axle R&R on '86 Honda Accord

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Hi. I'm caught in the old bind of being too poor to get a car that doesn't need constant repairs, because my only car needs constant repairs, thus
keeping me too poor to get a car that... you know.
Anyway, my '86 Honda Accord DX (manual trans, 155000 miles) might get me another year's service if I can just get the CV joints fixed, which I will be attempting this week. Got rebuilt axles on eBay (great price, no core bother, but always a gamble, of course) and plan to put them in myself in a few days, and wanted to ask if anyone has specific advice on the job.
I've read all the horror stories on the web, most to do with rust-welded spindle nuts, which I don't think will be a factor as I don't live in the mid-west (the 'rust belt'). The job is fairly simple, composed of the steps:
. loosen wheel lug nuts, raise on jack stands, remove spindle nut. I plan to use WD-40 or some other penetrating oil on the spindle nut to help, locking the wheel with a pry bar while using a breaker bar (with pipe extension if necessary) to loosen the spindle nut, but would appreciate any tips anyone has; (or if your own experience tells you I shouldn't be attempting this, let me know too).
. drain tranny oil. Only question I have here is that it takes a square-drive wrench - does anyone know offhand what the size is?
. remove damper fork. Question: how difficult? There are 2 bolts - are they likely to be seized or rusted together?
. remove knuckle-to-lower arm castle nut, and separate with 2-arm gear puller. Any problems/tips here I should be aware of?
. pull knuckle outward, removing draveshaft outboard joint from knuckle with a plastic hammer. Q: Can it be stuck to where it just won't come out? If so, how best to get it out...
. pry out the inboard driveshaft assembly with a screwdriver (forcing inner set ring past inner groove in differential); Q: Does it always just 'pop right out'? I'd hate to get stuck at this point!
On putting in the rebuilt axles, the only thing that worries me is getting the inner driveshaft assembly, with its new set ring, to properly seat within the differential. Has anyone experience special problems with this task?
I guess what I'm looking for is a lot of people to say, Hey - it'll be a breeze - you can do it! If I could afford to have my car towed, I would dive right in and just do it, but I'm really on the edge right now, so just maximizing my chances of getting these rebuilds in with as few problems as possible :)
Any help/tips/sharing-of-experiences greatly appreciated. -ed
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"glenn" ( snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com) writes:

Loosen spindle nut FIRST (wheels on the ground, tranny in first gear, parking brake on). Chisel back the locking tab on the nut before loosening the nut. If the shafts are original, you should be able to loosen it with a 2 foot cheater pipe on your breaker bar. If some clown had the shafts out before and used an impact wrench to put the spindle nut back on, it may be over torqued. If that is the case, you will need a 5 foot cheater pipe on your breaker bar. Remember... with a big enough lever and a sturdy fulcrum, you too can move the Earth!
Loosen the nut so it is flush with the end of the shaft. Bang on it a bit with a hammer (steel hammer) to get the shaft moving out of the hub a little bit. Look close between bangs to see if the shaft is moving inward toward the car. Now jack up the car and remove the wheels etc..

The square end of a socket extension fits nice and does the job. I forget if it is the 3/8 inch or the 1/2 inch extension that fits.

No... NO.... N O ! ! ! ! DO NOT REMOVE THE FORK! Unless you are 100% sure that the bolt which goes through the rubber bushing on the lower control arm is NOT SEIZED... do not touch it! And I mean 100% sure! In North America where it snows, that bolt will be seized. You don't want to twist off the head of the bolt. The inner joint is always disassembled, and the shaft (minus the needle bearings) is puzzled through the fork. It is a little messy, and a pain in the ass, but it is MUCH easier (and CHEAPER) than cutting out the lower control arms with a torch and buying new lower control arms!
Cleanliness is next to godly. Be careful not to contaminate your inner joint guts with dirt!
You will need to get two new inner joint large boot clamps before you start the job. Maybe you were lucky and the CV joint rebuilder put an extra clamp into the box for you!

If the car has been driven in the snow (where salt is used on the road), the lower fork bolt WILL BE SEIZED. DO NOT TOUCH THE BOLT. SEE ABOVE.

Don't use the puller. Use a ball joint fork. BUT... BUT... only use ONE TINE of the ball joint fork so that the rubber boot on the ball joint is not damaged. Slip ONE TINE of the fork in between the control arm and the knuckle (not the side closest to the brake rotor, but the other side which is close to the engine). Loosen the castle nut, do not remove it yet. Whack your pickle fork and it will pop the tapered ball joint stud out, without damaging the rubber boot. Now remove the castle nut. If you don't have a ball joint fork, a nice big, fat, rampy cold chisel will work just as well in the same manner as above. Don't piss around with a puller.

