All of the Civic and del Sol models use the front halfshafts to couple the transaxle to the road wheels. This allows power to be delivered as the suspension moves up and down and while the wheels are turned side to side to negotiate turns. In order to accomplish the ability to simultaneously supply rotational power and the ability to change direction, an axle must have a component that can pivot and rotate at the same time.
On the Civic and del Sol, this is accomplished by using a halfshaft with an inner and outer Constant Velocity (CV) joint. In order to lubricate the CV-joint, the joint is assembled using an approved high temperature molybdenum disulfide grease capable of withstanding extreme pressure and heat. The grease is retained in the CV-joint by a tapered accordion boot, which is installed over the axle and the CV-joint.
The CV-boot allows the CV-joint to rotate and pivot, while retaining the lubricant and protecting the CV-joint from water and debris.
When inspecting a halfshaft, it is more likely to have an outer CV-joint or CV-boot failure because the outer CV-joint pivots more when the vehicle is turning than the inner CV-joint. The outer CV-boot is more vulnerable to physical damage because of its location, unlike the inner CV-joint/boot, which is surrounded by the transaxle, engine, and the vehicle's body.
Although the CV-joint lubricant is sealed in place via the CV-boot, grease does lose its ability to lubricate with time and use. If a vehicle is used in extreme conditions under severe loads, it's likely the CV-joint lubricant could loose its ability to lubricate within 5 years or 100,000 miles (160,000 km) or less.
In these extreme cases, the CV-boots should be removed, and the CV-joints cleaned and repacked with the recommended lubricant.
To diagnose a CV-joint failure, proceed as follows:
- Road test the vehicle and listen for a "clicking" noise from the left front or right front wheel area, especially during moderate acceleration from a stop while turning. Use a large, safe parking lot and accelerate from a stop, alternately turning left and right. A clicking noise from the front of the vehicle is an indication of a worn CV-joint.
- Apply the parking brake and put the transmission in neutral with the ignition in the OFF position.
- Carefully raise and safely support the vehicle.
- Rotate the tire/wheel assembly slowly by hand. Turn the front wheels side to side to simulate a turn to inspect the halfshaft Constant Velocity (CV) joint boots for leakage, wear, cracks, punctures or tears.
If an outer CV-boot is leaking, the inside portion of the road wheel and surrounding suspension components will be covered with grease. The cost of a typical CV joint is many times more expensive than a CV-boot.
- Wrap a suitable protective cloth around the center of the axle and securely fasten a clamping-type pliers to the axle.
- Hold the tire/wheel assembly stationary while trying to rotate the axle back and forth while checking for excessive looseness from the outer CV-joint. Then hold the inner CV-joint and move the axle back and forth to check for excessive looseness. A slight amount of free movement is acceptable, however, if the axle can be moved 3 / 16 inches (5mm) or more, the CV-joint should be replaced.
Symptoms of a failed CV-joint could include:
A shuddering vibration or rumbling noise can also be caused by a failed wheel bearing, severe tire imbalance, or a tire with internal belt damage. Should this symptom occur, the problem should be diagnosed immediately.
REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
The outer CV-joint cannot be removed from the halfshaft with the halfshaft installed in the vehicle. Replacement of the CV-joint(s) or CV-boot(s) requires removal of the halfshaft. If the outer CV-joint has failed on vehicles produced before 1998, the shaft and CV-joint must be replaced as an assembly.
If the halfshaft assembly or outer CV-joint is to be replaced, make sure to note whether or not the vehicle is equipped with ABS brakes to ensure the correct replacement parts.
The following procedure covers vehicles equipped with manual or automatic transaxles.
- Disconnect the negative battery cable.
- With the vehicle on the ground, raise the locking tab on the axle nut and loosen it using a sturdy 1 / 2 inch drive breaker bar and a 32mm (1 1 / 4 ) inch socket, then loosen the wheels.
- Raise and safely support the vehicle and remove the axle spindle nut(s) and front wheel(s).
- Drain the differential or transaxle lubricant as needed.
- Remove the sway bar stabilizer link from the shock or control arm assembly.
- Remove and discard the cotter key for the lower ball joint nut, remove the nut, then separate the lower ball joint from the lower control arm using a suitable ball joint removal tool.
- Pull downward on the lower control arm to allow the steering knuckle to be removed from the ball joint.
