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hOme.beardedDonkey - HOWTO Remove Driver Side Drive Axle from Mazda Tribute 2002
HOWTO Remove Driver Side Drive Axle from Mazda Tribute 2002 


This note aims to document how to remove the driver side drive axle from a 2002 Mazda Tribute.
For a version of this guide with coloured car parts and tool names, see it in my Evernote HOWTO folder.

Click on the images to see them at maximum size. (You have already downloaded the big file)


Tools Needed

(in order of use)
Car Stands
Wheel Nut Bar
Breaker Bar
32mm Nut for Wheel Hub
Socket and ratchet set with required socket sizes.
Air gun setup with appropriate sockets if you can obtain it (impact driver sockets not normal ones used with ratchets)
Cable Ties
Drip Pan
Pry Bars (possibly optional)


Loosen the wheel nuts, optionally remove the wheel hub nut cover and loosen the wheel hub nut also (this can also be done when the wheel is removed)

Jack up and support vehicle on car stands. Remove wheel. Remove wheel hub nut using a breaker bar and 32mm socket/air rattle gun.

Uncouple the brake cable.

Unbolt the ABS sensor wire.

Unbolt the steering arm from the wheel hub.

*** HOT TIP *** (20140323) If the steering arm bolt is hard to remove, place the nut back onto the end of the bolt (thread the entire nut on making it flush with the bolt's end so when you hit with a hammer it hits the nut not the bolt) and hit the bolt upward with a hammer. If you need more swinging room for the hammer, you can jack up beneath the lower control arm.

Unbolt the brake caliper and cable tie it to the shock absorber coil. Use 2 cable ties for safety.

Unbolt the lower control arm bolt and the 2 strut bolts from the wheel hub.

Unbolt the sway bar link arm from the strut. Remove the brake disc.

Using a hammer, hit the wheel hub up off the control arm. This may be tight but keep hammering it and it will come up slowly. Once the wheel hub is free from the control arm, pull it outward sliding it off the drive axle. You may also be able to use a pry bar to do this step.

At this point, the manual and most websites say to pry the drive axle from the intermediate shaft. We tried with no success using a 600mm long wrecking bar [pry bar], used for construction work, with a 120kg man swinging on it pulling his body weight along the ground. Smaller pry bars were no better. Instead, we proceeded as follows:

Unbolt the 2 bolts holding the intermediate shaft mount. There was a rubber boot that is bolted onto the inner lower alternator bolt. You must remove the bolt and remove the boot and its mount to make way for the intermediate shaft to slide out. I have no idea what that rubber boot is for. I did not put it back - in fact it broke when we were trying to get it off. We liked to call it an "impeder" as it just makes this task harder to do.

Place a drip pan below where the intermediate shaft enters the transmission [gearbox] to catch any amount of transmission fluid that flows out when the shaft is removed. Mark the intermediate shaft's location in relation to the transmission to aid in installation if reinserting again later. Slide the drive axle and intermediate shaft out of the transmission as one unit.

The drive axle and intermediate shaft, removed as one unit.


Installation is the reverse of the above procedure, with the following notes:
1. Ensure that the intermediate shaft mount lines up with the 2 bolts that hold it in place when inserting the shaft.
2.If you so wish, do not put the "impeder" (rubber boot) back on with the alternator bolt. This will mean if you or anyone else ever wants to pull the drive axle out again the need to undo the inner lower alternator bolt won't exist.
3. Grease the ball joint on both the wheel hub and the lower control arm as well as the outer splined end of the drive axle and the inside of the wheel hub with general purpose grease to make placing the wheel hub back into place a lot easier.
4. Placing the brake calipers back on may require some multi grips to push the pad compressor outward.
5. Ensure the wheel hub nut is done up tight enough so that the wheel doesn't come off at highway speed.
6. Top up the transmission fluid as required.


Before removing the drive axle and intermediate shaft, mark the shaft's position with a permanent marker. It needs to be realigned correctly so the bolts line up with the shaft support.
It took me and my cousin, who is a car accessory fitter for Toyota and has most of the tools, about 6 hours all up to do this with no prior knowledge, using the Hayne reference manual as our guide. We also replaced the alternator and the strut mount in that timeframe. I have very little experience working on cars, I was the documenter.
Recommended purchases - these are tools that will usually be used over and over in your lifetime and are worth adding to your personal tool collection.

Tools Explained

(in alphabetical order)
Air Rattle Gun - This is a rattle gun that runs on compressed air. You also need an air compressor and hoses. This is not required but makes undoing/tightening easily accessed bolts a breeze.
Breaker Bar - This is a long handle bar that sockets can be attached to. The handle provides extra leverage which gives you more power to undo the targeted nut.
Cable Ties - also called zip ties. These are handy and multi purpose.
Car Stands - Usually bought in sets of 2, these should be placed under the vehicle once it is jacked up. I recommend putting 2 stands under each lifted corner of the car for redundancy. (recommended purchase. See if you can buy these while they are on special as they can be a little expensive)
Drip Pan - Any vessel that will hold fluid. You can use empty ice cream containers or buy a plastic pan from the shop.
Pry Bars - These are metal bars with a blunt blade, usually at about a 45 degree angle on the end. They are used to pry things. I got a set of 3 smaller pry bars from Super Cheap Auto in Australia for $12. Larger pry bars are also available at SCA. They come in handy when working on cars and for other things, like opening pop top beers. (recommended purchase)
Wheel Nut Spanner - Usually comes with your car, this tool is used to remove the nuts that hold the wheels on. You can also purchase a bar shaped like a + which has 4 different sizes (recommended purchase)


Mazda Tribute Ford Escape 2002 model remove wheel hub brake disc caliper sway bar arm strut drive axle cv joints inner outer intermediate shaft transmission gearbox automatic fluid spill spilt spills mess install installation removal howto guide step by step instructions with photos pictures

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