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 Old 06-05-2013, 12:23 PM   #1
 
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Default The CV axle guide

I don't generally like to start new threads, but I had a rough time finding all the info and recommendations I wanted for brands, installation, performance, and pricing. So here is my attempt at making it easier for the next guy, a summary or compilation of what I learned.

So both of my CV axles have been spraying grease for a good month or so and it was time to finally replace them. This will vary from case to case, many people feel strongly that if you catch it early enough, you can just re-grease and replace your cv boots. I've always felt that is more hassle than it's worth, it's usually about the same amount of time and work to just replace the whole thing while you're in there. But how you handle it is up to you, there is no right or wrong route to take.

Test Mule:
2008 Mazdaspeed 3 - 310 whp // 364 tq on a dynojet (91 oct)
No aggressive fitment, I'm on 18x8.5 Rota's with a very mild offset (close to stock) and 5mm spacers all the way around.
Lowered on Cobb springs (blue).


Part options:

Empi

I ordered this part through RockAuto.com, who might I add has great customer service and was able to process my order within a couple hours and I had my part two days later. Empi manufactures NEW axles, not re-manufactured (which brings a little peace of mind). I had no fitment issues whatsoever, and the part seemed to be great quality. I have the Empi axle on my passenger side and have no noise and zero issues with it thus far. (500 miles) This part came in at just about $70.00, and is a great budget alternative to OEM replacement in my opinion.

O'reiley auto parts

O'reiley, Autozone, and pretty much any other local parts shop will source their axles from A-1 Cardone, who rebuilds cv axles. I ordered one from a buddy who works at O'reiley and got it about a week later. It looked great, came with a new axle bolt, was all cleaned up and greased. Then I went through all the trouble to install it (driver's side), and once all put back together it clicked really loud in all directions. I called O'reiley and they deemed it as a defect, gladly took it back and issued me a refund (about $80). I'm certainly not saying re-man'd axles are a no go, but you should definitely beware because they are not always done correctly and will cost you more time and effort than should be necessary. However in their defense, they offer a lifetime warranty.. it's just a matter if you feel like taking the chance of having to replace it again.

Mazda OEM replacement

-Not remanufactured, brand new part.
-Highest quality and best fitment
-Mazda will always guarantee their parts if something goes wrong.
-Generally will be in-stock and you can have your car back on the road later that afternoon.

I ended up going with OEM on my driver's side because of the little incident with A-1 Cardone's part, I couldn't wait another 5-7 business days for them to send out a new one. So I shelled out $313.00 for a brand new CV axle, plus the refunded core charge of about $85. I had it installed and back on the road in the matter of a couple hours, and I definitely don't regret paying the extra cost. Keep in mind as well that dealerships do not have set prices, just as you can negotiate the price on a car you can generally get the price down a little on parts as well. Don't go in there and be "that guy" that gives the salesman a hard time, but if you're cool with them, they'll generally be cool back and cut you a deal. For example we have a local Utah Mazdas discount for parts and my guy knocked a little more off the already discounted price.


So to sum it all up, I highly recommend RockAuto.com for someone in a pinch and really just needs a cheap part fairly quickly. There's no shame in getting the knock off if you just need to get back on the road.

For complete peace of mind, go with OEM parts. Although a little more pricey, they're in-stock, guaranteed best fitment, and will perform just like brand new.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Installation:

The install is very straight forward, I highly recommend doing it yourself.

Tools/Materials:
-PB blaster
-socket set (axle nut is 32mm)
-crescent wrench set
-Heavy hammer or mallet
-Pry bar with an end about 1/2" thick

1. IMPORTANT! Loosen the axle nut preferably before the wheel comes off. I had tried a brand new 500 ft/lbs air gun on the bolt + pb blaster and it wouldn't even move. So I jacked the car up just a few inches and basically using a stock jack as support, I got an old 6' galvanized steel pipe we used as a make shift wakeboard tower a few years back, to be my breaker bar. The more leverage the better, because I barely had to push on the breaker bar to break the nut loose.

Like a boss-


2. Unbolt the wheel, set it aside
3. Take out the two caliper bolts (14mm I believe) and use a bungee cord to hoist the caliper up and attach it to your springs. This will keep it out of the way without having to completely disconnect the caliper.
4. Remove rotor. PB blaster and a mallet have always worked best for me.
5. Remove the strut rod and lower control arm connections. See diagrams.



