The boots have nothing to do with shaking. To check if the joint is the problem, you must jack up the vehicle, then remove the cotter pin, lock washer, anti-rattle wave washer, and axle nut. Never allow the vehicle's weight to rest on a front wheel with the axle nut removed or even just loose. It will instantly cause the wheel bearing to become noisy. The bearing is held together by the outer cv joint and nut.
Use your thumb to push the axle shaft in toward the center of the vehicle. It should push hard, about an inch, and pop back out quite forcefully. If it does not pop back out, the spring in the inner joint is broken. New ones from the dealer are about four bucks.
To inspect the inner housing, the shaft must be removed from the vehicle and be disassembled. There are six polished surfaces that the three rollers run on. Run your finger over all six of them. If you can feel the slightest irregularity, you REALLY have junk. If you don't feel anything, clean out the grease and wash and dry the rolling surfaces, then shine a light in there and look at the reflections, similar to looking at the reflection of the ground in the body of a car at a car show. Any waviness will cause the rollers to bind when you're accelerating. The shaft will not be able to change length as it rotates. That will cause it to push on the steering knuckle and linkage. That's what causes the steering wheel to wobble back and forth. Remember, this only applies to a shaking steering wheel when accelerating and will be more noticeable if you're turning at the same time.
Monday, December 28th, 2009 AT 2:23 AM