: (PICS) Drive shaft removal without messing up alignment

11-20-10, 06:58 AM
Just thought I would share how I remove driveshafts from my car without messing with the front end alignment.

do all the normal stuff.. remove wheel, take off caliper and rotor, sway bar link, and steering tie rod.


Then I separate the ball joint on the control arm that goes into the knuckle. Some time they pop lose easy, other times they are bear. Just take your time and be careful of the joint boot.

Taking the splash shield off the knuckle helps, but can be a pain since you have to take out all three bearing bolts. I have taken off the bottom ball joint with and without the shield in place.

here you can see the stud after I removed the castle nut:


I haven't figured out a way to get a ball joint puller/clamp tool on this one yet (like used on the tie rod ball joint) So it has to be done the hard why by prying with giant screw driver, pry bar, and gentle encouragement from a hammer. I just tap the side of the knuckle while prying.

Oh and don't get the two castle nuts confused. The one with the flange goes on the lower ball joint and the regular one goes on the tie rod.



and here it is separated:


then push/pry the control arm down while pulling out on the knuckle/strut and then you are free from the control arm.

Then lightly tap on the end of the drive shaft to free it from the bearing. when it is lose pull outward on the knuckle/strut and then the drive shaft is free from the bearing:


I simply grab the metal end closest to the trans (where the notches are cut for the special tool) and push and pull which generally pops it right out. If not I might have to lightly pry to get it to pop out.

Just remember if you having trouble to push it back inward as that helps to release the snap ring if it is in a bind.

and your done:


11-20-10, 09:15 AM

Similar to the way I do this as well, except I never found the need to remove the tie rod end from the knuckle. You can get enough clearance by simply popping the ball joint and the sway bar link, pulling on the knuckle while pushing on the axle.

BTW, is it even possible to mix up the castle nuts? I think the stud diameters are different on the two. I don't think you'd never be able to thread the tie rod end castle nut onto the ball joint stud if you tried...

The boots on your tie rod end and ball joint look horrible :bonkers: ...you can see the tie rod end boot is all cracked and degraded. I see new front end components in the near future for you :/

Rubber boots look bad, but I see little rust and corrosion, especially at 20 years and 200k+. Whats your location?

11-20-10, 01:17 PM
yeah my boots are SHOT. I grease my joints about once per year. the joints are still tight and smooth, so I just keep putting it back together as is. Currently I'm in the Austin, TX area and the previous owner who had the car from 90k to 190k (service record listed in back on manual) lived in Houston. And I think the previous owner bought it from a neighbor in houston who bought the car new.

11-20-10, 08:35 PM
THX!! I just book marked this page. Sooo much easier than Mitchell On Demand5. :)

11-22-10, 03:27 AM
Good write up, I used a ball joint separator from Harbor Freight (http://www.harborfreight.com/3-4-quarter-inch-forged-ball-point-joint-separator-99849.html) for$19.99 and it removes it easily without damage to the boot. The hardest part was the cotter key.