Honda Odyssey Axle Replacement
1999 – 2004 Honda Odyssey
Vehicle In This Guide:
1999 Honda Odyssey / 3.5L engine / 156,000 miles
Look at this guide to see how to remove either the passenger or the driver side half shafts, also known as axles, on a Honda Odyssey minivan. The most important part is getting a quality axle. You have several options. Option 1 is to buy an OEM axle and last time I checked the price for that was around $300. Option 2, and the one that I prefer, is to buy a replacement axle from Raxles.com. Their prices are around $130-$160 for a replacement axle and you send your old one back to them. Their axles meet or exceed OEM specs. Option 3 is to buy a cheap axle for around $50 but there is a big risk of the axle failing soon after installation. Unless you are really strapped for cash do not go with option 3. I recently tried one of those $50 axles and during the test drive the axle began grinding. Enough said.
Removing The Drive Axles
Remember, if you are removing the driver side axle you will need to drain some of the transmission fluid. If you are doing the passenger side axle then you will not need to drain anything.
1. Put the front of the van on jack stands and take off the wheel of the axle that you wish to remove.
2. You will need to remove the axle nut. The lip of the axle nut will be dented in one place so you will need a flat head screw driver to straighten this out as much as possible. Use a 36mm socket to remove the nut. An impact wrench works really well for this sort of thing. If you don’t have one laying around you can have someone step on the brakes to keep the axle from spinning or do what I did below.
No need to remove all the brake components. I was replacing the rotors at the same time so that’s why all of the brake stuff is missing from this photo.
3. In order to remove the axle you will need to move the steering knuckle out of the way. There are two ways of doing this. The easiest way to do this is to remove the knuckle to strut bolts (#1). With the bolts removed the knuckle is free to be moved out. To reduce stress on any brake lines and/or wheel speed sensor (2), you need to remove the bolts that hold them to the strut (3) and the knuckle. This will give them some slack when you start moving the knuckle out of the way. Do the same for the brake lines on the other side.
Or you can also separate the knuckle at the lower ball joint. Remove the ball-joint nut and separate the knuckle from the control arm, you may have to use a separator tool.
4. A couple of nice hits with the hammer should pop the axle out of the knuckle. Now that you have one side of the axle out of the steering knuckle, grab a pry-bar (or a huge screwdriver) and pop the axle out of the transmission and remove the whole thing from the vehicle.
5. The passenger side axle is made out of two parts – the half shaft and the intermediate shaft. You can either remove the half shaft by knocking it out (I do this in the next step) and leave the intermediate shaft in place or you can remove the intermediate shaft mounting bolts (1) and slide the whole assembly out. Even though it takes more time, I removed the whole assembly because I could not separate the two halves while the assembly was attached to the van.
6. Separate the the intermediate shaft from the half shaft by knocking it out with a hammer.
Installing the Axle
1. Get the new axles and install them into the transmission and then into the steering knuckle. Obviously you will have to connect the two passenger side shafts before installing them into the vehicle.
2. Tighten the axle nut to 181 lb-ft. and use a punch or a screw driver to dent the lip of a new axle nut.
3. Tighten the intermediate shaft mounting bolts to 29 lb-ft.
4. Finally tighten the steering knuckle to strut nuts to 89 lb-ft.
5. If you removed any of the bolts that hold the wheel speed sensor or brake lines, those bolts should be torqued to 7 lb-ft.
6. Install the wheels and torque to 80 lb-ft.
I have been trying to put the hub/knuckle back to my new strut, but the knuckle wont push in to be perpendicular to the ground. I can get the bottom bolt in, but the top one cant go into the strut.
I have been trying to rotate the drive axle back and forth by moving the lug bolts and pushing in while lifting the whole assembly up and down and something just seems to not fit correctly even though the inner boot is not ripped and looks good. I even tried putting the old strut on and to no avail, so I know it’s not the new strut. Please help
I’m having some trouble following what you’re saying. I’m not sure why you’re messing with the drive axle? You should be able to slide the spline of the axle into the hub/knuckle and have the metal ring on the end of the axle line up with the wheel speed sensor (#2 in the second picture from the top). Sometimes you may have to tap the axle in gently with a hammer or a rubber mallet. If you have to use excessive force to get it into the hub/knuckle then something is not right (most likely you got the wrong size axle).