- Pull the knuckle outward and remove the halfshaft outboard CV-joint from the knuckle using a plastic mallet or a hammer and a suitable punch.
To remove the inner CV-joint from the transaxle assembly, perform the following:
- Using a suitable prytool, carefully pry out the inboard CV-joint approximately 1 / 2 inch (13mm) in order to force the spring clip out of the groove in the differential side gears or intermediate shaft.
To remove the inner CV-joint from the intermediate shaft assembly, perform the following:
- Tap on the inboard CV-joint with a plastic hammer or a suitable blunt drift to release the CV-joint from the intermediate shaft.
- Pull the halfshaft straight out of the differential or the intermediate shaft. Replace the spring clip on the end of the inboard joint.
- Install new retainer clips on the splined shafts of the axle.
- If the axle is being installed into the transaxle, apply a thin film of light grease to the lips of the transaxle seal and the portion of the CV-joint that contacts the seal.
- If the axle is being installed onto the intermediate shaft, apply a high temperature grease to the splines of the shaft, then wipe the grease away from the snap ring groove and intervals of 2-3 splines on the shaft to allow air to bleed.
- Install the inner CV-joints making sure they "snap" into place allowing the retainer clips to be fully seated.
The balance of the installation is the reverse of removal, noting the following points:
- Tighten the wheel nuts to 80 ft. lbs. (108 Nm).
- Refill the transaxle assembly with the approved and appropriate lubricant.
- Connect the negative battery cable.
- Enter the radio security code.
- Check the wheel alignment and adjust as necessary.
The replacement CV-boot clamps can be one of three types, a folding double clamped band, a double loop band, or an ear clamp band. Do not substitute ordinary radiator hose clamps or plastic ties in place of a CV-boot clamp.
The Canadian and USA versions of the Civic and del Sol models produced before 1999 use different outer CV-boots and clamps. The Canadian models use outer CV-boots made of Thermoplastic Polyester Elastomer (TPE), while the USA models use rubber.
If a CV-boot has failed and is to be replaced, the CV-joint from where the failed boot was located must be cleaned and repacked with the appropriate lubricant.
When the outer CV-boot is to be replaced and/or the outer CV-joint serviced, if special tools are not available to remove the outer CV-joint, simply disassemble and remove the inner CV-joint and boot, then slide the outer boot off of the axle.
If the outer CV-joint has failed, on vehicles produced before 1998, the shaft and CV-joint may only be replaced as an assembly.
Due to the popularity of halfshafts on front wheel drive and four wheel drive vehicles, axle and halfshaft rebuilding facilities have become increasingly popular. Before removing and disassembling a halfshaft, check locally to see if there is a facility available that will sell a rebuilt halfshaft, or rebuild your halfshaft. You may discover that this is more cost effective and convenient, especially if you remove the halfshaft yourself.
- Remove the halfshaft assembly.
- Mark the location of the dynamic damper (if installed) and the CV-boots on the drive axle.
- Be sure to mark the inner CV-joint roller grooves during disassembly to ensure proper positioning during reassembly.
- Remove the CV-boot clamps, then remove the boot from the inner CV-joint housing and remove the housing from the inboard spider gear rollers. If the CV-boot clamps are welded, the clamps must be cut using a pair of suitable side cutters.
- Mark the rollers to the spider gear yoke, and the yoke to the driveshaft so they can be installed in their original positions.
- Remove the rollers, snap-ring, and spider gear yoke, then remove the stopper ring.
It may be necessary to use a small universal gear puller to remove the spider gear yoke from the axle.
- On vehicles produced before 1998, the outer CV-joint cannot be removed from the shaft. Wrap the end of the axle with vinyl tape, the remove the inboard CV-joint boot, dynamic damper, then the outboard CV-joint boot.
If a suitable slide hammer with a
inch x 18 thread and a 24 x 1.5mm threaded adapter Tool No. 07XAC-0010200 or its equivalent are available, the outer CV-joint can be removed on 1998 and later vehicles as follows:
- Matchmark the CV-joint to the axle for reassembly.
- Wrap a shop towel around the axle and install the axle securely in a suitable vise.
- Install the adapter onto the threaded portion of the outer CV-joint and the slide hammer, and remove the CV-joint using the slide hammer.
- Remove the stop ring.
- Wrap the end of the axle with vinyl tape and remove the CV-boot.