See above re: now jack up the car. Use a regular steel hammer. It has more weight behind it and the drive shaft steel is really tough. It takes a lot of muscle and some real big time hammering to damage that steel. I've whacked out those shafts and didn't even mark the steel!

If you have gotten this far, that will be a piece of cake. This is the easy part! If your screwdriver has good "purchase" and good leverage (moving the earth again!) it will POP!

A rag, a two by four, and your hammer will knock the suckers right in! Put the rag between the rubber boot and the two by four then knock it in with the hammer. You will feel it seat.
M.A. Stewart (don't email cf005... sorry...elm filter bounces all incoming email!)

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snipped-for-privacy@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (M.A. Stewart) wrote in writes:
<snip good advice>

It's 3/8". Probably have to hammer the square into the recess, otherwise it won't go in far enough and will round off the hole.

That's interesting. I just replaced all the bushings (and I do mean all) in the rear suspension of my '91 Integra. I live in Canada. All but five bolts came off with hand-tools. One bolt needed to be cut off. The other four succumbed to the violence of a machine shop's air wrench. http://www.tegger.com/hondafaq/misc/old-bushings /
I'm going to be doing the fronts next year. I was just going to saw the bolts and sleeves apart on either side of the bushing if they wouldn't come loose.

Couldn't you just pry the inner joint away from the diff casing, or would that damage something?
<snip>

Or you can rent one of these puppies: http://www.tegger.com/hondafaq/faq.html#balljoints
<snip>

Exactly where would you knock?
I'm starting to get a vibration on acceleration. I suspect my inner joints, but my mechanic says they're still tight. (Still? After 252,800 miles?)
Next spring all the bushings are getting replaced, along with the tires (which are worn), and the engine mounts. If none of that helps, I'm going to replace the driveshafts.
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I sheared the heads off two of the three bolts on my 91 Civic's left rear lower control arm last year. Like M.A. Stewart implies, they were thoroughly seized to the rubber bushings etc. This despite soaking in PB Blaster for a day or more.
For my amateur set of tools, removing the remains of the two bolts that had seized was incredibly laborious.
The archives have a lot on this.
My Civic was not garaged for the first five years of its life and was driven in the Northern U.S. for ten years.
Has your Integra (year?) been garaged its whole life? I realize you drive in Northern winters.

What kind of saw?
For the rears, seems like it's a torch cutting job, to me.
I won't do the other side of my Civic without a torch or equivalent alternative.
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(M.A. Stewart) wrote in

I did that too. I used Kroil on one side, and PB on the other. Neither seems to have made much difference.
http://www.tegger.com/hondafaq/misc/old-bushings/P7220908.JPG

I remember.

1991. 252,770 miles as of today.

I drive on Southern Ontario roads. These are just like Michigan or Wisconsin. The car has never seen the inside of a garage.
It has, however, been drippy-rustproofed every year since new. This accounts for the absolute lack of rust on any fastener except the two outer ones on the lower arms, and the outer ones on the upper arms. Five of those six gave me trouble. Nothing else did.
The problem is that the outer bolts on the front are just like the outer ones on the rear, and I suspect they will not let go for me. They are smack in the middle of the salt and water spray, which erases any attempt at lubrication.

I was wondering about that. I don't know how hard the sleeves are, which will be what makes the difference. There's room for a hacksaw in between the flanges, but I don't know about a reciprocating saw (Sawzall). Would a reciprocating saw risk too much damage to surrounding components?

The machine shop that cut the one bolt out for me appears to have used a torch or a cutting wheel. They bent up the flange on the trailing arm and knocked the nut off, so I had to replace bolt and nut with a 10.9 set.
http://www.tegger.com/hondafaq/misc/old-bushings/sawed-off-lower-arm.jpg

Once bitten, twice shy, eh?
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E

This was the first time PB Blaster let me down.

What all is "drippy-rustproofed"?

It's tight. Worse, my hacksaw was not very effective. Have several new blades handy. If you're not getting anywhere after an hour, I'd urge trying something else.

Even if you can get it in where you want to cut, I'm not sure it will actually cut easily through that steel.
I don't think I've seen a good solution for this yet.

I reckon. I put in a new damper and coil on that side (that was my ultimate goal) and noticed no change in comfort. Plus I'm figuring only about five more years with this car.
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wrote

Something that appears to ONLY be available in Ontario and Quebec. http://www.krown.com / http://www.rustcheck.com /
It works wonderfully. The best of anything I've ever seen. Better than tthe waxy or gummy stuff. It does swell weatherstripping and is messy, but those are good tradeoffs for a car that does not rust.
Northeastern US states could benefit greatly from this, yet it's not sold there.

Hm. Not good.

