2009 Mazda 5 - front wheel bearing - fearing splined drive axle was will be seized into hub

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Our 2009 Mazda has been making "airplane noise" for a few weeks. I'm almost certain it's a front wheel bearing. (Noise varies with road speed, not engine speed, doesn't change when MT is dropped into N.)

I changed the driver's-side wheel bearing almost 4 years ago, and removing the hub from the splined drive axle was quite a challenge.

I had thought of trying to loosen up the passenger side at that time, but the wheel bearing was still quiet, and when the splined shaft is seized in, the removal process puts a lot of stress on the wheel bearing, pretty much setting it up for early failure.

So, here's my weird question ... if I backed the hub nut off a turn or two, and drove around a bit, would that be a reasonable way to loosen up the splined shaft within the hub? The hub nut would still be there to retain the shaft, but would hopefully allow the shaft to loosen up in the hub.

If this is stupid or dangerous, please let me know. Driving would be at low speed on quiet streets in my neighborhood only.

Thanks all for your input!
 
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Spray PB Blaster from the back side of the drive spline towards the wheel bearing zone, let it soak 1 night before you start the project. Your idea is not bad, but you should only really need to drive it up and down the driveway..going over the curb zone will have the best impact.
 
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So, here's my weird question ... if I backed the hub nut off a turn or two, and drove around a bit, would that be a reasonable way to loosen up the splined shaft within the hub? The hub nut would still be there to retain the shaft, but would hopefully allow the shaft to loosen up in the hub.
The shaft has to move in and out to loosen. Driving will only make it go round and round. Can't imagine it will do anything. Get one of these tools and tighten it down good, than give the end a good whack with a BFH.

71oXSbxdd1L._AC_SL1442_.jpg
 

Number_35

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The shaft has to move in and out to loosen. Driving will only make it go round and round. Can't imagine it will do anything. Get one of these tools and tighten it down good, than give the end a good whack with a BFH.

71oXSbxdd1L._AC_SL1442_.jpg
I have this tool - it's very good. I wouldn't have had a hope of removing the other side without it. Hoping it works again for me.
 
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Agreed with the PB suggestion. I would go one step further: spray it liberally around the back side of the knuckle, and also remove the axle nut to get the spray right on the splines. Then torque the nut back down. Drive for a day or two, and the PB should have soaked from both sides and allowed the axle to free up.
 

Number_35

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Arg! ... picked up the bearing, retaining ring, and axle nut from the dealer yesterday. Wanted to make sure I wasn't fooling myself as to where the noise was coming from, and so jacked up the passenger side with the car in N (with parking brake set and rear wheels chocked, of course) and spun the wheel. Hard to say with the wheel on, but it seemed pretty normal.

I had replaced the driver's-side wheel bearing less than four years ago, and had never done the passenger side, so figured it was likely the passenger side, and wanted to be sure.

Thought I'd compare it to the driver's side. There, I could hear a light tapping or clicking noise. Wha ...?

A little bit more investigation turned up a separated inner CV boot, and the clicking seemed to be coming from there. The clicking is typical failing CV joint noise, but can't be heard in the car. So here come my questions:

- Is it likely the failing inner CV joint is the cause of what I thought was wheel-bearing noise (rumbling, roaring "airplane" noise, which varies proportionally with road speed)? (Regardless, I have to replace the driver's-side driveshaft, and then reevaluate.)

- I haven't phoned the dealer, but suspect the driveshaft is quite expensive. Recommendations on a rebuilt or aftermarket unit?

20210306_085749.jpg
20210306_085759.jpg


The upside is that because this is on the driver's side, it should be easy to take apart; I slathered everything liberally with anti-seize compound back in 2017.
 
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Arg! ... picked up the bearing, retaining ring, and axle nut from the dealer yesterday. Wanted to make sure I wasn't fooling myself as to where the noise was coming from, and so jacked up the passenger side with the car in N (with parking brake set and rear wheels chocked, of course) and spun the wheel. Hard to say with the wheel on, but it seemed pretty normal.

