Rear CV joints and axle


Capt. Mike

Moderator
It's always been "pays your money, take your choice."

What most of us have to weigh is the cost of repacking yourself (boot kits -- purchased in advance at discount) vs. NEW CV joints (at dealer prices) plus dealer labor rates when they happen on the road. Add lost time, hotels, etc., and the hidden costs of lost time on a trip (like having to cut out a few days). As our Westies age out, the likelihood of finding CV's, especially front CV's on a Syncro, in stock drops. You may be losing several days.

Murphy's Law says they will always fail far from a competent shop, on a long weekend, in crappy weather with all hotels sporting 'no vacency' signs. Last, the "warning" is hit & miss. Yes, you can get warning when there is general old-age wear; don't COUNT on it if a boot is damaged by road hazard -- total failure can occur in just a few miles. Also consider the possibility of collateral damage -- a disintegrating CV allowing the axle to thrash around.

Monetarily, its good odds. But since you are gambling against yourself, are you willing to play both sides of those odds? Nobody can answer that for you.
 

icarus

Moderator
Mike,

As I said, I value the opinion of others, (especialy yours) It seems like a good compromise might be to pay attention to the boots (as I do anyway)and carry a spare (espescialy syncro fronts) on trips away from our home mechanics, so in a pinch we can deal with it in the field. As to total failure due to a torn or damaged boot, the chance/consiquence is the same if you re-pack or not.

I do the same with a water pump, but I wouldn't change it just because it had X 1000kms on it.

One of the side benefits of the internet and fed-ex/airborne etc is that we can get almost anything overnight almost any where, even obscure westy parts. I live 100 miles from town in Nw Ontario and I get parts overnight.(If I'm willing to pay for the privilage) Also almost any small town shop can do c.v.s now, unlike 20 years ago when a Detroit iron wrench had never heard of one.

I would never venture 200km up the bush road knowing I had some pending problem, but touch wood, I've never been broken down badly enough not to get to a phone.

Once again, Mike thanks for your input. Does anyone else have an opinion?

Icarus
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
See the SUPPLIERS forum, "Hardware, bolts/nuts/washers . . ." topic for an update on CV joint Schnorr lock washer sources.
 

semiret

New member
I am new to the Westy world and I have what I hope will not be considered a dumb question concerning the rear CV joints. I have a '78 Westy that I have recently bought and decided to repack the rear CV joints. I read all the advice I could find, including the Bentley manual, and have read conflicting reports.
My question concerns the cage. The note by Levous that was posted 10-21-2002 states his CV joints were installed with the cage 'backwards or upside down'.

I have figured out how to tell the inner side from the outer side (inner side being, to me, the side where the boot is) for the outer ring and the inner ball hub. However, I can't see any difference in the cage. I tried marking the cage before disassembly, but the solvent made short work of anything I tried.

What is the trick you guys have of telling which way the cage and inner ball should be re-assembled?
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
One side of the cage is flat and the other has a very slight bevel. The bevel side goes toward the transmission or axle flange (away from the boot). This is most noticeable in the Bentley 42.9, diagram 40-014.
 
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
I've posted a copy of a Schnorr washer tech bulletin on the Tech Drawings link. See also "Lock nuts, bolts & washers" topic in TOOLS forum.

GoWesty has started stocking them.
 

Steve Williams

New member
Greetings:
My 84 Tiico Westy, 2 WD @ 175,K might needs new CV joints. I always had a little vibration coming from the engine.drivetrain. I repacked and reversed them around 1113K but there is slop and I would expect these are well beyond their service life.
I've see Febi offers a complete rear axle half shaft for less than $100 plu the cost of the Schoor washers and bolts. Has anyone tried this instead of just replacing the CV Joints?

Thanks, Steve
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Febi is an aftermarket supplier. [They are NOT part of Bilstein shocks.] They supply aftermarket from in-house production or as a distributor.

Replacing entire axles instead of CV's is becoming increasingly common and cost effective. The labor of removing the axle, then disassembly, repack and reinstallation is often higher than the R&R of the axle with new or rebuilt CV's as a unit. The price of the assembly is generally less than the sum of the compnent parts, too.

Febi is multi-national and sources or produces parts from all markets. They are relatively well known for European cars. I've used some Febi parts with satisfactory results. You may find that the Febi axle has LoBro, GKN or other components since they apparently outsource parts they don't manufacture and thus are a 'brand name' aftermarket supplier.
 

Steve Williams

New member
Greetings:

An update those axle assemblies; they are from EMPI. Not Febi, the CVs are LoBro. What was curious is the parts supplier who sponsors this site lists them as left and right.

Regards,
Steve
 

staninco

New member
CV Boot Clamps?

I am looking at a '90 Vanagon a dealer has taken in on trade - crawling around under it I noted that the small end of the CV boots are not clamped. There is a small amount of grease is visible on the axle at the end of the boot.