Probably why my mechanic refused to consider doing the work.
I asked him if he wanted to change the bushings at the same time as the clutch if I gave him both jobs at once.
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Plus I presume the extension of the car body's life justifies the cost. (About what do you pay each year for this treatment?)
One of the things that I think will be limiting on my car is the undercarriage rusting out so badly that I can't jack the sides up but instead can only do the ends.

Well, I'm only an amateur. All of the regulars here have more experience than I. You got much farther than I did on the first part of your Integra's suspension job (of course!).

Interesting.
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wrote <snip>

$110Cdn (about $90 US) per application. The car's had it done every single year since new. I've started doing it in the spring as well, so twice per year. Also I do regular touchups with a spray-can in especially vulnerable areas.
I figured if I didn't do it, the car would fall apart and I'd need to spend $2,000 at a bodyshop anyway...

I've got no rust anywhere. Jack points are like new. Part of that is diligence by me apart from the rustproofing.
Just a month ago I got rid of some surface rust that was starting in the rear wheel wells at the bottom right where they meet the rocker panels and form the wheel well lips. It ground off back to bare steel easily. I applied zinc primer and paint, using a heat gun for ten minutes to cure the paint quickly. After that some rubber-based undercoat covered up the paint as protection from stone chips.

What I thought of later today was not to buy a bushing to dissect, but instead to call a machine shop supply place on Monday.
The metal used for the sleeves can't be much harder than hard stainless steel, or much harder than a metric 10.9 bolt. You'd think a machine shop supply place would know how to cut through hard stuff without power tools.
Stay tuned...

Yeah. He says it takes hours and hours, I wouldn't want to pay for all that labor, and he wouldn't want to tie up his shop for that.
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"TeGGeR" ( snipped-for-privacy@tegger.cm) writes:

If by hacksaw... use quality blades.

Do you have any of the old sleeves around from your rear end job? Slap them in a vice and saw away to see how they cut.

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snipped-for-privacy@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (M.A. Stewart) wrote in writes:
<snip>

No, I don't have them any more. I took some pics, kept them around for a few week, then tossed them during a fit of housekeeping zeal.
I guess I could just buy a new one ($15 or so), and try cutting that up. $15 would be an acceptable price to avoid nightmares later on. In fact, I'm going to do just that.
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"TeGGeR" ( snipped-for-privacy@tegger.cm) writes:

I don't know what the best hacksaw blades in the world are. I have a Sandvik blade that surprisingly cuts fast and smooth. The teeth are very sharp, and stayed sharp for a long time.

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snipped-for-privacy@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (M.A. Stewart) wrote in
<snip>

I'm calling a machine shop supply place tomorrow.
Thanks for you help.
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"TeGGeR" ( snipped-for-privacy@tegger.cm) writes:

Anyone who owns a 1986 to 1989 Accord in Canada does not want to touch the lower damper fork bolt to do a drive shaft job. The drive shaft inner joint needs to be disassembled on the car and the shaft (minus the inboard joint and needle bearing rollers) extracted through the fork and lower control arm. The spider (and rubber boot) can be left on the shaft. The spider can be easily puzzled through damper fork and control arm.

I don't follow you on the above question. His job was to replace the drive shafts. With the damper fork attached to the lower control arm, the complete drive shaft won't fit through the opening on the 1986/1989 Accords. He does not want to try and remove the fork from the control arm so that he can remove/install the complete drive shaft. Halloween is close. That is enough of a nightmare for anyone at this time of year. He doesn't need the nightmare of a seized fork bolt and subsequent bushing replacement. I don't think he has a nice fully equipped shop to work in.

On the end of the wood. Insert the splined part of the inner joint into the diff.. Push hard. Knock it the rest of the way in with the hammer and chunk of wood to seat it. Not much hammer force is needed. The wood is bearing on the inner joint. The rag and the wood prevent damage to the rubber boot.
I like to put a little bit wheel bearing grease on the spring clip so as to suspend the clip concentrically to the center of the shaft (splined stub of the inner joint). It gives even compression all the way around the clip as it engages the side gear taper.

Lay out the details of the vibrations. We can only assume that it is not the Beach Boys type of vibrations :->

My understanding is that when shafts are rebuilt, the inner joints aren't even touched. No new spiders, snap rings, needle bearings etc.....nada. New boots, yes... maybe a cleaning and new grease. Everything usually looks good for them on the inner joints... so they don't do any work on them.

Re the mount replacement. Check to see if the motor mounts have a torque sequence for your car. They do for a 1986/1989 Accord.

