Once again, my buddy’s 4 Runner is in need of some repairs. This time it is the front Axle’s that need to be replaced. Both sides were completely shot and there were tears in the boots that was definitely going to cause an issue down the road. We’re going to Maine and Canada and driving on dirt roads in the near future so we’ve decided to replace them now.
Look how messed up that is!
We purchased the Axle’s online through Amazon, they were the cheapie ones and there were 2 in the package, since we needed to replace them both we got them. Don’t bother, go get yourself some decent name brand axles, the one’s we purchased came torn in the box before we even installed them. Buy the good stuff on these!
The first step is always about safety! Jack up the front of the truck and put it on jack stands! You don’t want the truck to fall on you while you’re working, that would not save you any money!
Then take the wheel off and expose the brakes and hub.
Remove the dust cap off of the hub. I just used a flat head screwdriver to pry it off. Had to chisel it out a little to get the screwdriver in there but it will come off.
You can see here where i used the screwdriver!
Take out the cotter pin so that you can remove the nut on the end of the axle. I used needle nose pliers to bend the pin back to straight and then pull it through to get it out.
You can then remove the axle nut shield. This should come right off.
The next part is kind of a pain, if you have an impact gun, you can probably just hit that nut with it and it will come off. I did not feel like pulling out the air compressor, so I put the tire back on and dropped the car back on the ground. This kept the axle from spinning while I used a breaker bar to loosen the nut. I believe that I used a 36mm socket to get it off. It was a little loose on the nut but it worked. I believe that the correct size is a 35mm.
Tire on, axle nut exposed!
Once the axle nut was removed, I lifted the truck back up and continued to the next step. This was to remove the tie rod.
Take out the cotter pin for the tie rod nut.
Bad picture with the glare, but take out that pin!
Then remove the 13mm nut.
Use a puller to separate the tie rod from the steering knuckle. After a couple of turns on the puller, the tie rod popped right out.
Toyota really makes this easy for you! Unbolt the 2 19mm bolts that are holding the hub assembly in place. Do not undo the middle bolt! Once these two bolts are undone, you can take the axle out of the hub assembly.
Turn the hub assembly towards the car, the natural direction, and remove the axle. I used a ball peen hammer to tap on the end of the axle and it popped right out.
The next step is to remove the axle from the front differential. These things really do not want to come out! I used a crow bar and a screwdriver and whatever I could shove up there to get it out. You actually just need to muscle it out and not try and be too careful. The prybar will go between the differential and the dust shield. I was trying not to break anything and was having a hard time, once I decided to use max force, it came out pretty easy, the second side to ¼ the time because I knew what to do. Pulling on the axle just resulted in the picture below!
Look how messed up that is!
Once the old axle is out, it is time to put the new one in. This is where everyone online tells you it’s just the reverse of what you just did, and it is but getting these things back in the differential proved exceptionally difficult. I don’t know if it was the seals or what but they did not want to go. I had to use a little persuasion via my closest hammer to finally get them to seat properly. I actually put the end of a screwdriver in the little indent on the new axle, then tapped the screwdriver with the hammer. Even though I did that, I do not recommend it because if the drive teeth are not in their grooves properly, you may cause some damage. I figured I was ok because it seems that once I got that seal over the threshold the axles popped right in.
That’s me holding the screwdriver on that indent, almost like that’s what it’s for!
Now it’s just the reverse!