VW Jetta axle removal-mk5
How to replace the driveaxle or axle shaft on a mk5 VW Jetta or Golfdifficulty: 3/5 (for both sides)
This article shows DIY removal and replacement of the axle on a mk5 VW Jetta. Also applies to Golf/JSW.
The car shown is a mk5 Jetta TDI - your axle part numbers may be slightly different. Do you have something to add to this article? Please edit this wiki article (you must be logged in) by clicking the "edit" button to the upper right.
The axles on mk5 and newer VW Jetta, Golf, and Sportwagens are pretty reliable but the CV boots need to be replaced ideally before the rubber dries out and cracks. There are CV boots on both the inner and outer CV joints because they need to be surrounded by grease and move around. By the time a leak is usually detected, the joints are damaged from lack of grease. Replacement of the joint is much more expensive than just replacing the boots.
If the joint is worn then a genuine VW or equivalent OEM supplier replacement joint on your existing axle is the best choice because it'll be more balanced and durable. However, one you start pricing the OEM supplier CV joints you may find it more economical to buy an entire replacement axle from Raxles.com, an axle specialist. They use high quality replacement inner and outer joints on OEM cores (axle shaft). Aftermarket rebuilt axles from your local auto parts store are almost all very low quality because they're reground axles. Reground axles use worn out tooling and oversized bearings to grind away the hardened CV joints and are then put onto cheap axle shafts.
*NOTE - While this procedure is relatively straight forward, make sure to carefully read the note about the axle bolt! If the bolt is not torqued correctly the wheel bearing will be damaged!
Here's a video I made for wheel bearing replacement - there are some helpful tips for axle removal which also apply here:
Parts (per side)
CV boot kit or new axle
The boot kit should contain a new axle bolt (VW# wht 002 795)
6 inner axle bolts - VW# n 911 082 01
3 ball joint nuts - VW# n 103 320 02
I recommend buying a rebuilt axle from Raxles.com. These use OEM quality joints and boots on OEM shafts. They also include triple square bits to help remove the axle.
24mm 12 point socket or 27mm 6 point socket (see notes below)
torque wrench and brekaer bar
VW tool 1682 or generic CV boot clamp like the one shown below (if replacing CV boots only) * Note - the cheap CV boot clamps like this one are only good for 2-3 uses! The Lisle 30800 pliers are much more durable.
DIY axle removal
Remove the hubcap or center cap. You may have to remove the wheel first to push the center cap out from the backside. See here for the location of the jack points on my 2006 Jetta. They may be slightly different on your car so make sure you verify the jack points in your owner's manual!
Once you have access to the axle bolt, make sure the car is safe and secure with the weight of the car on the tires. Do not loosen the axle bolt with the car on jackstands - this is very dangerous. Loosen the axle bolt with a breaker bar with at least a 1/2" drive wrench. It may help if you have an assistant step on the brakes to help counterhold the tires but the weight of the car on the tires should do most of the counterholding. You can also use a 3/4" drive if available. My personal breaker bar is a 1/2" harbor freight tool that I bought for $9 - since I'm not a professional it wasn't worth it to buy a similar snap-on quality tool for $100+. However, you do want to use a quality socket because if it strips the bolt or nut, you'll have a very difficult day.
Depending on production date, your car may have a 24mm 12 point socket or 27mm 6 point socket. The replacement bolt should be a 24mm 12 point socket. These are single use only! If you reuse the bolt there's a greater chance for bolt failure!
NOTE - Only loosen the axle bolt 90 degrees! While I'm skeptical that wheel bearing damage will occur if you roll the car around, it makes sense that once you remove the preload from the bearing, that it will become loose and become damaged if the car is moved around like that.
Only after the axle bolt is loose, raise the car securely and rest it on jackstands. If you are doing both sides, make sure both sides are loose before raising the car. Make sure the car is safe and secure on jackstands before doing any further work. Again, do not try to loosen the axle bolts with the car on jack stands or on a lift! Remove the wheel.
Remove the axle at the transaxle end by removing the 6x 10mm triple square bolts on the inner joint-flange. Put the lug bolts back in the rotor and have a helper step on the brake to counterhold the axle. You could also stick a screwdriver in the brake vents and turn the rotor until it's hitting the brake caliper. If the other side is on wood blocks (see 1000q: wood blocks for more details), you can also put it in park to counterhold the axle bolts. This is not the best way because it puts the stress on the transmission instead of the brakes.
On the driver's side, turn the steering wheel to the right for more access, on the pass side, turn the wheel to the left. Only turn the wheel about 3/4 of the way because if it's turned all the way the joint will be at too great of an angle. If you do, you can see the extreme angle that the boot is subjected to when the steering wheel is at full lock.
The axle at the hub end will be seized in place. I suggest using a 3 arm puller or hitting the head of a slightly loosened axle bolt (you need a gap for it to move in) to break it loose. In the example video above, I used a socket with some padding for the end of the axle to push it through. You probably won't have enough clearance to remove the axle.
Once the axle end is loose, loosen the 3x 16mm ball joint bolts. You should now have plenty of clearance to remove the axle. NOTE - mark these bolts before removal and put them back in the same alignment! They'll probably be a little off which will require an alignment, but making sure they're decent will greatly preserve tire life.
The axle will look something like this once removed:
The rest of installation is the reverse of removal.
When tightening the axle-transmission flange bolts, first tighten them in a diagonal pattern to about 10 ft-lbs. This ensures that the axle is flat. Then tighten them to a final torque of 57 ft-lb. After that I suggest double checking the torque. I also use some blue medium strength threadlocker to make sure they won't shake loose. Remember, torque specs assume clean threads - rusty bolts/threads will give a false torque reading. Since you have to use extensions, make sure the torque wrench is perpendicular to the bolt. Twisting or tilting the wrench will change the torque on the bolt. See 1000q: torque wrench FAQ for more details on using a torque wrench.
The axle bolt is only good for torquing to the final torque once! Do not reuse the old axle bolt! It's a stretch bolt and it's holding the wheel bearing and axle on! I mark it with a piece of chalk to know how much I've turned it for the torque spec.
CV boot replacement
First remove the axle. While there are tools to replace these on the car, it's much easier, faster, and more comfortable to remove the axle. See the B5 Passat axle article for some hints - I don't have an exact article for this but it's close enough.
If you have the hex axle bolt w/washer - 148 ft-lb (200 Nm) + 1/2 turn (always replace)
If you have the 12 point bolt w/o washer - 52 ft-lb (70 Nm) + 1/4 turn (always replace)
6x m8 axle bolts: First tighten to 7 ft-lb in a diagonal pattern. Then tighten to 30 ft-lb (40 Nm) if you have a manual, or 52 ft-lb (70 Nm) if you have a DSG with the M10 bolts. Tighten the bolts in a diagonal pattern then double check because these like to come loose.
3x 16mm ball joint bolts: 44 ft-lb (60 Nm) (always replace)
wheel lug bolts: 89 ft-lb (tighten in star pattern twice then double check)