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View Full Version : How to replace the CV joint on a 94 Geo Prism


nd_n8
11-02-2007, 11:19 AM
Ok, so I'm driving my Geo, enjoying 30+ mpg.
Suddenly, from the front right hand side (and by suddenly I mean over the course of about three weeks) I hear a loud clunking sound. The noise get's a lot worse when I turn right and almost dissappears when I turn left.

I immediately turn off the Sean Hannity to see if that helps; but no luck, there is still a chattering coming from the right.

My assumption is that I have a CV joint going out.

So I test this theory by shifting back and forth between drive and reverse (while the car is stopped of course, I'll not make that mistake again). There is a good pause and a loud Thunk when I shift gears. To further test the theory I jack up the car and try to rotate the wheel by hand. There is about 4" of play in the right front wheel. This strengthens the case against the CV joint.

Simple enough, I stop by Auto Zone and pick up a new right CV joint (and an axle nut socket because I didn't have one laying around at the moment).

After jacking the car up again and stablizing it with a jack stand I remove the wheel. No problem.
I remove the brake caliper and mounting bracket. No problem.

I attempt to remove the rotor. Problem. The rotor is so rusty that it takes about an hour to gently coax the rotor off (and by gently coax I mean violently banging on it with a 2lb sledge hammer while hoseing it down with WD-40). Finally the rotor comes off. No problem.

I remove the axle nut from the spindle and attempt to remove the hub. Second major problem. After another hour with the hammer and the WD-40 the hub was still firmly attached to the bearing and the original CV half shaft is staring me down like a drunken biker chick on a Saturday night, begging me to take her out.

Which brings me to my first set of questions: Is there any good way to get the hub off of the car without using a jackhammer? Is there an easier way to remove the old half shaft without removing the hub? Am I barking up the wrong tree here with the whole CV joint theory in the first place?

This brings me to my next set of observations.

After giving up for the evening and reassembling the front of the vehicle, I drive it around a bit (needed to move it to a better parking spot). While driving it I noticed the vibration, the clunking sound, virtually everything I had noticed that was telling me something was wrong had dissappeared. To test this further I have driven it about 5 miles per day for the past two days and still I get absolutely nothing. It's kind of creepy if you ask me.

Which brings me to my second set of questions: What gives? Did (could) I accidently fix it? Is it possible that, with all of the zealous banging and spraying of oil, I managed to remedy the original problem? Did my obvious ineptness with tools combined with the fervor of my attempt scare the hell out of the vehicle so now it is afraid to chatter as it did before?

Ok, the second set of questions are rhetorical. I know I still need to replace that old joint but am at a loss as to how to continue from this point.

Any comments or ideas are greatly appreciated.

Phlosphr
11-02-2007, 11:50 AM
1994 geo prism. Hmmm. Sounds like she's been rode hard and put up wet. May be time to put her down....may be the only humane thing to do.

gotpasswords
11-02-2007, 12:06 PM
The way to fix it is to go to the neighborhood clutch shop and pay them the labor. There's another thread here about how taking apart axles is beyond the abilities of most driveway mechanics because of the tools required.

And that's exactly what I did a few years ago when the car started to go clack-culunkk-clack-culunkk in turns. I bought a pair of half-shafts at Kragen and took them to the local clutch shop, and they had the job done in under two hours.

Sateryn76
11-02-2007, 12:11 PM
I had a similar problem on my 2002 Saturn - same clunk, same noise on turning thing. After I did some internet diagnosing, my husband called Saturn to confirm my problem - the CV joint seal/gasket/ring thingy had lost its seal and the lube had leaked out and/or rubbed off.

We had no opportunity to repair it, so my hubby just greased it up with some kind of heavy-duty bearing grease. I have not heard it since....

The CV joint seal is still cracked, but it is my understanding that the wheel assembly is in fine shape. The grease keeps it quiet and non-threating, and I have until after the Christmas paychecks to get it fixed...

nd_n8
11-02-2007, 12:23 PM
1994 geo prism. Hmmm. Sounds like she's been rode hard and put up wet. May be time to put her down....may be the only humane thing to do.
No dice.

I was denied the thrill of 200,000 miles by an irritable ex-wife who borrowed the car and took an 85 mile joy ride. Hanging on for the 300,000 mile marker is all I gots left.

But I'm not bitter or nothin'.

25,000 left to go and counting :D .

nd_n8
11-02-2007, 12:29 PM
I had a similar problem on my 2002 Saturn - same clunk, same noise on turning thing. After I did some internet diagnosing, my husband called Saturn to confirm my problem - the CV joint seal/gasket/ring thingy had lost its seal and the lube had leaked out and/or rubbed off.

We had no opportunity to repair it, so my hubby just greased it up with some kind of heavy-duty bearing grease. I have not heard it since....

The CV joint seal is still cracked, but it is my understanding that the wheel assembly is in fine shape. The grease keeps it quiet and non-threating, and I have until after the Christmas paychecks to get it fixed...
Ahhhh....
This sounds too familiar.
I did not see any damage to either boot or to any of the 4 seals involved in the boot. There was a small dent in the ring seal where the assembly seats against the suspension arm. During the process of spray-pound-spray I may have (as I guessed earlier) accidently lubricated the interior behind this ring seal. This would explain the improvement in performance.
If my efforts fail again I will make sure to pack some heavier grease behind this seal to further enhance the effect.