When I checked past dealer maintenance on this vehicle, I see that 1,700 miles (1 year) ago "CV Boots" were done. I intend to ask if they can tell me WHY CV boots were replaced, and which ones.

Any opinions about how much risk this unclamped boot small end represents?
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
:( A 'trick' to cover a bad CV or avoid a proper repack is to inject moly grease with a grease needle under the axle end of the boot. They would have to remove the clamp to do this and it could well leave grease oozing out from the broken seal at the boot. If you can confirm the boots were actually replaced on sound CV's, the OE clamps can be installed after the boot is on the axle. It takes a little patience to open them up sufficient to slide them over the axle without damage, and you must have the correct clamp pliers, but it can be done.

Some axle rebuilders (non-OEM) use adhesive on the inner axle boots. A lousy practice and clamps should be installed as soon as possible. Replacing boots is routine and many of us do a CV clean, inspection and boot replacement on a set schedule, say 30K or 60K miles. The boots dry, split or get damaged. If a boot is found split, the CV joint should be removed, cleaned, inspected and repacked as grit could have gotten in from even a mile or two of road dirt and wipe out the CV joint.
 
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CPOly

New member
I'm curious as to what mechanical function this slight bevel on the cage has? When I pulled the half shafts and cv joints this past weekend on my recently purchased '82 vanagon campmobile, there was no consistency in which direction the bevel was pointing. Also the ball hubs on my cv joints have somewhat of a "shoulder" on one side, and am wondering if that matters which direction it is pointing? The work sequence in the bentley for assembling states that installation position of the ball hub into the cage isn't important, and therefore it wouldn't matter where this "shoulder" is pointing.
 

microbusdeluxe

New member
cv match ups

Repacking the cv's on my 81 manual tranny aircooled Westy this weekend. I found a concave washer just under the snap ring. Bentley does not show one in their photos/diagrams and no one mentions it in their repack descriptions/tips. The only mention I read on it was from the old "Idiot's Guide" which seemed to indicate that it went on the axle shaft first, before you press/drive on the cv.

Any clues where it goes & which direction the dished side faces?? Thanks.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
This is addressed in the very first post of this topic. That washer was discontinued in 1975. It is often included with replacement aftermarket CV kit's and repack boot kits so it appears your CV's were replaced or repacked at some point by someone who didn't read that instruction (Type II Bentley §6-3.2). Even OEM kits from LoBro cover several models, years and perhaps other manufacturers, so may include hardware not used on a particular vehicle. The instruction not to use wasn't included in the Vanagon Bentley because they assumed everyone knew by then and since there was no concave washer when the original was removed, there would be no reason to insert one on the replacement. It's not in the Vanagon parts fiche, another clue. VW assumes you are using VW OE parts, which would not include the washer.
 
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Japhy Ryder

New member
Question about replacing cv joints

I have an '84 westy manual trans (non synchro) and recently began noticing a knocking sound after letting out clutch in first and second (possibly third but the noise is very slight). From reading the forums and talking with my local mechanic I'm pretty sure the noise is from the driver's side cv joint. My question is twofold:

First, given the time involved and the fact that it is already making noise, is it better to simply replace it as opposed to repacking the joint?

Second, if the best option is to replace the axle, what is the best "brand"? My local mechanic has an EMPI rear axle but I've also checked the Van cafe and Go Westy. All are roughly the same price. All things equal I'd rather support my local mechanic but I want the best parts. Thanks in advance.

JR
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
I doubt EMPI makes the actual joints. They are more known as a dealer of branded parts, often Mexican, made under contract. They are a well-known VW parts vendor -- heavily into the modified & dress-up market. I'd probably stick with GoWesty or VanAgain because their catalog of axles & CV joints for Vanagons has a number of mistakes. OEM is LoBro. Post #29 in this topic says the joints on the EMPI axle he bought were OEM LoBro. Other questions answered above.
 
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Japhy Ryder

New member
Removing rear axle

Sorry ambitious newbie question to follow....I have an 84 manual transmission and I've been following directions that I received from both a local mechanic and online. Both sources told me to loosen the cv bolts (hex heads) with wheels off the ground. When I do this the cv joint turns but not the bolt. I tried it with the wheels on the ground and got the transmission side loose but now there is so little room to work that I cannot seem to reach the wheel side bolts. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

Japhy Ryder

New member
Thanks for the info. I have the Bentley but it does not address that particular issue. At least not under the rear axle/cv section.
 

brew

New member
Hi everyone great stuff here. my question is are the CV joints on a 1980 Vanagon the same on both sides. the transmission side and the wheel side? I have the usual symptoms of bad ones clunking rattling when moving. Also I can grab the axle shaft and move in back and forth between the wheel and transmission.
thanks !
 

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