
  5. Install the tire and wheel assemblies, then remove the jackstands and carefully lower the vehicle.
  6.  
  7. If equipped, install the front axle skid plate.
  8.  


WARNING
Make sure the ignition switch is in the OFF position before connecting the negative battery cable otherwise the engine control computer could be INSTANTLY destroyed when voltage is applied.

  1. Connect the negative battery cable and check for proper operation.
  2.  

OVERHAUL



See Figure 8



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Fig. Fig. 8: Exploded view of the halfshaft and CV-joint assemblies

Outer CV-Joint

See Figures 9, 10, 11 and 12

Because of the difficulty and special tools involved, try to get an overhaul kit with replacement clamps as opposed to a swage ring. If you must install a swage ring to retain the boot, follow the kit instructions CLOSELY and borrow or rent the necessary tools. If this is not possible, take the halfshaft to a reputable service facility for overhaul or boot replacement.

  1. Remove the drive axle (halfshaft) assembly from the vehicle.
  2.  
  3. Place the axle in a vise using a protective covering on the vise jaws to prevent axle damage.
  4.  


CAUTION
Because the retaining clamps are under tension, use care when cutting and removing them. Wear gloves and safety goggles to protect you should the clamp spring loose upon releasing the tension.

  1. Cut and remove the CV-boot retaining clamps. If the boot is not being replaced, use care not to cut or damage the boot.
  2.  

Some late-model vehicles are equipped with a swage ring. In order to remove the ring, use a hand grinder to cut through the ring. Take care not to damage the outer race while cutting the swage ring free.

  1. Once the clamp (or swage ring) is removed, reposition the boot and wipe the grease away in order to locate the snapring.
  2.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 9: Aligning the cage windows with the outer race lands so the cage (and inner race) may be removed



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Fig. Fig. 10: Rotating the inner race up and out of the cage



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Fig. Fig. 11: Small retaining clamp installation and ear dimension



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Fig. Fig. 12: Large retaining clamp installation and ear dimension-outer joint shown (inner joint uses same dimension)

  1. Release the snapring using a suitable pair of snapring pliers, such as J-8059 or equivalent.
  2.  
  3. Remove the CV-joint assembly from the axle shaft.
  4.  

If ONLY THE BOOT is being replaced, stop disassembly here. Only proceed further if component wear or damage is suspected and you wish to perform a complete overhaul of the joint.

  1. Using a brass drift and hammer, tap the cage until it tilts sufficiently to remove the first ball, remove the remaining balls in the same manner.
  2.  
  3. Pivot the cage so the inner race is 90 degrees to the centerline of the outer race, then align the cage windows with the outer race lands and lift the cage (along with the inner race) from the outer race. Please refer to the illustration for clarification.
  4.  
  5. Rotate the inner race up and out of the cage.
  6.  
  7. Thoroughly clean all parts in an approved solvent, then check for wear or damage and replace, as necessary.
  8.  

To install:
  1. Apply a suitable high-temperature grease to the ball grooves of the inner and outer races.
  2.  
  3. Install the inner race to the cage by inserting and rotating.
  4.  
  5. Align the cage windows with the outer race lands, then install the cage (along with the inner race) to the outer race. Make sure the retaining ring side of the inner race faces outward.
  6.  
  7. Use the brass drift to tap the cage to a tilted position, then install the balls.
  8.  
  9. Pack the joint and boot using a suitable high-temperature grease.
  10.  
  11. Position the small boot clamp onto the outboard boot, then install the boot the axle shaft. Tighten the small clamp securely using a suitable clamp tool such as J-35910 or equivalent. If the tool has a torque wrench fitting, secure the clamp using 100 ft. lbs. (136 Nm) of torque.
  12.  
  13. Check the clamp ear gap dimension (distance that the inner bends of the crimp should be from each other), it should be a maximum of 0.085 in. (2.15mm). Please refer to the illustration for clarification.
  14.  
  15. Install the joint assembly to the shaft and secure using the snapring.
  16.  

