If you look closely at the boot you can see the tear
The night before a recent off road trip, I discovered that my driver's side inner CV joint boot was separated into two pieces. The trip was ruined since I didn't want to destroy my CV joint by stuffing it up with mud and debris. But a quick trip to NAPA got me a CV joint boot kit for $13. The kit includes all necessary hardware: the boot, grease, snap ring, and bands.
I've done this repair on other vehicles and the Montero as well, so some time ago I obtained a nice tool - the tie rod end/ball joint separator. Its very handy but of poor quality: cheap, made in China, and of the lowest grade steel possible, I believe. I've broken one before and this one will follow. So far each of them lasted for one round of Montero ball joints. There are other ways of removing the ball joints but I found this tool to be one of the easiest.
The root of the problem
The balljoint separator tool
The steps to fix your CV boot
Removing the drive shaft
First, raise the vehicle and remove the wheel. I suggest you secure it on jack stands under the transmission crossmember. The jack will be needed later to support the lower A-arms.
Remove the front brake caliper assembly. (There is a tiny philips screw holding the brake disk shield to the caliper assembly on top of it. It is easy to miss but the caliper won't come out without removal of that screw).
Disconnect the tie rod (with the tool if you have one).
Disconnect the lower ball joint (support the lower A-arm at this point with the stock jack and raise it as much as it goes until vehicle starts lifting off the jack stand. Leave the jack this way until you put the parts back together).
The caliper assembly is hung out of the way
When removing the tierod, the right tool helps!
The infamous balljoint removal tool
Disconnect upper ball joint.
Take the knuckle assembly aside. Don't forget to remove the snap ring on the outer end of the drive shaft. If your vehicle is equipped with ABS brakes you may have trouble removing the ABS sensor from the knuckle. Actually I didn't do it. My solution was to disconnect an ABS wire from the upper A-arm that will give enough slack to slide the knuckle off the drive shaft and place it on a support (kitty litter box stuff as you can see in my case).
Driver side: Just pull the drive shaft out from the front differential.
Passenger side: Remove four bolts holding the drive shaft flange to inner shaft.
Grease is the word...
Too much of a good thing? Not in this case..
The new retaining band is quite visible in this shot
The newly reassembled front driveshaft
Replacing the boot (the following is true for DOJ type of joint)
Remove the bands and slide the boot away from joint.
Remove a large circular spring clip from a groove on the outer end of the DOJ case. (Stuff gets very messy and greasy at this point). Then slide the case off the drive shaft.
Make mating marks on the inner race and outer cage.
Using a flat tip screw driver, pry out the ball from the outer cage.
Slide the outer cage down along the shaft.
Take the snap ring out and remove the inner race, outer cage, and remains of the boot from the drive shaft.
Clean out the grease; there's lots of it. Take your time here because mixing old and new grease is not a very good idea.
Slide the small band then the boot back onto the drive shaft. (I must stress: FIRST goes the band). I did that mistake once before. Clamp the smaller side of the boot to the drive shaft.
Slide on the outer cage (smaller diameter goes first) then the inner race. Align the mating marks, apply some of the grease and, press the balls back in.
Install a new snap ring. (Should come with kit).
The entire assembly, good as new!
Put half of the grease into the outer race and the rest into the boot.
Slide the ball and cage assembly into the outer race. Install a large circular spring clip - this is what holds the joint from separating.
Slide the bigger side of the boot over joint assembly. Make sure that the distance between boot bands is approximately 80 mm (3.15"). Release any extra air from inside the joint by prying under the edge of the boot with a screwdriver. Install the big band.
Now you should look around to see if you have any CV joint spare parts left over. You don't want to start reassembling everything if you forgot to install a snap ring or one of the balls rolled away.
For assembly, follow disassembly steps. Use a rubber hammer to install the drive shaft back into the differential. Be careful not to damage a seal. Putting it all back together doesn't take that long.
There is supposed to be a shim between the outer end snap ring and the hub surface.
It is needed to adjust drive shaft end play. After putting it all back together,
use a feeler gage to measure the clearance between snap ring and the hub (or
shim if you have one and the hub). The standard value is 0.4-0.7 mm. I'm
missing the shim ever since an emergency visit to an auto shop. Regarding the tool. If anyone is going to buy one it has to have a 22 mm fork gap to fit on the lower ball joint. I had to significantly widen mine to fit.
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