Saturn front-wheel-drive vehicles have a special connection between the drive axles and the wheel hub: the CV (constant velocity) joint. This sealed joint allows the wheels to respond to bumps, dips and turning while remaining in contact with the spinning axle. The CV joint is sealed in a rubber boot to prevent any grime or dirt from hindering its function. If the boot breaks--which happens with age as the rubber wears and cracks--the entire CV and connection shaft must be pulled out for replacement.
Jack the car up onto a stable stand and remove the wheel. A jack stand is an inexpensive device for just this purpose. Raise the Saturn with the tire jack and insert the jack stand under the frame. (The tire jack is not stable enough for this procedure.) Lower the tire jack until the Saturn rests on the jack stand.
Remove the wheel cover and the five lug nuts securing the wheel. Remove the wheel and set it aside.
You must remove the brakes to access the CV boot and joint. As Saturns have front disc brakes, this procedure is not difficult. First, remove the retaining bolt securing the caliber bracket. It’s behind the large metal rotor disc. When the bolt is removed, lift the caliper and the pads off the rotor. Don’t let it hang by the brake fluid line because it can pull it apart. Just set the removed caliper on the bracket. The rotor will now slide right off the five mounting bolts. Once the rotor is removed, you can remove the wheel hub fasteners.
The CV boot is the black rubber surrounding the shaft and the wheel mounts. You will need a special tool to remove the CV joint, a CV joint puller. It’s shaped like a closed bottle cork remover, with two arms and a screw in the middle. Place the ends of the two arms behind the CV joint with the screw all the way out. There are metal “fingers” on the ends of the arms to secure it to the axle flange.
Once the CV pulling tool is installed, turn the screw clockwise. As the screw goes in and pushes against the axle, the fingers are drawn to it along with the CV shaft. With a few turns, the shaft should come loose and slide right out.
- Photo Credit SUV suspension image by Kathy Burns from Fotolia.com
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