Moving on… Once you get the axle into the hub/knuckle then you have to connect the top end of the knuckle to the strut (the two bolts that you are talking about). If I remember right, you won’t be able to just push the knuckle in with your hands. You’ll need a hammer to pound it in place. Hope this helps.
Hi,..thanks for the nice article.
I have a question about your statement at the beginning “Remember, if you are removing the driver side axle you will need to drain some of the transmission fluid.”. Can you explain why and when/how much you should do that? There wasn’t mention of it in the article and I’m sorry if I should be able to infer as much.
Greg, since I did not take out the driver’s side axle, I went with the manual which states that some transmission fluid should be drained when removing the driver’s side axle. Honestly I don’t think that is really necessary as you can just have something on the ground to catch the fluid when you remove the axle.
Really nice article – easy to follow – but I do have a question about step 4. “4. A couple of nice hits with the hammer should pop the axle out of the knuckle.”
On my 06 Odyssey – I’ve done everything up to step 4 but when I tap the axle it does not budge. I’ve even tried a hydraulic wheel puller – but it won’t move. I’ve successfully changed drive axles before but this one has me stumped – any ideas.
I’m assuming that you are trying to take the axle out of the steering knuckle, right? I’ve actually ran into this problem when changing out the wheel bearing hub on a Cadillac Seville. The axle was fused to the hub. Short of changing the entire knuckle assembly the two useful tools are a really big hammer and/or a torch. Usually a sledge hammer does the trick but do be careful not to deform the axle splines when hitting the axle. Good luck.
Thank-you so much for doing this step by step i just changed out both cv axles in my friends 07 odyssey and it went great because of this info. i am a mechanic and have done stuff like this many times but it has never been as easy as this i really appreciate it. Now her kids can be safe driving in the van and she doesn’t have to worry about getting stranded anywhere. Once again Thank You
You’re welcome! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Great article, Thank You, Thank You. I’m going to replace mine when the parts arrive. This article didn’t mention anything about putting grease on the splines when installing the new axles. If so, what type of grease should I use and on which spline ends should I put grease on, like to the wheel end or to the tranny end?
Also, has anyone reported tranny fluid leaks from the driver’s side?
Definitely don’t put any kind of grease or anti-seize on the spline that goes inside the transmission. On the wheel end I guess it won’t hurt to lightly grease the spline (it’s not mandatory though). As long as the label says “High Temp Grease” then any brand will work, ie Valvoline, Coastal, etc…
No one has reported any leaks but have something to catch the fluid just in case.
Thanks for taking the time to write.
2005 Odyssey LX
First timer for this,
Do you really have to remove the intermediate shaft like in #6??
That is just a little ominous.
Doing Both on Monday.
Nope, you don’t have to remove the intermediate shaft. I just found it easier to separate the two halves with the whole unit out of the van.
Very nice post and write up, however removal of the entire passenger side shaft and bracket are not required. I was working on an Odyssey 2005, and it has a heat shield that protects the joint. The service manual states that you simply have to drive the axle out with a metal shaft and hammer.
This saves HOURS of time since the heat shield is a PITA to remove.
Correct, it is not required but when you have an axle that won’t budge, as it was in my case, it is a lot easier to remove the intermediate shaft along with the axle. I’ll edit the post and explain it better for future visitors.
Thanks! You should do this for just the wheel bearing replacement!
My Husband and Father-in-law replaced my front driver and passenger CV axles this past Friday. We replaced them about 6 months ago. In the middle of our 5 hour drive to visit my Mother, we began experiencing violent shaking intermitently on the front end. We had the Honda dealership look at our ’06 Honda Odyssey van, and we were told that the front axles were bad, and the passenger/rear wheel hub needed replacing. We took care of all that ourselves since the axles on our van were still under warranty, and the shop wanted to charge us $1200! We ended up spending under $75 for the hub/etc by doing the repairs. However, and here’s the problem…
We drove home that night without incidence. The next day when I drove the van, the automatic transmission was slow to shift out of park to drive, from reverse to drive, it seems like the low gears are having trouble, and I have gotten a very mild vibration/shake back. Our transmission fluid level is fine, and there was none seen to be lost during repairs. Do you have any ideas about what could be wrong, or what we should look at now?
What became of the transmission issue? I have replaced motor mounts, drive axles and one wheel bearing. Now 1 month after my axles, which by the way dealer had to replace the aftermarket ones for OEM, because they just could not get rid of steering wheel shudder, my transmission went out, but after cooling down would go in gear enough for it to be loaded onto trailer. I am suspicious that drive axle replacement have led to my transmission failure because I noticed fluid from one of the axles, but was told it was only from the initial repair and not leaking. Any thoughts?
