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I'm preparing all the parts for for a complete front end overhaul of my 2004 with 170k miles. I've got worn out struts, leaking boots on the sway bar links and outer tie rod ball joints, and torn compliance bushings on the control arm. I already replaced the bearings and rotors and calipers last month and wish I'd had the suspension and steering parts on hand to replace everything at once. So I've ordered all the parts mentioned above, but I'm wondering if I should go ahead and change out the CV axles while I'm there. It's a 2004 with 170k miles and has all original parts. I get a shudder at 65-70 mph, and other intermittent shudders at lower speeds that come and go. So it could be related to the bad bushings and joints mentioned above, but I've read so many people had similar shudder issues that were only fixed by replacing the CV axles, so I'm thinking I should just do those now while I've got everything apart. My passenger side boot clamp was loose when I bought it and was slinging grease around. I put a tighter clamp over it, but I don't know how long the previous owner had it like that and what the condition of the joint inside there is. Plus I still get that annoying shudder mentioned above.

OEM Honda CV axles are pretty pricey, so I was thinking of going with the Cardone ones from RockAuto, but I think those are remanufactured, and not actually new (even though RockAuto says they're "new"). But I've seen a few comments on this site from people saying they had even worse shudders from Cardone axles so I don't want to waste time and money on something that won't fix my problem. What about the no-name brand axles from 1AAuto.com, has anyone tried those? Or is there a better source for a quality axle?
 

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Go to an empty parking lot and drive in the tightest circles you can. If you hear a clicking noise from the front end, that's bad CV joints. I've never experienced shudders from CV joints, but I haven't purchased a Pilot (yet - looking at one). Get a pry bar out and check all of your suspension joints and bushings for movement. I also don't drive over 65, so I may not notice something like that anyway. Absent somebody knowing the answer to this definitively, it's a value call on your time. If, like me, you are retired, you could do the repairs on what you know needs doing and go back in again for the CV axles if needed. If your time's valuable, you have to decide if it's valuable enough to just do it now.

Might want to make sure your tires are all balanced and wheels aligned too.
 

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I'm preparing all the parts for for a complete front end overhaul of my 2004 with 170k miles. I've got worn out struts, leaking boots on the sway bar links and outer tie rod ball joints, and torn compliance bushings on the control arm. I already replaced the bearings and rotors and calipers last month and wish I'd had the suspension and steering parts on hand to replace everything at once. So I've ordered all the parts mentioned above, but I'm wondering if I should go ahead and change out the CV axles while I'm there. It's a 2004 with 170k miles and has all original parts. I get a shudder at 65-70 mph, and other intermittent shudders at lower speeds that come and go. So it could be related to the bad bushings and joints mentioned above, but I've read so many people had similar shudder issues that were only fixed by replacing the CV axles, so I'm thinking I should just do those now while I've got everything apart. My passenger side boot clamp was loose when I bought it and was slinging grease around. I put a tighter clamp over it, but I don't know how long the previous owner had it like that and what the condition of the joint inside there is. Plus I still get that annoying shudder mentioned above.

OEM Honda CV axles are pretty pricey, so I was thinking of going with the Cardone ones from RockAuto, but I think those are remanufactured, and not actually new (even though RockAuto says they're "new"). But I've seen a few comments on this site from people saying they had even worse shudders from Cardone axles so I don't want to waste time and money on something that won't fix my problem. What about the no-name brand axles from 1AAuto.com, has anyone tried those? Or is there a better source for a quality axle?
If you told me your vehicle has 170k miles and it's mostly highway, I'd say no on replacing them. If it's 50/50 or more in town driving, then yes, replace CV axles. My 1st 2012 Crosstour has 235k miles and it's 90% highway. Having no issues. My salvaged 99k mile Crosstour, previously owned by a school teacher who drove across town to school and back for 7 years is showing signs of needing CV axles. I'll probably bite the bullet and go OEM unless someone can convince me otherwise.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
It's 170k all in-town miles, previous owner said they never took a long trip in it.

And tires were balanced and had a full alignment last month after the bearing replacement job. I also rotated front to back last week to see if that fixed the steering wheel shudder, but it didn't. I'm hoping it's just the tie rods and sway bar links that are causing the shudder, so maybe I'll hang on to my cash for now and not do the axles until I've replaced everything else.
 

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If you can take the downtime, CVJ Axles in Denver does quality remanufacturing on your existing axles. That's my first choice.

I just put a ridiculously cheap axle from O'Reilly into an old CRV. I doubt it will be good for 150k, but I doubt this CRV is, either. If you're just looking for another few years from the vehicle, you'll probably get your money's worth from something cheap.
 

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I had the vibration at 65 to 75 mph too on my 2004 pilot. but knew it was the right front CV axle because it would click in slow parking lot turns to the left. my pilot had 200000 miles on it. I put an OEM on it for problem solved. too many problem stories on the aftermarket and rebuilts.
 

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agree with Tacoma, get them rebuilt, or buy OEM. I have cardone, had to send one back, not totally happy with them.

Tip - to get the passenger side out, get wrap a chain around the knuckle, attach to slide bar to pop out, you can rent a slide hammer from auto parts stores for free, get a chain at a hardware store.
 

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I have 2004 Pilot, 300K+ miles. I had to replace my passenger side CV joints and shaft. Not that hard. But if you have the front end apart, I would do it. I bought my part of Rock Auto. Can't remember what brand. I never go high end or low end. Always something in the middle. Happy with the part.
 

