Here’s my little writeup on how to change a CV axle on a 01-04 ADD Tacoma
Breaker bar or Air-gun
Small chisel or sharp strong screwdriver
Metric socket set
Small or needlenose pliers
Jack up the front side of the truck where you’ll be changing the axle. Be sure to NOT jack on the control arm as you’ll need that to have a smidge of play in it later
Remove tire/wheel/skid plate
Trust me on the skidplate – ESPECIALLY if you have aftermarket skids
Usually I like to place the tire underneath the front of the truck so that God-forbid the jack/jackstands fail the truck doesn’t crash completely to earth. I chose NOT to do this during this axle change. I also did not use jackstands as I was unable to locate mine. I did however use 2 jacks for that just-in-case factor
Once you’ve removed the wheel, you’ll see a black metal cap at the center of the hub
You’ll want to remove this carefully so as not to booger up the edge too badly because we’re going to reuse this. The best way to remove it is with a chisel or sharp screwdriver. I used a small chisel and a rubber mallet and it popped right off
Once you’ve removed the black dust cap from the hub assembly, you’ll see a large nut and a cotter pit and quite possibly a cotter pin lock? Im actually not sure what you call it but it’s the green thing in my picture
Remove the cotter pin and cotter pin lock and then using a 36mm socket and a breaker bar or air gun (what I prefer) remove the large nut. This can get a bit tricky as the hub will want to spin while you unscrew the nut. It’s handy to have a 2nd pair of hands to help you but I wasn’t so fortunate today. I angled a screwdriver between 2 of the studs and braced the hub from spinning while removing the nut with the air gun.
Once you’ve removed the cotter pin and nut, move around to the backside of the hub assembly and disconnect the 4 screws holding the spindle to the lower ball joint. There are 2 at the front and 2 at the back. IIRC this is a 12mm socket.
In my picture, I’ve already removed the bolts but the arrows are pointing to where they were.
Pull the spindle out and separate it from the cv axle. It should slide out fairly easily but you may have to bump it slightly to get it to separate. Swing the spindle around to the backside towards the cab of the truck.
Remove CV from diff. This is probably the most difficult and time consuming part of the change. You’ll need a prybar (preferably a skinny one). There is a lip on the CV next to the diff that you can use to pop the CV out. Use the prybar to pop the CV loose. You’ll know when it pops free. It’s held in there by a little c-ring around the end of the axle (denoted by the GREEN arrow in the picture below, with the lip marked with RED arrow).
Now that you’ve successfully pried the CV out of the diff, you’ll probably lose a little bit of gear oil…no biggie…it shouldn’t be that much. If you lose a lot be sure to add some.
Now you’re ready to slide the new CV in. This can also be tricky because you have to line up the splines, but just keep trying and turning it till it slides part of the way in. It will more than likely stop before going all the way in. Using the prybar and rubber mallet, gently tap it all the way into the diff. The c-ring will lock it in once it gets in there good.
Bring the spindle/hub assembly back around to where it should be and push the end of the CV thru it. Once again be sure to line up the splines as you don’t want to booger those up in any way. This should slide most of the way thru with no problems.
Button up the spindle to the lower ball joint/control arm with the 4 bolts you removed previously
Put the large nut onto the CV axle and tighten down. Place cotter pin lock onto the CV axle and then push cotter pin thru the hole to finish locking the CV in. Check the backside of the hub where the CV joint meets the hub to make sure it’s seated properly. There’s a gasket and lip there that should meet flush with the hub assembly.
Using the rubber mallet, gently tap the dust cap back into place. Replace skid plates, tire/wheel. Lower jacks. Recheck lugs on the wheel. Take her for a test drive!
That’s it. Pretty easy DIY. It took me about 2 hours including gathering my tools and putting them away.