Questions About CV Axle Replacement - Mazda MX-6 Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 5-29-19, 12:38 Thread Starter
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Questions About CV Axle Replacement

So, I'm pretty sure at this point that I need to replace at least one CV joint on my car, if not all of them. From what I understand, it's easiest just to replace the whole axle, and, given that replacements only seem to cost about $40 each, I've decided that's what I'm gonna go with.

While I've found some decent guides on YouTube, so I know roughly what I'm doing, but I'm not really sure what parts to get from where. For obvious reasons, I don't want to suddenly find-out that the replacement axles I bought were junk. I've also noticed that some axles have support for ABS, which my car doesn't have, but I'm not sure if that affects anything. For reference, I drive a '95 MX-6 LS (2.5L).

There are also some additional issues I've been having that I think might be caused by the bad CV joints, but I don't have much experience yet, so I figured I'd bring them up also. Firstly, the car's steering isn't very smooth at low speeds, especially in the cold, and I can usually hear a light popping sound as I turn the wheel; I think this might be the joint not wanting to move, and I'm hoping it's that and not some issue with the steering. Next on the list is the power delivery—the engine revs just fine and sounds as good as it ever has, but the car has trouble accelerating sometimes; it feels like the power is there but it's not being sent to the wheels very effectively, which my dad thinks is either from the CV joint or possibly a symptom of a broken motor mount (maybe even both; something's definitely shifting around in there, but I don't know where the mounts are located in order to check on them). Last notable thing is that the car is a bit unpredictable in cornering and under power, though I'm not sure how much of that is just normal torque steer or maybe suspension—in short, the car likes to veer to one side or the other even under light acceleration, and the car's weight has a tendency to suddenly shift more than expected at certain points when tightening a turn, not enough to affect control, but enough to be surprising; that said, I'm not very experienced and it isn't causing any problems, so that might be entirely normal behavior.

In any case, I'd appreciate any help I can get on this.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 6-3-19, 11:47
 
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Those symptoms don't sound at all like bad CV joints to me.

Usually, CV joints fail when the rubber boot on the CV joint splits, so all the grease gets thrown out, then dirt gets in, then a few weeks later you start to hear a clicking noise when accelerating, especially when the car is turning in a tight circle (even if the steering wheel is held fixed). If you only hear the noise when you are turning the steering wheel (so the car is turning in a tighter and tighter circle), it's not CV joints. And if you hear the noise when you turn the steering wheel even when the car is stationary, it's not CV joints.

"Next on the list is the power delivery—the engine revs just fine and sounds as good as it ever has, but the car has trouble accelerating sometimes; it feels like the power is there but it's not being sent to the wheels very effectively,..."

That sounds like a slipping clutch. When you floor the gas pedal, in 4th or 5th gear, do you notice the tachometer rpm rise immediately but the speedometer mph rise more slowly? If so, that's a slipping clutch, and not motor mounts or CV joints.

" Last notable thing is that the car is a bit unpredictable in cornering and under power, though I'm not sure how much of that is just normal torque steer or maybe suspension—in short, the car likes to veer to one side or the other even under light acceleration, and the car's weight has a tendency to suddenly shift more than expected at certain points when tightening a turn, not enough to affect control,..."

That sounds like a bad ball joint, or bad tie rod end, or worn rubber bushing (front or rear) on the lower control arm. A bad ball joint could also explain the popping sound when turning the steering wheel. Jack the car up, remove one front wheel, make sure it's supported for safety (use jack stands, or a solid wood block, or even stick the wheel under the car) then use a prybar to see which one of those things is loose.

Lastly, check to see you don't have a broken spring. And (with the car on the ground) watch the spring while a friend slowly turns the steering wheel. If you see the spring twist jerkily (alternately binding then suddenly releasing) it's the strut mount bearing.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 6-6-19, 23:24
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NickR nailed it all, but I want to add a note regarding my experience replacing CV joints.