- Wrap the end of the axle splines with vinyl tape to prevent damage to the boots. Install the outboard boot, dynamic strut, and inboard boot, along with their small CV-joint clamps, then remove the vinyl tape.
Make sure to loosely install the small CV-boot and dynamic strut clamps at this time. In some cases it may be impossible to install the small clamps once the CV-joints are reinstalled.
If the outer CV-joint was removed from the axle:
- Install a new stop ring.
- Align the matchmarks on the axle and CV-joint and lightly seat the axle into the CV-joint until the stop ring end gap is closed.
- Seat the axle into the CV-joint by holding the axle and CV-joint and tapping the CV-joint using 5 inch (10cm) strokes onto a hard surface while holding the axle until the stop ring is fully seated into the CV-joint.
- Place a straight edge across the CV-joint to see if it aligns with the paint mark on the axle, to ensure the CV-joint is fully seated.
- Using a 2 inch (50mm) paint or gasket scraper, or its equivalent, thoroughly pack the CV-joint with an approved CV-joint grease.
- Install the CV-boot onto the outer CV-joint.
- Install the large CV-boot clamp to secure the boot to the outer CV-joint. Do not tighten the small clamp at this time.
The CV-boot clamps can be one of three types, a folding double clamped band, a double loop band, or an ear clamp band. The folding double clamped band has thick curved portion of band that seats into a small bracket and applies tension as the curved portion is pressed downward, and held in place by two folding tabs. The double loop band wraps around the CV-boot twice and through a small clip. The ear clamp band has a series of holes and locking tabs that are locked into the holes.
To install a folding double clamped band:
- Seat the end of the thick curved section into the small bracket.
- Press the thick curved section down, flush with the band.
- While holding the curved section down, fold over the locking tabs and seat them by tapping them lightly with a small hammer.
To install a double loop band CV-boot clamp proceed as follows:
- Install the clamp in the direction such that if the axle were installed on the vehicle the clip of the clamp is at the top, with the end of the clamp is facing forward.
- Wrap the clamp around the boot 2 times, and seat the clamp into the groove of the boot.
- Pull the end of the clamp by hand to remove any slack in the band, and scribe a mark in the band 1 / 2 inch (12mm) from the clip.
- Using a boot band tool or an equivalent device, pull the end of the clamp until the line is flush with the rear edge of the clip, and then fold the end of the clamp upward so it is at a 90° angle with the clip.
- While holding the end of the clamp in this position, center punch the clip using a pointed center punch and a hammer.
- Trim the end of the clamp 3 / 8 inch (10mm) from the end of the clip, fold the clamp end over the clip and seat the folded clamp end by tapping it with a hammer.
To install an ear clamp style band clamp proceed as follows:
- Feed the tab of the band into the holes of the band. Sometimes a small flat blade jeweler's screwdriver can be placed through the clamp's hole and the tab levered into place.
- Squeeze the small raised ear portion at the base of the clamp using a pair of boot band pinchers, or carefully alternate side to side with a thin pair of needle nose pliers, until the gap at the base of the clamp's ear is 1 / 8 inch (3mm) apart.
- Install the spider gear in its original position by aligning the matchmarks.
- Fit the snap-ring onto the halfshaft groove.
- Fit the rollers to the spider gear with their high shoulders facing outward. Reinstall the rollers in their original positions on the spider gear.
- Pack the inboard joint housing with an approved CV-joint grease. Do not use a substitute, or mix types of grease.
- Fit the inboard joint onto the halfshaft while holding the axle with the rollers facing downward to prevent them from falling off, and place the rollers into the inboard joint housing.
- Install the CV-boot onto the inner CV-joint.
- Install the large CV-boot clamp to secure the boot to the inner CV-joint. Do not install the small clamp at this time.
- With the boots installed onto the CV-joints, adjust the CV-boots on the axle in or out to place the boot ends in their original positions.
- Tighten the new clamps on the small end of the boots and secure as necessary to ensure a good fit.
- Always use a new set ring whenever the driveshaft is being installed. When reinstalling, be sure the driveshaft ends lock securely in place into the differential or intermediate shaft.
- Reinstall the halfshaft into the vehicle.
- Install a new axle nut onto the axle, tighten the axle nut to 181 ft. lbs. (245 Nm).
- Stake the axle nut into the slot in the axle.