Track Axle Observations
Just finished installing a new pair of track axles on my 3R this afternoon. First off, hats off to Willy. The new track axles are a very well machined piece of metal. Very nice.
So, most of the threads regarding the track axle upgrade are pretty old, so Im making a new thread to provide some insight into the job for anyone looking at doing it in the future. Here are some observations, a lot of which I didn't really see in previous threads:
The full job took me about 40 minutes start to finish. It is not difficult at all, but its not a bad idea to have some wrenching experience. The full list of tools I used:
- 32mm impact socket. The aftermarket nuts are 32mm and the factory ones seems to be slightly less, maybe theyre an SAE size. The 32mm socket was loose on the factory nuts, but I had no problem breaking them free with the 32mm socket, didn't scar the old nuts at all.
- 19mm socket for lug nuts.
- Hex wrench (I don't know what size it is but its substantial) to stabilize the inside of factory axles when breaking them loose.
- A somewhat small hex wrench to loosen the upper control arm block on the pass side--read below for more on this
- A 3rd smaller hex head stuffed between the rotor hat to keep the hub from turning while I did the initial tightening--this isn't necessary
- 50-300 ft-lbs torque wrench and 3/4" adapters. I picked this up at Harbor Freight for $75. All the torque wrenches I looked at that would accommodate the necessary 200+ ft-lbs were 3/4" drive, NOT 3/8" or 1/2"! So, if you get one of these, make sure you get a 3/4"-1/2" drive adapter.
Some notes about the install:
- Jack up the front and pull both front wheels off. You do not need to loosen the axle nuts with the car still on the ground like you do with the lug nuts; although, I suppose you could if you wanted...
- You do *NOT* need to remove the upper control arm block to get the old axles out and the new axles in. On the drivers side, crank the steering wheel all the way to the right, and youll have enough room to clear the suspension components and the axles should move in and out of position just fine. On the passenger side, crank the steering wheel all the way to the left, and then you need only *loosen* the control arm block about 3/4 of the way and you should have enough clearance to get the new track axles in place.
- I put the new axles in place, retightened the block on pass side, and then inserted a hex wrench between the rotor and rotor hat to keep it from turning, and tightened down the new axles and nuts until they were snug with a standard ratchet.
- Put the wheels back on, lower the car and then proceed to torque down the axle nuts to 200 ft-lbs, and torque lug nuts back down. If e-brake is on and car is in gear, you shouldn't have any trouble torqueing to 200 ft-lbs. with the car staying in place. I torqued to about 210 ft-lbs; car stayed steady and it wasn't even in gear.
- Lastly, as a data point, its worth noting that while my passenger factory axle had experienced some corrosion, the old axles were in pretty good condition when you consider some of the stories. I had not experienced any backout of the nuts or anything, this was a peace of mind upgrade for me. The upgraded axles are obviously a waaaay better part and well worth the peace of mind, but with most of a season of tracking my car and 20k miles total on the odo, I expected my axles to be all kinds of stretched out.
At any rate, hope that is useful for someone now or in the future. Easy upgrade, lots of peace of mind, its certainly worth the cost!
Last edited by jpwden; 01-04-2017 at 03:54 PM.
Comparison of drivers side track axle with drivers side factory axle:
Nut tightened to 210 ft-lbs on drivers side:
Clearance of passenger track axle with speedo sensor:
very nice documenting the process.
The new nuts are 31mm
my 31mm and 32mm sockets are 1/2 drive and i think they are from Harbor Freight
the Torque needs to be 200 Ft/Lb and this one of those situations were more is not better.
Glad I have a Harbor Freight 2 miles from my house