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Constant Velocity Joint Maintenance

The 1968 auto stick and 1969 and newer bugs all had what is referred to as the IRS or independent rear suspension. On these models the axles were able to pivot on both ends which allowed the wheel to stay nearly vertical at all times.

This got rid of the wheel tuck that Ralph Nader was so worried about. The axle pivots with what is called a constant velocity joint which accomplishes the same function as a universal joint. The older model VWs had a flex joint only at the transmission end of the axle that was lubricated by the transmission grease. The CV joint is packed with grease and protected by a flexible boot. In time this grease can become dirty from wear on the parts or contaminated with dirt and water when the protective boot wears out and begins to split open. When caught in time the CV joint can be cleaned and repacked and the boots replaced. Doing this yourself could actually save you hundreds of dollars. The axle with the CV joints can be removed from the car by removing the special bolts that hold them. These bolts will either have a 6mm Allen socket or a serrated socket that takes a special tool that you can be bought from your favorite VW parts vender for less than $10.


It is good to clean out the bolt sockets so the tool will bottom out when installed.

Once the bolts are removed the CV joint can be tapped on with a hammer and will come loose.


To remove the CV joint from the axle remove the C clip from the end.


The boot and its metal flange can be easily knocked off the edge of the joint and later removed from the axle.

Notice that the shoulder on the edge that bolts to the car is thinner than the edge that is next to the boot.
Then the axle can be driven out of the joint. I use a brass punch so as not to damage any of the splines.
Notice that the spacer under the CV joint has cupped side next to the joint.
The joint can now be cleaned and inspected.
When taking apart the CV joint there is one main thing to remember. The wide area on the outer piece will be across from the narrow area of the inner piece.
It will go back together both ways but will be rigid if the wide areas are in line with each other. The center will pivot right out of the joint for a thorough inspection.
You will be looking for black rough areas in the balls.
Wear in the grooves is very obvious as well.
The new boot kit will come with new bolts, clamps, C clip, spacer, and even grease.
If you are just servicing the joints use the Moly grease. You put the joint back on the same way it came off. The inner edge of the CV spline is beveled to help it to start easier. You may have to tap it on with a hammer.
A large socket can help to drive it home.
The same socket could help the clip into the groove once it is placed onto the end of the axle.
If you are using the grease that came with the kit you will want to put about 2/3 (2oz.) on the boot side of the joint
and the rest on the outer side. Be sure to work it into the joint.
Once one is done it can be wrapped in a plastic bag until you have finished with the rest.
All that is left is to bolt them back onto the car. As always you can see this done in detail in our Bug Me Video series, Vol.5 Transmission replace.

Rick Higgins and Crew
Bug Me Video, Inc

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