Why do you need to drain some of the fluid when replacing the driver side axle?
Thanks for taking the time to create the helpful article. Success. Cheers.
Thanks for the article. Great pictures, BTW. My 2005 Odyssey shop manual says that you need to drop the exhaust pipe. Anybody with experience on that? Honda OEM axles can be purchased for about $150 each, so $300 for the pair. A set of new Duralast axles from Autozone are $145. I’m struggling whether to go cheap or shell out over double the cost. Any idea what the Honda dealer charges to replace the axles?
“Honda OEM axles can be purchased for about $150 each, so $300 for the pair.” sounds like a great price! OEM Honda left and right driveshaft assemblies (44306-SHJ-A01 and 44305-SHJ-A01, respectively) are available online starting at $130 (plus another $20 for shipping). When deliberating between OEM or aftermarket parts where the cost differential is negligible, it is ALWAYS prudent to go with OEM.
I’m finding it extremely difficult to remove the intermediate shaft on a 2007 (same as 2005). You CANNOT access those bolts, even if you remove the heat shield, which you also cannot access!
Sadly, trying to tap the axle half shaft is impossible too due to the exhaust being in the way. So uh, yeah, have to rip all that out now. Why did Honda have to make this so much harder? Time (2004 -> 2005 -> 2006…) should bring progress, not regress. Grrrr.
2008 Odyssey, 175K Kms.
Clunking noise esp. in reverse and low speed turns.
The drivers side shaft was easy. I couldn’t imagine removing the intermediate shaft bracket to do the passenger side so I struggled to separate them in situ.
I finally succeeded with the help of a dent puller kit. Slide hammer and hook.
This page was a huge help. Thanks!
I just did this for the 2nd time on my 2006. The first time I changed the axles because I had leaking boots, so with 130,000 miles I changed the wheel bearings too (that was then…not now). The 2nd was because I had a pop/knock that I heard each time I shifted either from park to reverse/drive or reverse to drive or drive to reverse and sometimes when the engine downshifted during deceleration, which would then pop again when accelerating.
Captain Hindsight would have done 2 things different. First I would NOT have replaced the wheel bearings if they didn’t need it to be…they were fine. That job sucked. Separating the lower ball joint and steering was a PITA…not to mention pressing out the bearing… even with a 20 ton press. 2nd I would have used genuine Honda axles. I used autozone axles.
I was weary of the autozone axles to replace them the 2nd time, but since they are free (warranty) I decided to go ahead and just try it out againt. Especially since I just need to remove the strut knuckle bolts..or so I thought. I had the drive side done in less than one hour. But the passenger side was a different story. I used the slide hammer/cv axle separating fork that autozone loans out and could not break the passenger side free. I, like you, ultimately removed the intermediate shaft with much cursing and bruising. It IS possible to remove the heat shield and intermediate shaft without removing the exhaust but it requires patience, universal joints, extensions, ratcheting box-in wrenches, a bunch of reaching and repositioning and about 3 hours of time.
I also found that in my first attempt to dent the nut to lock the spindle nut in place wasn’t deep enough. The nut had loosened slightly. It was ‘tight’, but not to torque specs, as it was simple to break free. I also found the aftermarket spindle nuts to have a rather large shoulder and had to order the correct ones for $4/piece from Honda Parts. When I did this the first time I had to use a grinder to get them down to size, but this time I ordered new ones, and an extra set just in case.
I was able to remove the passenger side CV axle on my 2005 Odyssey without removing the the exhaust, intermediate shaft, etc. If I remember correctly, I got a long metal rod and fished it through all of the obstacles and was able to set it on the CV joint and hammer it out from the driver’s side. Rod was about 3 feet long. I may have even had to remove the driver side tire to have better access, but can’t recall with certainty. This was about six months ago.
I’ve done my wheel bearings too. Actually, more than once, because you learn a thing or two by making mistakes. I was pressing the hub into the new bearing and did not support the bearing from the back and pressed out the inner cage. Once, I pressed in the new bearing and the hub and realized I left off the brake shield. Oops.
