CV Tips 101


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CV Assembly 101

CV maintenance is an important part to prevent ruining a perfectly good weekend.  It's recommended you inspect your CV's every 15th trip to the dunes, or at least once every 2yrs, whichever comes first.  Inspection requires disassembly of the CV and wiping off all the grease so you can see the metal surfaces for wear, pits, or cracks.  If it's your first time to inspect a CV it's recommended you consult with someone "in the know" so you can learn what you're looking for.  Most of the reputable parts houses who sell CV's can help.  Do not start this job without latex gloves to keep the grease off your hands, it's nasty stuff.  Also, make sure you keep your axles and CV's off the ground and on a workbench so all the grease is isolated to the bench, and off your shoes.  If you want to keep peace with the wife, tracking grease inside the house on the rug won't help.

Also, before you pull your axles off, mark the the end of the axle for orientation, such as LO for "Left Outer" and RO for "Right Outer".  For insurance you can also mark the other end of the axles LI for "Left Inner" and RI in case the other markings are rubbed off accidentally (it happens).  This is to insure you reinstall the axles the same orientation so the twist of the axle continues twisting the axles in the same direction.

After you have disassembled the CV's you need to clean them up as best possible.  Using solvent, lacquer thinner, or gasoline will suffice, take your pick. Make sure each part is very clean, then inspect them for pits, cracks, and excessive wear.  Again, your local parts house can help you determine what's excessive.   It's best to keep all the parts for each CV together, separated from the other CVs, not mixing up the parts from all 4 CV's.  When your CV's are ready to put together you need to assemble them in a certain order.  There is a wrong way to assemble them.   Here are some tips:

1.  The cage opening is slightly larger on one side.  The large side is the side you install the star gear from, it barely fits.

2.  Before you put the ball bearings in, put the star in the outer case.  Then insert the ball bearings in by twisting the star gear within the outer case to expose the bearing race opening.  If the star doesn't move freely after you install each ball bearing, you've assembled it wrong.  If this happens you likely have the star clocked one cog off.  Take the balls out and reclock the star, moving the star one cog either direction.

3.  When you have all the ball bearings installed and each CV matches these pictures, the next step is packing the CVs with grease.  Before getting started with the grease, cut 1/2" X1/2" squares of duct tape, you'll need 24 of them for a set of 930's.  Put a duct patch over each hole in the outer case, both sides.  This will keep all the grease out of the holes, very important so the loc-tite on the bolts aren't compromised with grease upon installation.

4.  Next, put on LATEX GLOVES.  This can be a messy job for the novice. Keeping the new CV grease in the CV joint and off your hands is next to impossible, even for an experienced mechanic.  Take your time, don't rush it.

5.  Use a grease needle adapter, it makes the job of inserting the grease a lot easier.  You can buy them for about $15 to $20 at Napa, Autozone, even Harbor Freight.  If you have trouble with the zerk fitting coming out of your grease gun fitting while in use, duct tape can aid to prevent that from happening, or remove the zerk and screw the needle adapter onto the end of the grease-gun hose.

6.  A common grease to use is Swepco, costs about $8/tube.  Another common grease to use is Belray, which is about $22/tube.  You can usually pack 2 CV's with one tube of grease.  Many of the racers use a mix of 75% Swepco and 25% Belray.  Just put the Swepco in first then put in the Belray if you want to use a mix.  There's no need to hand mix the two greases buy hand, unless you want to get really messy.  The CV will mix it up on the first ride.

7.  If your job is a first time assembly, make sure the CV bolts are the right length for the transaxle side.  If they are too long they can carve up the transaxle case, that's a bad thing. Sometimes using the wrong washers on the CV bolts (or forgetting the washers) will let too much bolt be exposed on the back side of the CV flange, which touches the transaxle. 

8.  If your job is a reassembly of worn CV's, make sure your bolts are clean and dry so the loc-tite will work best.  Use carburetor dip to clean the used bolts, or aerosol can of brake cleaner, then hose them off and blow dry with air hose (if you're in a hurry). 

9.  After packing the grease in the CV, carefully put the CV's on the axle and put on the axle clips.  When you've got both CV's on the axle and you're ready to install it on the car, remove the duct tape squares.  Carefully reinstall the axles, slowly.  If you have a buddy it helps if he holds one end while you install the other end.  Be careful the CV's don't get twisted at too high of an angle during reinstallation.  If they do you could lose a ball bearing, which is not good after you remove the duct tape patches.  Install one bolt at 12 o'clock on each end first without Loc-tite by fingers, this will hold the axle in place so you can take your time with each bolt as you apply Loc-tite to each bolt as you go.  Don't forget to remove the 12 o'clock bolts at the end and reinstall with Loc-tite.

10.  Always use Loc-tite on each bolt.  The "red" grade of Loc-tite is too strong, we don't recommend using it.  The 'blue" grade of Loc-tite is best for most duning enthusiasts.  "Blue" makes it easier to disassemble for inspections.  The red type loc-tite is almost impossible to remove later, so avoid the red type.

11.  Torque the bolts to 45ft lbs.  When you get both CV's done on the first axle, test it by spinning the axle while in neutral, just to make sure the bolts clearances for the transaxle is acceptable.  If the axle doesn't spin freely you should check the bolt lengths, or the washer thickness for each bolt.

How do you insure your axles are long enough, or too long?  Lift your car so the rear swing-arms are at full droop.  Grab the axle and move it left and right, toward the trans, then toward the wheel.  If you have at least a 1/4" of movement your axles are long enough.  Then raise the swing-arm so the axle stub is at the same level at the transaxle flange, which is usually the shortest distance (you may need to remove your shocks to do this)  between the wheel stub and trans.  Then grab the axle and move it left and right again.  If you have at lease 1/4" of play, your axle isn't too long.  It's important to check the side-to-side play at the shortest distance between the swingarm flange and transaxle flange. Sometimes this can be slightly above or below the axle being level, so thoroughly check it for play through this "level range", insuring there is at least 1/4" of play throughout the range of swing arm travel.


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