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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Well I was working on my passenger side LCA, tie rods, and CV axle replacement today. Things were going ok, not great, but better than the driver's side until this...

Has anyone removed the front passenger CV axle?

The service manual says to run a rod underneath the car and put it on the flange of the inboard CV joint (where it connects to the intermediate shaft) and hammer it out. It doesn't say any other parts have to be removed.

The Honda engineers who wrote that are a lying sack of you know what. There is only one tiny window that lets you get (in my case a big screw driver) in there. But when hammering it immediately slips off the CV flange, because the angle is so high where it hits the flange. You can't get it squared up to where it rests on the shoulder as it goes into the intermediate shaft, to wedge it in there better.

I tried running a crow bar from the wheel well, and using it like a slide hammer to pull it out. You can only do this from the front side, not the rear side, because of the heat shield. You just can't get enough bite and umph on it. I had to lever the hell out of the driver's side to get it to release.

I'm trying to decide if I go to Harbor Freight and try a proper slide hammer. Or if I should remove the frame stiffener and the exhaust J pipe, because I think that would allow you to do what the service manual suggests. Or if I'm missing something else?

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
i had to change the front passenger side cv joint in our '03 a year ago along with the bearing.used a pry bar at the transmission to pop it out.
The transmission is on the drivers side where you can pry against it. I did that CV last weekend.

The passenger CV just slides into an intermediate shaft, and there is nothing good to pry against. I did try prying against the J pipe so hard, I was rocking the car so bad, it was probably close to falling off the Jack stands. Glad I had it blocked too while I was under it. I guess mine is rust bonded or has a really aggressive C clip.

I found a guy on YouTube that showed using a slide hammer and chain sorta like I was imagining. Think I'm gonna see if I can rent one. They are $90 for a 5 lb one at Harbor Freight. I was shocked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I had seen that first thread, and it is the factory service manual method to put a rod against the joint flange and hammer it off from the direction of the drivers side toward the passenger side.

The problem is that is completely impossible to do (at least beyond baby taps at a glancing angle) without removing the J exhaust pipe, and therefore the subframe cross stiffener, neither of which are called out in the service manual, but I think we are about to do it.

I think I'm past all the steps in the 2nd thread unless I missed one.

I ended up hacking the boot off, and pulling the axle out of the inboard CV joint to get it out of the way, since I don't have a core charge. Didn't end up getting us anything more.

Though I've also thought about calling a flatbed truck to winch it off our driveway, and drive it to the dump.

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So I found that 1/2" thick wall electrical metallic conduit (EMT) 20" long is the perfect sized "rod" to run over the exhaust pipe and put against the CV joint flange (the bottom part of the cup that slides into the intermediate shaft). With this it wedges in good enough that you can hit it hard, and it can't slide around and glance off the CV flange. It stays on it like the service manual shows. But this still did not work after probably 100 good hits with a sledge.

We decided we wanted the car up even higher so I jacked it up from the front center jack point, raised the jack stands under both doorsill welds, pounded a 2x4 under the driver's side tire, and put the blocking back. When I came back to the passenger side, the CV cup had just fallen off the intermediate shaft and was sitting on the subframe without us touching it.

My father in law thought it was somehow bound up before and doing that released it. I find that hard to believe because the CV cup had about 1/4" of slack shaking it by hand before it would hit the interior C clip. There was nothing even close to the CV cup for it to be binding against. We had left the EMT in there while jacking, and I think with all the rubber mounting of the subframe and engine and exhaust pipe, it somehow allowed the EMT to fall deeper into the hole and when we set the car back down it wedged and pushed the cup off.

The C clip on the end of the intermediate shaft has a lot more slack (was bigger around) than most of the round spring C clips I've seen. It will almost come out of it's recess without prying on it. I think this was poor manufacturing tolerances on Honda's part, and I feel like it's a bad design all around. I don't see the need for it in the first place. The LCA and strut holds the CV axle into the car. If something happens that silly little C clip isn't going to retain anything at the level of forces acting on a suspension.

Anyway it is super frustrating because this removal step took 10 hours alone. And I couldn't even tell myself how to "reproduce" the fix if I do have to replace the passenger CV joint again.
 

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Colin, I think your car must be cursed, because you always seem to struggle with things that are normally pretty trivial. I've pulled my right front CV axle at least a couple times, and have no recollection of the process (meaning it just came out without a fight).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I think you are right, my car is cursed. Though someone on Facebook MDX told me I don't know how to use tools, and should pay someone else to do it. Maybe he's right.

