Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Eastern ON Canada
Car: 07 OBW 2.5i D-4AT
Feedback Score: 7 reviews
When looking underneath, also check to see if either of the two front axles has pulled out from the differential (as rasterman mentioned above). This has been seen here before.
There's a short "stub" shaft between the inner (larger) CV joint and the differential. The stub is splined, and engages the side gear inside the differential. Sometimes the stub gets pulled out, perhaps because of a stiff inner sliding CV joint, and the splines become disengaged.
The inner side of the inner CV joint should be very close to the differential -- the stub shaft should not be visible.
If you grab the outer case of the inner CV joint and push/pull on it by hand (only), it should not move in or out from the differential. If it can move away from the differential, the stub shaft can become disengaged from the side gear.
The inner CV joint outer case is connected to the stub shaft by a "roll pin". If the roll pin is missing, or broken, the CV joint can move in and out on the stub shaft.