DIY - Replace Rear axle

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Well-known member
Oct 5, 2010
I noticed my right rear tire had extremely uneven tire wear (extreme negative camber), and I took it in for alignment. Turns out there is no such thing as rear-end alignment on the leaf - the entire rear end is a single unit. The tubular steel on mine was deformed, so the wheel mount bracket turned in at the top.

Quote to fix from dealer: $2,800

So here's how to not spend 3 grand:

Parts (2011, yours may vary):
Rear Axle: 555013NA1A (about $800 new, I paid $350 used)
Axle Beam nut (2): 54588ED00A (should replace every time you reattach)
Speed bleeders - M7x1.0


Remember to disconnect the battery negative before beginning

1. Jack up rear and support at two jack points
2. Remove rear wheels
3. Disconnect speed sensor from behind wheel unit and unbolt retaining clamp from the axle.
4. Drain brake fluid
5. Disconnect brake line (both ends of hard line). Slide clips off and detach all lines from the axle. Cover all exposed brake ends to avoid dirt.
6. Pull ABS cord and e-brake cable free from the grommet clips on the axle.
7. Remove 4 bolts that hold wheel unit to wheel carrier on the rear of the wheel carrier brackets
8. Using a jack, support the center of the axle to relieve stress on shock and body connections.
9. Remove rear shock bolt at axle.
10. Lower assembly slightly using jack to remove springs and rubber spring mounts
11. Detach axle beam bolt
12. Lower axle assembly
12. remove old axle beam nut and replace with new. Here is the only actually hard part of the project. Replacing the old axle beam nuts is a gigantic PITA. The nut is held in place by sheet metal flanges, however, the access to the area is a very narrow gap. I used a combination of a magnetic part retriever and patience to pull out the old and replace the new.

It is really a bad idea to just reuse this nut. Once it has been torqued to spec, it has been stressed past the material's recovery point, and so you have to start with a fresh nut.

The rest is just reversing the above, with a few notes:

1. When you replace the springs, pay attention to matching the springs with the molded indentations on the rubber. Also match the rubber to the slots in the axle.
2. Once you reattach the brake lines, fill the master cylinder reservoir, leave the cap off, and leave the nipple off until brake fluid appears at the hole. Then replace the nipple. Gravity (and a few pumps of the brakes) will push the fluid into the caliper. This is important with speed bleeders, as the air in the line may lack the pressure to move the stainless steel ball that serves as a one-way valve.
3. Bleed the brakes
4. Do not torque the axle beam bolt until the wheels are replaced and the car is on the ground. Connect the shocks and the Axle bolt, put the wheels back on, and take the Leaf off the jack stands. Then torque the axle beam bolt to spec. This ensures that the bushing is torqued at a neutral position.

shocks 94 ft-lbs
suspension mount bolts 128 ft-lbs
brake lines 12 in-lbs
KillaWhat said:

Do you have any Pictures?
Like the part that was bent?


Alas, I don't. Wasn't planning a DIY, as I didn't find a ton of DIY here, but when I couldn't find stuff I figured I'd at least create a start.

The tubular steel that extends from the bushing backwards has a flange welded to it that holds the wheel assembly. The tubular steel was partially collapsed and the top of the flange was bent inwards about a centimeter.

I know these are not the best, but they show the wheel assembly, which attaches to the beam. Also shows the various cables and hoses.