Saab 9-5 Axle Replacement DIY

Does your Saab 9-5 make a noise when you accelerate? There’s a good chance it’s your axles causing all the noise. We’ve put together this Saab 9-5 axle replacement DIY guide if you feel like taking on this job at home. Keep in mind, this guide is for models produced after the year 2002, which has inner C/V drivers built into the axle assembly. The procedure for earlier models is a little different. Let’s get started

C/V Axle A805343 can be used on both driver and passenger side

Article updated on 07/20/21 – first published on 01/09/16

How to Know If Your Saab 9-5 Needs a C/V Axle Replacement

The function of C/V axles, or constant velocity axles, in your vehicle is to transfer power from your transmission to the wheels. When there is not much friction, the power transferred from the gearbox is transmitted at a constant rotational speed.
No matter the angle of the steering wheel, the power from the engine is transferred smoothly and steadily to the wheels of the vehicle. However, C/V axles don’t last forever, especially if they’ve had a rough life. There are 5 warning signs to look out for when it comes to C/V axle problems.

Grease on the Sides of the Axle Boot

If you find grease leaking along the edge of the axle boot, especially from a tear or tiny crack, it’s a sign that your axle could be on its way out. A significantly damaged axle means darker grease can be seen on the inside of your rim.

Metal-to-metal Rubbing Sound

Some metal on metal action can be indicative of various issues. To be sure it’s not your axles, you can perform the following test.
Engage reverse gear and turn the steering wheel fully to one side. Keeping the steering wheel in this position and take off. You’ll begin to spin in a circle, so you should do this test in a suitable area. As you move backward in a circle, if your vehicle has a bad axle, the metal-to-metal rubbing sound should become louder and more pronounced. In such cases, the replacement of the axle is inevitable.

Bouncing On a Straight Road

If your vehicle is bouncing while driving on a flat road, this may indicate a bad axle. In this case, it’s highly recommended that put the car on a lift and properly inspect the suspension/steering components.

Weird Vibrations

saab 9-5 mtf0063

MTF0063 is the most recent transmission fluid for the Saab 9-5

A worn or damaged axle head will vibrate while driving. In this case, the axle cannot be properly balanced during rotation. As the speed increases, the vibration will gradually increase as well.
When vibrations become too extreme, the vehicle becomes more difficult to control and your overall driving experience will be affected. This will cause an uncomfortable and generally unsafe trip in the vehicle. Such axle has to be replaced immediately.

Knocking and Thumping Sounds

If the axle has reached the end of its life cycle through regular wear and tear, it could start making knocking sounds. The knocking sound may come from the axle head as well as from the axle tulip and differential gears. In any case, if you suspect that your axle is causing knocking sounds, it’s time to head into a shop for closer inspection.

How to Replace the Saab 9-5 Axle?

Axle replacement is a medium-difficulty job, unlike the full engine rebuild we did years ago. Yet, it’s not too complicated for a person who has some mechanical experience that goes past doing oil changes. As far as specialized tools go, you might need an impact wrench. Here are the step-by-step instructions:

Before jacking up the vehicle, you must remove the axle nut. This step is different on various cars. In the case of SAAB 9-5, you can access the axle nuts by opening the cover in the hub of the rim without removing the wheel. But you have to remove the wheel to get to axle nuts.

Step 1 — Remove the Vehicle’s Wheel Hub

Before jacking up the vehicle, you must remove the axle nut. This step is different on various cars. In the case of SAAB 9-5, you can access the axle nuts by opening the cover in the hub of the rim without removing the wheel. But you have to remove the wheel to get to axle nuts.

Step 2 — Remove the Cotter Pin From The Axle Nut

If your vehicle has a cotter pin securing the axle nut, you will need to remove it. You will see the two ends bent backward to hold the pin in place. Get a set of needle nose pliers to straighten the two bent ends of the cotter pin before removing it. If the pin is stuck, try a rust remover or lubricant spray. The lubricant will help the castellated axle nut as well.

Step 3 — Remove the Axle Nut

After removing the cotter pin from its seat, you can remove the axle nut. Removing the nut will require significant force, so it is much safer to remove the nut before jacking up the vehicle.
You need to perform this operation using the socket wrench in the appropriate size for your vehicle. For a Saab 9-5, you’ll need a 1/2in drive socket and a cheater bar if you have one.

Step 4 — Lift the Vehicle

Lift the side on which you removed the axle nut or remove the wheel with the help of a jack. Find the correct spot to place the jack to raise your vehicle.
Before jacking up the vehicle, check that the vehicle is parked and that the parking brake is applied.

Step 5 — Place the Vehicle On Jack Stands

You will create a safe working environment by placing jack stands under your car in the appropriate places. Only use jack stands rated to handle the weight of your vehicle.

