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CV axle play at transaxle

I have a 95 Geo Prizm auto 1.6l. Last week out of the blue started hearing a loud clicking sound when making right turns. This progressed to being a constant sound at low speed whether turning or not.

I pulled off the tire and found considerable play where the half shaft fits into the transaxle. With the car in gear I can see the bulbous end of the axle wobbling around and creating that clicking noise. The axle is only about a year old and looks fine, no busted boots or leaks. There’s also no fluid leaks at the transaxle end.

The car drives fine with no noticeable vibration. What kind of issue am I looking at here?

Can you tell if the wobble is contained within the rubber boot (the inner CV joint itself) or is it free of play there? If there’s no play there, and the play is at the inner shaft/transaxle, that may be more serious.

There is play within the boot, but normal as far as I can tell. The axle was replaced 8 months ago so I’m not sure if it could fail so soon.
The play I’m speaking of seems stem from within the transaxle itself, as the end of the axle wobbles freely where it means the trans.

The inner shaft has a circlip around it that should click it in place when the inner shaft is pushed into the trans. It can take a firm knock with a mallet, being careful to protect the boot. Maybe this wasn’t done, or the circlip is missing.

If it were mine, I’d try getting that inner shaft fully seated. See if you can push it in and pull it back out a ways. You can push it in so far, and then it needs that firm knock to go that last 3mm or so and clip into place.

There is a seal in the trans where the inner axle shaft goes in. That might be in bad shape now.

There has to be allowance made in the design of the shaft and joints for some play b/c the distance from the transmission to the hub (the wheel end of the shaft) is not constant. It varies during turns, and even going over bumps. The hub is not bolted to the body like the transmission is, but instead sort of like a bobble head doll, attached to the body of the car with a spring. The inner cv joint is designed to flexible in angle too, to accommodate turning. I expect what you are noticing is normal. The clicking isn’t normal however. Clicking like that usually comes from the outer cv joint, not the inner.

This from Solphilos leads me to believe the problem is not within the inner CV joint, but where its short shaft fits into the transaxle.

OP could try the same experiment on the other side perhaps.

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