Drive shaft replacement - Fixes Acceleration Judder/Full lock clicking

Accord 03-08

  1. nauest
    Difficulty Level:
    Hi Guys,

    Over the last few days I have been working through the biggest job I have attempted on this car so far! I though I would share my process with you. There is nothing overly technical in this but it does take patience, confidence and some brute force.

    I completed this job over the course of 3 evenings. It would be possible to do it in one day.

    Please note I am just a keen amateur, I have a degree in mechanical engineering but no formal automotive mechanic training. This is for guidance only, if in doubt ask a professional. Please feel free to comment on my work and make suggestions. I will happily update. I hope this guide is helpful.

    The Problem

    This guide is for the replacement of both of the drive shafts but not the intermediate shaft, this is replacement of complete units. This replacement can deal with a number of problems involving these components, such as torn CV boots, worn outer CV joints or in my case worn inner CV joints which is common on the Diesel models.

    This problem can easily cause MOT failures and drivability issues. In extreme cases loss of drive and suspension damage.

    After some research I decided that changing a complete driveshaft was he best method for doing this job. Changing individual CV joints or boots is possible but not covered here.


    Depending on the problem you have with the driveshaft’s there will be different symptoms. There is a wide range of symptoms. Here are some common examples.

    Worn Outer CV – Clicking or bumping when on full lock in either direction.

    Worn Inner CV – Juddering when accelerating at cruising speeds or when climbing hills at speed.
    Usually around 55 – 65 mph.

    Damaged CV Boots – Only initially detectable with visual inspection, you can see obvious cuts or parting in the rubber. Another sign is grease that has been thrown out of the CV joints. This problem will often lead to the ones above due to accelerated wear of ungreased CVs.

    Tools and Parts

    In order to carry out this job you will need as a minimum:

    - 1 or 2 driveshaft’s depending on your problem. – I got these from Motor Parts Direct and are new replicas made by Blueprint, £120 each.
    - Full lifting kit - trolley jack, axle stands, chocks or Ramps (A trolley jack is essential in this case)
    - 10, 12, 17, 18 and 36 mm socket
    - 17 mm spanner
    - Breaker Bar at least 750 mm, yes 750!
    - Ratchet Drive or small Breaker bar
    - Rubber mallet and a large metal hammer
    - Large flathead screwdriver
    - Old Cargo Strap
    - Lithium grease
    - Pliers
    - Your wheel key nut

    I would also recommend:

    - A Ball joint pin separator fork
    - Penetrating oil (WD40 works fine)
    - A long oil funnel
    - Oil Mat
    - Oil catch pan
    - Spare bumper/belly pan plastic push clips (Can be got cheap on eBay)
    - 500 mm extension (Or lots of little extensions :Tongue: ) and square drive for transmission oil fill plug
    - Torque wrench
    - Replacement cotter pins
    - 3 litres of Honda MTF fluid (Or appropriate amount of Auto fluid if you drive an automatic)
    - Saftey specs - You always get rubbish falling out of suspension into your eyes on these jobs!
    - A lie down creeper makes getting under the car much easier and safer
    - Good set of coveralls
    - Gloves


    I figured this one out on the job, so the photos may not be exactly in chronological order (i.e. the new drive shaft may randomly appear early in!). I have laid out the text instructions in the order that should be best and added the most relevant photo. So don't panic if something appears to have been done and not explained, it will be explained later on!

    The process is shown for the NS driveshaft only, I will explain any differences so you can repeat on the other side.

    1. Spindle Nut loosening

    Before you attempt anything else you need to break the spindle nuts free on the wheels you want to change the driveshaft’s on.

    This is quite a task. It may be easier to do this with an Air impact wrench and a 36mm impact socket. However it is quite possible without air.

    Firstly remove the wheel nut cover, now very helpfully on my Accord wheels this reveals the spindle nut as well so no need to remove the Wheel. (I love these wheels, my favorite Honda ones actually, not just because of this!)


    If it doesn’t, (If you have different wheels to me) you will need to remove your wheel, pop out the spindle nut cover in the center and then put your wheel back on. I know it’s a faf but it must be done. You can do this just by loosening the nuts on the ground, jack up one side and remove the wheel. Then put the wheel nuts back in and put the wheel back on the ground.

    MAKE SURE to use a screwdriver or pry bar to open up the flange on the spindle nut. You will see a dent in it which is used to prevent it loosening. (You can see the depression in the photo above.)

    To loosen the spindle nut, put your 36mm socket onto the 750mm breaker bar. Then place an axle stand under the breaker bar so it is supported straight into the spindle nut. This is important to stop the socket twisting off.

    Also chock the front wheels, the handbrake won't hold it well against this kind of torque!


    I had to stand and bounce on the end of the breaker bar to get this loose. Don't be afraid of really putting your back into this. Only loosen it, don't remove it completely at this stage.

