I began hearing a clicking sound from the rear of my '95, and thought it might be either a halfshaft ujoint or the hub bearing. The noise occurred on starts, and I could also occasionally hear it if I unloaded the drivetrain at low speed (this is a six speed manual car).
The easy way to check is to get the tires off the ground, and grasp the tire at the 6 and 12 position. With the tire off the ground, try moving the tire back and forth. My passenger side exhibited some movement - I could feel it, but not see it. The driver side not only exhibited movement I could feel - I could also SEE it move back and forth!
So, I obtained two hub assemblies and four ujoints for the half shafts. My theory is that since I need to remove the half shaft, I might was well replace the joints at the same time.
Here are the tools you'll need for the job:
8 mm socket
10 mm socket
18 mm socket
2 21 mm sockets (or one wrench & one socket)
2 24 mm sockets (or one wrench & one socket)
36 mm socket
Large breaker bar + pipe to provide even more leverage
WD40 or equivalent rust/corrosion buster
Wood block and hammer (when the WD40 doesn't work)
Small pliers (pulling cotter pins)
T55 Torx bit
Torque Wrench (capable of at least 200 ft-lbs)
A few LONG 3/8" drive extensions
8 mm Gearwrench wrench (ask me how I know ...)
The basic procedure is fairly straitforward:
1 - Loosen stub axle nut
2 - Remove caliper and caliper mounting bracket
3 - Detach tie rod end, camber rod, and spring
4 - Remove half shaft
5 - Remove stub axle
6 - Remove old hub
7 - Reassemble in reverse order
Of course, the devil is in the details ...
1 - Loosening Stub Axle Nut
The stub axle nut is very tightly installed to start with, and time provides an opportunity for corrosion to work its way into the threads, thus making it even tighter.
I removed the wheel, popped out the cover, and reinstalled the wheel, so that I could remove the nut with the full weight of the car helping me. This is where you'll need your 36 mm socket.
I initially tried to looen the nut with just my breaker bar, but I couldn't budge it, so out came the persuader.
I used a four foot persuader, and it worked just fine.
I then put the car on jackstands front and rear, trying to ensure that I had plenty of crawl around space under the car.
There is a flat washer hiding behind the axle nut - don't forget to take it off!
2 - Removing Caliper/Caliper Bracket
I removed the caliper bracket by loosening two 18 mm bolts located on the backside of the caliper. Once the caliper is removed, you can set it to the side. Make sure that the caliper is properly supported - don't let it hang down by the rubber hose, as you'll damage the line.
Once I disconnected the calipers, I thought that the rotor would be easy to remove. Wrong! The rotors have been on that car for nearly 15 years, and the rotors and hubs were quite attached to each other. I treated the rotors with AeroKroil, waited overnight, and then popped them off with a block of wood and a hammer.
Rotor Out of the Way ... Ready for the Next Step
I wasn't realy thrilled with the way the caliper/bracket fit on the suspension - so I thought of using the mounting bracket as a temporary mount - like so ...
3 - Detaching Suspension Stuff
The next step involves detaching enough suspension components to allow removing the halfshafts. Once those are out of the way, then the hub can be removed. The Factory Service Manual doesn't require half shaft removal, but I think the job would be much harder that way. Since I couldn't accurately judge the condition of the half shaft u-joints, I elected to remove and replace them.
To accomplish this, the lower camber strut rod, tie rod end, and spring all need to be detached.
In order to get the ride height back to the original point, I considered counting threads from the bottom of the spring bolt. But then I got out my digital caliper and measured the distance from the bottom of the spring bolt to the nut.
That done, I then removed the tie rod end.
I wanted to make sure that the wheel speed sensor wasn't damaged during the process, so I loosened the mounting nut (10 mm), and slid the sensor part way out. I only wanted to get it away from the axle gear, so I left it in.
I then removed the camber strut rod. Some places I researched recommended disconnecting the strut from the camber adjustment point. Of course, that requires that you also carefully mark the position of the camber adjustment. I thought it would be a lot easier to simply remove it from the other end. These are 24 mm diameter.
It didn't take much convincing to remove this - I used a short block of wood and my hammer to drive it out.
Side Note: Now I'm really considering a project to replace those original bushings with polyurethane units. It looks like it would be a fun project!
OK - now to disconnect the spring. The basic concept is to use a jack to take the tension off the spring, thus allowing you to remove the spring retainer bolt.
4/5 - Removing Half Shaft & Axle
I initially thought that I would remove the half shaft, then contend with removing the axle. In practice, I found that it was just as easy to remove this as a unit.
The first step was to loosen the 8 mm bolts hoding the u-joint straps in place. I loosened the inner strap bolts first. My approach was to line them up like this ...
Then, with the car in gear (actually, the first time it was with my son holding on to the pasenger side hub), I took my 3/8" drive ratchet and long extensions to reach in and loosen things up.
Once I broke the inner straps loose, I got under the car and loosened up the straps on the outer joints. Those were harder to get to.
I wasn't sure what was going to happen after I removed the straps from the u-joints, but I didn't really expect the u-joints to be frozen to both the axle and the differential! As a 'just in case' measure, I put the 36 mm axle retaining nut back on the end of the axle, and used a pry bar to break the inner joint away from the differential. Once it let go, I removed the nut from the axle, and not seeing any easy way to break the u-joint free of the axle, I just pulled the entire assembly out.
Side Note: About that 8 mm Gearwrench ... While I was under the car loosening the outer strap, I looked up and there was the slightly loosened strap from the inner side. I had a quick vision of removing those bolts and straps while I could easily see them, so put my trusty Gearwrench on the bolt, and made two swings ... then it occurred to me that the BOLT and the WRENCH were heading straight for the SHAFT, and I was going to get SHAFTED if I didn't get that wrench OFF the BOLT before it moved too far ... since my Gearwrench isn't one of the nifty reversible kinds! It was very nearly stuck in place, and I had to do some major grunting and groaning to get the stupid wrench off the bolt head! DON'T DO THIS ...
OK - back to the job ... Now that the shaft and axle were out of the way, the only thing left behind was this u-joint cap ...
I took the shaft/axle assembly to the workbench and a couple of quick hammer blows on the old u-joint cap separated the axle from the shaft.
A quick inspection of the caps, needle bearings, and u-joints revealed a good amount of wear, so replacing the u-joints was a worthy investment. In the interests of time, I took the half shaft to a friend of mine to replace the u-joints while I went back under the car.