How to Replace the CV Joint on a 1988 Chevrolet Cavalier

The CV (constant velocity) joints are a major component of a front-wheel-drive vehicle. The CV joints of the 1988 Chevy Cavalier transfer drive power from the transmission to the wheels. CV joints are designed to rotate at a constant speed and at different angles in relation to the wheels. Occasionally, rough roads and bad weather can take their toll on CV joints. Replacing the joints is a fairly challenging task, but it's one that you can accomplish in your own garage in under two hours using the proper tools.

Tools Used: Floor jack, Jack stands, Lug nut wrench, Punch, Ratchet set and breaker bar, Metal wire, Slide hammer, Cotter pins, Torque wrench, Special tool J-28733

Replace CV Joint


Lift the front of the vehicle with a floor jack and position jack stands under the frame. Lower the vehicle onto the jack stands.

Remove the lug nuts on both front wheels with a lug nut wrench. Take off both wheels. Attach a ratchet and socket to the hub nut. Using a breaker bar, loosen the nut and remove it.

Locate the brake calipers and remove the mounting bolts with a ratchet. Hang the caliper using some metal wire. Do not let the brake line support the weight of the caliper. Pull the brake rotor off the vehicle.

Separate the control arm from the ball joint by removing the nut with a wrench. Detach the lower control arm from the stabilizer by removing all the bolts with a wrench.

Locate special tool J-28733 and attach it to the axle hub. This tool is a piece of cast metal that fits around the CV joint. The tool will snap into place by pressing it on. Move the CV joint away from the hub by pushing inward and away. Be careful not to push the CV joint too much, just enough until it is loose.

Remove the CV joint from the transmission by using a slide hammer. Attach the slide hammer to special tool J-28733 to accomplish this task.


Snap a new CV joint into place. Make sure that it seats fully into the transmission.

Push the CV joint into the wheel hub. Be careful not to overextend the CV joint.

Reattach the lower control arm to the stabilizer. Tighten the nut with a wrench. Install a new cotter pin if necessary.

Attach the control arm to the ball joint by tightening it with a ratchet. Tighten it to 42 foot-pounds with a torque wrench.

Reinstall the brake rotor and caliper. Tighten the brake caliper retaining bolts to 28 foot-pounds with a torque wrench.

Install a new hub nut. Torque it down to 191 foot-pounds. Install a new cotter pin into the nut.

Replace the front wheels and tighten the lug nuts with a lug nut wrench.

Raise the vehicle with a floor jack and remove the jack stands. Lower the vehicle with the floor jack. Test drive the vehicle to check operation.

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