Blow up of the lower control arm connection:


6. The driver's side is a little trickier than the passenger, and the key here is to get creative. You don't absolutely need a pry bar with a 1/2" tip, but just about anything you can wedge in the gap between the cv axle and the transmission will give you some great leverage to smack it out. As for the passenger side, you can usually just pull it out with some force.
** if you're doing the driver's side, be sure to have a container ready, some trans fluid will trickle out.
7. The rest is easy, make sure to grease up the grooved connections and do everything in reverse order. Also remember that if you get the part from Mazda, they will not include a new axle nut or the ABS stator ring that goes around the driver's side cv axle. I just re-used the axle nut and ring from my old one.
When all is said and done, be sure to check your trans fluid and top it off if necessary. Then take it easy for 50-100 miles to make sure everything is broken in properly.

Of course all this installation info can be found in the shop manuals in the VIP section, but I couldn't get them to download. (very well could have been because I'm on a Mac, but be sure to donate and give it a shot.)


I'm no pro, so please add any input or tips you have.

Thanks for reading and good luck!
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 Old 06-05-2013, 12:26 PM   #2
 
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 Old 06-05-2013, 12:26 PM   #3
 
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**Post reserved for updates and suggestions**
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 Old 06-05-2013, 12:29 PM   #4
 
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70$ That's a smoking deal if it is truly brand new. Thanks for the write up! Let us know how the Empi axle holds up.
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 Old 06-05-2013, 01:01 PM   #5
 
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Perfect timing, I'm about to do this on my driver's side.

What do you mean by "axle bolt" and "ring"? Do you mean axle nut (outboard) and ABS stator ring?

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 Old 06-05-2013, 01:04 PM   #6
 
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Originally Posted by SeeMeGovan View Post
Perfect timing, I'm about to do this on my driver's side.

What do you mean by "axle bolt" and "ring"? Do you mean axle nut (outboard) and ABS stator ring?

Crappatalking on my big-ass phone.
Those are the ones, OP updated with correct terminology.
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 Old 06-05-2013, 01:10 PM   #7
 
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Originally Posted by SweetLew View Post
Those are the ones, OP updated with correct terminology.
Well that's f'in ridiculous that the OEM ones don't come with those. Maybe you forgot to specify when you ordered it?

Also, I talked to @mdl3v8; a bit over PM about his axle swap experience and he recommended replacing the transmission oil seal (driver's side) while you're in there because it often gets torn when you pop the axle out of the transmission. The seal only costs like $20-25. His leaked and he had to replace it later which required doing the whole uninstall/reinstall process again. Sorry I don't have a P/N but I just told my local stealership what I was looking for and they found it.
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 Old 06-05-2013, 01:28 PM   #8
 
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Good call on the non-fixed dealer prices. I found the FL axle on onlinemazdaparts.com for $305 and I convinced my local seattle stealership to match the price. They confirmed that the axle DOES come with an ABS ring, however, but a new axle nut is like $10 extra. So there's that.
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 Old 06-05-2013, 01:34 PM   #9
 
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Originally Posted by SeeMeGovan View Post
Well that's f'in ridiculous that the OEM ones don't come with those. Maybe you forgot to specify when you ordered it?

Also, I talked to @mdl3v8; a bit over PM about his axle swap experience and he recommended replacing the transmission oil seal (driver's side) while you're in there because it often gets torn when you pop the axle out of the transmission. The seal only costs like $20-25. His leaked and he had to replace it later which required doing the whole uninstall/reinstall process again. Sorry I don't have a P/N but I just told my local stealership what I was looking for and they found it.
I don't think you have to specify, I read about them charging separately for the axle nut and I would just assume the same for the ABS ring.

The seal was something I never heard about, nor did I notice it during the install. Be sure to keep us updated with your install and I'll add some info about your process and part number for the seal.

Originally Posted by SeeMeGovan View Post
Good call on the non-fixed dealer prices. I found the FL axle on onlinemazdaparts.com for $305 and I convinced my local seattle stealership to match the price. They confirmed that the axle DOES come with an ABS ring, however, but a new axle nut is like $10 extra. So there's that.
Good to know, because mine didn't have the ABS ring. So it's probably a good idea to confirm with the dealer whether it will come with it or not.

Also, nice job on the price matching. I didn't think to do that, but I think most dealerships will.
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 Old 06-06-2013, 12:59 AM   #10
 
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So the dealer price was pre-tax whereas the online prices are tax-free... so the local "price match" and not having to ship things is STILL more expensive than buying online and shipping a 20lb axle across the country (for the core return). I'm gonna try to get a different dealership to match the price post-tax tomorrow lol

Sorry I'm kinda flooding your thread... I've been going back and forth between empi and oem for like a month now and haven't bought either.