I had replaced the driver's-side wheel bearing less than four years ago, and had never done the passenger side, so figured it was likely the passenger side, and wanted to be sure.

Thought I'd compare it to the driver's side. There, I could hear a light tapping or clicking noise. Wha ...?

A little bit more investigation turned up a separated inner CV boot, and the clicking seemed to be coming from there. The clicking is typical failing CV joint noise, but can't be heard in the car. So here come my questions:

- Is it likely the failing inner CV joint is the cause of what I thought was wheel-bearing noise (rumbling, roaring "airplane" noise, which varies proportionally with road speed)? (Regardless, I have to replace the driver's-side driveshaft, and then reevaluate.)

- I haven't phoned the dealer, but suspect the driveshaft is quite expensive. Recommendations on a rebuilt or aftermarket unit?

View attachment 48069 View attachment 48070

The upside is that because this is on the driver's side, it should be easy to take apart; I slathered everything liberally with anti-seize compound back in 2017.
I’ve heard the CV joints grind, pop etc so it very well could be.
 

Number_35

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I can only get Cardone (new or rebuilt) through Piston Ring or NAPA locally. I can try some other auto parts stores, but suspect it'll be the same thing.

Rock Auto has Cardone, Trakmotive, APWI, and GSP. What do you veterans recommend?

The new part from the dealer is quite expensive, but if I have to go that route, so be it. (I can also check wreckers here.)
 
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I can only get Cardone (new or rebuilt) through Piston Ring or NAPA locally. I can try some other auto parts stores, but suspect it'll be the same thing.

Rock Auto has Cardone, Trakmotive, APWI, and GSP. What do you veterans recommend?

The new part from the dealer is quite expensive, but if I have to go that route, so be it. (I can also check wreckers here.)
NOT Cardone. I’d go Napa or we used Duralast on our Camry and so far it’s excellent.
 

Number_35

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Here's the drive axle out, thanks to the fine tool recommended by @Trav -

20210308_130809.jpg


20210308_130815.jpg


Here's the 2-piece tool, an OEM axle popper:
20210308_130711.jpg

20210308_130726.jpg

The square one goes up against the transmission case, then the wedge-shaped one goes up between the square one and the axle. Tap it with a hammer, and pop, out comes the axle with no drama.
 

Number_35

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Time for another update -

One of BITOG's resident master mechanics, @Trav, has been helping me through this.

I had a terrible time removing the tripod joint from its housing. There was no way the rings would pass through. I know they went in, and so can only conclude that the housing was damaged in some fashion when the tripod joint started to fail.

Fortunately, one of the three rings popped off (spilling its needle bearings), and that allowed the tripod joint to flex enough to give me access to the snap ring on the inner end of the axle shaft. I was (barely) able to remove the snap ring, and then tap the tripod joint off the shaft. It remains captured within the housing. This shouldn't matter, as the tripod joint and housing are both to be replaced.

Here's the drive axle complete, before disassembly. The splined shaft on the L is the outer one, and goes into the driver's-side hub.
The one on the right goes directly into the transmission. Note that the inner boot has separated from its outer clamp.
IMG_8790.JPG


Here's a close-up of the tripod joint, captured in the housing, with boot removed.
IMG_8791.JPG


Here's the entire assembly, with the tripod joint still captured in the housing. The snap ring is toward the lower right centre.
IMG_8796.JPG


This is the end of the axle the tripod joint came off of:
IMG_8797.JPG


Here's the tripod joint, still captured in the housing. Note the one ring missing on one of the tripod's three legs.
IMG_8798.JPG


To the R is the splined end that goes into the transmission.
IMG_8799.JPG


And just because, here's the outer joint. You can see traces of the anti-seize compound from when I had the axle out of the hub in 2017.
IMG_8800.JPG
 
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