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How to Replace CV Axle Shaft 1998-2004 Nissan Frontier

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Created on: 2013-10-22

Check out this 1A Auto video to learn how to replace the CV axle shaft in your 98-04 Nissan Frontier or Xterra.

  1. It's recommended to seek a professional alignment after completing this installation

    step 1 :Removing the Wheel
    • Loosen the 22mm lug nuts with the vehicle on the ground
    • Raise the vehicle with a floor jack
    • Secure the vehicle on jack stands
    • Remove the lug nuts
    • Pull off the wheel
  2. step 2 :Remove the Hub Assembly
    • Place a long flat blade screwdriver in the brake rotor
    • Remove the six 6mm Allen bolts on the hub assembly
    • Remove the circlip on the axle
    • Slide the outer bearing out with the circlip
    • Remove the two Phillips head screws on the washer
    • Remove the two washers with a flat blade screwdriver
  3. step 3 :Removing the Axle
    • Place a flat blade screwdriver against the axle shaft to prevent it from spinning
    • Remove the six 12mm bolts from the axle shaft
    • Remove the cotter pin from the castle nut on the upper part of the steering knuckle with pliers
    • Use a hammer and pick if the pin will not come out
    • Loosen the castle nut with a 22mm wrench
    • Jack underneath the knuckle
    • Remove the castle nut with a 22mm wrench
    • Thread the castle nut on four to five turns with a 22mm wrench
    • Lower the floor jack leaving 1/4 inch between the jack and the lower ball joint
    • Hit the knuckle with a hammer to loosen it from the control arm
    • Raise the knuckle on a jack
    • Remove the castle nut
    • Slowly lower the jack
    • Pull the axle shaft out
  4. step 4 :Installing the New Axle
    • Swap over the washer from the old axle shaft to the new one
    • Feed the new axle in to place pushing the outer part of the axle into the hub assembly first
    • Request the help of an assistant
    • Lower the jack
    • Jack up the knuckle and align the spindle into the ball joint
    • Press down on the control arm to keep it aligned in the ball joint
    • Tighten the 22mm castle nut
    • Lower the jack
    • Push a new cotter pin into the castle nut and bend the ears back
    • Insert and tighten the 6mm bolts to the axle shaft
    • Torque the bolts to 40 foot-pounds
  5. step 5 :Reinstalling the Hub Assembly
    • Insert the two washers
    • Insert and tighten the two Phillips screws to the washers
    • Push in the outer bearing
    • Insert the circlip into place with circlip wires
    • Push on the hub
    • Insert and tighten the six 6mm Allen bolts
    • Tighten the hub bolts to 10 to 12 foot-pounds
  6. step 6 :Reattaching the Wheel
    • Slide the wheel into place
    • Start the 22mm lug nuts by hand
    • Tighten the lug nuts preliminarily
    • Lower the vehicle to the ground
    • Tighten the lug nuts to 100 foot-pounds in a crossing or star pattern

Tools needed

  • 12mm Socket

    A Piece of Pipe (for leverage)

    Socket Extensions

    Torque Wrench


    Pry Bar

    Jack Stands

    6mm Allen Wrench

    Circlip Pliers

    Flat Blade Screwdriver

    Phillips Head Screwdriver

    Center Punch


    Floor Jack

    Needle nose pliers

    12mm Wrench

    22mm Socket

Brought to you by 1AAuto.com, your source for quality replacement parts and the best service on the Internet.

Hi, I'm Mike from 1A Auto. I hope this how-to video helps you out, and next time you need parts for your vehicle, think of 1AAuto.com. Thanks.

In this video, we're going to show you how to replace the front axle on this 2003 Nissan Frontier. Procedure is the same. We're going to show you the passenger side, but the driver side is the same procedure. It's also the same for '98 to '93 Frontier as well as 2000 and 2004 Xterra. You're going to need a new axle from 1AAuto.com, jack and jack stands, 12mm to 22mm wrenches as well as socket and ratchet with an extension, needle nose pliers and circlip pliers, hammer and punch, several different size flat blade screwdrivers from large to small, Phillips screwdriver, long prybar we actually use a two by three, a pipe for extra leverage, 6mm Allen socket or Allen key, and a torque wrench.

Remove the front wheel tire. If you don't have the benefit of air tools, loosen the lug nuts with the vehicle on the ground, then raise and secure the vehicle and remove the lug nuts the rest of the way. Then remove the wheel and tire.