An interesting thing happened when I tried to put on the new passenger CV axle. It would not get started into the intermediate shaft no matter what I did. After lots of struggling with it, my father in law went to the driver's side tire and rotated it forward and backward 4 or 5 times as I held pressure against the CV axle to the intermediate shaft. It fell right on effortlessly.

At this point I think it is certain that my C clip on the intermediate shaft was too large, either a manufacturing defect or strange wear pattern. Rotating the driver's tire (inadvertently when removing the old one), and to install the new one, allowed the c clip to torque around it's circumference and close up so it could release the old axle, then accept the new axle female end.

It's irritating that Honda doesn't suggest this as a way to get the CV axle off or on - or that it doesn't seem to be common knowledge as a way to do it at least on the 6 or so different YouTube videos I watched for MDX / Pilot / Oddessey.

More curses -

The car battery was dead after 9 days sitting on the jack stands. I turned it on once to unlock the wheel. And I was in and out of the passenger and driver's door a couple of times. But other than that I didn't use the car or leave anything on. I guess that bug with opening the passenger door, the car doesn't remember to turn off, bit me. Its sitting on the charger now before I can drive it to the alignment shop.

And when I was checking my oil I noticed that the valve cover is cracking. This is the bolt above spark plugs 4/5. I guess it is phenolic plastic? I hadn't realized it wasn't metal before. Guess I'll have to figure out how expensive that will be to buy the part, so I can replace it when I planned to do my valve lash adjustment this summer. I wonder if it will last until then without throwing emissions codes.

116630
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I found out that isn't a crack. It's paint peeling off the aluminum valve covers. That's kinda ridiculous that they're painted. I may do another thread on that - no question - just a "why" and FYI. Anodizing would have been much more reliable.
 

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I had the same, similar problem, with the passenger side CV joint on my 2005 Pilot. I tried everything. There is only tiniest window to thread a rod to the back of the CV axel and tap it off. Your problem sounds about the same. I struggled part time for about three days. I then went to Oreilly's in the evening to explain my problem. The older man behind the counter said he had no idea, but he motioned to "the kid" up front who had overheard and said, "think he might have a solution".

The "kid" suggested a 1/4 inch 2 foot long extension bar for sockets. And, I also bought a 5 pound mallet with a handle the length of a normal hammer. I think it took me two taps to get the CV axel to move. The kid even suggested I could return both the extension bar and hammer per Oreilly's return policy. I kept them anyway.

The driver's side came off easily and had easy access. But, the other one was awful without the right tools and knowing how.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I had the same, similar problem, with the passenger side CV joint on my 2005 Pilot. I tried everything. There is only tiniest window to thread a rod to the back of the CV axel and tap it off. Your problem sounds about the same. I struggled part time for about three days. I then went to Oreilly's in the evening to explain my problem. The older man behind the counter said he had no idea, but he motioned to "the kid" up front who had overheard and said, "think he might have a solution".

The "kid" suggested a 1/4 inch 2 foot long extension bar for sockets. And, I also bought a 5 pound mallet with a handle the length of a normal hammer. I think it took me two taps to get the CV axel to move. The kid even suggested I could return both the extension bar and hammer per Oreilly's return policy. I kept them anyway.

The driver's side came off easily and had easy access. But, the other one was awful without the right tools and knowing how.
That extension bar does sound like the right tool to try the service manual procedure for the passenger side. I was lucky and had 1/2" EMT "pipe" laying around my father in law found and it "worked" as well as the service manual intention. I slammed it good with a large sledge and that EMT solidly on the CV flange about 100 times. It never budged the CV cup. But when my father in law went to the driver's side and rotated the tire back and forth while in the air, the passenger side CV cup both flopped off, and the new passenger axle slid on within seconds and no real effort. But it took us 10 hours of work to get to that.

On the MDX driver's side, there is also only 1 window where you can lever a pry bar against the transmission case behind the CV cup. It took some real effort and about 20 pulls but we did get it off in less than 30 minutes.
 

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That extension bar does sound like the right tool to try the service manual procedure for the passenger side. I was lucky and had 1/2" EMT "pipe" laying around my father in law found and it "worked" as well as the service manual intention. I slammed it good with a large sledge and that EMT solidly on the CV flange about 100 times. It never budged the CV cup. But when my father in law went to the driver's side and rotated the tire back and forth while in the air, the passenger side CV cup both flopped off, and the new passenger axle slid on within seconds and no real effort. But it took us 10 hours of work to get to that.

