How To Replace A Passenger (Right) Side CV Axle On A Generation 3 or 4 Toyota Camry

(This tutorial is written, sponsored, and hosted by TracysTrueSoaps. I make quality, pure, gentle soaps that are also amazingly great at removing grime after working on a vehicle. Please support my site by checking out my soaps. People of all ages LOVE 'em [especially ladies] and they make great gifts for almost any occasion. Thanks so much!)

The following is a tutorial on how to replace the passenger (right) side CV axle on a Generation 4 Toyota Camry. UPDATED 10/10/2010 - I just helped my son-in-law replace the CV axle on his Gen 3 1993 Camry wagon, and it is indeed the identically same procedure as on a Gen 4 Camry, right down to all the torques and socket sizes. The job I am explaining / depicting was done on my 1997 Toyota Camry with the 2.2 liter 4 cylinder engine and automatic transmission. I have done several CV axles on several different makes of cars over the years, but this one was by far the most difficult one I have ever done due to the notorious mid-axle bearing being corroded/frozen into its carrier housing. Additionally, this problem was probably worse than average on my Camry due to it being partially underwater for two days a few years ago. Please excuse the light/contrast on some of the pictures, as I was using my phone's camera, trying to keep one hand clean for taking pictures, and having a lot of sunlight coming into play on some of the pictures. All of the pictures were taken as I reassembled everything with the new axle, not as I actually removed the original one. Also, since I didn't know how inexperienced some people attempting this may be, I tried to explain/show everything. So if you're an experienced gearhead, please overlook that. Thanks!

The following are the tools I used for this job:

- Jack and jackstands
- 10mm socket
- 14mm socket (1/2" drive)
- 17mm socket (1/2" drive)
- 21mm socket (1/2" drive) (OR a 4-way lug wrench)
- 30mm axle nut socket (1/2" drive) (available on AutoZone's Loan-A-Tool program)
- 250ft/lb torque wrench (available on AutoZone's Loan-A-Tool program)
- CV axle puller attachment and 5lb slide hammer (pictured below and available on AutoZone's Loan-A-Tool program)
- 1/2" drive breaker bar
- Prybar at least 2 feet long (Mine was the long screwdriver-handled type)
- Needle-nose pliers
- Regular screwdriver
- Large C-clamp (to compress/remove the brake caliper)
- Rubber mallet

UPDATED 10/10/2010 - After doing this particular job a second time on another Gen 3/4 Camry, I found it much easier to break the axle nut loose while the tire was still on the ground, just like breaking the lug nuts loose. So do that instead of what you will see later involving a prybar in between the lug bolts. Get the front end up and securely placed on jackstands with the right tire/wheel removed (21mm or 4-way lug wrench). I always like to try to rock the car after I have the jackstands in place to make sure it is stable. I have no illustrations of how to put your car on jackstands and remove a tire, but I am assuming that if someone did not know how to do those they would not be trying to replace their CV axle.
A word of caution - PROPER JACKSTAND USE ON A FIRM, LEVEL SURFACE IS IMPERATIVE. As a paramedic, I once responded to a scene where a young man was trying to remove some exhaust components from underneath a car. He had only a scissor jack holding it up and was on a dirt surface. When we got to him, he had been pinned under the car for hours and had died some time prior. Safety first.

Remove both of the caliper mounting bracket bolts (17mm), one at the top .....

..... and one at the bottom

Use a large C-clamp to compress the piston into the caliper housing a little. Do this by putting the "screw" side of the clamp on the outer brake pad (half-moon shaped area in first picture above) and the other side of the clamp on the back of the caliper housing (on a flat area) and tighten. Remove the whole caliper/pad assembly as a unit. You can hang it on the strut tower as pictured, just make sure it does not dangle by the brake hose at any time.

Remove the brake rotor. Straighten out the legs of the cotter pin (arrow) and remove it. Also remove the nut lock that the cotter pin was securing. Both of these parts should (technically) be replaced when you re-assemble, and they both came with my new axle I bought from AutoZone.

Place the long prybar as shown between two of the wheel lugs, with the handle end of it against the ground to hold it still. This will keep the wheel hub from spinning when you break loose the axle nut (center of hub). Now place the axle nut socket (30mm) on the axle nut, attach your breaker bar, and break the axle nut loose. The axle nut should also (technically) be replaced when you re-assemble, and it also came with my new axle I bought from AutoZone. It is tight. If you have an impact wrench you might want to use it here. If you don't have an impact wrench (and I didn't) you might end up having to put a small diameter piece of pipe (a cheater bar) on your breaker bar to extend it and increase the leverage you can apply to it. A floor jack handle will fit over it (or mine did). If you experience difficulty keeping the prybar from moving when you do this, you may have to do what I did the first time I broke this nut loose. I had to remove the center cap from the alloy wheel, put the wheel/tire back on the lugs, tighten the lug nuts, let the car back down so the tire was on the ground, put the axle nut socket on through the hole in the wheel - and break it loose that way. Just be careful as you are breaking loose a nut that should have been torqued to 217 ft/lb - don't let something fly loose and hit/hurt you.