Step 6 — Remove the Wheels

If your vehicle has a wheel cover, remove the wheel cover. Unscrew the lug nuts using a tire wrench or the impact gun. Set the wheel aside and make sure to put the lug nuts in a safe place.

Step 7 — Remove the Brake Caliper

After removing the wheel, the brake caliper and brake disc should be clearly visible. The caliper housing is the larger piece that is attached to the outside of the disc.
The caliper is attached to the rear of the disc with bolts on a mounting bracket.

The mounting bracket is held in place by 17 mm bolts. Because the caliper is attached to your vehicle’s brake line, you want to leave some slack in the brake line when taking it off, and never hang the caliper on the brake line itself. Use a piece of wire and hook the caliper to your spring, without putting too much pressure on the brake line.

Step 8 — Remove the Outer Tie Rod from the Steering Knuckle

The Z-rod is a rod that is bolted to the steering knuckle, located just behind the disc. Like the axle nut, this bolt is held in place with the aid of a cotter pin. Some lubrication and penetrating oil could be necessary to take this pin out.

The Z-rod may still be firmly stuck in the steering knuckle even after removing the bolt. You can hit the steering knuckle joint with a hammer. But remember to hit the knuckle where the rod goes through, not the threaded part of the connecting rod.

Step 9 — Disconnect the Wheel Knuckle From the Shock Absorber

Two more 17mm bolts connect the wheel hub mechanism to the strut tower. When you remove these bolts, the carriage should only be connected to the axle side through the center hole, and you should be able to remove it easily. Since these are important bolts, you need to be careful when removing them. There’s a chance you can damage some, in which case you should always use new bolts.

Step 10 — Remove the CV Axle

Follow the axle backward, and you will see the inner coupling head of the axle towards the transmission. In order to remove the axle from the carrier, it is necessary to unclip the axle boot. You can use a solid flat head screwdriver. If the axle doesn’t come loose right away, try bending it back and forcing the seal to break.

When you remove the axle CV inner head, it is normal for transmission fluid to come out. You should remember to place a container directly under the hole in the gearbox. Don’t forget to replace the transmission fluid when you are done.

Step 11 — Install the New CV Axle

Just as you removed the old CV axle, install the new one in the same spot on the transmission housing. When the axle is aligned with the transmission housing, it should slide in easily.
The axle has a small C-clip clamp that you’ll feel snapping into place. If the axle is not straight, you can use a rubber mallet to gently push it into place.

Step 12 — Reattach the Axle to the Hub Assembly

The new axle needs to be reinstalled through the wheel knuckle assembly at the point where you removed the old axle.

Step 13 — Reinstall the Parts In the Same Order you Removed Them

Reinstall any bolts you removed, from the wheel hub assembly to the strut tower. Reconnect the Z-rod to the steering knuckle, and reinstall the caliper.
The old cotter pins you removed may be worn out, so you should replace the old pins with new ones instead of reusing them. While doing this, it’s a good idea to clean any residual grease using a brake cleaner.

Step 14 — Reinstall the wheel

After installing all the parts and tightening the bolts and nuts, you can install the wheel and tighten the lug nuts in a cross pattern. After doing this, you can jack the vehicle, remove the jack stands and lower the vehicle to the ground.

Step 15 — Tighten the Axle Nut

Finally, you can torque the axle nut to 170ft/lbs once the vehicle is on the ground. Make sure the handbrake is engaged while tightening.

Here’s a video on how to do this job. The C/V axle used in this video can be used on both passenger or driver side.  When rebuilding with genuine parts, these components aren’t as interchangeable between years, so check vehicle fitment before ordering, and always use a new nut when rebuilding.

Use Quality Parts for Your Saab 9-5 Axle Replacement

We hope this guide was helpful in diagnosing whether your Saab 9-5 axle needs to be replaced. If it does, don’t forget to use only genuine or OEM quality parts. Feel free to check our online store for products that match these levels of quality. To start, simply select your vehicle’s year, make and model from the drop-down menu, and you’ll be presented with a list of parts that match your inquiry.


Posted in DIY How-To, Saab
5 thoughts on “Saab 9-5 Axle Replacement DIY
  1. Scott Forney

    Same question as Gary–how do you know when it is completely seated in the intermediate shaft? My axle went in without much effort and seemed to seat fine, but I’m having a bear of a time trying to get the ball joint threaded and wonder if I have the axle far enough in.

    • Adam Goral

      You will feel an audible click as the snap ring finds its home. If you don’t, you’re not sending it in far enough. As a side note, try not to axially load the CV joints, as the bearing cages are not meant for that and you could damage something if you knock it too hard on the end of the axle.

      • David Ingham

        How can you tell if you’ve hit the axle into the intermediate shaft too hard? I couldn’t hit it in fully on the first try, so I tried reseating it and it went in on the second time. Both times I followed the video and hit it from the bolt end of the axle. I noticed a little compression on the inner boot side as I hit it in on the first try. Is that normal? Thank you

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