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Tuesday, November 07, 2006


It's 8:20 PM. Do you know where your rear axle is?

When I got home from work today, I decided it was finally time to yank the rear axle out of the Nissan and get the replacement piece swapped in. I started by disconnecting the parking brake, ABS sensors, anti-roll bar, brake line, and driveshaft. When I got to the last item in that list, I found that Nissan had devised an especially fiendish way to attach the driveshaft to the axle: They had used a flat flange held on with four bolts, with enough room for a box wrench on either side. There's no way to fit a convetional socket wrench on either end.

So that pretty much rules out the usual high torque tools a home mechanic might use like a breaker bar. There's certainly no way I can see to get an impact wrench in there. I wonder just what sort of tool Nissan's engineers expected their mechanics to use when removing a driveshaft that's had years of road grime to rust the bolts in place. Perhaps Nissan dealerships have a chest of meter-long box wrenches. I finally removed the nuts by putting a box wrench on them and smacking the wrench with a 4 lb sledgehammer. It looks like that's about the only way to get these removed, other than slicing through the bolts with an angle grinder.

So I had the rear axle out... at about 8:20. Didn't leave myself much time to put it back in. After a determined struggle, I managed to get the axle in place, but did not have time to finish getting all the brake hardware back on. Looks like I'll be taking the bike to work tomorrow. They're predicting rain.


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