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Honda Acty Rear Axle Replacement tips

Discussion in 'Honda Acty' started by vtg, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. vtg

    vtg Member

    Having replaced a few rear axle boots on my 1992 Acty over the last year, I figured I might post a few pics of the procedure and share some info on how to remove the rear axles. My first tip is that if you have any hammers handy, take them and hide them someplace until you've finished the job. You will likely be tempted to use a hammer while removing and reinstalling the axle. DON'T because you'll probably wreck something expensive.

    I'll start with a picture of the brake drum removal. Be absolutely certain that the emergency brake is NOT on before you try pulling the drum. I installed two lug nuts backwards on two of the bolts and used a 2-jaw puller to pull the drum. It can help to spray the drum center with penetrating fluid a few hours before you remove the drum.

    Last edited: Jul 23, 2010
  2. vtg

    vtg Member

    It is necessary to remove the brake drum only from the axle you are planning to remove. The other drum can remain on. Be certain to jack the rear end of the truck and block it safely before beginning the job.

    Once the drum is off, you can drain the transmission oil. Now it's time to start lowering the rear axle beam. Place a floorjack under the center of the beam before beginning to lower it.

    First, you'll need to disconnect both brake lines from the T-junction near the center of the rear axle beam. Remove the two lines using a 10 mm open end wrench and put some type of protector over the lines to keep dirt from entering. Then remove the clip from the bottom side of the T-junction so that the junction is no longer attached to the axle beam. Here's a pic of the T-junction.


    Then find the e-brake cable retaining clips which are located somewhere just inboard of the front end of the suspension leaf springs. Use a 12 mm socket to remove the clips so that the lines hang down. You will need to remove both the RH and LH ones. Here's a pic of the RH line retainer clip.

    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  3. vtg

    vtg Member

    Next, you can remove the rear shock absorber lower mounting bolts using a 14 mm socket.


    Then, you can remove the leaf spring retaining shackle bolts ( 4 nuts on each side). Be sure to note which way the bumper stop was positioned because it is not symetrical and must be reinstalled the same way it came off. Mine had yellow marks on the plates that were on the outside (yours may be different). Probably a good idea to mark them yourself before removing them.


    I'm kinda jumping ahead here, but thought I'd mention these things can be a prick to reinstall because the shackles often get a little bent during this procedure and the studs can be pretty stubborn to get back into the holes. So when you go to reassemble it, remove the shackle bolt from the bottom and check to see that it's not bent by simply checking how it fits into the rubber bumper plate holes. It's easy enough to bend it back into the proper shape. Here's a pic of a shackle bolt removed.

    Last edited: Jul 23, 2010
  4. vtg

    vtg Member

    Now, it's time to remove the axle. Lower the rear axle beam first and try to shift the entire assembly towards the side of the axle which you are removing. You can generally gain a couple inches of clearance in this manner to make pulling the axle out of the tranny a little easier. You'll need to find some type of pry bar or a very large flat screwdriver to pry the inner CV housing away from the transmission case. Be careful not to damage the aluminum case. It's usually pretty stiff to get it moving the first bit, but once it starts to move, it comes out quite easily. When you pop the axle out of the tranny housing, be careful that the splined end of the shaft doesn't damage the seal in the tranny housing.

    With the axle now removed from the tranny, it's time to get the axle out of the wheel housing. This can be a real pain in the butt because the axle is a very tight press fit in the wheel bearings. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT attempt to hammer on the end of the shaft. Doing so will result in a ruined axle end and you likely still wouldn't budge it.

    Find a puller such as the one in the following pic and make up two adapters that will thread onto the puller bolts and then into the threaded holes in the brake housing. You'll find four bolts on the brake housing. Remove two of them (across from each other) and thread your adapters into these two holes.

    Use a long wrench on the puller and a pipe wrench on the axle to keep it from turning while you are forcing the axle out of the bearings. I would not recommend using an impact wrench on the puller. You'll find it a tough go to get the shaft to initially start to move. Once it does budge, it goes a bit easier. Then it'll get easier once the shaft has pushed through the first bearing. But then, it'll get to be a tough push again when it starts to go through the second bearing.


    Now you have the axle removed and you can do whatever it is you need to do. If you are removing the axle to replace a ripped CV boot, change both of them because this is not something you'll feel like doing again next month when the other boot cracks.