UPDATE: The dealer told me that he pays $283 for each axle so the $305 I got quoted earlier is about as low he'd possibly go. Still no chump change.
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 Old 06-06-2013, 01:34 PM   #11
 
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As mentioned above, I have an Empi passenger axle and an OEM driver's side axle. Only been on for about 500 miles or so, with no complaints so far. I wish I had more information available immediately, but I'll be sure to keep you posted about the performance on the Empi axle.
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 Old 06-06-2013, 01:54 PM   #12
 
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I will gladly chime in on this thread. Late last year my drivers side axle was clicking and upon inspection the boot was tore and grease was everywhere. That explained my clicking sounds. Instead of using one from O'Reilly's or autozone I opted to have my oem axle fully rebuilt. I took it to a local place called Phoenix rack and axle. The only reason why I even knew about this place is because I had them build me a new drive shaft for one of my jeeps. So I took my cv axle to them and they rebuilt it on the spot and took only 30 minutes and cost a whopping $90. They replaced the bearings and both boots with new grease and that's it. I put it back in and has been fine since the install. These guys ship and receive all across the country so if this happens to you feel free to contact them and mail your axle in. I'm sure turn around times would be immediate.

The bonus to this is you are keeping oem quality shafts vs Chinese stuff that snaps. Last week a local nator az guy was at the strip and he shredded his cv axle right in half. The thing just snapped. He had a 3rd part axle from rock auto which failed. If you are pushing a lot of torque and don't want to spend $300+ on a new oem shaft, send it to PHX rack and axle or check your local yellow pages to see if you have any drive shaft or axle shops and see if they can rebuild your oem axle.

Hope this info helps!

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 Old 06-06-2013, 02:33 PM   #13
 
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Do the cv cups themselves ever get worn out or is it pretty much just the bearings? Also was it your inboard or outboard boot that tore? Also, did you drive there and have them take it out or did you take it out yourself?
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 Old 06-08-2013, 06:35 PM   #14
 
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Originally Posted by Matrix311 View Post
I will gladly chime in on this thread. Late last year my drivers side axle was clicking and upon inspection the boot was tore and grease was everywhere. That explained my clicking sounds. Instead of using one from O'Reilly's or autozone I opted to have my oem axle fully rebuilt. I took it to a local place called Phoenix rack and axle. The only reason why I even knew about this place is because I had them build me a new drive shaft for one of my jeeps. So I took my cv axle to them and they rebuilt it on the spot and took only 30 minutes and cost a whopping $90. They replaced the bearings and both boots with new grease and that's it. I put it back in and has been fine since the install. These guys ship and receive all across the country so if this happens to you feel free to contact them and mail your axle in. I'm sure turn around times would be immediate.

The bonus to this is you are keeping oem quality shafts vs Chinese stuff that snaps. Last week a local nator az guy was at the strip and he shredded his cv axle right in half. The thing just snapped. He had a 3rd part axle from rock auto which failed. If you are pushing a lot of torque and don't want to spend $300+ on a new oem shaft, send it to PHX rack and axle or check your local yellow pages to see if you have any drive shaft or axle shops and see if they can rebuild your oem axle.

Hope this info helps!

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Great info to know! Mine just started clicking, is it the place off washington?
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 Old 06-08-2013, 07:39 PM   #15
 
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DO NOT GET THE EMPI AXLES. THEY ARE FROM THE MAZDA 3.

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED WITH MINE.





This was on street tires at the track.
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 Old 06-09-2013, 12:04 PM   #16
 
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Originally Posted by Boosten Ya(josh) View Post
DO NOT GET THE EMPI AXLES. THEY ARE FROM THE MAZDA 3.

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED WITH MINE.





This was on street tires at the track.
That's horrifying. I'm definitely getting oem just to be done with it forever. Revisiting /rework is very unpleasant.

Also @Matrix311; good advice but I completely struck out in seattle finding anybody to rebuild my axle. The response from all the shops I talked to (pretty much all tranny/driveline specific places) was borderline insulting. They almost sounded like they were trying not to laugh at me for asking about automotive axle rebuilds, like it's some ridiculous task. And with no garage, unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of sending an axle off to Phoenix while my car waits parked somewhere.

