Torn axle boots or damaged joints are some of the most common problems in high mileage vehicles and can cause clicking noises when you turn or vibration in the vehicle under power or while turning. It also won’t do the underside of your car any favors, spewing what is most likely very old grease all over your suspension components such as your lower control arms, shock absorbers and springs.
If you continue to drive on the vehicle with such problems, chances are you will need a new axle.
Today we look at changing an axle in a B16 equipped vehicle, but if you own this generation of Honda Civic (1995-1999 EG/EK) or Acura Integra (1994-2001 DC) this procedure will be very similar.
Tools you will need for this job.
- 32mm socket
- 19mm socket
- 17mm socket
- 17mm wrench
- 1/2” driver
- 3/8” driver
- breaker bar / torque wrench
For changing your transmission fluid you will need (3 qts of Genuine Honda MTF) and we always recommend using Honda MTF for your transmission fluid.
- Long funnel
- 10mm socket
There are one of 2 ways to complete this job, we will be illustrating both although method 2 is faster the first method will allow you to truly inspect each bushing and connection in your suspension. If you need this repair, chances are other places will need service, just as this car did.
Raise the vehicle and secure it if you are not working on a lift. As with all install and how tos, if you are not mechanically inclined or capable of securing the vehicle you should never work on it. After securing the vehicle on a flat surface, remove your wheels.
Locate the drain plug on your vehicle and remove it, make sure you have a good sized oil pan under as to not make any mess. Make sure it is capable of holding roughly 2.8 quarts of used oil before removing your drain plug completely.
Take this time now to replace the crush washer on said plug and set it to the side, this just eliminates a very simple but necessary step when you are complete.
Remove the 32mm axle nut located in the center of your hub, if you do not have air tools or access to any you might have to get creative in breaking this free.
You can now choose to take one of two methods to replacing your axle, read along to follow method 1 which allows you to inspect your lower control arm or click here to begin method 2 which is faster if you have a lift. (you may or not be able to raise your vehicle on jackstands far enough for method 2)
Remove the cotter pin located below the lower ball joint using a set of long nose pliers or dykes, this will allow you to remove the 17mm castle nut. Now take a hammer and gently but firmly tap your lower control arm to break it free. Use a piece of wood to minimize the amount of impact your lower ball joint and more importantly boot will take.
Now locate the lower strut control arm where this bolt is located and remove it to allow movement of your axle and lower control arm assembly.
After removing the 17mm bolt and nut, you can slide the lower trailing arm off and this will allow you to have free access to your axle. Take your prybar and remove the axle as shown, take care as to not damage anything and be as gentle but as firm as possible.
When reinstalling your replacement axle, make sure the axle is flush as possible against the transmission. Make sure the axle is securely installed and then you are ready to inspect your lower arm for any wear and tear.
Now you can line up the lower strut fork and reinstall your lower control arm so that you can put your bolt back in.
Reinstall your lower 17mm castlenut but make sure you tighten the nut tight but make sure the cotter pin hole is lined up so that you can reinstall the cotter pin.
Take your replacement 32mm axle nut and tighten it back down on your axle to spec, put back your wheels and you are ready to fill your transmission with fluid.
Make sure to take your prybar at an angle to beat a nice notch in the nut just as you found it when you first removed your nut. Tighten your lug nuts to spec in the right manner, and you are done.
If you have followed Method 1, you can jump ahead to changing your transmission fluid.
If you have clicked here from the beginning, we are working from the point of your lower suspension fork as illustrated below.
Follow your lower control arm assembly back to the trailing arm and the large bushing held onto the subframe by three 19mm bolts. The picture below shows the 3 bolt locations in question.
Now take the bolt out of the lower subframe that connects your lower front control arm, this will allow you to swing the entire assembly out and remove the axle in a faster manner.
Make sure you are careful when swinging the entire assembly out and around to allow for more access to removing your axle, especially when clearing the lower shock fork over the arms and axle.
Method 2 is faster but is recommended for people comfortable working on cars, or at the very least working on cars with a lift as it requires more space than normal.
Filling up your transmission can often be tricky and lead to homemade messy frankenstein funnels and rigs, but this method is the fastest and easiest way to complete this simple but potentially messy job.
First locate your vent cap on your transmission and remove it.
Now locate the vehicle speed sensor
Remove the 10mm bolts that hold the speed sensor in place, you may or may not have a 2 piece vehicle speed sensor depending on your application. Regardless, remove the speed sensor until you have a nice big opening to fill your transmission with.
With a long thin funnel, you can now easily fill your transmission with the Honda transmission fluid we specified earlier, again we always recommend Honda MTF.
Put your wheels back on, torque them to spec and take a test drive to ensure that your axle is installed correctly and that you have no leaks.
- Pro Street Staff