What to look for and where to buy
By the staff of Dirt Wheels
IRS 4x4 Quads have axles and CV joints
turning all four wheels. This method is
the best way to get the articulation
needed for suspension travel over 6
Today’s UTVs are like mini buggies.
Unfortunately, they are still using axles
only slightly bigger than the ones found
on much lighter quads. If you drive your
machine hard, an upgrade is in order.
This is what was left of a CV joint after the boot ripped and the hot grease poured
out like oil. Luckily, these days there are plenty of options to rebuild.
; Back in the beginning of ATV time,
machines were propelled with either
a sealed shaft-drive system or chains
and sprockets. This is still the best
way to transfer power without loss.
Sealed shaft drives are very durable,
virtually maintenance-free and not
capable of articulating very far for
long-travel vehicles. So the most
common type of drive shaft used
today on ATVs and UTVs is the axle
shaft/CV (constant velocity) joint
On the downside, next to tire and
belt failures, broken axles are the
most common issues ATV owners
face. Mud boggers with lifted
machines and racers with long-travel suspension experience these problems even more frequently.
Riders on stock machines only see
the occasional axle failure under
normal circumstances. What does
cause problems for many are ripped
or torn CV boots that can ultimately
cause complete axle failure down
the road if they are not fixed quickly.
A ripped CV boot will cause the
joint’s grease to escape and heat up
the component. Additionally, the
boot protects this delicate moving
part from getting introduced to
water, dirt and rocks.
Luckily, the average garage
mechanic can replace a complete
axle or even a damaged CV boot with
basic tools in a couple of hours.
aftermarket axle assemblies and CV
joint components are being offered up
by more and more companies these
days at affordable prices. Most new
axles will come with directions for
your specific machine, but to give you
an idea of what’s involved, read on.
Basically, to remove and replace
an axle, you have to remove the tire
and wheel hub, then loosen either the
top or bottom ball joint. This will allow
you to pull the spindle or wheel-bear-
ing carrier out of the way and access
the axle assembly. Finally, to remove
the axle shaft from the front or rear
differential, you either jerk the axle
straight out or slightly pry the inner
CV joint away from the housing with
a large flat-blade screw driver or tire
iron. As you can see, it’s not that hard.
The following is a group of compa-
nies that offers these parts and a few
reasons why to use them.