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2005 Mazda 6 has axle shaft splines showing
02-06-2014, 09:28 PM
Post: #1
Rolleyes 2005 Mazda 6 has axle shaft splines showing
2005 Mazda 6 with 2.3 liter 4 cyl automatic 105,000 miles in phx arizona
215/50/17 and new rims after collision damage

Passenger side has axle shaft coming out of the center support bearing.

What holds this shaft in place and why might it be falling out ???

I thought the wheel bearings were going out when i was driving car, accelerated from traffic light and suddenly felt like i had a flat tire, NOPE, tire was fine so i took home and removed wheel, all front end parts are fine and steering too. Jacked car up and shook the axle, ITS LOOSE, axle is sliding out of center bearing and i can see about half of the length of splines on end of shaft as its separating from center bearing
This is the outer half of the shaft
1. Is the center bearing worn out ? or did the mechanic possibly install the shaft wrong.
This shaft was replaced 2 months ago after the other had broken its outer knuckle, strange but i forgot i had this replaced this same shaft a few months previous at another shop, yes i forgot and didnt get it back to same mechanic.
2 shafts now installed and looking at maybe a 3rd shaft in less than 6 months unless i can save this one.

This car was sideswiped and hit hard in the side of front passenger side wheel and in bringing it back on the road we had a new outer half of the shaft installed, when inspected only the outer half was broken by the impact so that was 1st replacement, having forgotten this fact i had another installed .

This shaft functioned perfectly for a couple months of everyday to work 8 miles away, not a lot of miles but it worked well now.
Also car had 4 wheel alignment after the damage

One day as i pulled away from traffic light the above story begins and ended with the car parked in garage and up on jacks
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02-06-2014, 10:07 PM
Post: #2
RE: 2005 Mazda 6 has axle shaft splines showing
Can you look at the drivers side? I don't understand exactly what you are saying but it sounds like the retaining nut came off. There should be a large nut on the outside of the wheel that keeps the axle from pulling back through towards the transaxle. Some of these can have torque specs of up to 300 lbs. It's possible that the mechanics aren't making them tight enough.

If the bearing was bad the wheel itself would have play in it. You can check that by putting the wheel back on; just snug up 2 lug nuts, grab the top of the tire with one hand & the bottom with the other & try to shake it. If it moves even a little bit the bearing is probably going out.

Check those two things out & let us know what you find.

Thanks for using the forum,

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02-06-2014, 11:26 PM (This post was last modified: 02-06-2014 11:51 PM by Rupe.)
Post: #3
RE: 2005 Mazda 6 has axle shaft splines showing
I think what he is saying is the inner spline, not the outside where the wheel is. As I recall that vehicle has equal length CV shafts and the right side has an extension tube from the transmission with a support bearing about a foot away. This is supposed to eliminate "torque steer" when going around corners.

What I suspect is happening is either they are using the wrong part (too short?) or it's not fully seated till the clip ring snaps into place so it walks in and out. The straight shaft (extension) may also have been damaged during the collision so things don't fit right. Someone with a sharp eye needs to inspect things as they come apart to verify what's going on to prevent future issues.

Oh, since this vehicle was in a wreck it might be prudent to notice anything odd about the way the engine / trany sits in the frame. IOW, the wheels might be in the right place after fram pulling and alignment but they mighthave missed something else. Engine mounts perhaps?

Edited to add: Since this is the latest post then I suspect this is the correct description and we can disregard the other thread.
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02-07-2014, 05:01 AM
Post: #4
RE: 2005 Mazda 6 has axle shaft splines showing
Yes Rupe is correct and i didnt realize i wasnt clear enough but the torque specs mentioned would be why i cannot get the nut off that holds the hub and bearings for the wheel.
The splines that are causing the problem are on the outside of the shaft and on the portion that extends towards the transmission (the inner splines) and i believe seats into a carrier, that carrier has internal splines that accept the shaft.
What you have also stated was helpful because i did not do the work and didnt see if there was a clip inside the carrier that would hold the shaft in place. It makes sense that there is some way that mazda fastens these shafts into place
And that was my question
As Garner mentioned i did check the bearings to see if there was play in it, and i will start another thread if needed on how i might get that nut back off in order to take this shaft off

I also took the wheel off and grabbed hold of the axle shaft, when i could shake it easy with my hand i knew there was a problem with the installation of this shaft

Is there a clip inside the part that accepts the shaft ?
If so im guessing it came loose from that clip somehow but i was also asking if the carrier bushing or bearing in the middle of the 2 shaft halves could be why this shaft has come loose and is falling out of that portion of the drive axle
I can see the sheet metal retaining cap as well as about a half inch of the spline
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02-07-2014, 10:03 AM
Post: #5
RE: 2005 Mazda 6 has axle shaft splines showing
Having the new / replacement shaft in hand will give you a better idea of the clip that holds the shaft in place.

