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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The job isn't that hard, but it will take a few hours so make sure you have about 4 hours to get it done. I'll detail the work I did here:

First of all, my Sentra is an 93 XE Automatic w/GA16DE motor. It does not have ABS. You will know if you have ABS by checking to see if you have disk breaks on the rear wheels. If drum breaks are back there, then you do NOT have ABS. This makes the job easy. For the record, I don't think the XE Automatics came with ABS, I believe the SE-Rs and 240's do.

I'll go with basics to make this a walkthrough for you. First thing's first, if you are going to have to change out the drivers side be prepared to pull the passenger side. The procedure is almost identical on both sides, I will note the only difference in procedures when the time comes. The reason you can not pull the driver side w/o pulling the passenger side is pressure related. The seals will not release on the driver side till the passenger side has been removed. Not sure why, but I pryed for a good 30 minutes before I read that part, and believe me, the drivers side will not come out till the passenger side is removed.

1- First pull your hub caps for both front tires, and make sure your rear wheels are blocked and your transmission is in neutral with the E-Brake on.

2- In the middle of the hub is the axle bolt that has a crown with a cotter pin in it. Remove the cotter pin with a flat head screwdriver and pliers, the crown will slide off with ease. Put these parts side by side.

You will need a 32mm high impact deep socket with 1/2" drive, and a breaker bar. The stock torque on the axel bolt is 150 ft/lbs, so you will likely want your breaker to be at least 1.5 ft or more. You'll probably have to use your legs to break the bolts free. Note- all bolts turn counter clockwise to remove. Do not remove the axle bolt, but do break it free so it will come off easily later.

Remember, if doing the driver side (left) half shaft(axle), you will have to remove the passenger side half shaft first.

3- Loosen the lug nuts for both front tires. Jack up both sides of the vehicle and lower onto jackstands. Make sure you push on the front sides of the vehicle once on the jackstands to make sure the vehicle is secure while you are underneath it. Remove the lug nuts from the front tires and place them under the center of the vehicle at the outer edges. This will act as a fail safe should your jackstands fail.

4- There are 2 bolts behind the disk breaks that hold the calipers/pads and rotors on. Remove these bolts (9/16ths if I recall) using a crescent wrench (a socket will not get on the upper bolt, but will on the lower). There is a clip holding the break line to the bottom of the strut behind the knuckle, remove it with a flat head screwdriver and set the clip aside. Slide the break line from the clip housing. Use some twine or a coathanger to suspend the calipers up by the springs where they will be out of the way. Do this for both sides if replacing driver side half shaft.

5- Finish removing the axle bolts and place them next to the crown and cotter pins on each side of the vehicle.

6- The knuckle is the last part we have left to pull from the suspension. These bolts were extremely difficult and I snapped many 11/16ths sockets before I bought a set of deep socket high impact sockets with lifetime warranties to get the job done. You will need 2 wrenches, one for both the nut and the bolt, pull on the right, push on the left(as facing the bolts to pull them). I used one end of a 4 way lug puller, and a deep socket impact bit on a pry bar. To be honest, these 4 bolts were the hardest for me because of the lack of space and leverage I had available.

7- With the knuckle bolts removed the hub will swing away from the chassis giving you the needed room to remove the half shafts(axles) from the hub. Remove them using a rubber mallet, they should come out with a few good taps.

8- Starting with the passenger side half shaft, using a 16" prybar with a 1" 45 degree angle on the end (can buy at local D&B, CSK, Napa or AutoZone) or just a really good prybar that you can fit in there, wedge the prybar between the inner CV casing and the transfer case, pry fairly hard, then rotate the shaft by hand, pry again. I had to turn the shaft 4 times, 1/4 rotation each time and the 4th pry popped it out. Remove half shaft from transfercase.

9- You can do this either of 2 ways. A- Use a really long screwdriver (metal only, do not try using a dowel- don't want wood in your tranny), slide the screwdriver into the transfercase through the passenger side half shaft opening. There is a bar dividing the center where the shafts come close together. Go to the top or side of this divider bar and use your rubber mallet to hit the but of the screwdriver. This method requires a lot of dexterity because there's not going to be much room under there to swing.
OR
B- Use your pry bar to pry the driver side shaft out using the same method as the passenger side. There will be more room on this side to work with for leverage, and you'll need it. You will probably have to pry and turn this shaft 6 to 10 times before it will pop out.

