How to Replace the Front Axle Actuator Housing of your Vehicle
If you usually drive in wet or snowy conditions or you simply like off-roading, then it is important that you take good care of your vehicle's front axle actuator housing. This component is part of your vehicle's differential, which houses the gears and shift fork required to lock both the front axles together. If you own a four-wheel drive, then your vehicle's system allows the engine to drive all the four wheels simultaneously. Thus, you can double the amount of force needed for your tires to apply themselves to the surface where they are moving on. This enhances both the traction and acceleration of your vehicle. It is important that the front axle actuator housing, together with the shift fork, locking collar and gears, is kept protected and properly lubricated. When it's time to replace the housing, you can always choose to do it yourself.
Difficulty level: Moderate
What you'll need:
- Wrench set
- Camera (optional)
- Replacement front axle actuator housing
Step 1: Open your front axle actuator housing kit. In the package, you will find gears and shift fork. Make sure that your kit is complete and all the parts are not defective.
Step 2: Disconnect the suspension parts of your vehicle to give yourself more working space. Since the actuator is located underneath your vehicle, you may want to refer to your vehicle's owner's manual to determine the exact location of your front axle actuator housing. You may also consider using the help of an assistant when disassembling the parts.
Step 3: Once you have a wider workspace, disconnect the CV axle from the front axle actuator. You may find that the actuator is already worn out due to rust and corrosion. It is important that you remove the actuator carefully because it may develop cracks while doing so. You can also take photos of the parts that you are removing to make it easier for you to reassemble them after installation.
Step 4: Remove the actuator solenoid. You may also opt to replace the solenoid since it sees the same amount of use as the actuator housing. This doesn't only save your time and energy, but it can also ensure that your solenoid and actuator are all in good condition.
Step 5: Remove the actuator by simply unbolting it from the differential. You can use a wrench to do this. If you experience difficulty doing this, you can stop and just bring your vehicle to your trusted mechanic.
Step 6: Install the new front axle actuator housing, gears, and shift fork to the differential. Reassemble the parts just the way you removed them.
You can install the housing in just an hour or so, depending on your familiarity with your vehicle's components and their location. It is important that you keep an eye on the condition of this part since it is prone to dirt and corrosion. Once you experience problems in locking the front axles together, then your front axle actuator housing might be in need of a replacement.