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[SOLVED] 1992 Mazda MX-3 - Passenger side axle will not come off, clip stuck

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New User

Dec 31, 2017, 12:04 PM

Post #1 of 5 (976 views)
[SOLVED] 1992 Mazda MX-3 - Passenger side axle will not come off, clip stuck Sign In

I'm trying to replace the driver side CV axle on my 1992 Mazda MX-3 GS (1.8L V6) with a manual transmission. The passenger side axle connects to a joint shaft, not directly to the transmission. The joint shaft is splined, and the axle tulip slides over the joint shaft, with one of those goofy wire spring clips around a groove in the joint shaft to keep the axle from coming out on its own, as if it's not constrained by the steering knuckle anyway.

The axle which was in there is one I already replaced a couple years ago, but due to a heavy oil leak in that area and several rush jobs on that side of the engine, the outboard boot was damaged, which ruined the outer CV joint (again...). After beating on the tulip with a pry bar in several orientations, which is how the service manual suggests and how I got it off the first time, the tulip won't budge. I've disassembled the axle entirely, and tried attaching a 5 lb slide hammer to it in various ways, and the clip simply won't compress. I can see the tulip wiggling on the shaft, so I know it's not seized. I suspect the cheap refurbished axle I put in there doesn't have much of a chamfer around the groove they cut into it for the clip. Here's what I've tried so far:

1) Pry bar from the back of the tulip, both levering it against the pillow block on the joint shaft (hitting the handle with a hammer), and hitting it inline.
2) Tied a ratchet strap around the tulip and looped it around the sway bar so I could try to yank it out. Broke the strap.
3) Slide hammer on the wheel hub end of the axle. Disassembled the axle for me.
4) Slide hammer with vice grips on the edge of the tulip, they just slip off.
5) Tried drilling a hole in the back of the tulip to thread a 1/2" bolt through to press it off the joint shaft. I felt really clever about this one until the back of tulip turned out to be a little cap that just popped off, revealing that the whole thing is through-drilled so they could broach the splines in the other side.
6) Drilled a hole in the side of the tulip (went through 5 drill bits, that thing is hard as a jewel), threaded a 1/2" bolt through it and into a coupling nut on the inside of the tulip to give the vice grips something to hold onto. Wrapped 3 lb of chain around the 5 lb slide hammer weight and leaned my whole body weight into it for several good blows. The only thing that gave was me.

The only other things I can think of involve either an angle grinder or a welder, and I'd prefer not to do too much more damage than I already have, I don't really want to turn my daily driver into a permanent project car. Any ideas?

(This post was edited by ajosmer on Jan 27, 2018, 6:14 PM)

Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Dec 31, 2017, 4:34 PM

Post #2 of 5 (960 views)
Re: 1992 Mazda MX-3 - Passenger side axle will not come off, clip stuck Sign In

The trick to getting these things our is to pull straight out and prying with a single bar cocks it to one side. They make a fork that slides behind the joint that can be used with a slide hammer but what I usually do is find a way to get 2 bars in at the same time so you are prying from opposite sides at the same time.


We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.


Jan 1, 2018, 8:15 AM

Post #3 of 5 (949 views)
Re: 1992 Mazda MX-3 - Passenger side axle will not come off, clip stuck Sign In

I've used an old muffler clamp that goes around the shaft , you may have to bend it open a little , attach a chain to the clamp once you get it in position , then you'll need some weight (mass) on the other end to pull it out , like a sledge hammer , it worked very well for me

New User

Jan 22, 2018, 9:30 PM

Post #4 of 5 (898 views)
Re: 1992 Mazda MX-3 - Passenger side axle will not come off, clip stuck Sign In

A brief update now that I've had 10 minutes to work on it again (jebus, this month has been busy). I've unbolted the pillow block that holds the joint shaft into the transmission and pulled the whole joint shaft-pillow block-tulip assembly out. I'm going to swing it by a machine shop sometime this week and see if they can just press the thing out. Looks like about a 1" diameter face and I'd assume the shaft is chromoly, so with a yield strength of 60 ksi I should know if it's coming out or not on a 25 ton press. If that doesn't work, I supposed I get to head to the junk yard to find a new joint shaft and pillow block. I'll let y'all know how it goes.

New User

Jan 27, 2018, 6:12 PM

Post #5 of 5 (874 views)
Re: 1992 Mazda MX-3 - Passenger side axle will not come off, clip stuck Sign In

Managed to get to a hydraulic press, and besides feeling really sketchy right up around peak pressure, not a lot actually happened to the shaft. The press ended up making a great vice to hold the whole thing in place so I could attack the tulip with an angle grinder though. I measured off of the new axle tulip to figure out where that clip lined up and cut as close as I could to that groove, then pulled the clip out and slid the rest of the stub off. I think I'll be making a plastic clip to replace it.

Hopefully this helps some poor soul that finds themselves in the same position some day.

Never again.

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