That's way too much to type in the amount of time I have left in my life. You need a copy of the manufacturer's service manual. It will list all the steps, include line drawings, and will send you to other sections, such as when removing brake calipers, when necessary. This is one time when aftermarket manuals like Haynes or Chilton's would be okay too.
Once you have the right tools at hand, each axle only takes about an hour, and nothing is really terribly difficult, but lack of experience can make it seem that way. Basically, you need to raise the vehicle and support it on jack stands under the frame, not the lower control arms. Remove the wheel, then the axle nut. Do not loosen that nut until there's no vehicle weight on it. Doing so will instantly make it noisy. It will make a buzzing noise like an airplane engine. Easiest is to stick a screwdriver into a cooling slot in the rotor to prevent the axle from turning, then you can loosen that nut.
Remove the brake caliper but never allow it to hang by the rubber hose. For this service, don't just allow it to lay on anything either because it's likely to bounce and fall down. That will often damage the hose at the crimped connection. Tie it up to the coil spring with a piece of wire.
On most front-wheel-drive cars you have to separate the lower ball joint from the spindle. You can't help but put it back together the same way, so there's no need to have the vehicle aligned afterward. On Chrysler products that's a straight stud that is just unclamped, then slid out. On most others, including yours, it's a tapered stud that has to be forced apart. That can require lots of work and sweat, and if you use the standard "pickle fork", it tears the rubber dust boot. You have the luxury of having the lower ball joint attached to the lower control arm with three bolts that can be removed. That will make the job much easier, but I'd recommend having the vehicle aligned when you're done because there's no way you can know for sure you're putting the ball joints back exactly where they were.
Push the strut assembly forward or backward to allow the half shaft to be slid out of the transmission. Be prepared to catch some transmission fluid that runs out from there. You can turn the steering system too if necessary to allow the strut to be moved out of the way.
Lift the new shaft up and down or sideways while pushing it into the transmission. It will slide right in once the splines are lined up. Be sure the axle nut is fully tightened before you set the vehicle on its tires. That torque setting is very high and must be set with a click-type torque wrench. The specs should be listed on the sheet that comes with the shaft, and it will be in the service manual. A typical value is 180 foot pounds, but some call for as much as 240 foot pounds.
It's good practice to finish the job on one side before you pull the second shaft out. On Fords, removing both shafts at the same time allows a gear to drop down inside the transmission. Repositioning it is a big job and a lot of wasted time. That may apply to some other cars. It's best to just not take that chance.
A common problem when do-it-yourselfers do this is there will be one or three round raised spots of rust on the backside of the brake rotor. Those need to be cleaned off before the rotor is reinstalled. Failure to do that can prevent it from sitting squarely on the hub and will cause a miserable wobble and brake pedal pulsation. Professionals will also use a special high-temperature brake grease on the center hole of the rotor, and on the caliper's slides or bolts. Do-it-yourselfers slap these parts together dry. You're likely to never notice anything but parts that are expected to slide and rub against each other will wear faster and can cause noises and clunking later. Also scrape off the rust in the rotor along the outer circle of where the hub makes contact to insure no chips break off during installation and get trapped between the hub and rotor.
The last step is to use that torque wrench on the lug nuts. There must never, ever be any type of anti-seize compound used anywhere around brake parts or lug nuts. Doing so will get a mechanic fired instantly. A very light touch of axle grease on the studs is okay on bare studs, but then don't use air tools to run the nuts on. Centrifugal force will whip that grease out onto the friction surface between the nut and wheel. That surface must be keep clear of any type of lubricant because that's what holds the nut from working loose. Proper torque is responsible for holding the nuts tight too as well as preventing the rotor from warping later due to uneven clamping forces. Common torque values for steel wheels is 95 foot pounds and for cast wheels is 80 foot pounds, but again, that will be listed for your vehicle in the service manual. You can also call any tire and alignment shop for the torque spec. They all have wall charts with every vehicle listed. You can also ask them to check the lug nuts when you take it in for the alignment.
Most import vehicles have anodized wheel studs. That plating is a lubricant, and no other grease or coating should be used on them. Axle grease can dissolve that anodized coating. Anodized studs will have a silver, light blue, or light gray appearance.
Sunday, October 19th, 2014 AT 8:31 PM