BrandonR
11-02-2007, 12:30 PM
Well let's just say you were off to a good start by turning off Sean Hannity... :)

nd_n8
11-02-2007, 12:35 PM
The way to fix it is to go to the neighborhood clutch shop and pay them the labor. There's another thread here about how taking apart axles is beyond the abilities of most driveway mechanics because of the tools required.

And that's exactly what I did a few years ago when the car started to go clack-culunkk-clack-culunkk in turns. I bought a pair of half-shafts at Kragen and took them to the local clutch shop, and they had the job done in under two hours.
Personal pride will be the death of me.

But, with that said, the back-up plan is to take it to a local garage after the first of the year.

Besides, half the fun is buying tools that you know damn good and well will never get used again just so that they can be left laying around the garage to look cool to all of your friends.

"What... that? Why, that there's a 10mm banana wrench. I used it to replace a sticky PVC valve once. Never know when one of them bad boys will come in handy."

nd_n8
11-02-2007, 12:37 PM
Well let's just say you were off to a good start by turning off Sean Hannity... :)
Sure, but it's amazing how much filling the car with hot air can increase mileage.

:D

Gary T
11-02-2007, 12:46 PM
Hard to know for sure what your noise was. I wouldn't expect what you did to have changed it, so that's a bit of a mystery.

The textbook symptom of a worn CV joint is a rapid clicking sound when accelerating in a tight turn.

If there is a worn CV joint, the common repair is to replace the axle shaft assembly with a remanufactured one. Costs less than replacing just the CV joint, is less work, and gets you both inner and outer reman joints with new boots on them.

To replace the axle (and removing the axle is the first step in replacing just the joint, if you were to go that route), do not remove the rotor or the hub. Note: it's good you didn't get the hub apart - it's a helluva a lot of work, almost impossible to complete without special tools, and would NOT have facilitated replacing the joint. Remove the axle nut. Disconnect the tie rod end from the knuckle. Disconnect the lower ball joint from the knuckle. With the knuckle thus freed, separate it from the stub axle portion of the axle shaft that goes through the hub (sometimes needs encouragement with a soft-face hammer, occasionally needs a puller). Pry the inner CV joint out of the transaxle. BE CAREFUL NOT TO NICK THE SEAL IN THE TRANSAXLE AS THE SHAFT ASSEMBLY GOES IN AND OUT OF ITS HOLE. Pull the axle shaft out. Installation is the reverse procedure. Be sure the inner joint seats fully in the transaxle (may require some gentle hammering).

nd_n8
11-02-2007, 01:35 PM
Hard to know for sure what your noise was. I wouldn't expect what you did to have changed it, so that's a bit of a mystery.

The textbook symptom of a worn CV joint is a rapid clicking sound when accelerating in a tight turn.

If there is a worn CV joint, the common repair is to replace the axle shaft assembly with a remanufactured one. Costs less than replacing just the CV joint, is less work, and gets you both inner and outer reman joints with new boots on them.

To replace the axle (and removing the axle is the first step in replacing just the joint, if you were to go that route), do not remove the rotor or the hub. Note: it's good you didn't get the hub apart - it's a helluva a lot of work, almost impossible to complete without special tools, and would NOT have facilitated replacing the joint. Remove the axle nut. Disconnect the tie rod end from the knuckle. Disconnect the lower ball joint from the knuckle. With the knuckle thus freed, separate it from the stub axle portion of the axle shaft that goes through the hub (sometimes needs encouragement with a soft-face hammer, occasionally needs a puller). Pry the inner CV joint out of the transaxle. BE CAREFUL NOT TO NICK THE SEAL IN THE TRANSAXLE AS THE SHAFT ASSEMBLY GOES IN AND OUT OF ITS HOLE. Pull the axle shaft out. Installation is the reverse procedure. Be sure the inner joint seats fully in the transaxle (may require some gentle hammering).
When I disconnect the lower ball joint and the tie rod will I need to recompress the spring in order to remount the knuckle?

Gary T
11-02-2007, 01:50 PM
When I disconnect the lower ball joint and the tie rod will I need to recompress the spring in order to remount the knuckle?
No. The spring is contained in the strut assembly. You won't be affecting or affected by it in any way. Note that the knuckle will still be bolted to the strut, which can pivot slightly at its upper mount. You rotate and pivot the knuckle/strut assembly out of the way to withdraw and insert the axle.

nd_n8
11-02-2007, 02:14 PM
No. The spring is contained in the strut assembly. You won't be affecting or affected by it in any way. Note that the knuckle will still be bolted to the strut, which can pivot slightly at its upper mount. You rotate and pivot the knuckle/strut assembly out of the way to withdraw and insert the axle.
Great, I know what I'm doing tomorrow morning!

Thanks for the info...

nd_n8
11-05-2007, 01:46 PM
Thanks again for the advice. The operation was a success.

Per GaryT's advice I avoided taking apart the whole unit and went after the tie rod and ball joint instead.

I never did get the tie rod loosened, but unbolting the ball joint provided enough sway for the spindle to come out.

It was not until I was tugging on the axle, trying to dislodge it carefully, that I thought about what might be holding it to the tranny.

It seems there is this small spring ring around the rear spindle. I discovered this when the rear boot ripped off, the remains of the bearing flew across the floor (this was obviously the root cause of my distress, dirt and metal shavings in the grease of the rear bearing). After some coaxing the rear spindle came out, the new one slid in and the whole thing went back together in about five minutes.

300,000 miles, here we come.