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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all and TIA for any and all suggestions, answers and advice,

I am working on my wife's 2001 Outback LL Bean 3.0 replacing the front axle shafts and struts/shocks all around. After removing the strut on the front driver side I removed the axle shaft from the front hub and proceeded to try to pull the axle shaft out of the differential housing. I was unaware that there is a roll pin that needs to be driven out with a punch before pulling the axle assembly out. The splined male shaft in the differential housing has come (pulled) out around 2 inches and will not go back in. I am very afraid that I have really screwed up and the whole driveline will need to come apart in order to fix this problem. I have tried turning and wiggling the shaft while pushing it in with no luck. Is there some secret to getting this shaft to go back in? I can't even put the car back together to take it to a professional mechanic until I get this resolved. If someone out there has been up against this issue before and knows what it takes to resolve it please post a reply. I will be eternally grateful.

Thanks,

Perry
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Update...

Hi all,

I've done some digging around, searching the forums for clues. Apparently the splined shaft is referred to as a stub shaft. In my case it appears the stub shaft did not come all the way out. The splines on the inside end of the stub shaft appear to still be in the differential because the shaft is not easy to turn. It turns, but not freely like I suspect it would if the inner splines were no longer engaged with the splines in the differential. I'm pretty sure what I'm up against is the sping clip snapping in. The posts I've found suggest just hitting the end of the shaft with a dead blow hammer. The only problem I see with this is getting to the end of the shaft with a hammer and actually having enough room to swing a hammer. There's just not much room up in there, and I'm still a little leery about smacking the end of the stub shaft with any kind of hammer since I'm not positive the splines are actually lined up since the shaft is around 2 inches out at this point. I may try using some kind of shaft to reach in from outside, with one end up against the stub shaft and hitting the other end with the hammer. Again, any and all suggestions are encouraged and appreciated. There must be lots of mechanics out there betther than me because I'm a rank amateur.

Thanks,

Perry
 

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They usually just snap back in. I knocked one loose when was dragging the H6 I recently transplanted around the driveway and it just popped back in with a satisfying "click" once the spring clip reseated.

All these folks having problems reseating axle stubs makes me wonder if I've just been lucky all these years. . .

Drop the Y pipe. It'll give you more room to work and it's pretty easy to pull. 3 nuts at each exhaust flange, 2 bolts, 2 nuts, 2 springs at the midpipe flange, and a 14mm bolt at the hanger at the end of the trans and it's loose. Just don't forget to unhook your o2 sensors (all three of them).
 

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I'm not sure how that inner splined-end connects, however I feel that the pin that should have been removed is something that may have just been changed with newer vehicles to eliminate that one-step and allow for pulling the shaft fully-out from the differential - the shaft being held in by the spring clip pin.

If that is the case, simply trying to press the shaft back into the differential may be all it takes. My right-front axle on my '05 that I replaced last month did not want to go all the way in. I managed to get it in by using the inner, sliding, CV joint kind of as a hammer-press. I pulled the CV joint out so the bellows were stretched then basically pushed the axle back into the CV joint, which, in turn, kind of acted as a hammer, making the inner spline go into the differential. When I could not pull the spline from the differential by hand, I new the little wire clip had fully-engaged!

I confirmed this by lining up the axle, putting the axle nut on backwards, flush with the end of the axle and used a 5# hammer with two rather sharp blows at the new axle end, while pressing all the axle components together. For both hammer-blows, I got a really solid "thump" sound, but with NO movement. I then determined that the new axle was indeed clipped into place.

I was able to reassemble the entire front end, installing the new front struts and also new stabilizer bushings and links.

Unless the car has been in a major accident, or that wheel has been hit some way to bend something (like the lower arm or the frame), the design is such that you would not be able to reassemble the wheel if the axle were not set fully in place.

I may be wrong on this. I am using the '05 instructions which state that all main vehicle components, including engine and differential mounts must be in good condition, otherwise the axle could just fall out on its own.

I am assuming you have a clip on the inner portion of spline, and I am assuming that the clip is like the newer versions, just with the newer versions that the pin to remove the axle has been eliminated.

Someone please correct me if I am wrong.

If you can get the axle all the way out, you may want to replace that oil seal on the differential housing. I had to get mine at Subaru. I found something round that was a perfect match to hit it into place using a heavy rubber mallet. Make sure, if you do pull the seal, that you observe which way it goes so you can install the new one in the same manner!
 

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Lockmedic confirmed my suspicion that there is a clip and it just has to be re-set into the differential splined hole.
 

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The newer Subies eliminated the roll pin. Axles just pop out on those. Older ones have roll pins. Oddly the rear axles as far back as I can remember use spring clips. . only advantage to the stub axles I can see is it keeps you from spilling 90wt when you pull the trans :)

I've popped them out accidentally and on purpose, they always just click back in. Another forum member recently had issues getting one of those back together on a first gen car, so I really can't say why they're sometimes difficult.

They've always come out on me when I've gotten a little overenthusiastic with the spindle when the strut is unhooked. I just bump the end of the DOJ (inner joint) with a deadblow hammer and they've always snapped right back in.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Problem solved, stub axle back in place...

Hi all,

I'm sending a big THANKS! out to Lockmedic and Saint J VT for their help. I used a long pry bar against the center of the stub axle and a 5lb. sledge to seat the stub axle into the next notch. I then had to turn the stub axle slightly to get the splines to line up and it popped in another 1/4" or so. Another solid thump with the sledge and it finished seating all the way in. I have installed the new axle assembly with the new roll pin and into the hub at the other end.
BTW, I bought Empi brand fully new axle assemblies and paid only $51 each. I found them with Yahoo shopping (shopping.yahoo.com). Empi is an ISO 9001 approved manufacturer and the assemblies I got look and fit great.
Again, thanks for all your help. I am SO GLAD this forum is here. I was borderline panicking when I couldn't push the stub axle back in with my short pry bar. I figured some thrust washer had dropped down and was now blocking the shaft from going back in. I was imagining a worst case scenario where the whole transaxle would have to be removed to fix the issue. In other words, huge relief came when it finally popped back in all the way. Have a great week everyone.

Sincerely,

Perry Hunt (CobraRGuy)

P.S. Did you know that the word "sincere" comes from Italian "sin cere" and means "no wax"? It was used by sculptors to let their customers know that they do not use any wax to cover up mistakes they had made in their sculptures, that they are all marble and contain no wax. There's no wax in my THANKS! It is truly "sin cere". Best Regards...
 
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