    If you encountered extreme difficulty removing the axle from the wheel bearings and feel you had to apply a tremendous amount of force to get the axle out, then you should probably consider replacing the wheel bearings as you may have applied a bit more side load to the bearings than they were designed to suffer through. Replacing the wheel bearings isn't much fun either, but it's not a horribly tough job. The bearings are common and easy to find (I can't remember the bearing number right now, but I know I listed it in a previous thread). The tricky part of replacing the bearings is removing the old bearings without damaging the seals. You can usually save them if you are real careful. Those seals are not common and if you need to replace them, you'll need to order from someone who specializes in Honda Acty parts.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  5. vtg

    vtg Member

    When it's time to reinstall the axle, you must install the outer end fully into the wheel bearing housing first. And, I don't mean just partially into it. It has to be fully into it's proper position before you attempt to install the inner end into the transmission. If the outer end is not installed all the way into the wheel bearing housing, you will not have sufficient clearance to get the inner end into the tranny and you'll probably end up wrecking the transmission outer seal by trying to wiggle the splined end of the shaft into the tranny.

    The axle goes into the bearings just as tight as it came out and the only way I found to get it in is to use a nut on the end of the axle to pull the shaft into the bearings. Do not use the castellated brake drum retaining nut for this procedure. It's a pretty soft material and is very easily stripped and if you wreck that nut, you'll likely have a heck of a time locating a replacement. Take the axle along with you and go to auto dealers, auto parts stores, fastener centers, wrecking yards, farm equipment dealers, and anywhere else you can think of until you find a conventional nut of the same thread type. A nut that is a little wider than normal is preferred because it will have more threads to bite.

    Then, locate a whole bunch of spacers of various thicknesses that fit on the shaft. These must have a large enough ID so that they fit over the splines of the shaft and don't rub the shaft, yet still small enough in OD so that they don't damage the seal.

    The shaft can usually be pushed in by hand far enough into the bearings so that the outer end just starts to protrude through the outer bearing and you should be able to get the nut started. You might want someone to help you do this as it's a pretty tough push to get it that far into the bearings.

    At this point, you have to start pulling the shaft in by tightening the nut until it runs out of threads, then removing the nut and adding a spacer and doing it over again. Depending on what spacers you have, you may have to do this repeatedly 5 or 6 times until you have the axle pulled all the way into final position. It sure helps to have a friend holding a pipe wrench on the axle while you are doing this because it's kinda awkward to hold the axle firmly and tighten the nut at the same time (can be done, but I usually run out of cuss words halfway through). And the fact that the shaft is hardened makes it difficult to get the pipe wrench to bite into it. Here's a couple pics showing the spacers I used as well as the high grade nut I use to pull the axle into the bearings.


    Last edited: Jul 23, 2010
  6. vtg

    vtg Member

    At this point, you might choose to install the brake drum. It doesn't really need to be installed until later, but by doing it now, you will know if you have the axle pulled all the way into the housing because if you are unable to mount the drum and position the wedge spacer ring onto the axle and install and tighten the nut, then you know you don't have the axle pulled all the way into it's proper position.

    But before you mount the drum, BE CERTAIN to reinstall the 2 bolts which you had removed earlier from the brake housing to accomodate your puller.

    It is now time to reinstall the inner end of the axle into the transmission. Again, try to move the entire axle beam assembly as far as it can go to one side so that you get as much extra clearance as possible to help with positioning the axle into the tranny. When you insert the splined stub into the tranny, be very careful not to let the shaft or splines cut the seal. Try to get it going straight in as opposed to going in at a slight angle. When it starts to feel like it's going into the hole, it may be necessary to rotate the axle slightly to get the splines on the shaft to line up with those inside the tranny. Once you get it started, it usually goes in fairly easily. Make sure it goes all the way in. You should hear a little snap when it engages fully into the tranny. Check to see that the space between the CV housing and the transmission case appears to be the same as it was before you removed it.......or compare the space against the other axle which wasn't removed.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
  7. vtg

    vtg Member

    Now it's time to raise the rear axle beam assembly back into position and attach it back onto the leaf springs. This can be a little frustrating the first time you do it. Start jacking the beam back up so that the shackle bolts go up alongside either side of the leaf springs. The bolts may want to push down and if they do, you can push them back up using a long punch for a tool.

    When you get the shackles into position, place the bumper rubber plates on top of the leaf spring with the 4 holes over the bolts. Remember to position the plates the same way they were originally installed. Don't tighten any of the bolts until you have both sides mounted. When tightening the bolts, be sure that the plate is properly centered because there is a recessed area in the plate that has to line up with a raised area on the leaf to ensure the plate is bolted in the proper spot on the leaf. If you tighten the nuts and find that there is an air gap anywhere between the plate and the leaf, then you don't have it properly positioned, and you'll need to loosen the bolts a little and slide the plate to it's correct position.

