DIY: How to change an axle


Admin with a big stick
How to change your axle(s): 88-00 Civic, 90-01 Integra

The axle swap only takes about half an hour (for me). If it's your first time, budget out about 1-2 hours. You'll need a 14mm socket, 17mm socket, 32mm socket and breaker bar (for the spindle nut), ratchet and torque wrench, hammer/mallet, pipe wrench (my preference). Get some cotter pins to replace the old crusty ones from your castle nuts too (two total if you take EVERYTHING apart).

What I basically do is:

Remove center cap from wheel or remove hubcap- this may require wheel removal
Have the car sitting on the ground on all wheels
Remove spindle nut from end of axle through center of wheel (it's really hard to do with the car in the air)
Jack up corner of car
Remove wheel
Remove 17mm castle nut that holds lower control arm to spindle
Remove 17mm (I think, may be 14mm) bolt that secures bottom of damper fork to lower control arm
Use mallet or hammer to break control arm free from spindle
Swing up and out of the way
Bang end of axle through back side of spindle to free it from the hub
Wrap pipe wrench jaws around axle between axle cup and transmission housing (or intermediate shaft housing, depending on transmission)
Tighten pipe wrench, but leave a bit of slack
Kick pipe wrench handle so axle pops free
Remove axle


You might want to disconnect the tie rod end from the spindle to make things easier- sometimes you have to remove it so everything can clear, sometimes you don't.

I think the torque values are as follows, but you'll want to check a service manual to be absolutely sure:

lower control arm to spindle (17mm) = 43lbft
tie rod end to spindle (14mm I think) = 36lbft
shock/damper fork to lower control arm = 36lbft ???
spindle nut = 132lbft

When you put the new axle in, you want to make sure that the axle bottoms out in the transmission (or intermediate shaft). There's a little circular spring clip around the end of the shaft that holds the axle in to its cup.

Once you've replaced as many axles as I have, it becomes easy as pie- it really does take me less than half an hour on most days. $60 and some skin off your fingers is all it takes the first time- after that it's free, courtesy of AutoZone's lifetime warranty.

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