Drive shaft stuck on 98 Protege

Hi, I’ve managed to remove 95% of my driver’s side drive shaft but can’t for the life of me remove the spline from the transmission. I cut the boot so all there is is the cup with the spline plugged into the gear box. I’ve pried and pried with a screwdriver and drove a chisel with a hammer in between the cup (not sure the proper term for it) and it wouldn’t budge. I’m going to try and track down a puller that will work on this car but that might take days or weeks. I have to work tomorrow night so my question: Will it do any harm to the transmission or be unsafe to drive with only one drive shaft?

You will not be able to drive the car with on axle removed. I am assuming you are working on jack stands. Normally I use a large pry bar and give the inner joint a quick bump and most of the time they pop right out. I doubt you have the room to do this with out a lift. Here is a link to the proper tool for the job they work very well . You may be able to rent one from a parts store. I would also replace the axle seal at the same time.


Sweet. That tool does look like it’ll work.

Thanks for the link.

If you have 2 large screwdrivers or pry bars you might try prying on the joint simultaneously on both sides.
Sometimes prying on one side has a tendency to cant the joint a bit due to wear on the splines and that can put it in a bind; even if any burrs and so on are so slight as to be unnoticeable to the eye.

The transaxle is some kind of aluminum alloy on this car

I used the tool that Steve mentioned, because I didn’t want to risk damaging the housing

Before I used that tool, I did carefully try 2 large prybars. When it didn’t work, I used the other tool mentioned

We had a similar problem with a Plymouth Breeze. We used the pry bar on the outer case of the inner joint, and tapped on the pry bar with a 5 lbs sledge to coax it out.

Rotate the axle stub 180 deg or so. Sometimes the c-clip likes to hang up. U wouldn’t think something so small would matter. I have used the slide hammer tool before. Some axles really don’t want to come out without a fight

@Cavell, put it in neutral, rotate 180 deg and put it back in park position – or would it be ok to just leave it in neutral while prying? I ask because my manual say to put it in park.

Does it even matter which gear it’s in when the axle stub is removed?

And I don’t even understand why Mazda thinks they need to put a snap ring at the end of the spline. It’s not like the joint is going to be able to come out - it doesn’t have anywhere to go. And the drive shaft hub lock nut seems severely redundant. Seems they could come up with a much better/easier way to keep the outer drive shaft splines in the hub. A bit over engineered if you ask me but that’s just my uneducated opinion.

I had a snap ring fail to hold the cv joint in the trans on my wife’s Honda. Car rolled to a stop on the side of the highway. Also leaked fluid. I managed to push the joint back in and had to top off the fluid before limping it home. That snap ring is important.

Finally got it out.

Everything I tried failed so I got desperate and gave this a shot. Worked beautifully.

Can’t beat the attire of the guy doing the video. I always do my work in flop flops and plaid shorts…

The axleshaft is out, and that’s great . . .

But the guy in the youtube video is wearing flipflops. I suppose he’s not worried about dropping something heavy on his foot and flattening out

Must have natural steel toes . . .

I don’t, therefore I have to buy steel toed boots

I like his jack and safety tire to keep him safe!!! Only problem I see is he ruined his core, if there is a core charge for the axle it’s lost. It’s not a way I would recommend personally. I have the luxury of a lift which makes all the difference in a job like this.


It would be a cold day in Hades before I ever resorted to having to drill holes in a CV race in order to remove it.

I have to think that the careful application of a little force on both sides at the same time would have popped that joint loose.

I think back to going to a friend’s house one evening and finding him connecting a chain from the rear bumper of another car to the rear of a dropped driveshaft on his '67 Chevelle SS in an attempt to remove the shaft from the transmission. He stated the chain had already broken once…

Telling him to hold the phone, I slid underneath with a 6" common screwdriver and popped it right loose.

@ok4450, too bad you weren’t around before I decided to do this - you could have saved me from forfeiting $85 for the core. :slight_smile: Oh well, I’m just glad it’s out and the new one is in. Feels good to succeed - even if it was a little on the expensive side. No regrets.

@SteveC76, yeah a lift would have made all the difference… I can’t tell you how many times I kept wishing the car was 7 feet in the air while I was laying on the ground & struggling for hours trying to pop that bad boy loose.

If it makes you feel any better, you should know that mechanics get into routine jobs that for one reason or the other turn into time-consuming, hair pulling, profanity fests.

I got into a valve adjustment on a SAAB one time (normally a couple of hours) and spent almost 6 hours on it. Just one stupid thing after the other kept going wrong with threads pulling on the camshaft caps and so on. Fix one and when retorquing the caps another would strip out.
The assortment of adjustment shims was lacking a size I needed so I had to resort to sanding a thicker shim down on fine emery cloth to obtain the correct clearance. Pain in the neck when those shims are hard as diamonds.

Actually that does make me feel better knowing that even well-seasoned techs can/do end up spending a lot more time on a job than anticipated. Especially when thinking back to a few repairs I’ve made when I thought I could just knock it out over the weekend and it ended up taking the entire week!

I just inherited a few repairs from a colleague, who moved along

What was supposed to be a simple job, quickly turned to s . . t, because the guy had overlooked many things. And that added considerable labor and parts to the repair order

That doesn’t sound like fun.

It wasn’t

The job is done and the repair was a success

But it made me wonder if the first guy actually spent any time looking at anything, or maybe his head was in the clouds