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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:32 pm 
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Retired Gearhead
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Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 11:28 am
Posts: 1808
Location: San Diego, CA
Year and Trim: 04 Lesabre, Stock
98 Lesabre, Retired
Hey all, been awhile...

Was doing my front brakes this morning on the 2004 LeSabre when I noticed I need a new driver's side CV axle (split outer boot).
(Also found I need new outer tie rod ends on both sides, boots are totally split)

So, it appears the "standard" method requires popping the ball joint:
2000-2005-other-than-gxp/topic50650.html?hilit=axle

An alternate method involves removing the strut bolts:
2000-2005-other-than-gxp/topic48737.html?hilit=axle

I hate popping ball joints, I always wind up breaking 'em.
Being that the tie rod ends are getting replaced, would need an alignment in any case...so maybe go with the strut bolts?
(Control arms and struts were replaced maybe 4-5 years ago, so none of it should be TOO crazy rusted-in!)

BUT, is there any way to get the axle out without doing either of those (pop ball joint or remove strut bolts)?
Will the knuckle swing away enough with just the tie rod ends removed? (Doubting it, but a man can hope!)

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:59 pm 
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Certified Bonneville Nut
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 11:47 pm
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Location: Philly
Year and Trim: 95 SLE
The axle end is going to be too long. Maybe if you undid the lower control arm bolts, that could work.

Popping the ball joint is pretty easy. With the castle nut undone (axle pressed in), jack up the rotor slightly but not enough to take pressure off your jack stands, clock thr steering wheel and hit the knuckle by the ball joint with a mini sledge.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 5:59 pm 
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I was able to change an axle by removing the strut, didn't have to remove tie rod nor ball joint.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:04 pm 
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Location: Muskego,Wisconsin
Year and Trim: 2000 SLE 2005 SLE
1975 Monte Carlo
Did the same thing on my car.
Pounded out the two splined stud bolts on the bottom of the strut and moved it back out of the way.
I did not have to remove the tie rod or ball joint.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:00 pm 
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The whole point of going the balljoint route or not touching the knuckle bolts is so you won't alter the alignment.

Re-reading, you're right about it not mattering since you'll need an alignment anyway with the new tie rods.

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95 SLE... a keeper. 241k miles. Low and Slow.
97 BMW 528i
98 Infiniti vq35'd i30: 13.3@104mph, 30MPG Hwy
02 Jag X-type
07 Infiniti G35s 6MT
07 Ducati Monster S2R 800 with DS1000 swap
05 Suzuki DRZ400S
83 Yamaha IT175K
72 Yamaha DS7: '74 RD250 swap, JL chambers

Info on dropping a 92-99: Here.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:25 pm 
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Location: Muskego,Wisconsin
Year and Trim: 2000 SLE 2005 SLE
1975 Monte Carlo
You are correct.
My car was due for an alignment when I changed my axle so it did not matter.
I also changed an outer tie rod at the same time.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:45 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:38 pm
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Year and Trim: 2002 Buick LeSabre
Hello,
Yeah you can do it with a little muscle...Remove strut from knuckle then the tie rod and links to the control arm and press free the axle from the the bearing gear (with the axle tool). The axle will not pop out, but the idea is just to loosen it from the bearing gear, may need some pb blast and some light taps to set it free. Once loose it will slide easy on the bearing gear and then you will be able to muscle the control arm down and the axle out of the bearing gear. There will be enough flex in the control arm to edge the axle out, with no gear damage.

(Or you can do it the 'right' way and get the Kent Moore Ball Joint separator tool, its cheaper now. It works well but if the ball joint is old the stud will be loose and just spin when you try to tighten the nut back onto it and your then... fubr toast....murphy's law kicks in and you will need to drill out the old ball joints or replace the control arm...hours and hours later. Yep stick with method one, the 'wrong' way... which is right.)


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:14 pm 
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Retired Gearhead
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98 Lesabre, Retired
Strut bolts it will be.

Thanks for the insights.

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1998 Buick Lesabre Limited, Gran Touring
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:01 pm 
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Location: San Diego, CA
Year and Trim: 04 Lesabre, Stock
98 Lesabre, Retired
Strut bolts were NOT coming out, but I successfully got the ball joint apart without damaging it or its boot, a first for me. Tie rod ends (and surprise new bellows for an inner) and CV axle seemingly installed without a hitch...

BUT, after buttoning it all back up, I now have play in my wheel bearing...yes, the same one where I replaced the CV axle. Don't know if I damaged it knocking the old axle out, or what. It doesn't grind and I'm sure I've driven on worse. But shop won't align without that fixed, and I ain't paying shop rates for the hub.

(And yes, I wiggled and looked and everything else in the suspension is solid)

Now please tell me I don't have to undo either the tie rod end or the ball joint (again) to replace the hub!

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1998 Buick Lesabre Limited, Gran Touring
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 8:39 am 
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Year and Trim: 2002 Buick LeSabre
Hello, there are just 3 bolts that hold it on from the inside of the knuckle. Which ever way you got the axle out of the gear...just do that again. You need the room to get at those bolts...and get at them squarely. Because they are loc-tited with the oem hard lock version equal to red. if those get stripped the whole knuckle needs to come out.They are kinda shallow headed bolts so use a good tight socket and stay square on them always.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 9:46 am 
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Location: Muskego,Wisconsin
Year and Trim: 2000 SLE 2005 SLE
1975 Monte Carlo
The best way is to use a 6 point socket or 6 point box wrench.
Also turning the wheel will give you better access.
I have also used a little bit of heat to break them loose.
Like Carl said take your time.
You do not want to round the heads off.


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