Thanks for the post Jim! I didn’t give up, and I also was able to knock the passenger side axle out without removing the heat shield or exhaust on my 2008 Odyssey. I used a metal rod, about 3/8″ diameter and about 20 inches long (all thread might work too). I also was able to get a wrecking bar on it for a whack or two. I’m not sure which actually knocked it loose. It wasn’t until I laid on my back, with my feet out passenger wheel well and my head past center under the transmission, that I could see how to get the bar on the back of the axle. I had to jack the van up a little higher to have room to hammer from that position. And yes, that made me nervous being there and hammering, even though I had 2 jack stands, a floor jack, and both wheels under the car for safety.
I did the same thing, (knocked out the guts of a new bearing and forgot the brake sheild on my girlfriends 06′ Oddy. New wheel bearings, struts and sway links just to have the transmission die 4 days later…. I’ll be done today with the new Transmission install later today (fingers crossed). I’m not happy to say I’ve been so intimate with her Oddy but I’ve saved her a ton of money.
Wanted to update and clarify my March post. I didn’t set the rod on the CV joint, but on a lip or ridge on the axle shaft where it enters the intermediate shaft. Beats the hell out of removing the heat shield or exhaust.
Regarding wheel bearings: Having a 10-ton Harbor Freight press makes getting bearings out and in a whole lot easier. I use it to compress the coil springs to change shocks as well. A great investment if you do most of your own work on your vehicles.
Couple things I would add in. IF you use the slide hammer, go ahead and remove the brake calipers (hang the caliper from the strut with a hook) and rotor. Also, VERY important, make sure to support the knuckle/control arm when removing the last of the 2 strut/knuckle bolts to prevent possible damage to the ABS sensor. And finally, use loctite on the strut/knuckle bolts. Oh, and make longer comments available on this site…
In the end… the loose spindle nut didn’t seem to damage the new bearings. The noise is now gone, as is some skin on my wrist. And it also seems to have fixed some steering wheel shake/vibration .
Great write up. IM going to replace the driver side axle on my 08 Odyssey. Should i go ahead replace the passenger side axle also? Is it necessary? Thanks
just replaced axle on both sides on 02 odyssey , now have a vibration in the front when driving. any suggestions
Did you do anything else besides change the axles? Are the axles OEM or third party? Sounds like out of balance axles/CVs.
Great write up. It help me change the passenger side axle on my wife’s 2008 Odyssey. I was having trouble knocking the axle off the intermediate shaft. All I had to reach the axle from underneath was an old street key I had laying in the garage. I pounded on it for half an hour with no result. What I finally did was take a ratchet strap and put a little pull on the axle, not a lot but just enough to almost hold the axle straight. Then I hit the cv axle twice with the street key and hammer and it popped right out. It’s a bit of redneck engineering but thought I’d share it in case anyone was stuck and needed another idea. Again, great write up, made it so much easier thank you.
Great article. Thanks! I did my driver side on our 2012. Piece of cake. But, I’ve got transmission fluid leaking now. Was there a seal I should have replaced when putting the new axle in?
All of these instructions apply to the 2005 Odyssey as well. However, I could NOT get the inner passenger side joint off the intermediate shaft. There is no where to pry and no where to fish a long tool through to bang it out from behind. Also, the intermediate shaft had 4 bolts that are completely inaccessible with the car on the ground. But wait there is hope! If you remove the heat shield around the joint. Three bolts, all a royal PITA to remove, but once you do, my local auto part store (AutoZone) loans a tool called an axel puller for free. With said tool, the axel came off the intermediate shaft in about 5 or 6 bangs. Wish I knew about this tool six hours earlier! The tool itself looks like a big letter “C” with a hole where a slide hammer threads in. Once you put the “C” around the back side of the joint, a couple bags on the slide hammer pulls it right out. It’s legit, I highly recommend it. Hopefully this helps someone that is out of ideas and patience as I was.
I noticed a lot of comments from people having difficulty separating the tie rod and lower ball joint. First, don’t use a pickle fork! Inevitably you will tear the boot and then need to replace those parts too. Loosen the nut but don’t take it off completely. Then use a hammer to hit the side of where the ball joint enters the hub. After a few blows the ball joint just release and you will not have damaged the boots like a pickle fork will. Youtube has plenty of videos on how to do this.
