Cleaning/Regreasing/Rebooting CV joint

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Backstory first. Replaced passenger side axle shaft in the SO's '06 Focus (80k miles) about 3 months ago. Not because of symptoms but I noticed a small amount of discharged grease and a cracked boot. A couple of weeks ago, a noise began which I traced to the intermediate bearing on the axle that I'd replaced. This was a new axle from O'Reilly's. That meant I kept the OEM halfshaft. Long story short, I got a boot kit from NAPA yesterday and I'm going to install it tonight on the OEM Ford axle. I know it's easier to just change out axles, but I just feel better putting the OEM part back. Assuming of course that the outer joint is good and a good cleaning of the joint, greasing and new boot will do the trick. The instructions that came with the boot kit said not to use petroleum cleaners of any kind to degrease the CV joint. Said that residue left behind would be incompatible with the grease packed in the kit and might lead to early failure. They recommended soap and water for deagreasing. Anyone heard of that? I also read that the balls in the joint need to go back into their original locations in the bearing cage because of wear patterns that develop during service. Anyone heard of that??
 
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Makes sense to me on returning the balls back into their original position. I wish I had done that too, but... I didn't. Will find out in a few years if it matters or not. I'm guessing an egg carton would work well here. However I had a devil of a time marking the other parts of the CV joint. I used to have one of those diamond scribes but couldn't find it. A metal file wouldn't touch the metal either. Very tough metal to mark. Also very messy! I didn't degrease, I just wiped off the old grease and applied the new stuff. I didn't have a bearing failure, no water in there, etc. The old grease was old but it wasn't dirt either, so if some was left behind then I'm not worried about it.
 
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Smart move using the OE axle and rebooting it. I even buy used axles and do the same thing before buying a Cheap Chinese aftermarket one or a regrind. The inner and outer races need to kept in the same position, the balls are not as critical and cage does not. Shiny spots on the inner or outer race is normal, but there should be no scoring. If the balls are scored or damaged discard the joint. An electric engraver or a carbide tipped scribe will mark the races. If you are taking the joint apart to this level then it doesn't matter if you use petroleum based cleaners as long as you wash them off with brake cleaner and dry them before reassembly. It is a problem if the joint is not disassembled and left in the housing like many do with outer joints. You will not get all the grease out of the housing without pulling the inner race and that is where the problem with contamination lies.
 

chestand

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I'm thinking at this point about removing the joint from the end of the shaft, leaving the guts of the CV joint intact and cleaning well with soap and water soak to remove all old grease before new grease and new boot. I've taken them apart before, but I would have no way of keeping track of what ball went where.
 
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I actually used brake cleaner when I did it. If the boot wasn't gaping, and the grease is still clean, it probably wouldn't be that bad to just wipe out as much of the old grease as you can, add the new grease, install the boot and drive on. I commend you for re-booting. As you've found, many aftermarket axles aren't good. One tip I read somewhere, For a greasy job like this, you can put on multiple pairs of gloves and then just peel the outer layers off as you need to. This works well with thin gloves light the cheaper HF gloves. When I did it, I actually didn't remove the balls. It probably depends on the design of your joint, but in mine I didn't have to take them out. I still did scribe a line on all the parts so they went back together in the same orientation.
 
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I rebooted the oem axles on my 1984 300d. Everyone was like why are you doing all that when you can just buy new axles for $80? I told them its because the oem axles are far superior plus it was a fun project.
 
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chestand

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Thanks for all the feedback guys. I am going to completely disassemble the joint. Trav makes a good point - you can't get all the grease out unless you do. I suspect because the torn boot was caught early, grease loss was minimal, and the mileage is relatively low, that it'll work better than a "new" axle of unknown origin. Plus, as joegreen said, it can be fun. When you can take your time and do things methodically.
 
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I've had to replace a few on Jeeps, but any time I have helped, I just have the person grab a junkyard shaft (or grab one for them). The reman'd axle shafts of cv shafts for Jeeps seem to be pretty poor quality or super expensive.
 
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When I did one on my LS400, I just used brake cleaner to clean things up and I used a center punch to mark the inner and outer races.
 
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When I worked in a place that build / rebuild automation equipment. The techs used IPA alcohol to clean bearing, but then switched to Dawn dish soap in the kitchen sink because management wants to cut cost. It worked very well.
 
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Originally Posted By: PandaBear
When I worked in a place that build / rebuild automation equipment. The techs used IPA alcohol to clean bearing, but then switched to Dawn dish soap in the kitchen sink because management wants to cut cost. It worked very well.
I like a good IPA ...
 
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Originally Posted By: Miller88
Originally Posted By: PandaBear
When I worked in a place that build / rebuild automation equipment. The techs used IPA alcohol to clean bearing, but then switched to Dawn dish soap in the kitchen sink because management wants to cut cost. It worked very well.
I like a good IPA ...
Cheers! I'll buy a round!
 
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Originally Posted By: PandaBear
but then switched to Dawn dish soap in the kitchen sink because management wants to cut cost. It worked very well.
If i did that my wife would be arrested for being an Islamic terrorist.
 
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