Pack the boot and outer joint assembly with the premeasured amount of the grease supplied with the service kit, then snap the boot onto the outer joint assembly and manipulate it to remove excess air.

  1. Install the large retaining clamp using the clamp tool and torque wrench. Secure the clamp using 130 ft. lbs. (176 Nm) of torque. Again, check the clamp ear dimension, it should be a maximum of 0.102 in. (2.60mm)
  2.  
  3. Install the drive axle to the vehicle.
  4.  

Inner CV-Joint

See Figures 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19

  1. Remove the drive axle from the vehicle.
  2.  
  3. Place the axle in a vise using a protective covering on the vise jaws to prevent axle damage.
  4.  
  5. If equipped, remove the seal clamp protectors from the joint assembly.
  6.  


CAUTION
Because the retaining clamps are under tension, use care when cutting and removing them. Wear gloves and safety goggles to protect you should the clamp spring loose upon releasing the tension.

  1. Cut and remove the CV-boot retaining clamps. If the boot is not being replaced, use care not to cut or damage the boot.
  2.  

Some late-model vehicles are equipped with a swage ring. In order to remove the ring, use a hand grinder to cut through the ring. Take care not to damage the outer race while cutting the swage ring free.

  1. Remove the axle shaft with spider assembly from the companion flange housing.
  2.  

Handle the spider assembly with care. The tripot balls and needle rollers may separate from the spider trunions.

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 13: Snapring and spider removal



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Fig. Fig. 14: Proper inboard boot and housing positioning



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Fig. Fig. 15: Remove the CV-joint housing and check for wear or damage



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Fig. Fig. 16: With the spacer and spider pushed back, grasp the snapring using a pair of snapring pliers



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Fig. Fig. 17: Remove the snapring from the shaft so the spider assembly may be removed



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Fig. Fig. 18: With the snapring removed, the spider is free to be pulled from the shaft



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Fig. Fig. 19: If necessary, remove the spacer ring from the shaft

  1. Grasp the space ring using J-8059, or an equivalent pair of snapring pliers, then slide the ring back on the axle shaft in order to provide clearance to move the spider assembly.
  2.  
  3. Move the spider assembly back on the shaft in order to expose the retaining snapring.
  4.  
  5. Remove the snapring using a suitable pair of snapring pliers, such as J-8059 or equivalent.
  6.  
  7. Remove the spider assembly.
  8.  
  9. Thoroughly clean all grease from the housing. Check for rust at the boot mounting grooves. If found, remove with a wire brush.
  10.  

To install:
  1. Install the small boot clamp and inboard boot to the axle shaft.
  2.  
  3. If the spacer ring was removed, make sure it is positioned up on the shaft leaving room for spider and snapring installation.
  4.  
  5. Install the spider assembly to the axle shaft, making sure the snapring counterbore faces the housing end of the axle.
  6.  
  7. Install the snapring to the shaft, then properly position the spider and spacer ring.
  8.  
  9. Position the small boot clamp and tighten securely using a suitable clamp tool such as J-35910 or equivalent. If the tool has a torque wrench fitting, secure the clamp using 100 ft. lbs. (136 Nm) of torque.
  10.  
  11. Check the clamp ear gap dimension (distance that the inner bends of the crimp should be from each other), it should be a maximum of 0.085 in. (2.15mm). Please refer to the illustration for clarification.
  12.  
  13. Repack the housing using about half of the premeasured grease supplied with the service kit, then place the remainder of the grease in the boot. Coat the inside of the boot sealing lips with grease.
  14.  
  15. Make sure the joint/boot are assembled to the proper dimension of 6 1 / 4 in. (160mm) between the clamps. Please refer to the illustration for clarification.
  16.  
  17. Install the large retaining clamp using the clamp tool and torque wrench. Secure the clamp using 130 ft. lbs. (176 Nm) of torque. Again, check the clamp ear dimension, it should be a maximum of 0.102 in. (2.60mm).
  18.  
  19. If used, install the clamp protectors over the large eared clamp.
  20.  
  21. Install the drive axle to the vehicle.
  22.  

 
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