How To Replace CV Boots (Inner & Outer): Step-by-Step Replacement Guide Using The OEM Toyota CV Joint Boot Kit
If your 4Runner has ever looked like the photo above, it’s not the end of the world. I will warn you, this is a messy project. You might give up trying to get the axle out (I did once) but it’s worth trying and learning how to do it yourself. This is a step-by-step guide on how to replace CV boots on 5th Gen 4Runners.
The unfortunate thing about tearing the outer CV boot (wheel side) is you have to remove the axle and the inner CV boot (differential side) to get to it. I recommend ordering a kit that includes both inner and outer boots. You have to remove both, so why not replace both? I have also learned that with CV boots, you get what you pay for and cheaper boots may not save you money in the long run.
I have torn the outer CV boot on the passenger side three times in the past two months. Through my ownership of the 4Runner, I have changed the boots a total of five times. My main culprit is long travel without limit straps. With too much droop when the tire is in the air, the CV contacts the lower control arm and tears itself open.
The solution: weld and install clevises and limit straps. Despite this solution, though, you’ll notice that I still managed to tear CV boots. This was due to me over-tightening the clamp and it tore the boot on the trail. Yup, lesson learned, spend the money and use the right tool.
Note: If you need a temporary patch for a puncture on a CV boot, use JB Weld. I’ve driven 200+ miles with it on the boot and it was solid. Don’t push it though, and replace the boots when you get home.
Find It Online:
- OEM Toyota CV Boot Replacement Kit (P/N: 04427-60131): Check Price
- (Optional) CV Dust Cover (P/N: 41336-35020): Check Price
- (Optional) CV Axle Nut (P/N: 90178-28002): Check Price
Parts & Tools List
This kit includes everything you need to replace CV boots on both sides:
- 2 X Boots (inner-diff side and outer-wheel side)
- 2 X Small clamps
- 2 X Large clamps
- 2 X Types of grease (yellow: inner, black: outer)
- Axle clips
- LOTS of Shop Towels/Rags of Choice
- Floor Jack- rated for the weight of your vehicle
- Jack Stands (x2)
- 1 rated for the weight of your vehicle
- 1 stand for the Hub to rest on
- Tire chocks (x2) for rear
- 1/2″ Breaker Bar
- 1/2″ Drive Socket(s)
- 19mm (for LCA Bolts and Tie Rod End)
- 21mm (for OEM Wheel Lugs)
- 35mm (for Axle Nut)
- 3/8″ Drive Socket(s)/Ratcheting Wrench
- 10mm (for brake line bracket)
- 12mm (for ABS line bracket)
- Wire cutters
- Cotter Pins
- 7/64 x 1″ for Tie Rod End
- 5/32″ x 1 1/2″ for Axle Nut
- Tie Rod End tool
- Bungee cord (x3) or multiple ratchet straps
- x1 to hold the tie rod out of the way
- x1 to hold the weight of the axle
- x1 to pull Hub out of the way
- Paint marker (mark orientation of the Rollers and Spider)
- Rubber Mallet/Dead Blow Hammer
- Large Flathead screwdriver or Pry Bar (to remove Axle)
- Small Flathead screwdriver (to remove Snap Ring and Spring Clip)
- Red Loctite 263 (for LCA Bolts)
- Silver Anti-Seize (for the hub to axle)
- 1/2″ Torque Wrench (rated 50-250 lb-ft.)
- CV Boot Clamp Pliers (HIGHLY RECOMMEND)
- Air Compressor & 1/2″ Impact air gun or 1/2″ Impact Wrench
- Internal/External RETAINING Ring PLIER
- Ear and eye protection
- Nitrile Gloves
- 5-gallon bucket for hub stand
- Special Axle Removal Tools
- Mechanics Gloves
- Nitrile Gloves
*Both include grease and axle clips per boot kit.
- Not So Budget Friendly (RCV):
*Axle clips are included per boot but grease is a separate purchase
*If you have a long travel and go wheeling frequently, go with OEM or RCV*
Step 1. Remove Tire
Before working on your vehicle, always make sure:
- The vehicle is in Park
- Parking Brake is applied
- The rear tires are chocked
- Using Jacks and Stands that are rated for your specific vehicle’s weight
- Safe jack points
- Ideally on flat and level ground
For this job, put the vehicle in 4WD. It will stop the axle from spinning while removing the axle nut
Safely jack the side of the vehicle that needs the boot replaced and place it on a stand and remove the wheel/tire. The OEM wheel lugs are 21mm.
Only jacking up the side you’re working on will prevent unnecessary diff fluid loss because the system is balanced. Lifting both driver and passenger sides evenly will cause fluid loss. Use gravity to hold that expensive diff fluid in there.
Step 2. Unbolt Brake Line & ABS Sensor
To unbolt the brake line bracket, there is a 10mm bolt on the spindle.
To remove the ABS sensor, there is a 12mm bolt located behind the brake dust shield.
