Help with replacing 2001 axle shaft

Discussion in 'Generation 1 Prius Discussion' started by DaveGoodrich, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. DaveGoodrich

    DaveGoodrich Member

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    I need to replace the passenger side axle shaft due to a worn inner CV joint causing vibration and various bad noises (2001 with 205k miles).

    I don't really have the $ to pay the dealer for this repair, and I am confident that I have the skills to do it myself. Can anyone give me some basic instructions for the axle shaft R&R? I don't mind buying a manual if I can get a good one for a reasonable price, so any good advice on a good manual would also be appreciated.

    I am especially interested in how to remove the axle from the transaxle. Hopefully, no special tools are necessary. I ask this because Google found me a .pdf doc that look like a training aid for Toyota technicians. It mentions several special tools, especially some kind of slide hammer for pulling the axle from the transaxle. Is this really necessary, or is there a backyard substitute method?

    Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.
     
  2. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Volume 2 of the 2001-03 Maintenance manual has the repair instructions including the bolt torques. Check Ebay for used manuals. Alternatively, there is an online source, TIS, but I've heard mixed reviews about the organization and it is windows specific. Still buying a one day or month long access and downloading the relevant sections might provide a quicker answer.

    I remember reading of a similar repair but I don't remember the exact source. Obviously, search through the messages in this forum but I would also recommend searching the Yahoo group, "Prius Technical Stuff." Also look for transaxle replacement threads such as Orange4boy to get an idea of what is involved.

    Where are you located? I have no problem visiting and 'lending a wrench' to folks not too far from Huntsville Alabama.

    Bob Wilson
     
  3. DaveGoodrich

    DaveGoodrich Member

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    I thought I'd give an update, along with some DIY instructions, since I didn't really find any online anywhere.

    I was able to replace the axleshaft fairly easily. I bought a brand new axle (Empi part no. 80-6236) from an online parts house for only about $75, including ground shipping. It arrived in only two days, so it must have been dropped shipped from a local warehouse.

    Total cost: $109 ($75 - new axle, $28 - 5 quarts Toyota transaxle fluid, $6 - 30mm socket). I would say it took me a total of about 3 hours for the job (not including a trip to the store to buy the 30mm socket).

    Here is a quick summary of steps to swap an axle shaft. Obviously, if you aren’t experienced with this type of job, then these simplified instructions won’t be sufficient. Of course, normal safety precautions should be followed.

    1. Drain transaxle fluid.
    2. Set parking brake, jack up front end and put it SECURLY and SAFELY on a jack stand (you will probably be lying under the vehicle, so you have been warned). Remove wheel.
    3. Remove brake caliper and rotor. Don’t disconnect brake line. Tie caliper up out -of the way.
    4. Remove 30mm nut from end of the axle. I used a center punch (actually a nail set) to “de-stake” the nut, and was able to use a breaker bar and 30 mm socket to remove the nut without too much trouble.
    5. Remove the tie rod from the bearing hub. After removing the cotter pin and castellated nut, bang on the side of the casting where the tapered tie rod end goes through with a BFH (big frickin' hammer) and it should eventually come loose. Do not pound on the threaded end of the tie rod, or you won’t be able to get the nut back on.
    6. Remove the bolt and two nuts that connect the lower suspension arm to the wheel bearing hub.
    7. Tap the end of the axle to drive it back through the bearing hub. I didn’t need to save the old axle since I bought a new one, so I just used the BFH to do this. But if you need the old axle as a core, use a brass hammer/wood block etc. to protect the threads on the axle.
    8. Pull the bearing hub outward in order to fully remove the axle from the back of the hub (this is why you disconnected the suspension arm from the hub).
    9. The axle is held into the transaxle by a spring clip on the inner splined end of the axle. So it just needs some force to pull/push it out. Apparently, there is a special slide-hammer type of tool for this if you are a Toyota dealer. I was able to just place the business end of a large screwdriver on the “slot” in the CV joint that is intended for the slide hammer, and drive the thing outward using the BFH. This was much easier than I thought it would be.
    10. Installation is the proverbial reversal of the above steps. Torque the suspension arm nuts/bolt to 66 lb/ft and the axle nut to 159 lb/ft. (these values are for a Gen 2 Prius, couldn't find values for a Gen 1).

    Turned out that the inner CV joint was toast. The joint has three bearing caps with needle bearings inside. One of the bearings was worn/broken to the point that most of the needle bearings were floating around inside the boot, which allowed way too much play and the resulting vibration.

    Are there other folk out there that work on their own Prii? I'd love to see more peer-to-peer DIY advice to keep our old cars going.
     
