Driveaxles (4WD models) — general information and inspection

1. Power is transmitted from the front differential/axle to the front wheels through a pair of drive axles. The inner end of each drive axle is bolted to an axle shaft connected to the differential side gears. The outer end of each drive axle has a stub shaft that is splined to the front hub and bearing assembly and locked in place with a large nut.

2. The inner ends of the drive axles are equipped with sliding constant velocity (CV) joints, which are capable of both angular and axial motion. Each inner CV joint assembly consists of a tripod-type bearing and a housing in which the joint is free to slide in-and-out as the drive axle moves up-and-down with the wheel.

3. The outer ends of the drive axles are equipped with ball-and-cage type CV joints, which are capable of angular but not axial movement. Each outer CV joint consists of six caged ball bearings running between an inner race and the housing.

4. The most common symptom of worn or damaged CV joints, besides lubricant leaks, is a clicking noise in turns, a clunk when accelerating after coasting and vibration at highway speeds. To check for wear in the CV joints and drive axle shafts, grasp each axle (one at a time) and rotate it in both directions while holding the CV joint housings, feeling for play indicating worn splines or sloppy CV joints. Also check the drive axle shafts for cracks, dents and distortion.

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