Remove the two nuts and one bolt from the underside (all 17mm) that secure the lower control arm to the ball joint. Push down with your weight on the lower control arm and use a small prybar or large screwdriver to wedge between these .....

..... until you can separate them. The ball joint will freely rotate around.

Turn the steering wheel all the way to the right. This makes a bend in the end of the CV axle and allows for it to be tapped out of the wheel hub with a rubber mallet (along a different plane ... keeping in mind it cannot just be knocked straight inward toward the transmission) .....

..... and remove the axle from the wheel hub completely.

I also removed the fender apron bolts and brake line bracket bolt to make more room for me to pull the axle.

Remove the snap ring from the outer side of the bearing carrier (red arrow - I did this with needle-nose pliers) and remove the bolt that locks the bearing in place like a set screw (yellow circle - 14mm)

This is the bolt that locks the bearing in place like a set screw (14mm). It has a rubber tip with a protrusion on it that fits into the bolt.

This is the tool for pulling a CV axle with a slide hammer (5 lb AutoZone slide hammer shown). Once the snap ring and the bearing lock bolt are removed, position this so that the hooked end is between the snap ring area and the tulip (chunk) on the axle (picture below with red arrow where the tool goes). This tool fits neatly around the tulip and enables you to pull equally all around it simultaneously. Once you have the tool hooked onto the tulip of the axle, hold the slide hammer straight outward, keep pressure on the crossbar end of it with one hand, make sure your path of travel for the hammer (and your hand) is clear, and slide the hammer outward forcefully and repeatedly until you have removed the bearing from its carrier. This tool alone would not remove mine, and I had sprayed it with penetrant several times. I had to use this tool AND heat the bearing carrier with my torch for 3-4 minutes before mine would come off. When I bought this tool on eBay, the name of the attachment on the end of the slide hammer was a "CV Joint Axle Puller Slide Hammer Attachment." AutoZone's website also shows an identical tool called an "OEM/FWD Axle Puller Adapter" and it is Part #27058. This attachment for the end of a slide hammer is the "key" to getting that difficult bearing out.

Here you can see what that same area looks like once the old axle is removed. Notice the shiny, clean surface of the bearing carrier. Once I finally got the old one out, I made sure and sanded any and all corrosion out of the carrier so the replacement axle would more easily fit in. You can also distinctly see the groove for the snap ring in this picture.

This is the old one I finally removed after getting the right tool for the job. The puller adapter slides on where the red arrow indicates.

And this is the new axle.

Put a generous coat of anti-seize on the outer surface of the bearing on the new axle. Also sand out any corrosion from the bearing housing until it is nice and smooth.

Slide the axle in just like the old one came out, through the bearing carrier housing, and rotating/meshing the end that goes into the transmission until it fits in. When it is properly in place, you will have enough room to put the new snap ring in place. If the bearing is properly covered with anti-seize and the housing is properly sanded smooth, the bearing will slide easily into place. Make sure and don't just let the axle dangle at either rubber boot/joint or it could become internally dislodged.

Put the bearing lock bolt back in (14mm) and torque it to 24 ft/lb. Put the snap ring back into place. I did this with a regular screwdriver by getting one side into the groove and forcing the other side in with the blade of the screwdriver.

(If you removed them) Replace the fender apron bolts and brake line bracket bolt.

Pull the wheel hub outward and flex the CV axle joint inward until you can start the outer end of the axle into the wheel hub.

While making sure the splines line up, push the end of the axle all the way into the wheel hub. If it doesn't want to go (or stay) all the way in, don't worry. As long as you have it started right, it will pull itself completely into the hub when the axle nut is tightened.

Twist the ball joint back into position while pushing downward on the lower control arm until you can start the bolts of the ball joint into the holes on the lower control arm.

Tighten the nuts and bolt (17mm) and torque them to 94 ft/lb.

Place the prybar as shown (backwards from the way you did it before) to keep everything from spinning while you tighten the axle nut. Use a 30mm axle nut socket and torque it to 217 ft/lb.

Apply the nut lock over the axle nut. Insert the cotter pin through the hole in the threads of the axle and bend the legs of it to hold them both in place. Both of these parts should (technically) be replaced when you re-assemble, and they both came with my new axle I bought from AutoZone. Put on the brake rotor.

Take the caliper housing off the strut tower and put it back in its place over the rotor.

Insert the caliper mounting bolts (17mm) and torque to 79 ft/lb on the bottom .....

Step 20 (TOP)
..... and the top

You are now ready to put your tire/wheel back on (21mm) and torque it to 76 ft/lbs. Carefully remove your jack stands and jack. Stand back and admire a job well done! Now go wash up with some of my HOMEMADE SOAP.

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Even a dollar or so would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

(This tutorial is written, sponsored, and hosted by TracysTrueSoaps. I make quality, pure, gentle soaps that are also amazingly great at removing grime after working on a vehicle. Please support my site by checking out my soaps. People of all ages LOVE 'em [especially ladies] and they make great gifts for almost any occasion. Thanks so much!)

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