How to Replace a Front CV Axle on your Mazda


Drivetrain DIY
Replacing a Mazda front CV axle? No problem!

If you are wanting to replace a front CV axle on your Mazda, then we have just the guide for you! This step by step DIY guide, will help you with your front axle replacement and help make it a professional and safe experience.

  • To start, you will need to grab the necessary tools for the project. What you need for your front axle replacement includes: an impact wrench (if possible), a torque wrench (absolutely), a socket set, a wrench set, a sledgehammer, penetrating oil and transmission fluid (for lubrication), an oil pan, and a new or rebuilt front CV axle. You will also be lifting the car, so a proper jack and jack stands are important in making your project a safe one.
  • Next, you will need to lift the side of the vehicle that you will be doing the front axle replacement on, using correct and safe lifting techniques. Once it’s up in the air, remove the wheel.
  • Using the impact wrench, you will need to remove the oversized nut in the center of the wheel assembly. If you do not have an impact wrench, you can reattach the wheel, and lower the car to apply pressure to it. You should then be able to break the axle nut loose with a long-handle socket wrench. Do not use the torque wrench for this task, as you can easily ruin its calibration, which will be important for when you put the axle nut back on.
  • Next, after taking the axle nut off, you will see the CV axle thread. If you push in on it, it should be loose. If it isn’t, then you can hit it a few times with your hammer, to loosen it up. Depending on age, mileage, and environment, this may require penetrating oil and well-measured aggression with the hammer.
  • You are going to want to remove the lower ball joint, to allow the whole wheel assembly to slide out of the way of the CV axle. You can locate the lower ball joint under the wheel well, as it is the metal piece holding the wheel in place. To remove it, you must take off the two bolts underneath the joint.
  • Once the joint is off, you should be able to move the whole wheel system out of your way, while simultaneously pushing on the CV axle. The axle should have enough movement to come out of the wheel well.
  • The next step is to get the other side of the CV axle out of the transmission. You may want to set the oil pan under the socket to catch any falling oil. To do this, you will need a flathead screwdriver to wedge in between the CV axle and the socket it has been pressed into. Simply stick the screwdriver in between and use enough pressure to slowly unhinge the seal. If it is too hard to get out, use the hammer to gently hit the screwdriver into the side of the CV axle, near the connection point of the axle/transmission, but not directly on it. It should then pop free, allowing you to pull the CV axle out. Usually, a single sharp blow is all that is needed to dislodge the spring clip holding it in place.
  • Now that the old axle is free, get the new one ready for installation. You can lather the CV axle with transmission fluid, and start inserting it in the transmission socket. If it doesn’t set in there easily, you can tap on the other end with the hammer. Once it’s inside, you can move the wheel back over and reattach the lower ball joint. Again, one sharp push is all that is necessary to properly slip the retainer ring and seat the axle. Make sure that the axle is fully seated, or fluid will leak and the axle will fall out later. Pro Tip: When inserting the inner axle, it usually goes easier if you put the open end of the retainer ring at the 6 o’clock position (down).

Finally, put the outer axle back into the hub, reattach the lower ball joint, and replace the axle nut. Use the torque wrench to set the nut to 125-175 lb•ft of torque (check the repair manual for your specific Mazda). Put the wheel back on, and you are good to go! Pro Tip: Do final-torque the axle nut before putting the wheel on and putting it on the ground. Otherwise, the weight of the vehicle could damage the uncompressed wheel bearing.

A front axle replacement can be a hard job, but a rewarding one as well.

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