    Once you have the shackle bolts tightened, you'll need to reinstall the lower shock absorber mounting bolts which is usually pretty easy to do.
  8. vtg

    vtg Member

    Now, you can lightly thread the brake lines back into the T-junction. Do not tighten the brake lines just yet. Next, install the brake T-junction back into it's hole and slide the retaining clip back on. Once the T-junction is clipped back into place, you can proceed to tighten the brake lines into the T-junction using a 10 mm open end wrench.

    If you didn't already install the brake drum, you can do it now. Make sure someone didn't apply the e-brake because that will cause probs when sliding the drum on. Be certain that you install the wedge ring onto the axle before you install the nut. Tighten the nut and then install a new cotter pin through the hole in the axle.
  9. vtg

    vtg Member

    Next, reinstall the e-brake cable retaining clips which you removed earlier. I find it easiest to use a 12 mm socket on the end of a fairly long extention.

    Then, reinstall the transmission drain bung and remove the fill bung and refill the transmission oil. This must be done with the truck sitting level, so if you had the rear end jacked up, you should either lower it back down........or if you want more space to work in, raise and block the front end of the truck so that it's sitting level.

    Place a drain pan under the tranny and fill the tranny until the oil begins to flow out of the fill hole. Let it flow out until it quits, then reinstall the filler bung. Mine holds somewhere around 1.35 litre.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  10. vtg

    vtg Member

    Before you bolt the rear wheels back on, refill the brake fluid reservoir. You'll find it located behind an access panel on the extreme RH end of the dash. You'll also need to bleed the barkes and it'd be a big help if you have a buddy sitting in the cab for this procedure while you are cracking the bleed screws open.

    Begin with the RH rear and have buddy pump the brakes several times until there is some feel to the pedal. And while he's holding the pedal down, use an 8 mm open end wrench to lossen the bleed screw. You should hear lots of air rushing out and then see fluid starting to come out. Now tighten the beeld screw. Your buddy should be holding the brake pedal all the way down while you are loosening and tightening the bleed screw. You may have to repeat this procedure several times to ensure that all the air is gone from the system.

    Keep checking the fluid level while you are bleeding the brakes and top it off anytime it looks to be getting low. When you have the RH side bled, move onto the LH side and do the same thing. You might find you need to bleed the front brakes too, in order to get all the air out, but I find it's generally just the rears that need bleeding after having disconnected the rear brake lines. When you are convinced you have all the air out of the brake system and there is good brake pedal feel, recheck the fluid and bring it to the proper level. Reinstall the reservoir cap and replace the access cover.

    Last edited: Jul 23, 2010
  11. vtg

    vtg Member

    Now you are ready to reinstall the rear wheels, take the truck of the jacks and take it for a test spin.

    I hope this info is of help to anyone performing this procedure for the first time. I know it was pretty long-winded, but I just wanted to make it as clear as possible. I do have a Factory Honda Acty Service Manual, but I find it's very lacking as far as providing clear and concise instructions. But it's still a handy book to have.
  12. I picked up the nut for drawing the axle back in as you show here.

    The nut size is a 24 mm with 1.5 pitch threads.
  13. unclejemima

    unclejemima Member

    Wow. I've heard the front's are EASY to do...but the rear ones do not look very fun at all!

    Thanks for the write up! Very well done!!!
  14. It turns out the threads on my axle were messed up. I went to a local machine shop and he grinded off the last few threads then ran a thread file on it, and that cleaned it up nicely. But....now when I slipped the axle into the bearings, there was not enough threads sticking out to get the nut started.

    After beating on the transmission side of the axle with a piece of wood and a hammer, I couldn't get it to budge. Then, my helper figured that there was some 'spring' in the axle, so he pulled it towards the bearing while I gave it a few more hits, and it went in enough to get the nut started on the threads.

    We drew it all the way in using some washers, and a 1" pvc pipe cap with the end cut off. I didn't know if the pvc would be strong enough to work, but it was.

    When we got it all the way in, my helper had to leave, so I began trying to stab it into the transmission by myself. I put a floor jack on the springs to give me some more working room. I got it lined up and it started to go in, but I could not get it all the way into the seal at the transmission. I pulled it out and tried it several times, but it never went all the way in.

    It seems that my rebuilt axle may be about 3/8" too short, because that's about how much I need for it to go all the way into the transmission. I didn't measure the old axle before I sent it off to be rebuilt.

