2003 Ford Windstar front drive axle

  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • 80,000 MILES
I would like to know whats involved to change a front drive axle what ya have to do an are any special tools needed

thanks ray
Do you
have the same problem?
Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009 AT 4:08 PM

1 Reply

The hardest part I've encountered with taking the axles out of the vehicle are getting them to move out of the spindle bearing itself. They seem to dry out with the heat from natural braking, and all the splines get corroded. They fuse onto the spindle bearing splines. Use lots of penetrating oil, and lots of patience. Give the oil time to penetrate. Overnight.

The only special tool I've needed for the job is a 3/4" drive breaker-bar and socket set to bust loose the CV Joint bolt (in the center of the brake disk, as seen from the side of the vehicle). To keep the wheel from turning, stuff a strong screwdriver into the brake disk cooling vanes, so it jams up against the brake caliper bracket when you turn the breaker bar.

Disconnect the obvious nuisance stuff like the ABS sensor, wheel sensor, brake caliper, hose mount clips, etc.

Loosen (do not remove) the 3 nuts holding the strut to the top of the strut tower (frame of vehicle). This will allow extra movement when you disassemble the spindle from the strut base.
Remove the outer tie-rod link where it mounts into the spindle. Remove the cotter pin, loosen the nut which holds the tie-rod to the spindle, and whack the SPINDLE real hard with a hammer a few times. The shock/vibration will loosen it from its pressure-fitting. Do not hit the tie-rod with the hammer. Aim only for the meat of the spindle nearest where the tie-rod fits into the spindle. It'll pop loose. Don't be shy with the hammer; just aim well and whack it real hard. Some mechanics books insist on using the special "Y" tool for separating tie-rods and ball joints. Nah. All you need is lots of shock vibration and a little creativity.

Now that you have the tie-rod disconnected, take a ball-peen hammer and rest the "ball" of the hammer against the CV Joint shaft protruding out from the center of the spindle. Therefore, the "ball" is touching the CV joint, and the flat side "peen" is facing outwards. Get a 3-Pound mallet and smash the flat "Peen" side of the ball-peen hammer. The force of the 3-pound mallet will work its way through the ball-peen hammer and into the CV joint, pushing it thru the spindle bearing. The CV joint will move in a little bit, then eventually it will jam up against it's own mount where it plugs into the transmission and will simply not go in any more.

DO NOT hit the CV joint directly with the 3-pound mallet. You'll end up hitting it off-square and ruining the threads which allow the large nut to spin back on. Once the threads are damaged, you're in for a big headache. Do all you can to protect the threads. That's why you're using the "ball" of the smaller hammer to rest in the center of the CV shaft. This way, the threads won't be affected.

Now disconnect the base of the strut from the top of the spindle, angle the spindle out by pulling on the top (where the big hole now is - - - where the strut used to be plugged into the spindle) and keep whacking the CV joint thru the spindle until it comes out the other side.

Figure out your best option regarding the lower ball joint. You can go about the similar "whacking" procedure as above, or you can remove the entire lower control arm. It depends upon your preference.

Now the real fun begins: There will be a large inner circlip holding the bearing inside the spindle. Remove the circlip (watch your fingers and eyes. It's under quite a lot of tension), and you'll need a hydraulic press to get the bearing pushed out of the spindle.

. Installation is reverse of removal, less the ball-peen hammer and smashing.

Finally, spend the extra money and purchase a good set of ROLLER bearings. Do not get BALL bearings. The roller bearings are much more durable.
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Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009 AT 10:02 PM

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