I had searched other forums before i tackled this job and many were incomplete. this might help someone save a few dollars. I bought a 1995 geo prism "tuner" car.i also own a 1993 corolla. it has been lowered ,205-40-17 tires , motegi r-7 tires, extreme dimensions drifter kit, wing on trunk, and a kenwood stereo. unfortunitly i bought it at night and didn,t realize that the car had been ragged on and my $1200 investment was going to cost a lot more to put in the road. I knew it needed a few hundred just to make safe ,but it needed far more. luckily i have a garage to put it in and decided to make it a learning experience for my 15 year old twins .
After a lengthy assessment of what was needed i have a partial list. front left axle ,maybe left hub bearing ,tie rods,ball joints, possible steering rack ,rotors, pads , possible a-arm bushings, and thats just the front end.
the car also needed a new window crank, handle, inside door handle , and window handle on the drivers door. the interior was missing 10 pieces of various trim and some was painted bright blue like the trim around the automatic shifter.. the door lock posts were lime green like the exterior .. the radio was just lying in the hole with no trim kit. the rear wing was loose. the rear seat belts are jammed.Both doors were missing the bolt that holds it open. the battery hold down is missing. the loud exhaust is held up by wires and one hanger. it needs a couple belts . the front right tire had a puncture on the inside sidewall with a plug and a large amount of slime. the left rim has a slight bend. the body kit is held on by drywall screws and is falling off on the left rear. the sunroof is wasted because the power crank cable is stripped.
after almost giving up on this project I decided that it was worthwhile just to see if i could get it on the road. i am almost there. I started calling around and found a tire for $55 shipped from Florida. $8 to mount at wal-mart. I discovered that in my area there are 3 large u pull it junkyards. I took several trips and got many bolts ,nuts, trim parts , and accessories for $36.50. The tie rods and rotors came from M.A.C. auto in new york for $27.50. of course it needed an oil change and filter. with the axle so far I have about $210 in parts .
now to the good stuff. The passenger side brake caliper sliders were jammed and a bolt broke off the carrier. the tie rod was wasted. I went to the yard and salvaged a carrier and new bolts with decent pads and rotor. On another trip I got the whole left front suspension .this was a 1997 corolla that was in great shape until the drivers door was hit hard. there was still body fluids in the car ,but its winter here and its frozen. its easier to remove the 2 strut bolts ,tie rod bolt, 3 ball joint bolts from the a-arm and pop the whole assembly off. I found a tire iron in the yard to pop the axle out.
The whole assemble cost me $78 with a $12 core charge to be refunded. I was a bit worried when the differential started leaking from the salvage car because these cars are supposed to be drained and i was worried about my car doing the same thing . Its a bit hard to get to the fill hole and pump trans fluid in (dextron 3). I took half a day to repair the passenger carrier ,brakes ,and tie rod because of poor tools and having my son help.Remember that tie rods need to be replaced the same threads they came off. back up the nut just a little. take the old rod off. spin the new one on until it faces down .pop it thru the hole and tighten the nut. I took lots of time to explain each move. Buy either some p.b. blaster or zepserve for getting rusty bolts loose. you will thank me. spray it on a day in advance and again when you start the job.
now to the hard stuff. the drivers axle is not hard with the whole assembly. Remember to get an a.b.s. axle if you car has a.b.s. brakes.you can use an a.b.s. axle on a non a.b.s. car like I am doing. Jack up the whole front end .but make the side you are replacing much higher or you will spill a quart of trans fluid You do not need the 30 mm socket to get the axle loose. I took the same bolts off.Start with the caliper and brake carrier .2, 17 mm bolts. hang the caliper out of the way with wire . Make sure your caliper sliders move in and out or pop them out and take a drill with a brush and clean the holes out with brake clean or de-greaser. Clean the sliders and re-grease them. Take the rotor off if possible. Now take the 2 strut bolts , the speed sensor on a.b.s. cars if you have one , the cotter pin and tie rod bolt , the 3 lower ball joint bolts. Now the axle and spindle with the hub will be loose. Take your jack handle or pry bar and slip it between the flange on the axle and the differential. do the bottom first or start where the flange is the largest. work your way around or if the whole car is on jack stands, rotate the assembly until you see the larger part of the flange. the axle will pop when the c-clip on its end lets loose. you still have to work it out another inch or so until you can pull it out.
When you set the new assembly in place, make sure the c-clip on the differential end of the shaft is tight . take a pliers and squeeze it if unsure. make sure the open end of this clip faces down .this coincides with the way the factory installed them and it will go in much easier. pick the whole axle, spindle ,ball joint,and hub to set it in place. pull the strut out of the way . line up the strut mount on the newer assembly facing up to match up with the strut and the axle clip facing down. push the assembly into the differential hole and wiggle it a bit.It will be about an inch or less from being fully seated. you can either tap the axle end or steadily push the spindle in and when the c-clip seats you will hear it pop in place. now you need to check because sometimes its not all the way in. another half inch and you're all set. have the strut bolts close by because you're going to have to hold this heavy assembly up while you put the bolt back in. if you lost trans fluid the remove the upper differential bolt on the rear of the differential and get a pump bottle like you use for outboard lower units to fill it
Whew ,the hard part is done. reverse what you did before.tighten the 2 Strut bolts, 2 ball joint nuts and one bolt, tie rod nut and cotter pin, put the rotor on ,mount the carries ,put the pads in , put the slider bolts back in. I am a freak and use anti-seize on almost every bolt. it makes it much easier for the next (if ever) repair. put the tire on and lower the car. put steady pressure on your brake pedal a couple times to push fluid back in so you have brakes. I still have lots to do on this car ,but a couple more days and I should have it road worthy. I will give a progress report when i am back on the road. this is the last time I buy a first car for my kids. I hope they don't smash it too soon.