    Does anyone have any ideas or tips on this? Is there a way for me to get it into the transmission? Is there supposed to be enough free play in the CV joints to allow the axle to 'stretch' so that it goes all the way into the transmission?

    I'm stuck..
  15. vtg

    vtg Member

    I've never sent an axle away to get rebuilt, but I can't imagine how they would have ended up shortening it? Unless maybe it's possible that they could have installed one of the splined things (not sure what they're called) in the CV joints backwards on the shaft? That's likely not even possible, but maybe something to consider looking into if you find no other solution.

    I'm thinking that something is binding somewhere which is limiting how far you can insert the shaft into the tranny. I'm just not sure what. Please keep us posted about what you find wrong.
  16. I'm thinking the same as you. Something not letting me push it all the way in.

    I haven't had time to get back on it yet, and it may be a few days before I do.
  17. Jakester

    Jakester Member

    theres a "snap" ring on the end of the axle that goes into the trans. It has to be nudged in the trans. I did mine by locking vice grips on the axle and tapping the grips with a hammer. It didn't take much to snap it in. the axle its self has enough end to end play for it to go in.
  18. Got it installed tonight. It just needed a few taps in the right place and it went in.

    Still have a little 'clicking' sound, but not sure if it's coming from the new on the right side, or the old one on the left. I'm not gonna worry about it for now.

    While test driving it though, the alternator belt burnt up. Now I have to go see if I can find a part number for that belt. I'll do a search...
  19. rein

    rein New Member

    same procedure to remove bearings?

    Thanks for the great pictures and description VTG.
    Im faced with changing rear wheel bearings on my Acty, and came upon your thread. Never done such work. While I must read it again a few times to understand it all, Im first thinking can I not get the bearings out without lowering the axle beam, removing axle from transmission, and removing springs. Can I not just get them out by getting the wheel housing off the axel shaft?
  20. vtg

    vtg Member

    I left my Acty at my farm for the weekend and without having it here to look at, it's hard for me to visualize if that is possible. Perhaps it is, but based on what I remember, I sort of doubt there's anyway to change the wheel bearings without lowering the axle beam and pulling out the driveshaft. Let me know how you make out with it.
  21. shogun

    shogun Active Member

    thanks for the pics and the write up. Can you tell us how you completed the job? Thanks
  22. Borg

    Borg Member

    Anyone know if the wheel bearings are "regular" or "cartridge" type, I didn't know where was a difference.

    I asked my local bearing shop for some 6206 bearings, and they asked regular or cartridge?
  23. Borg

    Borg Member

    So last weekend I finally got around to doing the rear wheel bearings on my truck.

    Wow, it's really quiet now...

    I noticed the axles have a slight bit of "burning" happening where the outer bearing sits.

    The old bearings are not locked up and spinning on the shaft... they were still spinning free-ish... easily spin the wheels by hand.

    When we removed the bearings, they literally rattle when you shake them in your hand...

    They must have been getting really hot with all that extra friction!

    IMG_20130519_123514.jpg View attachment IMG_20130519_125242.jpg
  24. Got started today on removing and rebuilding the left rear CV axle. This thread has been a big help....again.

    I did try pushing the axle out of the bearings with a block of wood and a hammer, but it wouldn't budge. So, I removed the bolts and went to my local machine shop and had some 'all thread' rod welded to the ends of some new bolts. Once I got this rigged up, the axle came out of the bearings easier than I expected.

    Now, I'll send it off to get rebuilt.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  25. I sent the axle G & R Imports in Missouri. It arrived there today.

    This is a pic of the puller I had to fabricate to get the axle out of the wheel bearings.
  26. The axle arrived at G & R Imports Friday morning, and they called me this morning (Monday) and said it was done and would be shipped out today. Pretty quick turn around.

    It cost me about $12 to ship it to them, and $242 for the rebuild and ship back to me.
  27. Borg

    Borg Member

    Nice, it's pretty hard to imagine the 40hp engine wearing out those axles.

    Was it definitely needing a rebuild?
  28. It had a fairly constant clicking noise, and when I removed it, it was bad. I think that what happens most often is the rubber boot gets old and cracks or breaks and allows soil and trash to get into the joint causing them to wear. This was the case with both of mine.

    I don't know why I keep having trouble uploading pics, but here is the puller I fabricated to push the axle out of the wheel bearings again.

    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
  29. Borg

    Borg Member

    Did you do the wheel bearings while you were in there?

    Mine were really loud, made your ears ring after driving on the highway.
  30. I'm not planning to change the wheel bearings. They seem to be in good shape. But I will inspect them closer before I go back together with the axle.

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