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Refill CV grease; refit axle drive shaft

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In the process of replacing the front suspension on my '01 9-3, the drive shaft on the front passenger side came away from its connection to the transmission. When I tried to refit the shaft back into place, the boot came away and some grease came out. Having no idea what to do next, I eventually reconnected the shaft and refitted the boot. Now I have some questions:

1. While the shaft was disconnected, I know I rotated it somewhat from it's original position in the joint. I think I read in the Haynes manual that when refitting the shaft, it needed to go back into the exact orientation that it came out. Is this true? I don't think it's possible for me to do that. Also, could I have scratched/nicked the bearings in any way?

2. Although not all the grease came out, how do I know how much grease it needs under the boot? I bought some replacement grease but don't know if any particular type is recommended (with moly, etc.).

3. On the container of the grease it says the old grease from the fitting must be removed completely as different types of grease shouldn't be mixed. Is this true and how is the best way to do this?

4. When trying to refit the large side of the boot over the joint, I had to loosen up the metal band which holds it on. The band looks like a "one-time use" only thing so I bought some replacements. Are new bands necessary?

The boots are in good condition, and as far as I can tell there's nothing wrong with the axle shaft, so didn't think any of it needed to be replaced. I hope I haven't damaged anything in my ignorance and I searched through this site for any threads directly related to this problem but didn't find anything quite the same. I would appreciate any input or suggestions as to what I should do. Thanks in advance!
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Did the companion shaft come out of the transmission, or did the CV axle separate slightly from the companion shaft? You didn't mention anything about losing transmission fluid, so I'm guessing the two shafts separated slightly?

1) There's no need to get the shafts aligned exactly how they were before. They can go together in any orientation that the splines fit. The chances of you nicking any bearings is probably slim to none. The one the companion shaft has on it is pressed onto the shaft, and pressed into the carrier bracket, so it will be fine. There isn't a bearing in the transmission, just a seal.

2) Saab does publish a specification for the amount of grease, but unless you take the CV axle off and clean everything out, you'll never how much is in there. Saab uses two different kinds of grease. The outer CV joint seems to use a standard moly grease, but the stuff in the inner tripod joint is very different, and very hard to find in a store. I think most people just end up using moly grease if they repack it. I used some Febi CV grease from eEuroparts.

4) Yes, the band clamps are one time use clamps, but you can probably get away with crimping them tighter again if you have the proper CV clamp pliers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for all the useful info. Jeremy R.

The separation of the shafts was between the shaft connected to the wheel hub and the shaft going into the transmission. I did not notice any transmission fluid leaking, so guess it was the "CV axle separate slightly from the companion shaft" as you stated. Is this the "outer" CV joint or the "inner" tripod? I bought some standard grease w/Moly at AutoZone and hope it's the right stuff if I decide to try to add more (don't think there can be too much, can there?).

I don't have a specific crimping tool for the bands so bought some replacement ones, and even though they don't look as strong as the OEM ones, I think they'll be better than re-using the old ones. Thanks again.
 

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That's the inner or tripod bearing / companions shaft joint. The CV joint is next to the hub. Do a reasonable pack. You don't want so much grease that it squishes out, but you do want enough to keep it lubed. The grease should be on the softer side.

I cleaned mine by starting with Gunk type engine cleaner. Then I went to rags with solvents, and then clean white cotton rags with alcohol on the companion shaft until it was spotless. You'll need to clean the tripod bearing too. You can start with the Gunk and a toothbrush to get inside the boot. It will take some time. Some WD-40 or another light solvent with a compressor will be needed to get the needle bearings on the tripod clean. Make sure they get re-greased.

Inspect the bearings for edge wear or corrosion. Also check out the companion shaft for any damage - no sense doing the job twice.


You can't use a clamp tool on the inner clamp because the subframe is in the way at the companion shaft joint with it already installed. Best choice is a large pair of diagonal cutters or side cutters to get in the narrow spot and squeeze it. It's a pain to do, for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the clarification and advice. It sounds as if you did the meticulous cleaning while the companion shaft was still attached to the wheel hub. It sounds doable but quite labor-intensive. But I guess that answers the question about mixing different lubes; you have to start from a clean slate.
 
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