Next, pinch the ABS sensor connector to remove it.
Step 3. Unbolt & Bungee Tie Rod End (TRE)
To remove the cotter pin on the castle nut, bend it back until it’s straight enough to pull out. If you want to reuse it, set it aside. However, it’s generally recommended to just replace it with a new one.
Next, remove the 19mm castle nut on the tie rod.
To help align the TRE bolt, I used a floor jack to lift the lower control arm (LCA). Once it’s lined up, smack the bolt with a rubber mallet to unseat it.
Once the TRE is free, tie it up and out of the way; I used a bungee cord.
Step 4. Remove Axle Dust Cover & Nut
Wedge a flathead screwdriver (or flat-sided tool) in between the cover and the hub assembly and lightly tap with a rubber mallet around the cover to pry it off.
Note: You may damage the cap while removing it so be gentle or have a replacement on hand.
CV Joint Oil Seal Dust Shield (Part Number: 4344235060)
Next, remove the cotter pin on the retention cap. You can set it aside for reference or reuse it later. However, it’s generally recommended that you replace it with a new one. Set the retention cap as well, this will be reused.
To remove the axle nut, you’ll need a 35mm socket.
You might be strong enough to get the axle nut off with a breaker bar. I’m not, at 5’1″, and weigh 110 lbs on a good day. So, I use power tools. I used a 1/2″ air impact gun.
To unseat the axle, give it a good hit with the mallet. The axle will have a little rebound when it’s freed.
Step 5. Unbolt Lower Control Arm (LCA)
Next, remove the lower control arm bolts via x2 19mm bolts. I already removed one before taking the photo from underneath the LCA.
Step 6. Remove Hub From Axle
This step will require some muscle and planning.
Prepare the stand or 5-gallon bucket and bungee or ratchet strap so you can rest the hub assembly and upper control arm (UCA) on it, towards the back of the wheel well. I didn’t realize how heavy these parts were until I was standing in the wheel well hunched over trying to move. Yes, I can easily fit in the wheel well while holding the hub assembly, haha.
My removal method is to grab the hub and pull some tension away from the axle and smack the axle one more time with the mallet for good measure. Next, lift the hub up and away from the axle, towards the back of the well, while pushing the axle in the opposite direction with the other hand.
Once the hub is free, put it on the stand and carefully place the axle on the LCA.
Step 7. Remove CV Axle
Hurray! You have finally gotten to the axle.
This step was the most frustrating but I figured out a method that works (at least for me). After 2 hours of my first go, I finally got the axle free. For the second CV boot job I attempted, I threw the “towel in” after 1 hour of trying to get the axle out and took the 4Runner to the mechanic. For the 3rd job, there was no way I was going back to the mechanic within the same month so I got pumped up and got the axle out in 5 minutes!
First, bungee the axle to support the majority of its weight and help balance it level with the diff opening.
Next, slowly rotate the axle with one hand, while firmly(slightly rough) hitting the back of the inner cup with a pry bar and mallet. There is an internal clip holding the CV axle inside the diff (you will see it once the axle is removed). In order to release the axle, the clip has to line up perfectly so rotate the axle in small increments.
You might have to turn it a couple of times to get it. Also, make sure the axle is level with the diff and has support under it. I suggest watching this video on the technique.
Note: There will be some play with the axle and diff. Don’t worry, that’s totally normal!
If you cannot get the axle out, you can skip to Step 17 to get everything back on so you can drive to the mechanic.
Slide the axle out carefully- when the axle starts to move out, tap lightly and be prepared to sort of catch it. Make sure to take care of the splines.
Step 8. Plug Diff w/ A Clean Shop Towel
If you’re working outside, where it’s windy and debris can get into the diff, plug it with a clean shop towel.
Step 9. Remove Inner Boot
Since this inner boot is old, I didn’t take care to take it off nicely. I used wire cutters to cut the clamp off.
After the clamp is removed, you can remove the roller and spider/tripod housing (cup) to expose the roller and spider components (I call it the flower).
As you can see, mine is pretty dry. I didn’t see any signs of leaks on the inner boot which was surprising.
Step 10. Clean & Mark Orientation Of Rollers & Spider/Tripod
Next, clean the rollers and spider/tripod with towels or rags.
Mark the orientation of the rollers and spider/tripod per the shaft. This step doesn’t have to be extremely accurate but close to how it was so that everything goes back properly.
My thoughts about marking the tripod is so the wear is even but it won’t really make a difference how you drop the rollers back in.
Step 11. Remove Snap Ring
Important: Note the inner spline design in the flower! Flat teeth face the smaller end of the inner boot, downwards.
Step 12. Replace Outer Boot
First, remove the outer boot and wipe/clean everything, it doesn’t have to be spotless.
Use black grease and repack the axel assembly. Moving the axle shaft around helps get the grease into it. Don’t worry about packing all the grease at this step.
Slide the new outer boot on the axle with a small clamp.