Voila, removing is the hard part. When putting the shafts back in, do not use a normal hammer as this can and likely will damage the transfer case separating pin (will hose your tranny!). Instead, slide the proper end of the driveline into the transfer case (will have a little metal snap ring, can't miss it-DO NOT install replacements if they do not have snaprings present or you will blow your new parts in a week). Once you have the shaft lined up, you can tap it into place just by sliding it in. If it does not lock in (and you'll hear the snap ring lock it into place), then simply repeat adding a little more pressure or speed till it does lock into place and is secure. At this point, you only have to install the other side and do the reverse of this whole procedure.

I might add that when you are done, you will probably want to take your car down for an alignment. My adventure in this project required 16 bucks for tools or tool replacements I should say, and 153 for both reman half shafts from CSK (Checker,Schucks,Krager) and they come with limited lifetime warranties for lifetime of the vehicle. They will warranty them provided you keep a recipt of the front end alignment after putting them in. My front end alignment was 40 bucks from Big O Tires. Had I gone to a mechanic to have this done I would have paid 340 Minimum for the parts/labor. I did it for under 170 for parts and tools and a good bonding experience with my car. :cool:

If you have any questions or are just not sure about whether you can do this task or not, feel free to email me: [email protected] . I'd be happy to answer any other questions you might have.
 

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SAE vs. metric

Just a reminder that foreign car manufacturers as well as the domestic cars for years have been using metric bolts. You need a metric wrench and socket set to work on these cars. In a pinch yesterday, I did learn that a 1 1/16" socket is close enough to 25 mm that I was able to use it to get a crankshaft pulley off but it is best to use metric. Good luck. Also an ABS system will have a manifold mounted somewhere by the engine with a bunch of metal brake lines coming into it.
 

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A few things i might add.....
1.Use side cutters to remove the cotter pin(if you have them)
2.try not to use a cresent wrench on the caliper bots(you run a risk of stripping them, you can fit a socket on there with an extention
3. get a torque wrench and look the specs up for the bolts!!! some of those bolts you cant just tighten the shit out of them, i cant stress that enough
4. the warranty for CSK, i work there and we dont have a policy about needing an alignment to get a new axel if it breaks
Just thought i would add to that, and like the other guy said use metric sockets
 

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I coundn't get that thing (left shaft) out by popping it with a screwdriver from the other side. However I did manage to get it out using the second method (pry & turn, pry & turn, pry & turn, ...). But now, I'm struggling to get the new left shaft in. Just how hard do you have to jam that thing in to engage the circlip? Is there a trick or a clever tip other than sledge hammering that bad boy in?


nhladky said:
The job isn't that hard, but it will take a few hours so make sure you have about 4 hours to get it done. I'll detail the work I did here:

First of all, my Sentra is an 93 XE Automatic w/GA16DE motor. It does not have ABS. You will know if you have ABS by checking to see if you have disk breaks on the rear wheels. If drum breaks are back there, then you do NOT have ABS. This makes the job easy. For the record, I don't think the XE Automatics came with ABS, I believe the SE-Rs and 240's do.

I'll go with basics to make this a walkthrough for you. First thing's first, if you are going to have to change out the drivers side be prepared to pull the passenger side. The procedure is almost identical on both sides, I will note the only difference in procedures when the time comes. The reason you can not pull the driver side w/o pulling the passenger side is pressure related. The seals will not release on the driver side till the passenger side has been removed. Not sure why, but I pryed for a good 30 minutes before I read that part, and believe me, the drivers side will not come out till the passenger side is removed.

1- First pull your hub caps for both front tires, and make sure your rear wheels are blocked and your transmission is in neutral with the E-Brake on.

2- In the middle of the hub is the axle bolt that has a crown with a cotter pin in it. Remove the cotter pin with a flat head screwdriver and pliers, the crown will slide off with ease. Put these parts side by side.

You will need a 32mm high impact deep socket with 1/2" drive, and a breaker bar. The stock torque on the axel bolt is 150 ft/lbs, so you will likely want your breaker to be at least 1.5 ft or more. You'll probably have to use your legs to break the bolts free. Note- all bolts turn counter clockwise to remove. Do not remove the axle bolt, but do break it free so it will come off easily later.

Remember, if doing the driver side (left) half shaft(axle), you will have to remove the passenger side half shaft first.

