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Axle separation

I recently had my brakes done, and the mechanic called me to say that there was something wrong with my right front axle. When he showed me the problem, I was surprised. Somehow the axle has come out of the gearbox so that you can actually see into it. I could not tell if the cover had just been knocked back, or if they did something. He said it was a miracle my 4 wheel drive even functioned. I had used it in that mode this past winter, and was not aware of any problem at that time, and the car has not gone over anything that might have damaged it. He said something about splines may have fallen out. Just what is he talking about? How dangerous is this? What might I be looking at in cost to get the axle reconnected to the gear box?

Most CV axles can simply be pushed back into the transmission. If the axle is damaged it should be replaced. Whether or not it was damaged at the shop or while you were driving is pretty much impossible to know from this vantage point. What kind of car are we talking about here by the way?

New feature. Below the original post, under TAGS:, there’s a place to enter vehicle make and model. This particular post is about a '97 Suzuki Sidekick 4X4.

I have seen this happen when there was a cracked suspension member and it was not visible, even on a lift until the two pieces were pried apart. I think it was the unit the a-frame mouonts to, but not the unibody itself. So barring any other issues, you might look in that direction.

This can happen with tri-pod inner CV-joints. These CV-joints are the plunging type where the joint allows the axle shaft to change length as the wheel rolls over bumps. Sometimes these CV-joints will plunge inward when the axle shaft needs to be shorter, and then jamb in that position. Then when the axle shaft needs to be longer, the jambed CV-joint doesn’t slide back out. And axle shaft is pulled out of the tranny/diff.

I’d keep my eye on that inner CV-joint to see if it happens again.