On the MDX driver's side, there is also only 1 window where you can lever a pry bar against the transmission case behind the CV cup. It took some real effort and about 20 pulls but we did get it off in less than 30 minutes.
I have spend over 6 hrs trying to remove passenger side axle and I have see this post about rotating the driver side tire bacnk and forth in the air and it still not budged. Do you have to do anything on the CV cup light wedging a pry bar or something. Do you need to do any pulling on the cv cup..All I see when we rotate the tires, the CV cup would just turn as with the tire rotating. Do we need to put in Neutral maybe? Any help would be greatly appreciated
 

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I have spend over 6 hrs trying to remove passenger side axle and I have see this post about rotating the driver side tire bacnk and forth in the air and it still not budged. Do you have to do anything on the CV cup light wedging a pry bar or something. Do you need to do any pulling on the cv cup..All I see when we rotate the tires, the CV cup would just turn as with the tire rotating. Do we need to put in Neutral maybe? Any help would be greatly appreciated
Your vehicle may be similar to my 2005 Honda Pilot. To remove the CV joint requires modest tapping on the cup to push it away from the transmission. I'm relating this from memory from 3 years ago. To reach the CV joint is easy on one side, but very difficult on the other side. Prying did not work. After three evenings of trying everything, I purchased a 1/4 inch 2 foot long socket extension. I was able to thread it through the space from the drivers side to catch the CV cup. It was hard to line everything up, but it worked. I used a 5 pound mallet to tap the extension and after two or three taps the CV cup became loose. From there it was manageable to pull out the CV axel.

Please note that when reinstalling the new CV axel it is easy to get the rotating parts within the boot out of place. With care they can be pushed back together again.

Getting the wheel and lower control arms back in place onto the axel is a bear, as well.

Best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
No you don't put it in neutral as you want it taking up the slack in the drive train as you rotate the tire.

I didn't have to tap or pull on the cup, but I had also cut the rubber boot completely off and yanked the axle out of the inner CV joint from frustration.

You can't pull on the CV axle unless you are ok just tearing the old rubber boot too. But if you are still having trouble I would either tap on the CV cup with an extension as someone else rotates the driver's tire.

Another way you can find on Google is to wrap a chain around the cup and use a slide hammer. Supposedly that works without the rotating trick, but didn't for me.

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Yes, you can tap out the right axle and pry out the left axle. Just get a long, stout bar of some sort on the cup where it exits the tranny, and give it a good whack, and voila! It'll pop right out.

If you have a lot of trouble getting it back in, it's usually because the C-ring that locks it in place is out of spec (I've re-used the original C-ring on replacement axles to get them to go in).
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I hope sdao16 goes more like others. But for mine there was no tapping out the right axle. I used a large sledge, slamming an EMT rod as hard as I could from underneath. I stopped counting on the 100th strike, looked up and realized the car was dangerously rocking on the jackstands before I gave up on that method.

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No you don't put it in neutral as you want it taking up the slack in the drive train as you rotate the tire.

I didn't have to tap or pull on the cup, but I had also cut the rubber boot completely off and yanked the axle out of the inner CV joint from frustration.

You can't pull on the CV axle unless you are ok just tearing the old rubber boot too. But if you are still having trouble I would either tap on the CV cup with an extension as someone else rotates the driver's tire.

Another way you can find on Google is to wrap a chain around the cup and use a slide hammer. Supposedly that works without the rotating trick, but didn't for me.

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I did the same thing as I got so frustrated that it won't budge, the axle and rubber boot come out of the cup. I guess I will have to see how I can try the tap with the extension rod. Seem impossible as I don't see how I can tap from that angle. Will give it another shot per the suggestion
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
You need a long rod like almost 2 feet. You feed it through the underside from drivers to passenger, going above the exhaust pipe. There is only one tiny window for it to feed through. It's hard to miss seeing if you are down there looking up and towards the passenger side, with good light. Access is terrible though.

If it doesn't tap out relatively easy, leave the bar in there against the cup. Lower the car most of the way, jack it back up, then rotate the driver's tire again forward and back to the clicks as you hear it taking up driveline slack. Then go see if the cup fell out. I think that is close to the exact sequence of events that worked for me.

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