  4. DaveGoodrich

    DaveGoodrich Member

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    Thanks for the offer. I live in Southern California, so unfortunately I couldn't take you up on it.
     
  5. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    There are sources:
    • This forum
    • Yahoo Group "Prius Technical Stuff"
    • Yahoo Group "Toyota Prius"
    • Ecomodder - more advanced modifications
    As a general rule, I tend not to comment on repair actions that I don't have direct experience. However, I strongly endorse buying the Toyota maintenance manuals so you'll have a ready reference.

    About the CVT failure, what was the status of the grease they are supposed to be packed with? Was there evidence that the CVT seal(s) had failed or boot split?

    Bob Wilson
     
  6. DaveGoodrich

    DaveGoodrich Member

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    I totally understand. I was just thinking that, as our vehicles age (beyond warrenty and thouroughly depreciated), more folks are probably going to be attempting thier own repairs. I am just hoping that when they do, they document their experiences, so we can all learn from it. I intend to try to find a good deal on a Toyota manual.

    The boot was not split, but there was not a lot of grease inside the boot either. Must have just gradually seeped out. I'm not sure what you mean by CVT seal. I intend to pull the driver's side axle to inspect and "service" the CV joints by adding grease if the joints look o.k.
     
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  7. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    This is the second CVT replacement I've read about and the earlier one also mentioned lost grease but there was damage to the boot.

    There should be a seal for the shaft in the transmission. One risk might be transaxle oil seeping in and diluting the grease. However, the transaxle has a one-way vent that normally leads to negative pressure relative to the outside.

    There should have been two clips, one on each end of the boot at the transaxle. Where your clips 'screw on' or did they need a special tool to crimp?

    Did you notice any grease leakage from the old boot?

    Pictures are always appreciated. <grins>

    Bob Wilson
     
  8. DaveGoodrich

    DaveGoodrich Member

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    Here's a pic. Unfortunately, you can't see the clamps that held the boots on, and I can't remember which type they were. I just cut the boot open to do the autopsy. I didn't notice any significant amount of grease on the shaft outside the boot etc. Whether that was because it wasn't leaking, or because it had all leaked out long ago, I don't know.
     

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  9. roadhousecharley

    roadhousecharley New Member

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    This was worth a fortune. Just replaced the passenger side transaxle axle seal.

    Took longer to get the tools out and clean up than do the job. Thanks!
     
  10. 3prongpaul

    3prongpaul Hybrid Shop Owner, worked on 100's of Prius's

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    You can skip this step, there is enough slack to push the entire assembly out of the way to remove the axle without removing brake components.

    Two tools that make Toyota axle removals easier are;
    12 point 30mm socket with tool for "unpeening" the nut (don't just loosen the nut, you may damage the axle threads if you don't unpeen it)
    http://amzn.com/B000WNP2TE

    Steck 71410 Axle Popper
    http://amzn.com/B004IQMR8U
     
  11. RW5207

    RW5207 Junior Member

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    Mr. Goodrich, I applaud your actions! With a name like that, you should be able to do any repair required of your Prius. :)

    I take on all my repairs for my "fleet," which includes a 1997 Chrysler Sebring convertible, a 2002 Prius, a 2005 Prius and a 2006 Ford Focus.

    I maintain a blog where I attempt to document all my significant repairs. One may think I do it for the good of others, but truthfully I do it because I'm old and can't remember everything I do. =:)

    Here's one of my recent posts...and I've got a battery replacement post I need to write.

    Replacing the Inverter Assembly on a 2002 1st Gen Prius « Russ' Do It Yourself Home Workshop

    Sounds like your info is helping the Prius community. Thanks for taking the time to document it!

    Russ
     
  12. Iannini George

    Iannini George New Member

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    Nice concise instructions. Two questions - how did you gain access to the inner axle? On Prius 2009 extremely small opening in under-carriage makes it nearly impossible to get to w/o a lift. Did you take off any undercarriage plates. If so What to take off. (picture). Where is the "slot" in the axle for the slide hammer that you used (picture) TIA. I am hoping to be able to get the axle out so I can finish the whole job brake pads, rotors, and new axle assembly.
     
  13. DaveGoodrich

    DaveGoodrich Member

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    There is no issue with access on a 2001. Can't help you with a 2009.

    I didn't use a slide hammer. I used a large screwdriver and a hammer.
     
  14. Iannini George

    Iannini George New Member

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    Managed to pull axle out using a chain around inner axle attached to 3 ton jack. Pulled on it 5-10 times and came out like a shot!
     
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