Drive axle removal

Am I being a bit of a wimp? I am removing the drive axles from my 1998 Altima, a task I have never undertaken before. Removing the
passenger side axle posed no problem, but I am unable to remove the driver side axle. The Haynes manual says either pry the inner CV joint out at the transaxle, or to insert a screwdriver through the differential side gears and knock the left side shaft free. I pried and pried, to no avail, and I hammered on the screwdriver until I became nervous I would damage something, but the axle remained solidly in place. Any particular tricks to removing this, or should I get past my nervousness and hammer away? Thanks in advance for any input. Art.
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"Art" wrote:

The axles are held in by a strong circlip on the shaft. At work I use a rather thick 3-foot long prybar, and even then I sometimes have to pry in one spot, rotate the axle, pry a bit more, rotate, pry, rotate, pry... eventually it comes out. If you're trying to use the same screwdriver you use to install a new knob on your bathroom door, then forget it. You need something BIG. If you're trying to punch it out through the differential from the passenger side, I'd suggest a large diameter flat-ended punch (even a cut-off chunk of broom handle as long as it isn't bigger than the axle stub) and a big hammer or "personal size" sledge (2-3 pound). Line up the punch, then haul off and whack that mother!
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I've found it helps as your prying don't just gradually put more force but rather try to exert more pressure all at once Like MasterBlaster said some axles have strong clips.
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Try a little PB Blaster or Break-Free. Then hammer away. You'll ruin the axle, but that's okay... because if it didn't need to be replaced anyway you wouldn't be under there. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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Art wrote:

Try rotating the axle 180 degrees. They come out (and go in) easier if the gap in the clip is up.
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Art wrote:

You need a pry bar NOT a screwdriver. Two are even better. Put one on each side of the inner CV joint between the pot and the housing. Then use a sharp motion to pop the retainer ring free so the half shaft comes free from the stub shaft.
And unless things are RADICALLY different on that axle from 99% of front wheel drives the second method (inserting a screwdriver through the side gears to knock the left side) half shaft free is physically impossible. Now if your removing the stub shafts that connect to the half shafts then you can go inside the differential, but i would bet that is NOT what you are doing.
--
Steve W.

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"Steve W." wrote:

Yeah, my mind went blank, and I forgot about the pinion shaft (3rd picture)... http://www.autozone.com/addVehicleId,2373501/initialAction,repairGuide/shopping/repairGuide.htm?pageId 00c15280078acc
That's why Haynes says use a screwdriver, to get around the shaft. Art may have missed the driveshaft, and is banging on the side gear? Anyway, big prybars are still the best.
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Typically I use a prybar about 12 inches total length when I do this job. Insert the angled tip between the transaxle side cover and the inboard edge of the CV axle, and then pry gently to take all of the play out. I.E. hold the prybar in place with one hand on the metal portion, pushing slightly to take any play out between the axle and the differential side gear.
Then you hit the plastic handle portion of the prybar sharply with the palm of your other hand. Works every time for me, takes the axles right out without a fight.
I don't know if the altima has self-supporting differential gears, but a lot of cars DO NOT, meaning if you pull both axles at the same time the differential side gears can fall down into the transaxle case, necessitating removal and disassembly of the entire transaxle to fix. Don't risk it, stick a wooden dowel or similar into the hole left by the axle you remove first if you intend to have both axles removed at the same time.
Chris
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Thanks for all the advise. Sounds like I plug my ears, shield my eyes and flail away....... Art.
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