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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The service manual doesn’t mention to load the front damper before tightening the bolts to spec when installing. However, the service manual does mention to load the rear damper and tightening the bolts to spec when installing. Does this sound right?

When I was installing the front dampers a few months ago I loaded or jacked up the knuckle and tighten the bolts. Probably the way I did was wrong and that is why the outer edge of the tires are worn more?

The reason I asked because I am going to replace the front right axle and I want to make sure I am installing the knuckle/damper back properly this time.


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2008 MDX Tech+Power Tail Gate, Sterling Gray
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Jim,

The service manual indicates the strut must be loaded before torquing the knuckle/stru bolts. You load the strut by jacking up the knuckle until the strut/spring is fully compressed and the car lifts a few millimeters from the jack stands. This simulates the vehicle is at normal resting position.

To replace the axle, disconnect the ball joint from the knuckle. There is no need to disconnect the strut. By the way, the service manual also indicate the big bolts of the strut/knuckle have to be replaced every time they are unbolted. That is why the manual recommends to leave those bolts alone when replacing the axles. If not, bolts have to be replaced.


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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Jim,

The service manual indicates the strut must be loaded before torquing the knuckle/stru bolts. You load the strut by jacking up the knuckle until the strut/spring is fully compressed and the car lifts a few millimeters from the jack stands. This simulates the vehicle is at normal resting position.

To replace the axle, disconnect the ball joint from the knuckle. There is no need to disconnect the strut. By the way, the service manual also indicate the big bolts of the strut/knuckle have to be replaced every time they are unbolted. That is why the manual recommends to leave those bolts alone when replacing the axles. If not, bolts have to be replaced.


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PRG, thanks.
That was exactly what I did as you said last time when I installed the front dampers (replacing ADS with standard dampers). I am puzzled why the service manual didn’t mentioned about loading the vehicle.

As for the damper bolts, I think I can reuse them because they were replaced last time and still fairly new(about 10 months old).

I found out by removing the two big bolts on the damper, remove the brake assembly, and end link, the knuckle can be easily separated from the axle. It’s involving more parts to be removed but they are a lot easier to deal with than trying to fight with the knuckle ball joint.

Once again thanks!


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Jim,

Consider replacing the bolts. The bolts need to be replaced not because of their age. They need to be replaced because they are already stretched to their maximum yield torque once. Reusing the bolts means stretching the bolts twice; this can lead to a possible failure of the bolt in the future.


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It is all about safety. Just remove the ball joint and outer tie rod and you will be able to replace the axle.



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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
It is all about safety. Just remove the ball joint and outer tie rod and you will be able to replace the axle.



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Do you have any recommendations which ball joint separator tool for this job. I bought one from harbor freight and it’s too small for this job.

How hard was it to slide the knuckle back into the ball joint? Do you need any assistance? I heard it was tough to slide the knuckle back into position and slip in the ball joint, too much resistance. I afraid I won’t get it back in after removing.

If removing/installing the ball joint is easily done then it would be a less work than playing around with the damper and brake caliper assembly..

Thank for the photo


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I did the job myself. For the ball joint, I used the Honda recommended tool for the ball joint separator. It could be a pricy tool but well worth its value. Putting the ball joint back into position is a bear but doable. I used a long pry bar to lower the control arm in place. I replaced both axles in the same way and did not have to remove and replace the strut bolts because they were kind of new as you can see in the picture.

Now, if you don’t have the Honda tool, it is cheaper to replace the strut bolts than to deal with the value of the tool if cost of the job is one of your constraints. I am not sure a small ball joint separator made of casting can deal with this ball joint. The Honda tool is machined tool from stock, I believe.

I bought the tool when I replaced the rear main seal. The tool is completely sturdy and breaks the ball joint easy with a big bang sound that could be scary the first time.


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Well the Honda tool is also casting but heavy duty for sure.




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Once again, why you need to remove ball joint?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Once again, why you need ball joint?
Well, because every time you remove the bottom two damper bolts you have to replace them and they are like $8-9 each and then you are running around to get them online and wait.
Also wouldn’t it messed up the alignment every time you remove the knuckle from the damper?

I am trying save time and money if I have to remove my axle again soon if something doesn’t work.


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I would not worry about shock bolts, do not replace them. It is not like head or driveshaft bolts. Actually i have never seen anybody replacing them. It was a surprise that manual calls for that procedure.

And no, it will not mess alignment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
PRG,
When you install the knuckle back did you removed one end of the end link from the damper? I think if you do it would probably easier to wiggle the whole knuckle and damper back into the ball joint. It would be tough to wiggle the knuckle when it is attached to the end link and sway bar and damper.


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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I would not worry about shock bolts, do not replace them. It is not like head or driveshaft bolts. Actually i have never seen anybody replacing them. It was a surprise that manual calls for that procedure.

And no, it will not mess alignment.
If I don’t have the ball joint separator tool then I would proceed with removing the knuckle from the damper.


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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
PRG,
Can you reuse the set ring on the intermediate shaft. The manual said to replace. Is this the same set ring part that is used on the driver side inboard axle? And does it really necessary to lube the spline with high temp grease?


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u can reuse it and yes, always grease it.
 

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PRG,
When you install the knuckle back did you removed one end of the end link from the damper? I think if you do it would probably easier to wiggle the whole knuckle and damper back into the ball joint. It would be tough to wiggle the knuckle when it is attached to the end link and sway bar and damper.


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No, I did not touch any of the damper bolts.
 

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I did the job myself. For the ball joint, I used the Honda recommended tool for the ball joint separator. It could be a pricy tool but well worth its value. Putting the ball joint back into position is a bear but doable. I used a long pry bar to lower the control arm in place. I replaced both axles in the same way and did not have to remove and replace the strut bolts because they were kind of new as you can see in the picture.

Now, if you don’t have the Honda tool, it is cheaper to replace the strut bolts than to deal with the value of the tool if cost of the job is one of your constraints. I am not sure a small ball joint separator made of casting can deal with this ball joint. The Honda tool is machined tool from stock, I believe.

I bought the tool when I replaced the rear main seal. The tool is completely sturdy and breaks the ball joint easy with a big bang sound that could be scary the first time.


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Not sure if this is an option for you, but you might check and see if Autozone has a loaner tool. Deposit up front and then returned when you return the tool.
 
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