    2. Lift the car and remove the wheels

    Full Information available here:

    Guides - Correct Jacking Points

    It is necessary to jack and prop both sides of the car even if you are only doing one drive shaft. This is to make sure the Anti Roll Bar is unloaded.

    Once the car is lifted you can take the wheels off completely.


    2. Push shaft out of hub assembly

    You can now push the shaft out from the hub. To do this you need to fully remove the spindle nut and hit it hard with a rubber mallet.

    If you intend to sell or repair the shaft it is worth putting the nut back on partially to hit against so to avoid damaging the shaft.

    Make sure you hit the shaft far enough through so that it is loose and could be pulled out by hand

    3. Disconnect lower control arm from ball joint

    Working from underneath the hub assembly you will find a castle nut with a cotter pin through it.

    Use your pliers to work the cotter pin out of the nut.


    Once the pin is removed you will need a 17mm socket. I used my trusty 750mm breaker bar on this again to make light work of it.


    Once the castle nut is removed you will need to pop the ball joint pin out of the lower control arm.

    There is a specific tool for this job which looks like this:


    Now I don't have one of these, so this is how I did it, pretty sure this is not the manufacturers intended way but it works well!

    Place a trolley jack underneath the stud which you have just removed the castle nut from. Then jack it up a couple of inches against the suspension. This makes the pin want to come out.

    Then get your biggest hammer and hit the lower control arm at the point where the pin goes through. Don't hit the stud itself.

    Be careful of the brake lines and ABS wires. Also be careful not to hit the brake disks or heat shields. This is made easier if you turn the wheels full lock.

    It takes a bit of whacking, and possibly a few extra cm on the trolley jack and it will pop out. The trolley jack will then catch the lower control arm. Magic! This is the result:


    Worth giving your ball joint gaiter a good look over at this point, check for cracks or holes that could cause you problems later on.

    4. Move hub assembly clear

    You can now lift the whole hub assembly away from the lower control arm.

    You will need to pull the old drive shaft right out of the hub to do this.

    At this point a recommend freeing the brake hose from the suspension in order to give you more movement room and also reduces chance of damaging it. To do this you need a 12 mm socket:


    Then you can lift the hub right out of the way. It is much easier to continue if you tie it out of the way (I didn't free the brake line till after, this will move much further round with it released):


    4. Disconnect the suspension fork from the lower control arm

    It is now necessary to remove the suspension fork. Unfortunately the shaft does not fit through the gap so this has to be done. (You could theoretically do it by assembling the inner CV joint in situ, but I wouldn't recommend it)

    For this you need a 17mm spanner and a 17mm socket. I used my trusty 750mm breaker bar again to get this moving, it can be very stiff. A good spray of penetrating oil will help a lot here.


    Once the nut is off use the rubber mallet and screwdriver to knock the bolt all the way out of the control arm.

    You can then grab both prongs of the fork and pull it hard outwards and it will separate giving you a gap which you can fit the driveshaft through.

    5. Remove the driveshaft from the Gearbox or Intermediate shaft

    It is a good idea to drain the transmission oil from the car prior to removing the shaft, I didn't and in fact didn't loose any MTF during the process. I recommend putting down an oil catch mat anyway.

    For the Nearside (Gearbox side)

    There is a small spring clip inside the gearbox on the shaft, the only way to overcome it is to pry or pull the shaft out of the gearbox.

    Make sure to not pull the shaft itself or it will come apart. Work on the Inner CV Housing.

    I decided to use some of my sailing knot knowledge and make a self tightening strop around the inner CV joint. I then used the big hammer tied to the other end of the strap to shock pull the shaft out.

    Some experimentation will be needed to do this, a pry bar should work fine, just be carful not to damage your gearbox housing.


    When the shaft is fully removed it will look like this.


    For the Offside (Intermediate shaft)

    I don't have any pictures unfortunately, but working under the car you can place a screwdriver against the inner CV housing and tap it off with a hammer.

    Note that the CV joint on the nearside is female, not male like the other side.

    6. Remove shafts

    You can now pull the old shafts right out. You will need to pull the suspension fork sideways slightly to get it out.

    At this point put the old shaft next to the new one and make sure that it is exactly the same in every detail. This will prevent damage or any other problems when reinstalling it.


    7. Install new shafts (Inner CV)

    Give the new shafts a coating of grease on all of the shiny contact parts as well as the splines.

    You can now lift the new shafts into place, you will need to move the suspension fork again. Be very careful not to damage the new CVJ gaiters while doing this.

    You need to plug in the inner CV joint first. It should push in by hand. You may need to twist it slightly to get the splines aligned. Be carful not to damage the oil seals on the gearbox when on the nearside.

    If it doesn't you may have a problem with the spring clip on the splines. I found that the Blueprint Driveshafts had a spring clip that was too loose and would not plug in properly. In the end I ended up switching the old spring clip onto the new shaft. It then plugged straight in no problem.

