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2001 Subaru Outback L.L. Bean
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, first time poster but long time reader. I am a DIY'er for all of my cars and a self taught mechanic. Most of my experience is with RWD vehicles, and the basic maintenance on FWD.

I inherited a 2001 Subaru Outback with over 170,000 and have been freshening up some worn out (and Midwest rusted) parts. This weekend I tackled the suspension that was shot, corroded, and even had a broken spring perch. I swapped out the old with some new complete mount assemblies.

The rears were a breeze and went on and off without any issues. The front became a bit more difficult. My first mistake was that I only jacked up the front driver side of the car and not the passenger side with it. Broke all the bolts free with no problem, but was having a hard time moving the knuckle/hub out of the strut mount. I could feel tension but gave it a good whack. It broke free but the hub pushed outward with some force. I pushed back on the hub toward the engine and noticed there was a lot of resistance. I was able to attach some bungie crds to hold it in place without falling forward even more. This is when I noticed that front axle/CV shaft felt like it had popped "out."

At this point I realized my first mistake was not getting the whole front end off the ground, and that my second mistake was not supporting the hub. I was able to get the new drivers side strut assembly in without issue and moved the CV shaft around until I felt it pop back in to place. Then I got the right side strut assembly swapped with no problem. As I prepared to get the wheels back on I noticed that I could turn both front wheels freely without resistance, even though the car was in park. When I got under to take a closer look I saw what appears to be the axle stub popping out of the driver side of the differential. The CV axle is still attached to it with the pin. I tried pushing on it but was not able to get it back in.

At this point I torqued nuts and bolts on the struts, bolted the wheels back on, let it down on all fours, torqued the wheels, and back the car out of the garage and in to the street. It moved quietly and smoothly with no noises, but I could "feel" that not all wheels are getting power.

I wanted to provide as much background to the situation before asking my question:
Can I just hammer the driver axle from the hub side and pop the stub back into place? Or do I need to detach the CV axle from the stub first? I am looking for the easiest and safest means of getting the stub and axle back in place and road ready one again. Thanks in advance for your help.

Pics for better perspective :)

 

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Can I just hammer the driver axle from the hub side and pop the stub back into place? Or do I need to detach the CV axle from the stub first?
Not an uncommon situation, and there's different views on what to do. It might be possible to hit the opposite end of the axle and drive the stub in, however, that's putting a fair amount of unusual pressure on the two joints, which could cause internal damage. While I acknowledge there are other view, I think the norm would be to drive out the retaining pin, detach the stub from the inner joint, and get the stub properly engaged with the side gear in the differential. Note: the stub is retained in the differential by a "C" clip. With the stub out, check that the "C" clip is intact. It might be in a groove in the stub, or in a corresponding groove in the splines of the side gear.
 

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2001 Subaru Outback L.L. Bean
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
While I acknowledge there are other view, I think the norm would be to drive out the retaining pin, detach the stub from the inner joint, and get the stub properly engaged with the side gear in the differential. Note: the stub is retained in the differential by a "C" clip. With the stub out, check that the "C" clip is intact. It might be in a groove in the stub, or in a corresponding groove in the splines of the side gear.
Thanks for the reply and the info. I would agree with the the "norm" perspective, as the axles are relatively new based on the paper work.

A couple follow up questions:
1) Do I need to disassemble the axle from the steering knuckle as well, or only where it connects to the axle stub? In other words, if I only disconnect form the stub, does the axle have enough play to move out of the way.
2) What should I drive the pin out and in with? Can I reuse it or is there a good aftermarket suggestion?
3) After I disconnect the axle, can I just pull on the stub by hand to remove it?
4) Are the C-clips reusable as long as there is no sign of damage or distress?
5) I assume then I just line the splines into the diff, then tap it with a rubber mallet until it "pops" in. Then reattach axle and drive in pin. No need to replace seals or other parts?

Thanks again. Just want as much info as possible before trying to dig back in this weekend. Seems like it should be pretty straightforward and simple, but this is my first time dealing with this type of setup.
 

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1999 30th Anniversary Legacy Outback DOHC 2.5L 4EAT, 2008 Impreza WRX 2.5L 5MT, 2008 Impreza Wagon 2.5L 4EAT
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You don't need to remove the axle from the wheel hub. Drive out the pin and then tap the stub shaft into the transmission (dead blow hammer or rubber mallet). Then put the axle onto the stub shaft and then insert the pin. Note that it goes in one way. Make sure to line up the hole in the CV axle with the stub shaft. You may have to loosen the two bolts holding the strut to the hub to get enough play to push it all back in.

Company 23 makes a great tool to put the roll pin in and out.