I just did both driveshafts on my 2012 EX-L. Both outside boots were torn. I got new Cardone axles from Rock Auto. Cost was right around $170 for the pair. I was due for a transmission fluid change, so I did it at the same time as I read the transmission looses some fluid when you change the axles. I went to auto zone and borrowed their axle nut kit. It was a good move on my part. I drained the transmission first. I then used PBlaster on the nuts. I started with the easy one, the driver side. The giant nut was a little stubborn, but Pblaster and some time took care of it. Axle came out easily and slid back without a problem. Total time was about 2 hours.
The passenger side was a different story. The big nut came off easier than the first. Taking things apart up until the point where the axle needed to come out went smoothly. Took less than an hour to get there. I then spent about 4 hours trying to get the axle out. The axle was solidly in the bearing carrier. I used many curse words and two big hammers and a bunch of chisels and pry bars to get it out. I thought I would be clever and remove the bearing carrier from the car, but some idiot at Honda made so that one of the screws won’t come out when the axle is in there. I wonder how the dealer mechanics remove it? After I finally got it out it took me another 1.5 hours to put it all back and refill the transmission.
I replaced the transmission on my 02 odyssey in the process of putting the axles back in passenger side went right in the drivers side is being stubborn and won’t go back I did notice there is some sort of o ring on the end of the axle could this be stopping it and if so is there away to compress it
The ring is called a snap ring and is used to keep the axle from sliding out of the transmission. Unless the ring is so damaged that it’s preventing the shaft from sliding in, you just need a little bit of force to get the axle back into the transmission. A tap with a hammer usually does the trick.
‘03 Odyssey, 270k miles. Replaced everything (seals, driveshafts, bearing on intermediate shaft, bearing/hub, control arm, struts, calipers, rotors, pads):
Transmission seals – left them flush with the face of the transmission, as it seems there is no rim to keep you from over driving the seals (used a seal driver to set these).
Drivers side driveshaft was a real pain to install- getting the snap ring to set was torture. Ended up starting with the open part of the snap ring facing down, jamming the driveshaft in, then turning it a little, pushing again, etc, until it finally clicked in.
Passenger side intermediate shaft – I did not replace it, but I bought a new bearing and seal from Honda and had a machine shop press the old bearing out and the new one in. Btw, getting to the bolts for this is much easier if you go in from the fender side with the wheel and disc removed instead of trying to get to it from the bottom.
Passenger side drive shaft was a little tough to get out – I got a punch set from Harbor freight that had a flat faced round punch, about 8” long that I could run above the exhaust pipe and then barely get on the edge of the drive shaft and hit it with a 5lb sledge, which was really close to whatever sensor is in the exhaust pipe right at the transmission.
Hubs/wheel bearings were also replaced, but I took them to a machine shop and had them remove the old ones and press the new ones in place.
Getting the Hub carrier off the control arm bushing and the steering bushing were a chore. I sprayed them with WD40 to try to loosen them up, tried a pickle fork, which worked on one side (didn’t care about damaging the bushing, as they would be replaced. I ended up hitting the hub carrier with a 5lb sledge and after 3-4 hard hits, the parts would separate.
So, here’s my question. I got everything back together, transmission re-filled, and with both front sides up on jackstands, I thought I’d run things to see if everything works. If I put the car in drive, everything is good at idle, but if I gently “Accelerate” to about 20 mph, there is a vibration, and the passenger side wheel stops turning smoothly – it stutters. This is not ESP, like it doesn’t like one side spinning faster than the other, as no light indicates, and it does this with the calipers removed. I removed the passenger side driveshaft, but left the intermediate shaft in, and it seemed to go away, but it could also be that the drivers side was barely turning, due to differences in friction. Btw, I used the cheapest aftermarket driveshafts from carparts.com, so these are always suspect. I put the original Honda driveshaft back in the passenger side, and it still does the vibration. Next step is to drain the transmission partially and put the old Honda driveshaft in the drivers side as well to see if that makes a difference, I’ve just been avoiding it as it’s a hassle. My question is if anyone knows if the vibration is normal – maybe you’re not supposed to run in drive with both front wheels in the air? I have not driven the car, as I do not want to risk damaging the transmission, and also I know the alignment is off due to all the parts being replaced. Any body ever run one of these with the front wheels in the air?
Hello, this article does not get much traffic so you may not receive a reply from others. I did want to mention that you should have no issues having both wheels in the air. If it was me, I would isolate one side at a time. Block the driver side and leave the passenger free spinning. The open differential will spin the passenger side (path of least resistance). Repeat for driver side. My bet are the cheap axles and/or bearings.