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aroundthewindowstar

Replaced axles and other parts - can't put in snap ring

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Hi All,

 

I'm having issues with my 1997 Pathfinder 4WD. The biggest issue I'm having is that I can't get the front axle to stick out enough from the flange in order to install the snap ring. I think I have about 2mm or so left to go before I start seeing the groove for the ring. I've looked around on the forum and people mentioned just grabbing it and pulling it towards me or putting the tires back on the ground but that didn't help. While I was replacing the axles, the bearings, thrust washers, both grease seals, and the needle bearings were replaced, all according to the FSM procedures. Bearing preload was done as per FSM as well. Any ideas? Thank you.

Edited by aroundthewindowstar

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Can you get behind the hub and push or wiggle the CV to make sure it's seated correctly. I'd also suggest double checking the free wheeling hub to make sure it has gone as far back as it should.

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Maybe the grease seals or needle bearings aren't seated all the way? See if you can work out what the axle is bottoming out against. If you have the old needle bearings, I'd check their length vs the new ones, just to rule that out.

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I have the same thing with my 03. To be able to get the clip I used a rubber mallet on the inner flange and tapped it until it showed notch on axle


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Jeristair: I did crawl under there last night and gave it a good wiggle to make sure it was seated right. It definitely was. When the wheels were on the ground, that CV axle was jammed up in there quite well. I had practically no play in it. I also took it back apart to make sure the free wheeling hub was seated properly. Seemed to be so. Then I reassembled everything, put the axle through, and it still wasn't right.

 

Slartibartfast: I was able to verify that the needle bearing was seated the way it should be. It was flush with the inner portion of the hub. I don't think it's bumping up against the needle bearing since they are flush and I could drive them in just a hair past flush if i wanted. I wish they were sticking out so this would be an easy diagnosis. I also rechecked the grease seals, even beat on the rear one a little more and nothing. All are flush to where they should be.

 

R50JR: I also tried that. Unfortunately, that didn't get me anywhere.

 

During my investigation, I removed the outer bearings and rechecked clearance with the axle: didn't change at all. Tried hammering on the seals a bit more to see if that helped: also didn't change anything. The only change I made that allowed the axle to poke through enough was removing the thrust washer and reassembling everything. So I was thinking maybe the new thrust washer is too thick! Nah, it's not. The old one measured at 4.48mm thick vs the new one of 4.50mm thick. I'm starting to think there is something funny with the grease seals. I put the outer bearing back in, then torqued it down to close to the 50ish ft/lbs the manual says to do for the preload then reassembled the flange. I shoved the axle in and it just barely starts poking the groove through. Wondering if I need to have that inner grease seal replaced with a different brand or something.

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Is the thrust washer oriented correctly? The beveled side faces the engine. 

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Did you unbolt the control arm at the front and back?


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Are you installing the factory drive flanges or aftermarket manual hubs? What parts did you remove or unbolt to pull the axle? The FSM recommends removing the fasteners attaching the subframe to the lower control arm. This involves less disassembly than unbolting the strut and knuckle.

Edited by XPLORx4

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I did not unbolt the control arm. I undid the knuckle to strut bolts since I pulled off the entire knuckle for disassembly to install the new bearings. I didn't know the control arm needed to come off too but that would make sense. I was unbolting the balljoint from the control arm and pulling the assembly out that way. So as a recap, the two bolts attaching the knuckle to the strut, the ball joint to control arm bolts, and tie rod end would come off with the way I did it.

 

XPLORx4: I am using the factory drive flanges.

Edited by aroundthewindowstar

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I am guessing that there is something at the inner bearing or bearing seal that is not fully seated, preventing the CV axle from fully sliding into the spindle. If you've already got the knuckle reinstalled, it's easier to remove the CV axle from the spindle by removing the bolts on the lower control arm/subframe, while keeping the knuckle bolted to the strut. In this way you can slide the CV back and forth to see how it's hanging up. Does it have the same problem on both sides or just one side?

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I will certainly try undoing the subframe unbolting next time. What you said definitely makes sense and I didn't think to do that. I will have to check on that inner bearing race and make sure it's seated all the way down. When I took the knuckle apart again, it looked like it was seated all the way (I saw no gap between the race and the hub stop) but I will see if I can drive it just a bit further in. I also thought to check to see if it was even the right bearing race and bearing. I had the wrong parts sent to me before so I guess I should eliminate that as a possibility. I did hammered the inner grease seal in a bit more but it didn't budge; it was as seated as far down as it would go. One thing I did notice was that the bushings for the front transaxle case were trashed. When rotating the wheel with the CV joints added, I could watch the transaxle shift left and right while making a terrible squeaky door noise. I'm wondering if because of these bushings being blown that the transaxle can't put enough force on it to shove the axles through? No idea. Last time I replaced the axles I didn't have this issue; of course I didn't touch any of the grease seals or bearings last time either.

 

This problem is on both sides. Both sides had the same work done to them.

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So I got around to messing with it some more and wanted to update my results.

 

In a nutshell, it turned out to be too much grease in the area where the thrust washer was located. I cleaned off the axles, cleaned out all the grease in the thrust washer area, then only did a thin coat on each of the parts. After this, I was able to poke the axle through and set the snap ring. So all is good now! Thank you!

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Good to hear you got it!

By transaxle case do you mean the front diff? I think a couple of people have had issues with the diff mounts going out and causing front end vibrations.

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Slartibartfast: You are correct, I meant the front differential. That is some good information to know. This Pathfinder definitely suffered from front end vibrations which I figured was just the bearings. I will just go ahead and get it done while I still have it off the ground. Thank you!

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