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Old 09-03-2012, 02:00 PM   #1
Buttsy
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Default Front axle stuck in hub - options?

So it looks like i'm one of the lucky few who have an axle that's stuck in the hub. I've whacked it, PB blasted it, broke a three-arm puller, and then upgraded to renting a hub puller from Discount Auto but the damn thing won't budge. It's lived in FL all its life, in a garage for most of it, but it does have 182,000 miles. I'm just surprised as I've never had this much trouble getting the car apart before.

Looks like to next thing is to try the hydraulic press option, but I haven't seen any feedback on how well this worked? Is there a chance of damaging the bearing or the hub? I'm leaning toward buying a new bearing and bringing it to the shop with the hub/axle, and having them press in the new bearing at the same time just in case.
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Old 09-04-2012, 01:53 AM   #2
Aaron'z 2.5RS
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knock out the roll pin and take the whole axle out..

at 182k you need wheel bearings anyway..

But if you didn't need bearings, why pull the axle at all?
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:50 AM   #3
Buttsy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron'z 2.5RS
knock out the roll pin and take the whole axle out..

at 182k you need wheel bearings anyway..

But if you didn't need bearings, why pull the axle at all?
I was originally trying to replace the whole axle due to a torn boot on the tranny side. I've already had the tranny end disconnected, no problem there. You're right about the bearings though... They were on my list of what to replace soon; they're still relatively quiet right now.
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:41 AM   #4
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Was the puller you rented the type that mounts to the wheel studs, and pushes the axle out of the hub?
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Old 09-04-2012, 11:18 AM   #5
Buttsy
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Yep. I ran out of torque that I could apply to the center bolt on the tool, I don't have air tools and was using a cheater bar+1/2" ratchet and a long pry bar to apply torque. The tool also didn't have a gimballed/balled alignment tip, so I was fighting the increasing friction of the tip of the tool against the chamfer in the spindle too.

Part of me thinks I gave up too soon and should've kept at it, but I was getting pissed and didn't want to break anything else, as I'm prone to do in these situations.
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Old 09-04-2012, 11:24 AM   #6
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last time this happened i had to take hub/knuckle/axle out to mount in a vise, and then pounded the **** out of it with a sledgehammer.

i hit a socket on the axle nut to prevent mushrooming the (relatively soft) axle.
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Old 09-04-2012, 12:40 PM   #7
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Might be worth another try after greasing the screw on the rented puller. Just make sure the store will write the tool off under warranty in case you break it.
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:45 PM   #8
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I had this once, and after trying all the above ideas, only an air impact hammer worked. the sledge just funked the nut up!

air tools for the win!

--Keith
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:10 PM   #9
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Air hammer is the only thing that will work besides taking the hub off and having a shop use a press on it.

You can get cheap air hammers from Home depot. If you don't have a big enough air compressor to use an air hammer, then just put the car back together and take it to a shop to have them remove the axle.

I just went through this a couple weeks ago. You'll need a blunt chisel for the air hammer too to get it off. I just cut the end of a chisel off with a angle grinder, it took about 20 seconds of hammering to get it out.
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:11 PM   #10
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Don't waste your time with the pullers. You'll never get it out that way.
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kheff46 View Post
I had this once, and after trying all the above ideas, only an air impact hammer worked. the sledge just funked the nut up!
well of course it did--that's why you put the socket on the nut and hammer that.
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:45 PM   #12
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Air hammer is way better than a sledge for this job.
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:53 PM   #13
EROCS04SBRUSTI
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heat from torches?if the airhammer does't work after removing the abs sensor.
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ride5000

well of course it did--that's why you put the socket on the nut and hammer that.
I used the old nut(with socket) silly! I had the new one along with the new axle waiting patiently. But that would help, not destroying your only axle nut. Mine actually deformed old nut beating on it so much, even with the socket.
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:19 AM   #15
ride5000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EROCS04SBRUSTI View Post
heat from torches?if the airhammer does't work after removing the abs sensor.
the problem with this is that it's gonna heat up the hub, destroy the seals and cause the bearing grease to melt/burn.
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Old 09-06-2012, 01:20 AM   #16
EROCS04SBRUSTI
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true but might be only option^^^^^^Do you have a picture of the problem for us to see.
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Old 09-06-2012, 05:34 AM   #17
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well if you're gonna do that, just go to a junkyard and get a pulled knuckle/hub for <$50.
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Old 09-06-2012, 05:19 PM   #18
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often if its too seized in there, to where you cant get it out with a sledgehammer or a hub puller, then you're most likely just going to have to get another complete hub assembly and axle. unless you have access to a shop that can press it out. theres just so much surface area where the axle + hub contact each other, that if they get a little seized in there, its nearly impossible to break it free without damaging it.
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Old 09-08-2012, 02:01 PM   #19
Buttsy
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Update:

Just got back from my friend's shop; we tried to get the whole knuckle assy into his press, but his press wasn't quite large enough. Since he had heat and air tools, we went back at it with extreme heat and air tools, but no joy.

Options are just repairing the torn boot as a short fix until the bearing starts to go, and then making up a franken-knuckle from a used knuckle and hub and new bearing and seals, or just punting and going that route now. Problem is around here in Orlando, there aren't any yards with wrecked Subies to pick over, I dunno why; I have to get everything from here or ebay.

Hopefully we didn't destroy the bearing or seals, but I only need another few thousand miles from it while I source parts to replace the whole corner. I'm going to have to do bearings all around eventually anyway.
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Old 09-08-2012, 04:42 PM   #20
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wow that sucks!
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:01 AM   #21
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Any resolution? I'm in the exact same situation now... I snapped the center pin on the tool I rented for AutoZone, and my air hammer was doing anything...

Going to try pushing the the axle out of the hub today at work if I can MacGyver some kind of support for the knuckle :-/

I'm very surprised I'm having this much trouble seeing as the car is an '04 w/ 100k and has NO rust.... hoping I don't have to replace the wheel bearing, let alone the hub or entire knuckle

EDIT: 15 tons on the trusty press at work and my axle is free (and wheel bearing still feel good!) I needed to construct quite the fixture to hang my hub/knuckle/axle though, haha

Last edited by MeltedOutback; 10-12-2012 at 01:49 PM.
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