If you are going to do this job yourself be aware of properly supporting the vehicle to avoid injury, then consider you will probably have to disconnect either the ball joint or the entire strut to allow enough room, which means brake lines and possibly the tie rod. In order to remove that large nut get a friend to assist with stepping on the brake while the wheels are still on the ground. You will need a breaker bar and likely a cheater pipe to get better leverage. Hopefully things go smothly as I will be away for a couple of days.
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02-09-2014, 06:20 PM
Post: #6
RE: 2005 Mazda 6 has axle shaft splines showing
Thank you for the quick reply at this point i want to get it in to a shop, i know my limits and i am not strong enough, with breaker bar and cheater i couldnt budge the nut holding wheel bearings and the hub. I think i will give this one to professional help now
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02-09-2014, 07:56 PM
Post: #7
RE: 2005 Mazda 6 has axle shaft splines showing
Thanks for the follow up.

Let us know what the shop finds as it may help others reading these boards.
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02-10-2014, 07:19 PM
Post: #8
RE: 2005 Mazda 6 has axle shaft splines showing
This Mazda 6 has a three piece shaft, the outermost is the shaft with CV Joints on each end. There is an intermediate shaft which has the splines that fit inside the outer shaft and those two shaft pieces couple together. Connected to the intermediate shaft is the third section of this 3 piece shaft set and it couples to the transmission.

I have decided to take a gamble on the intermediate shaft being at fault for the outer shaft with constant velocity joints falling out of place. The shop said there was no damage to the shaft so they couldn't tell me why it fell out.
Will have shop install it so it's done correctly, not my area of expertise

On other vehicles I have seen carrier bearing sets which couple the 2 halves of the drive shaft together, which was my original question.
I was surprised to find out Mazda makes a 3 piece shaft for this 2005 Mazda 6i
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02-10-2014, 11:21 PM
Post: #9
RE: 2005 Mazda 6 has axle shaft splines showing
I am also suprised to hear about a 3 piece shaft. It could just be the other guy didn't get things to snap into place fully and now you are all set.

Drop us a line in a few weeks to let us know how things are holding up.
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02-13-2014, 02:15 PM
Post: #10
RE: 2005 Mazda 6 has axle shaft splines showing
Ok, another update on the reason this car had the axle shaft fall out of place.

The mechanic at local shop replaced the intermediate and outer shaft. They bought a new outer shaft as well not knowing which was responsible for the problem. He then took the car for a test drive only to find out it does not feel right when making turns and especially on left turns, like at traffic lights and corners( as i had told them as well ). If the world were just gradual lefts and rights this car is fine and steers perfectly. The world is not just gradual turns and when you make a 45 degree turn this car still had its problem of just not feeling right and its hard to explain the sensation felt in the steering wheel, but an experienced driver can just tell it does not turn like other cars.

The mechanic insisted on putting it back on the rack and began measuring the distances between tires and steering parts.

He came to the conclusion that the steering knuckle on the passenger side of this car was twisted and especially affected where the tie rod end attaches to the passenger side knuckle and the distance between tie rod ends at the wheels was different. Driver side is approximately 1 n 1/2 to 2 inches from the wheel and on the passenger side the distance is about 4 inches away from its wheel. This examination of the geometry of the front end gave the conclusion that the reason this axle shaft came out of its clip was the fact that the tie rod end of the steering mechanism ( in this case its rack and pinion steering ) was pulling the drive shaft out of its socket in the intermediate shaft section when the wheels were turned left, and not just gradually but more extreme 45 degree angle which is required to park a car or to make a left turn at a traffic light.

We installed a new intermediate shaft because the clip on it was a bit worn by the shaft being pulled out of position and pushed back inward as we drove the car for the last 6 months. (This also explains why the condition my daughter reported about the car, which was that sometimes the car feels like it has a flat tire after i make a turn at traffic light ( totally confused me ) and then goes away after a few seconds and seems ok, so she would drive the car again next day as it seemed ok to drive again.)
Intermittent problems with cars can be a real challenge for mechanics to diagnose because you have to get the conditions right for the complaint to show itself and this one could have been a real disaster if that shaft had fallen completely out of its position.

This particular Mazda 6i had been in an accident a year or so back and we had restored it and bringing it back from a major sideswipe, it involved both front and rear wheels on passenger side and although the fenders were repaired and repainted it was still a long way from restoration. We had control arm parts front and rear replaced as well as this axle shaft which became quite a problem to solve. We also had 4 wheel alignment on this car but when that shop did the alignment both front and rear end they missed the front end problem and adjusted to over compensated for this twisted knuckle. The 4 wheel alignment is not enough to pick up these kind of problems with a car. A good old fashion tape measure and a thorough examination of a cars geometry was what it took.

We have found a knuckle, something that was not easy as dealership wanted over $200 and we did buy new intermediate and outer drive axles also not cheap and throw in a mechanics labor at a reputable shop ( who also warrantied our old shaft they had installed 6 months ago ) and we will need another front end alignment which they graciously threw in for free and we are looking at $895.00 parts and labor to fix this car correctly
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