    Be very sure to check that the joint is fully engaged, it can be a double clunk before it is seated right. Give it a good pull to make sure its not going to come off again.


    7. Install new shafts (Outer CV)

    Once the driveshaft is in and connected you can put the bolt back through the suspension fork and the lower control arm. Don't tighten it yet, we will get onto that.

    You will need to manoeuvre the outer shaft into the hub, I found this easiest with steering at centre.

    This is just a case of aligning it right, it take a bit of playing and the shaft should slip right through the hub. Put it far enough through so you can put the NEW spindle nut and give it a few turns.

    Be carful not to pull on the shaft too much or you may pull the inner CV joint apart.


    7. Re seat ball joint into lower control arm

    Once you are sure everything is in the right place, you can lift the whole hub assembly up and round and drop the ball joint pin back into the lower control arm like so:


    8. Re tighten castle nut

    Double check everything is ok and and that the shaft rotates freely.

    You can now retighten the castle nut back onto the lower connection.

    I am usually not overly fussed about correct torque settings, but with critical suspension connections like this one it is essential that you use an appropriate torque wrench for this.

    The lower castle not requires 88 nm of torque initially, then tighten it further to make the hole align so you can get a cotter pin through.

    If the ball joint starts to rotate, use the trolley jack to lift the lower control arm up just an inch to make the ball joint lock in the arm.


    Once tightened put through a new cotter pin. You could re use the old one but I would highly reccomend using a new one. Its a small cost that could save you a serious accident. Bend both parts of the cotter pin right round.


    9. Re tighten suspension fork nut and bolt

    Particular attention needs to be taken to do up this bolt in the right manner. Once again the torques is very important. 64 nm in this case.

    You must also tighten this up while the bushing is loaded to prevent stressing it. You can do this by tightening it once the wheels are on the ground, but this is very tricky.

    I did it by using a trolley jack to simulate load on the suspension. Place the trolley jack under the lower control arm and then jack it up until the car just moves of the axle stand on that side. Then lower it by an inch so the axle stand is just taking the weight of the car again.

    Just to be safe, do not work under the car or wheel arch at any time when in this state.


    10. Re Fasten Brake hose

    Don't forget to reattach the brake hose we removed earlier!


    11. Replace Transmission Fluid (Optional but highly recommended)

    Now the new shafts are installed you should replace the MTF, (Or the Auto fluid, depending on your gearbox) At least you should check the level and top up in case any was lost when the old shafts were removed. It is best to use genuine Honda Fluids in your gearbox.

    This is the guide I used to do this. This is for the 5 speed manual I-CTDI box:

    Accord i-CTDi Gearbox/Transmission Fluid Replacement MTF

    There are guides on this site for various other gearboxes if you search.

    A few notes on how I did this job myself:

    I put all my extensions together and managed to removed the fill plug while leaving everything else in the engine bay in place. If you use a 3/8 square drive with a spring loaded ball snap on, it actually retains the plug perfectly making this job very easy.


    Also don't do what I did and make sure you remove the right check oil plug underneath before filling up! The guide linked above shows the correct ones.

    As you can see from the colour mine needed doing! This made shifting much smoother too.


    I also replaced some of the missing plastic body clips when reinstalling the engine splash plate.

    12. Re fit wheels and torque spindle nut

    Now all you need to do is put the wheels back on. Do up your wheel nuts to hand tight and drop the car back down onto its wheels. Your wheel nuts should then be tightened incrementally to 108nm.

    You can now do up the spindle nut properly. It should be at 245nm but my torque wrench doesn't go that high, and doubt most do! I just used the 750mm breaker bar and my full weight.

    Make sure to use a screw driver or drift and the metal hammer to knock the nut flange back into he groove in the shaft to prevent it loosening.


    Then replace your wheel nut cover, or if you have a wheel with a separate spindle nut cover you may need to take your wheels off again to replace the cover.

    13. Test drive!

    When you test drive after this work, take it very easily. It is sensible to start with some manoeuvring, test forwards and reverse at full lock in both directions. This should bring up any serious issues.

    If all is well then take it out on the open road and keep your ears open and hands on the wheel to feel and hear any clicks, knocks and wobbles. Hopefully, like in my case, your problems will now all be fixed!

    I would recommend getting a front wheel alignment at a garage after this work.

    Thats it!

    Thanks for reading I hope this was helpful. Please rate and comment if you would like to know more or have any suggestions on changes.


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    copytron, Bones126, iceman and 5 others like this.

Recent Reviews

  1. tals
    Very nicely written and useful to understand what is involved
  2. redefined_cycles
    Nice work mate. Will keep it pinned
  3. gpoler
    good job and useful images
  4. Nels
    Great stuff Ned. Thank you for sharing.
  5. SpeedyGee
    Very thorough guide Ned. Top marks !!
    1. nauest
  6. Nighthawk
    Excellent guide, very well done
    1. nauest
      Author's Response
      Thanks! Diy of the month? :P Only kidding, happy to help.