3- Loosen the lug nuts for both front tires. Jack up both sides of the vehicle and lower onto jackstands. Make sure you push on the front sides of the vehicle once on the jackstands to make sure the vehicle is secure while you are underneath it. Remove the lug nuts from the front tires and place them under the center of the vehicle at the outer edges. This will act as a fail safe should your jackstands fail.

4- There are 2 bolts behind the disk breaks that hold the calipers/pads and rotors on. Remove these bolts (9/16ths if I recall) using a crescent wrench (a socket will not get on the upper bolt, but will on the lower). There is a clip holding the break line to the bottom of the strut behind the knuckle, remove it with a flat head screwdriver and set the clip aside. Slide the break line from the clip housing. Use some twine or a coathanger to suspend the calipers up by the springs where they will be out of the way. Do this for both sides if replacing driver side half shaft.

5- Finish removing the axle bolts and place them next to the crown and cotter pins on each side of the vehicle.

6- The knuckle is the last part we have left to pull from the suspension. These bolts were extremely difficult and I snapped many 11/16ths sockets before I bought a set of deep socket high impact sockets with lifetime warranties to get the job done. You will need 2 wrenches, one for both the nut and the bolt, pull on the right, push on the left(as facing the bolts to pull them). I used one end of a 4 way lug puller, and a deep socket impact bit on a pry bar. To be honest, these 4 bolts were the hardest for me because of the lack of space and leverage I had available.

7- With the knuckle bolts removed the hub will swing away from the chassis giving you the needed room to remove the half shafts(axles) from the hub. Remove them using a rubber mallet, they should come out with a few good taps.

8- Starting with the passenger side half shaft, using a 16" prybar with a 1" 45 degree angle on the end (can buy at local D&B, CSK, Napa or AutoZone) or just a really good prybar that you can fit in there, wedge the prybar between the inner CV casing and the transfer case, pry fairly hard, then rotate the shaft by hand, pry again. I had to turn the shaft 4 times, 1/4 rotation each time and the 4th pry popped it out. Remove half shaft from transfercase.

9- You can do this either of 2 ways. A- Use a really long screwdriver (metal only, do not try using a dowel- don't want wood in your tranny), slide the screwdriver into the transfercase through the passenger side half shaft opening. There is a bar dividing the center where the shafts come close together. Go to the top or side of this divider bar and use your rubber mallet to hit the but of the screwdriver. This method requires a lot of dexterity because there's not going to be much room under there to swing.
OR
B- Use your pry bar to pry the driver side shaft out using the same method as the passenger side. There will be more room on this side to work with for leverage, and you'll need it. You will probably have to pry and turn this shaft 6 to 10 times before it will pop out.

Voila, removing is the hard part. When putting the shafts back in, do not use a normal hammer as this can and likely will damage the transfer case separating pin (will hose your tranny!). Instead, slide the proper end of the driveline into the transfer case (will have a little metal snap ring, can't miss it-DO NOT install replacements if they do not have snaprings present or you will blow your new parts in a week). Once you have the shaft lined up, you can tap it into place just by sliding it in. If it does not lock in (and you'll hear the snap ring lock it into place), then simply repeat adding a little more pressure or speed till it does lock into place and is secure. At this point, you only have to install the other side and do the reverse of this whole procedure.

I might add that when you are done, you will probably want to take your car down for an alignment. My adventure in this project required 16 bucks for tools or tool replacements I should say, and 153 for both reman half shafts from CSK (Checker,Schucks,Krager) and they come with limited lifetime warranties for lifetime of the vehicle. They will warranty them provided you keep a recipt of the front end alignment after putting them in. My front end alignment was 40 bucks from Big O Tires. Had I gone to a mechanic to have this done I would have paid 340 Minimum for the parts/labor. I did it for under 170 for parts and tools and a good bonding experience with my car. :cool:

If you have any questions or are just not sure about whether you can do this task or not, feel free to email me: [email protected] . I'd be happy to answer any other questions you might have.
 

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Thanks for the writeup!!!

I'm about to do this job for a friend of mine, and I don't want to butcher it or frustrate myself to the point of insanity. I've done a few halfshafts on FWD cars before, and I know they can be a pain.

I was looking in a Chilton's manual and they say that you've got to use an alignment tool when you replace the axles---is this true? I didn't see anything mentioned in the post.
 
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