There are grooves on the shaft that help hold the boot in place. Crimp the small clamp down by pinching the elevated area together, but not all the way.
With the big opening at the top of the boot, offset it and squeeze the rest of the black grease into the boot.
Push the air out of the boot and make sure the boot is seated along the housing. Then, crimp the big clamp. Next, push the air out and crimp the small clamp.
Finally, firmly crimp the clamp things on both.
Step 13. Grease Axle Rollers
First, make sure you put the small clamp over the axle. Otherwise, it’s a mess. Do this by sliding the inner boot onto the groove and lightly tightening the small clamp.
Next, apply yellow grease over the axle shaft and inside the rollers. Put the greasy rollers on the axle with the flat side down and align it as close as you can get it to the marks you set. You should be able to rotate the boot to accommodate the orientation of the rollers.
Next, get the new spring clip from the kit and get it seated where the old one was.
Push the rollers together and orient the housing (cup) so the flower can fit in it. Then, push the air out of the boot and crimp the clamp, similar to the outer boot.
Firmly Crimp all bands
Double checking on the crimps of the bands in this step is easier than trying to crimp the bands when the axel is back in the diff.
Step 14. Remove C-Clip On Inner Axle (Diff Side)
Using spring clip pliers or similar tools, remove the old c-clip and install the new clip that is provided. Be mindful of the splines when removing the clip, you don’t want to cause any damage to them.
The old clip can be thrown away.
Step 15. Reinstall CV Axle
Important: Make sure the axle splines are clean before reinstalling.
Here are 3 key points:
- The teeth/splines of the axle need to be lined up with the diff splines to go back in. You probably won’t get it lined up the first time, so be gentle and test how it feels.
- The C-Clip’s open side must face down. If the clip rotates, the axle won’t slide into the housing.
- The axle needs to be in line with the diff opening.
Once you have everything lined up, get the pry bar and mallet and tap it into the diff. It should kind of “pop” in. Get the mallet and smack the end of the axle for good measure. You can also visually confirm that the axle is seated properly by looking at it from the bottom. The dust cover will be pretty close. There will be some play with axle and diff, that’s totally normal.
If the CV doesn’t want to pop in, pull it out and check the clip orientation. Don’t be too rough with it.
Step 16. Reinstall Outer Hub
Time to turn into the Tin-Man. A little goes a long way with anti-seize. Apply it to the axle so it’s protected from rust.
Next, get your back ready to carry the hub back onto the axle. You will have to find the way that works best for you.
Step 17. Reinstall LCA Bolts w/ Red Loctite
Just like anti-seize, a little goes a long way. Don’t go crazy.
Use a 19mm socket to torque the two LCA bolts to 118 lb-ft.
Step 18. Reinstall Axle Nut, Retainer, Cotter Pin, & Cover
Use a 35mm socket to torque the axle nut to 174 lb-ft. The cotter pin size is 5/32″ x 1 1/2″ or similar to the one you initially pulled off
Then, with a mallet, evenly hit the cover back onto the hub.
Step 19. Reinstall Tie Rod End
It might help to lower the jack with the LCA on it, line up the bolt, and jack up the LCA to get the rod end in line.
If you have the strength, you could probably smack the rod up with a mallet to make it seat. The bolt will spin if it’s not seated.
I used a tie rod tool that wasn’t made for this setup but I got by.
Use a 19mm socket to torque the TRE to 67 lb-ft. The cotter pin size is 7/64″ x 1″ or similar to the one you pulled off
Step 20. Attach Brake & ABS Line Brackets and Sensor
- Brake bracket on the spindle: 10mm socket
- ABS line bracket lower spindle: 12mm socket
- ABS sensor: Use your hands to connect
I like to use Super Purple to degrease the wheel well. Spray and let it sit but not dry for a bit and power wash. Then, I’ll do a second round and use an old brush to scrub and power wash again.
For the wheel and tires, I like to use Simple Green and Jason Denney’s AKA @tacodust cleaning method. With the grease, I’ll hit it with the brush after the Simple Green is applied. Let it sit and then power wash off.
Reinstall Wheels & Tires
Get the wheel on and hand-tighten the lugs in a star pattern. Then, lower the car back on the ground, and torque in a star pattern torque to the appropriate spec. For the OEM wheels and lugs, use a 21mm socket and torque to 85 lb-ft.
Check Torque On All Bolts
- Lower Control Arm (LCA) Bolts (x2)
- 118 lb-ft.
- Tie Rod End
- 67 lb-ft.
- Wheel Lugs (OEM)
- 85 lb-ft.
Congratulations, YOU DID IT. Take your 4Runner on a test drive. Some grease might flick out, but that’s probably just excess air escaping.
In my area, the cost of labor for a shop to replace CV boots was $320. This price doesn’t include the OEM parts that I used. At the rate I tear CV boots, I was determined to learn how to replace them on my own!
If you have an afternoon and want to get to know your 4Runner a little better, learning how to replace CV boots is the perfect job.