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I have a 2005 Pilot with 60,000 miles. I started hearing a clicking sound coming from the left front tire area a couple of years ago. It couldn't be replicated when I went out for a test drive with my mechanic. When I had my tires replaced last summer, it got a lot worse (louder and more frequent) when I was on uneven pavement. When I had my routine maintenance done in February, my mechanic ended up replacing the right front axle. Voila, the sound is now gone. Happy Pilot Owner again!
 

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I replaced the passenger side CV axle on my 2005. I screwed up when replacing the compliance bushings, so I had to replace the axle. It was a bear to get out. Normally it should just slide out of its opening with a tap, but the way the exhaust wraps around the CV axle there is no room to get it out properly. In order to get to the back side of the axle to tap on it to remove it from its socket I bought a 24 inch (in think) 1/4" socket extender. It was small enough to slide through the gap to reach the back side of the axle and strong enough to bang on. I used a 5 pound mallet and it popped off with the first or second blow. Given the angle the amount of force I used as not that great. I think the 2004 is different and easier to remove.

If you needed to tighten up the boot and the CV axle you likely have damage to the axle. You should change it. Do some homework on how to remove the CV axle on the passenger side. The driver's side is easier.

Good luck.
 

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I think the 2004 is different and easier to remove.
The 2004 is a little easier because you don't have much stuff in the way. Still need a medium length pry bar or something to set against the axle at the carrier bearing interface and hit it solid with a good size hammer.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So I replaced the struts, control arms, tie rods, and sway bar links and bushings, got an alignment, and took the car on a 300-mile highway trip today. The suspension and steering is much tighter and nicer, but now I've got vibrations and noise above 50mph that I didn't have before. I replaced both front wheel bearings a couple months ago so I don't think that's it. The noise is super loud whenever I'm applying any throttle with the accelerator. If I'm coasting or rolling downhill, there's no noise and no vibration. As soon as I apply a little gas, I get the vibration in the steering wheel and I hear a roaring, almost howling kind of sound. There's also a bit of a clunk whenever I tap the gas pedal, and when I let off on the gas pedal. I don't remember that happening before all this suspension work. When the car is jacked up with both front wheels off the ground, there's a a lot of play when you rotate a tire forward and then backwards, and I don't remember things being that sloppy before. Is there a term for that? Gear lash or backlash? I have a feeling one or both CV axles need to be replaced. I haven't noticed any clicking when turning, but the noise and vibration is really make me think it's the axles, since I've fixed just about everything else. Tires were recently balanced, and I had absolutely no vibrations or noise last week before the suspension work, and the same tires are back in the same positions, so there was no change there. Looks like replacing the CV axles will be my next job.
 

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When the car is jacked up with both front wheels off the ground, there's a a lot of play when you rotate a tire forward and then backwards, and I don't remember things being that sloppy before.
With apologies for speculating on bad news, I recently discovered that Honda CV's are rather delicate if you put them in tension. Swinging the knuckle out during LCA replacement shouldn't tear one up (and I mean this from the perspective of an engineered design, not reality), but it might, especially if the bearings were worn.

Your symptoms clearly sound like rotating imbalance. Since you did the bearings and you're getting lots of rotational slop, I agree that axles are the likely culprit. If its the bearings in the CV, howling and clunking is pretty bad. I would get on it quickly, even if you just buy some cheap ones as a temporary fix. As noted, they won't last a long time, but they'll last longer than one with a dragging bearing.

I cannot think of a way to safely isolate the problem. I suspect that you would feel a difference when turning, but since its happens at speed and under load, that's not helpful. Perhaps one of the real mechanics on the forum can help with that, and I'll learn something, too.
 

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At 170K that pilot is probably pretty loose and relaxed. That's how my '04 was at 190K. By replacing all the suspension and tightening it up is just going to put more load back into the last thing that's old and loose. This is good since you can spot the problems. At 170K we should think of it as a suspension "system". Sounds like from your description it probably is the axles. It would be hard to decipher jacked up with the wheels and suspension hanging since the axles are stretched a little. Best way is like you already did, gas apply/ gas off listening for the faint noise. You could probably run them longer and degrade them to where it's even easier to diagnose with a slow turn and clicking.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
From what I'm reading, it might also be bearing between the intermediate shaft and the right front CV axle. Those bearings aren't expensive, so I'm thinking I'll order one of those to have on hand too. Has anyone replaced one of those bearing? From the diagram, I'm guessing it's just held into the support bracket assembly thing by the split ring, so I could probably just remove that bracket from the car, press out the old bearing and press in the new one, then mount everything back on the car. Anyone else ever tried that?
 

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From the diagram, I'm guessing it's just held into the support bracket assembly thing by the split ring, so I could probably just remove that bracket from the car, press out the old bearing and press in the new one, then mount everything back on the car. Anyone else ever tried that?
I think they're both pressed in, the shaft and the bearing, but yeah that should work. I didn't replace mine when I did the axle, but I didn't have the howling. Only the vibrations.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
My front CV axle shipment will be arriving tomorrow, but now I'm wondering if I also need to replace the axle oil seal on the driver's side, or can I just leave that seal alone since it's not leaking? Or will removing the axle and replacing it with a new one cause that seal to start leaking? Also, the FSM says I should drain the ATF before swapping out the left front axle, but I just did a drain-and-fill last week. Will much leak out if I remove the axle without draining first?
 
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