Ahh... here's a challenge for you... replace the lower control arm bushings with hand tools only!... no cheating, no friendly machine shop with a press, no acetylene torch. Think "hone the holes to fit bushings". Think brake cylinder hone... vernier caliper (or inside mike)... micrometer... what's the best interference fit so I can whack those suckers in with my $2.99 Kmart carpenter hammer!
Remember the machinist credo... "it is much easier to remove metal than it is to put metal back on"
M.A. Stewart (please don't email cf005... elm spam filter bounces all incoming email)

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snipped-for-privacy@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (M.A. Stewart) wrote in writes: <snip>

It makes sense now.
I didn't know the inner joint would not fit through the damper fork. Never replaced driveshafts before. Never had to.

Unfortunately not the Beach Boys kind.
1) The steering wheel waggles slowly 1/4 to 1/2 inch on hard acceleration as very low speeds. 2) During *acceleration* at highway speeds, the steering wheel vibrates at almost all speeds, but then stops once you are coasting or decelerating, which I understand is a classic inner CV joint symptom.
More: 1) Tires are old and worn. When you run your hand over the tread, three seem to be worn reasonably evenly, with little feathering apparent. One has excesssive outer rib wear, seemingly due to excessive toe that existed on the rear before I replaced the bushings and had the car realigned. 2) There is one bent wheel that has been that way for 13 years. It contributes to the 60-70mph vibration at highway speeds when that wheel is on the front. I have a spare wheel and will replace bent one in the spring. 3) Front bushings are very worn and saggy. Perhaps they are allowing excessive suspension movement?
Mechanic insists my inner CV joints are fine, that the problem is most likely the tires.
Inner and outer CV joint boots have never split. I've always had the outer boots replaced at the first sign of cracking.
How can I test the inner CV joints on-the-car (without a hoist) myself?
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"TeGGeR" ( snipped-for-privacy@tegger.cm) writes:

Inner and outer joints on a 3Gee won't fit. As for you car I don't know. Maybe ask people around your location who have R&Red shafts on your model of car.

By feel maybe, comparing to a new Honda shaft?

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snipped-for-privacy@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (M.A. Stewart) wrote in writes:

Well, yeah. But what specifically are you feeling for?
Do you need to have the suspension in a certain attitude in odrder to feel it? Is ANY play not acceptable?
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snipped-for-privacy@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (M.A. Stewart) wrote in
<snip>

A challenge of course, but so is using Windows without a mouse. Sure, it *can* be done, but why would you want to? There's a reason technology marches forward and mice and air wrenches get invented.
I actually tried renting an electric impact gun, but I waited too long and all were rented out for the weekend, so I was limited to Teggerdraulics.
By the time I had the rear suspension apart, I was more than happy to have the machine shop knock the old bushings out and replace with new. I did replace the stabilizer bar and link bushings myself with the help of a vise and silicone grease.
Keep in mind this car is my daily driver. I HAD to have the job finished by Monday AM, so I could not take a few days to experiment.
I pulled it apart Friday afternoon and evening, brought the parts to the machine shop Saturday AM, and picked them up again Saturday afternoon. I finished the job Sunday. Most of Saturday that weekend I was visiting my mother in the hospital, where she'd just had a hip-joint replacement, so I didn't have as much time as I ordinarily would.
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M.A. Stewart wrote:

/never/ use a steel hammer on bearings!!!

well, the official way is to remove the fork. i luckily live in california and can take the fork off my 89 no problems whatsoever. sure makes life easier.
but this is all academic - the op only need pop the lower swivel to have enough room to get the driveshaft out.

i completely disagree. what you're suggesting is both bad for the car and dangerous for theoperator. use the proper tool. it's not expensive and is /way/ safer. not to mention the cost savings of not fixing a screwed up swivel or boot.

then you weren't hitting very hard and got real lucky. when those things get damaged, they get /real/ expensive, not to mention very inconvenient.

no!!! /never/ hammer them in. they should pop in with hand pressure. if they don't, they're not seated right. sometimes a little grease on the retaining ring helps keep it centered so it goes in first time. hammering brinells the d/s bearings and the diff bearings. don't do it.

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jim beam ( snipped-for-privacy@example.net) writes:

Not on the 1986/1989 Accord. The inner joint will not fit through fork! The fork has to be removed (not advised if the bolt is siezed) or the inner joint disassembled.

You can use the pickle fork succesfully on the 1986/1989 Accord without any damage. You can also use a good cold chisel with the same good results. The puller lugs won't hold well on the lower control arm. Plus you will have to whack the control arm with a hammer when the puller can't be tightened any more. Been there on a 3Gee. Don't piss with a puller.

No luck. Just common sense that worked.

In a nice garage with a hoist, sure hand pressure works. But in a lousy garage and akward conditions, carefull common sense and lumber (soft wood) makes things easier. I always use grease on the clip, the spline, and the groove in the seal.
I rebuilt a transmission once. Talk about brinelling!

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