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 Old 06-09-2013, 12:33 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Boosten Ya(josh) View Post
DO NOT GET THE EMPI AXLES. THEY ARE FROM THE MAZDA 3.

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED WITH MINE.



This was on street tires at the track.
I think EMPI was just trying to help protect everything else on the bottom of your engine bay from rust with a liberal coat of grease. So, really, they were providing you with an extra service.
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 Old 06-10-2013, 09:01 AM   #18
 
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Originally Posted by Big_Burd View Post
Great info to know! Mine just started clicking, is it the place off washington?
Yep Washington and 32nd St just south of the 202. Pull it out and bring it in to them to have it rebuilt

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 Old 07-01-2013, 10:40 PM   #19
 
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If you're willing to go through the work to remove an axle, you might as well rebuild it yourself. Every car I've done it on, the jacking up and removing the axle is the hardest, most time consuming part. We rebuild the axles on our Porsche racecars quite frequently(every 20 hours or so Engine On Time) because its such a simple safeguard. I'm sure mazda uses a tripod type instead of ball bearing type, which actually makes the job easier.
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 Old 07-01-2013, 11:01 PM   #20
 
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Originally Posted by racingrayson View Post
If you're willing to go through the work to remove an axle, you might as well rebuild it yourself. Every car I've done it on, the jacking up and removing the axle is the hardest, most time consuming part. We rebuild the axles on our Porsche racecars quite frequently(every 20 hours or so Engine On Time) because its such a simple safeguard. I'm sure mazda uses a tripod type instead of ball bearing type, which actually makes the job easier.
You're right about the effort but it's getting all the individual parts that sucks and might not save you enough money to be worth it.

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 Old 08-06-2013, 05:51 PM   #21
 
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Just tried patching a 1/8" boot puncture with some RTV to buy me some time. I'll give it its 24 hour cure and see if it holds up for a few weeks.

Fingers crossed.
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 Old 08-06-2013, 05:56 PM   #22
 
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This guy also snapped an EMPI axle, DO NOT BUY THEM.
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 Old 10-13-2013, 04:51 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Big_Burd View Post
70$ That's a smoking deal if it is truly brand new. Thanks for the write up! Let us know how the Empi axle holds up.
You guys should be aware that the only thing on an EMPI axle that is decent is the neoprene boot they use on it otherwise the axle's shaft itself is a much cheaper grade cast material that i believe is a Solid piece and has been broken before.

no body has snapped an OEM axle on a MS3

EDIT: I see someone beat me to sharing this information i did alot of research on upgraded axles about a year ago and even though EMPI is cheap and new it is total junk. I end up getting used axles from junk yard.

When my stock block blew up the rod bent the axle support on the passenger side, twisted it to shit

and I replaced my driver side with a used axle as well due to the hard plastic boot cracking and spooking lube all over
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 Old 10-13-2013, 07:39 PM   #24
 
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The only axle issues I've had are constantly failing driverside inner CV boots. I've been looking into vented boots from Driveshaft Shop. They agreed to make them We just need to send them a set of axles. I was planning on pulling mine out over the winter and ship them down. I could probably get a spare driver axle but I would need a passenger one to match up to have all the boots made. I'm sure I can't be the only one with problems with that boot.
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 Old 10-13-2013, 07:48 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Celestspeed3 View Post
The only axle issues I've had are constantly failing driverside inner CV boots. I've been looking into vented boots from Driveshaft Shop. They agreed to make them We just need to send them a set of axles. I was planning on pulling mine out over the winter and ship them down. I could probably get a spare driver axle but I would need a passenger one to match up to have all the boots made. I'm sure I can't be the only one with problems with that boot.
I think i have my driver side axle with a torn boot, if i pay the shipping will they replace it with new design for free ? pm me with details. I might also have the passenger side CV as well
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 Old 10-13-2013, 09:53 PM   #26
 
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PM sent


This seems to be the only real drivetrain issue I've come across so far. If this gets corrected that would be great. If the boot still the boot still breaks we will need to make some sort of forced air cooling for it. Maybe a small duct or something.
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 Old 10-16-2013, 08:56 AM   #27
 
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Originally Posted by Celestspeed3 View Post
PM sent


If the boot still breaks we will need to make some sort of forced air cooling for it. Maybe a small duct or something.
This. Almost every Porsche racecar I've worked on has cv cooling NACA ducts in their under trays. The ducts have been damaged on a few and the axles fail quite quickly as a result.
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 Old 11-06-2013, 05:50 AM   #28
 