If you do determine that you need to replace a CV joint, beware of the $40 axles. Those are remanufactured, and it's a crap shoot how long they will last. I replaced mine with remanufactured, and had to do it again in 30k miles. EMPI makes new. I don't have the cost on hand, but it might be worth it. That's what I'm putting in mine this time around.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 6-6-19, 23:40
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I looked back at my records, and the factory CVs got almost 200k miles. Turns out I replaced with reman axles twice, each time getting about 30k from them, then I said enough of that. EMPIs are on hand but not yet installed.

Just saying the $40 ones might be cheap for a reason.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 6-7-19, 6:54
 
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My standard diagnosis on CV joints is:

Try a sharp turn at low speeds. If you hear a popping sound as the wheel rotate, the CV joints have failed. Usually, but not always, the failure is accompanied by a torn boot which allows contaminants into the joint causing it to fail. I agree with the $40 CV as I have had one of those fail without torn boot.

Just replaced both axles with new. Nothing noticeable except the lack of popping around tight corners.

I also replaced the front struts with a kit that included the upper mount rubber (which the passenger side had failed completely) and that fixed a noise while turning the wheel even at low speeds.

I recall the axles can be a pain to remove from their drive sockets without a puller.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 6-27-19, 16:09 Thread Starter
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Right, so, this is the third time I'm re-writing this.

I'm almost certain the CV joints are actually bad, and I'd diagnosed that before I made my original post. Symptoms are there, and at least one of the boots is a mess with grease all over it.

" That sounds like a slipping clutch. When you floor the gas pedal, in 4th or 5th gear, do you notice the tachometer rpm rise immediately but the speedometer mph rise more slowly? If so, that's a slipping clutch, and not motor mounts or CV joints. "

I'm gonna test that later today; I have a short store run to make, so I can verify while I'm doing that. I'll admit, I don't know what clutch problems feel like, but the car goes into gear and shifts just fine. The revs are still consistent with the speed, and I feel like I would've noticed if the revs weren't turning into speed. It's a bit hard to describe, but sometimes the car just stops responding to small throttle movements that would normally be enough to accelerate noticeably. No rhyme or reason that I've observed, save that one instance began after I abruptly let-off the throttle on the highway. It felt like something shifted in the car, but I'm not sure what.

In any case, I'll have a crack at the tests NickR recommended and get back to this afterwards.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 6-27-19, 19:48 Thread Starter
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Addendum: Definitely not a clutch-slip issue. Even floored in fifth gear, the revs kept pace with the speedometer. Granted, I did encounter some other issues while testing that (probably a few more times than I should've, but I was trying to provoke a malfunction since this appears to happen more-or-less at random). After a few rounds of gunning the throttle and quick let-offs, the car started to shake pretty badly when I pushed the throttle. Engine was rough at idle and low revs (possibly because it hadn't been driven much lately), but the shaking of the car was a lot stronger than the shaking of the engine. Again, control wasn't affected, but I had to ease-up a lot. If I were to hazard a guess, it almost felt like an axle was bouncing around, but I assume that would've seriously affected handling if it were the case. There was an audible rattle, though, kinda like something was spinning-around and clacking on something.

Springs/strut mounts passed testing, so they're still good. Haven't checked the steering elements yet; I think I'm going to wait until I can get it up on my dad's lift to do that.

Also, where do I need to go to get the EMPI parts? I've searched a fair bit, and all I've been able to find from them are CV Boot replacements. The only replacement axles I've found that aren't remanufactured are from TrackMotive and CARDONE, and they're still in that sketchy $40 price range. Granted, the CARDONE axle has a lifetime warranty, but I'm not sure if that guarantees much in terms of quality.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 6-28-19, 11:01
 
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OK, that doesn't sound like a slipping clutch, and it may be the CV joints after all. You could try grabbing the axles by hand, and see if they move when you pull or push them. Or put the car in high gear, engine off, and rock the car by pushing it back and forward, to see if there's excessive movement in the engine (motor mounts) or play in the axles. (And if a rubber boot is bad, so it's throwing grease, that axle will need to be replaced anyway.)
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