Saturday, August 21, 2010

Costant Velocity Joint replacement, Audi A4

clicking noise coming from one of the front wheel (front wheel drive car) upon turning and accelerating from standing still. For example, turning right/left at a stop sign. The car in this post is an Audi A4 (B5 model).

There are tons of sites that already post the instructions on removing the CV boot and the CV joint itself. Please see this one or even better, this one for a full description. Note that replacing the CV boot and replacing the CV joint basically require the same amount of work. Simply replace the old CV joint with the new one when replacing the boot and voila, you saved a ton of money. In my case it was $100 (parts + DIY) Vs. $850 estimate from the local dealer. What I wanted to share here is some tips and tricks:
  1. make an extractor tool out of the bolt you remove from the old CV by simply grinding off the first 1/4 inch of the thread (tip end, of course). I used a Dremel power tool and it works like a charm. Once you prep the bolt this way, you can screw it back in all the way and the CVJ pops right off the axle effortlessly.
  2. turn the wheels all the way to the opposite side you are working on. Say you are working on the right wheel, turn the wheels all the way to the left. This will push the steering arm all the way out. Once you pop the support arms (see photo) this will give you all the room you need to work on the CVJ and CV boot without removing the axle.
  3. do ease all the wheel bolts including the axle bolt before lifting the car. I am talking about 1/2 turn, no more. This will just make life easier once the tire is off the ground and you cannot and should not put torque against the axle/transmission
  4. if you are replacing the CVJ, note that a new one hardly swivel by hand whereas a worn one will easily swivel just by touching it (once removed, of course). The point here is the tolerances are very tight on the new part and they will loosen over time up to the point where you will start hearing the aforementioned ticking noise when turning. The ticking is generated in fact by the excessive clearances in the joint.

A sample of the tools I used for the job. Basically you want to have a basic tool kit of metric sockets and wrenches. For this project you will also need these three tools that are definitely not off the shelf so if you do not have them, please make sure you procure them first:
  1. depending on the specific year of your A4 you may need either a 27mm socket or a 17mm hex. If your car is prior 2001, chances are you need the socket.
  2. a CV boot clamping tool. This is a pain to find but Napa Auto parts actually carries it. Starts there.
  3. long arm torque wrench capable of 120 lb torque. I bough mine at the local Osh.


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