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Any idea what the part # is for the EMPI axle?
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 Old 11-06-2013, 10:25 AM   #29
 
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Don't bother empi is shit.
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 Old 11-06-2013, 11:05 AM   #30
 
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I almost never do a hard launch, or really launch at all for that matter. Are they really that shitty?
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 Old 11-06-2013, 11:34 AM   #31
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I have gotten two axles from junk yards for about 100 dollars each that have worked great, dont by empi our cars weigh too much and have too much torque to handle it
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 Old 11-06-2013, 11:59 AM   #32
 
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The empi's have a lifetime warranty but you will most likely need to use it. Swapping an axle should be a 1-and-done kind of repair. Go oem.

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 Old 12-31-2013, 12:58 PM   #33
 
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Subbed, need to do thing really soon YAY
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 Old 01-27-2014, 12:57 PM   #34
 
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Just competed pulling the driver side axle yesterday. Took about 6 hours (total noob). I totally forgot to break loose the axle nut before removing the wheel/caliper/rotor...so there was thy minor set back. I ended up just paying for the OEM inner cv boot, the dealer didn't say anything was wrong with the axle when they inspected my car.

Just a bunch of grease everywhere underneath. FYI just the driver side inner cv boot was $90.47

If I could do it all over again, I would have waited to flush the gear oil (did it about a week before this cv boot job). When I pulled the axle of course some gear oil came out, would rather have just drained and refilled it. What a noob I know.

Tools
1) would highly recommend cv joint boot pliers to close the clamps on the boot. It was a bitch carefully using wire cutters (needle nose and channel locks weren't doing the trick).

2) get the correct axle puller adapter (can rent from autozone, they gave me the one for ford but it didn't work). In theory if I had the Mazda axle puller Dapter that goes with a sliding hammer I would have been done in like 2 hours. Was extra careful not to fuck up the seal with priers and hammer.

3) extra rags, lots of them or really good cleaning supplies. The grease in there was fun at first.

Part number for Mazda inner cv boot.
GG46-22-640

Also, if I had another person I would have taken pictures to go into more gory details but I'm not a pro at having greasy hands and using expensive electronics. Call me a pussy, but in time I will have experience with that.

Little too late, but I found this thread after the fact. It's even from a local Nator too.
Cv axle exploded
Wish I had used the right key words when I was searching. If I read this thread in addition to link I would have saved myself some time.
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 Old 02-08-2014, 09:51 PM   #35
 
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Originally Posted by batmsp3 View Post

2) get the correct axle puller adapter (can rent from autozone, they gave me the one for ford but it didn't work). In theory if I had the Mazda axle puller Dapter that goes with a sliding hammer I would have been done in like 2 hours. Was extra careful not to fuck up the seal with priers and hammer.
This is what I got
OTC 7507 CV Joint Fork Removing Adapter : Amazon.com : AutomotiveOTC 7507 CV Joint Fork Removing Adapter : Amazon.com : Automotive
.... had to grind it a little to fit our axle but worked great after that.
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 Old 04-20-2014, 01:06 PM   #36
 
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Originally Posted by Travisms3 View Post
This is what I got OTC 7507 CV Joint Fork Removing Adapter : Amazon.com : Automotive .... had to grind it a little to fit our axle but worked great after that.
I just wanted to add that this adapter is available at Autozone here in case you don't want to wait for shipping. No, it doesn't quite fit, but with some creative modification it works fine.
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 Old 07-26-2014, 05:36 PM   #37
 
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So doing this today, I noticed that the axel (lock)nut has a little divot which is where I'm guessing most of that long breaker bar pressure is going. I popped this out and was able to break the nut loose with ~18" wrench.

Also safety first bros, give that spot a little tap tap taparoo after you reinstall. If you end up using your old one, you can just line it back up on reinstall.. though a new nut is only $6 online.
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 Old 07-26-2014, 07:45 PM   #38
 
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Kinda common sense, but you're correct.
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 Old 07-26-2014, 08:30 PM   #39
 
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Originally Posted by btstarcher View Post
Kinda common sense, but you're correct.
After 80k miles mine was pretty easy to bust off, figured it was being skipped, mayhaps I was just lucky.
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Most of the time when I've removed mine it takes a lot to get them off. With a cheater pipe I rotated the wheels while in gear. When I had a friend stand on the brakes I broke the ratchet. Then broke 2 more stronger ones. Finally borrowed an impact and it came off eventually.
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