You want to place a long flat blade screwdriver in that brake rotor against that caliber bracket to keep resistance while I take off the six 6mm Allen heads in the end of that hub assembly. With that cover off, you'll notice that there's a circlet holding the axle in place. I'm going to use a pair of circlip pliers, and I am going to press them so that the circlip expands, and I'm going to pull that collar out with it. That's just going to help it pull off of the actual axle itself.

You can see here, how I'm sliding that circlip with that ring, and I'm going to use a little flat blade screwdriver to help me pry it off that last indent there in the axle. Then I'm going to take them and put them aside. Locate the two Phillips head screws, take those out, and I'll fast-forward as I do that. Take a couple of small flat blade screwdrivers on either side of that big washer there, pry it out, and put that aside. Use another small flat blade and twist off that locking ring. It's threaded, so do it several turns counterclockwise, pull it off, and set it out of the way.

Now we're going to locate the six 12mm bolts that hold the axle shaft to the CV joint. Let me show you quickly how I'm going to use some leverage and lock that up so I can use my 12mm without that spinning. We got that long flat blade screwdriver in there, and then I'm going to use a 12mm wrench with a locking wrench method to unscrew those bolts.

As I'm removing them, I'm just going to by hand twist the CV joints so that I can access the others. I'm going to go ahead and fast-forward as I remove all six of those bolts. We'll need to disconnect the upper part of the steering knuckle from the upper ball joint. The first part of that is to remove the cotter pin. We're using a screwdriver and pliers to break as much of the cotter pin off as possible, and then we'll drive it out with a hammer and punch. You'll need a 22mm wrench and another wrench to lock on to it to give you some extra leverage. Break that bolt free. Once you have that ball joint nut free, then you want to put your jack underneath the suspension and support it.

Once you have the nut all the way off, you actually want to thread it back on about four or five turns. The reason you take it all the way off is because you want it to come apart nice and easy once you break the ball joint lose. Take it all the way off, make sure the threads are nice and clean, and then put it back on four or five turns, and maybe another one or two turns with the wrench.

I want to lower the suspension there just a little bit, and I want to lift maybe a half an inch between the jack and the lower ball joint. I'm going to pull that ABS harness out of the way. You see where I'm pointing there is where you going to want to hit with your hammer. Give it a good couple of whacks to free it up.

Now you can go ahead and jack it back up, so that you can take the nut completely off. Go ahead and unscrew it. Now, slowly and carefully, let the jack down, and you'll see how it separates the spindle from the upper control arm suddenly. At this point, now you can pull the axle shaft out.

Here you can see the old part and the new part. You'll need to swap over that metal washer, but other than that it's a direct replacement fit. Go ahead and feed the new axle in between the lower and upper control arms, and you're going to want to push the outer part of the axle into the hub assembly first. At this point it helps to have a helper. Let the pressure off the lower control arm most of the way, and then push your spindle and brake assembly back into alignment.

You can see I've aligned the upper part of the knuckle with the upper ball joint, and then another person is working the jack right up into place. Then, once you get the spindle up in there, into the ball joint, you can start that nut on. Here, we're using a long piece of wood to put in there and press down on the control arm. That helps to keep the ball joint in place in the steering knuckle. As we're pressing down, he's tightening up that nut for the steering knuckle.

Now you can go ahead and let the flow jack down slowly and carefully. Install a new cotter pin and bend the ears back. I'll fast-forward as I do that. Reinstall the six 12mm bolts that hold the axle shaft to the transmission. You want to go ahead and torque with a 12mm swivel and extension your six bolts to roughly 40 foot-pounds. You'll see I'm using that screwdriver to hold the axle in place once again.

Screw on the threaded retainer clockwise until it's nice and tight. Then what you'll have to do is put the locking washer in there, check to see where the screws are or the holes for the screws are, and then back that retainer off slightly until you can get those screws in. Go ahead and install the two Phillips head screws that you had taken out. I'll fast-forward as I do that.

Reinstall the hub locking ring, and then you'll put your circlip in place. Use circlip pliers to expand it and push it on. You may have to pull the axle through from the backside and push it in with a small screw driver to lock that circlip or C-clip in place, and then reinstall the hub and tighten those 10mm bolts up. We tighten to about 10 to 12 foot-pounds.

We're getting to the home stretch here. Put the wheel back in place, hand thread the lug nuts on it first, and then tighten them preliminarily. Tighten the lug nuts to 100 foot-pounds using a crossing pattern with the vehicle on the ground.

We hope this video helps you out. Brought to you by www.1AAuto.com, your source for quality replacement parts and the best service on the Internet. Please feel free to call us toll-free, 888-844-3393. We're the company that's here for you on the Internet and in person.

2000 - 2004  Nissan  Xterra
1998 - 2004  Nissan  Frontier
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