Axle Pin Tool
 

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i tap them back in place with a 2x4 and a hammer working around the edge of the CV cup.

otherwise yeah just take the stub out, pull axle out and reinstall stub then axle. the axle can pull far enough away even while it's still bolted to the knuckle.
 

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This happened to me on my 97 OB and I initially thought I had a serious problem. In my case I was replacing an axle. I had removed the axle pin, and the stub came out of the transmission case as I pulled the axle out. I simply slid the stub back into the transmission, aligned the splines, and gave it one good hit with a rubber mallet. The stub popped back into place and I continued installing the new axle. This was 10K+ miles ago, so no harm done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Good questions that I can't answer from personal experience. But there are threads/posts here where the procedure and issues are discussed.
Thank you again for getting the "conversation" going for me. That thread did have some helpful info. Appreciate your time!

You don't need to remove the axle from the wheel hub. Drive out the pin and then tap the stub shaft into the transmission (dead blow hammer or rubber mallet). Then put the axle onto the stub shaft and then insert the pin. Note that it goes in one way. Make sure to line up the hole in the CV axle with the stub shaft. You may have to loosen the two bolts holding the strut to the hub to get enough play to push it all back in.

Company 23 makes a great tool to put the roll pin in and out.
This is exactly what I needed to know! I ended up finding the tool being sold by the same company on Amazon. Hopefully I can get to it this weekend and give my feedback. Based on the photos I provided, is that the end of the pin I would need to punch in, or is that the end that will move out?

i tap them back in place with a 2x4 and a hammer working around the edge of the CV cup.

otherwise yeah just take the stub out, pull axle out and reinstall stub then axle. the axle can pull far enough away even while it's still bolted to the knuckle.
Awesome! I was really hoping that I would not need to pull the whole axle. 2x4 sounds like an interesting trick too, but I ended up ordering the tool and will try that route. Cheers!

This happened to me on my 97 OB and I initially thought I had a serious problem. In my case I was replacing an axle. I had removed the axle pin, and the stub came out of the transmission case as I pulled the axle out. I simply slid the stub back into the transmission, aligned the splines, and gave it one good hit with a rubber mallet. The stub popped back into place and I continued installing the new axle. This was 10K+ miles ago, so no harm done.
Thank you for sharing this. The more I have been reading throughout the week, the more I realize this is a common occurrence and an easy fix. The steps you described are exactly what I was hoping to hear in terms of the removal and installation of that stub. I will report back once I get the job done; hopefully this weekend!
 

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1999 30th Anniversary Legacy Outback DOHC 2.5L 4EAT, 2008 Impreza WRX 2.5L 5MT, 2008 Impreza Wagon 2.5L 4EAT
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The axle has one hole that is countersunk, that is the way the pin goes in, punch it out from the other side and in that hole
 

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2001 Subaru Outback L.L. Bean
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The axle has one hole that is countersunk, that is the way the pin goes in, punch it out from the other side and in that hole
Excellent! So the pin end in my picture looks to be the end that is used to punch it in.

As a side note, I am thoroughly impressed with the craftsmanship of the axle pin tool from Company 23 upon first inspection. I have a feeling this will make a huge difference in the ease of removal and installation. I have to hold off on this repair until next weekend, but will update accordingly.
 

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1999 30th Anniversary Legacy Outback DOHC 2.5L 4EAT, 2008 Impreza WRX 2.5L 5MT, 2008 Impreza Wagon 2.5L 4EAT
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Excellent! So the pin end in my picture looks to be the end that is used to punch it in.

As a side note, I am thoroughly impressed with the craftsmanship of the axle pin tool from Company 23 upon first inspection. I have a feeling this will make a huge difference in the ease of removal and installation. I have to hold off on this repair until next weekend, but will update accordingly.
I definitely found the tool made the job much easier for me, especially trying to do the job on jack stands.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well I was delayed for several weeks due to weather and life just doing its thing, but finally got around to fixing the axle and stub today. Was able to get the job done in 45 minutes without rushing and just taking my overall time. Thanks to the advice in this thread, and the tool that was linked, this job was a relatively easy endeavor.

The most difficult part was getting the axle turned to just the right spot so that I could enough clearance with my rubber mallet to knock the pin out of the stub. I had the car up on jackstands and had to rotate the axle back and forth a bit since there was not much space laying underneath. Once the axle was off the stub, I just pulled the stub out by hand and verified that the c-clip was still attached which it was. Lined up the stub with the teeth of the gears, pushed in, and then lined up a piece of wood against the stub and whacked it a few times with my rubber mallet and that seated it. Got the axle lined up perfectly, and hammered the pin back in with the special tool. Bolted the strut back up and am good to go again. Now just need to get an alignment...

Much thanks to this community and to everyone who took the time to reply. If any one else runs in to this issue, please feel free to leave a comment here and I will give some feedback.
 
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