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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    How to remove and replace ABS tone rings

    My problems started with ABS, ESP, Brake, and Traction Control lights staying on and the transmission in limp mode. Only code was U1418. I found a broken tone ring on the right rear and ordered one from Modern Muscle. They advised me that if one goes bad, the others are close behind. I had no idea how right they were! I had to replace all four to fix my issues, and all four were in absolutely terrible condition! I would highly suggest that if you have one bad enough to need replacemant that you do all four, or at least order all four to have on-hand when the one you replace doesn't fix your problem! Really wish I would have listened to Chris at Modern Muscle on this one. He wasn't just trying to sell parts, and because of my stubborness, I paid three separate times for shipping and the car was down during all those shipping times.

    First of all, a word about the replacement tone rings. They were of excellent quality and fit. Modern Muscle customer service was great too. The price (around $40 each) was MUCH cheaper than replacing the axles at $175 or more for each. The tone rings fit my V6 AWD Magnum perfect on all four axles. Also the effort involved in changing a tone ring is drastically reduced as compared to changing a CV half shaft. Unless your CV's are damaged, worn, or leaking, there is no reason to go any further than the tone rings.

    For starters, here are a few suggestions. Use the factory service manual. If for nothing else, just the torque values. Secondly USE THE TORQUE VALUES! Not only are they there for a reason, they will help keep you from breaking parts and you'll be happy later on if you have to take it back apart for any other reason. Over-torquing anything rarely makes for a good situation! Finally, use the correct tools. For the bolts that hold the hub assembly on the knuckle, use E-sockets (E12 specifically). I've been told that a 3/8" 12 point socket would work, but why risk damaging the fastener? A set of E-sockets was about $15 at Harbor Freight and are of good quality. The reputation for junk tools doesn't seem to be as true as it was in years past and all their hand tools are lifetime warranty.

    I don't have a complete list of tools you'll need, but here is most of it:

    E12 socket
    Torque wrenches (157 ft/lbs is the highest torque you'll need. Other torques were in the 45-90 ft/lbs range I believe.)
    A set of 3/8" drive socket extensions including long ones and a 1" length was especially helpful.
    A 3/8" drive universal drive
    32MM impact socket (about $5 at Harbor Freight)
    3/8" and 1/2" drive breaker bars and ratchets along with a cheater bar.
    Sockets and wrenches, 15MM 16MM 17MM 18MM, others as needed.
    Sandpaper, stainless wire wheels, wire brushes, Scotchbrite, etc. as needed to clean up any rust.
    Vice Grips large enough to go over the axle.
    Pry bars and crowbar
    Small flat screwdriver
    Automatic center punch (not necessary but helpful)
    Jacks and Stands
    Wheel chocks
    Soft faced hammer
    Penetrating oil (PB Blaster or equivalent. I used 50/50 Acetone/ATF mix with good results)
    Solvent type cleaner (acetone, brake cleaner, contact cleaner, etc.)
    There may be some other stuff but I don't remember off hand. Air tools, especially a heavy duty impact wrench are helpful but seems like it could be done, albeit slower, without them. I used the impact, a die-grinder with wire wheel, a small needle scaler, and a nozzle to blow away dust.

    Please note pictures may be of different corners of the car, but should generally apply. Also, mine may look different. It's an AWD.

    Disclaimer: This is just how I did this job. By choosing to take on this task, you are responsible for yourself, your own safety, and your own decisions!

    First you'll need to raise both sides of the vehicle. For instance, both rear wheels or both front wheels.
    Remove the wheels (Good luck if you still have the stock lug nuts!!! Hate those things......)

    Hopefully yours will look better than this:

    Next you'll need to remove the brake parts. The caliper comes off by removing an upper and lower bolt with an 18mm socket or wrench. Slide it off the rotor and zip tie, safety wire, or otherwise secure it so it isn't hanging on the rubber brake hose. Slide the rotor off next. If you're working on the rear, you'll be greeted by this:

    Now here's a little shortcut.....The next picture shows a rectangular hole under the spring. When the time comes, you can remove this whole parking brake assembly in one piece by disconnecting the little actuator from the cable with a small flat screwdriver. That's what is inside that rectangular hole.

    Here comes the part where I had the most trouble. High torque plus high amount of rust in my case made for no fun. Time to remove the axle nut. Mine was so rusty that it was impossible to tell where the nut began and the hub assembly ended! I starting removing rust in tree bark looking chunks by using an automatic center punch in corners, recesses, and such to chip big pieces off easily. I next used a pneumatic needle scaler to continue with rust removal. It worked wonders in seconds! All this could be done with hand tools a little slower though, or may not even be needed in your case! You're gonna want to soak the axle and nut with penetrating oil continuously and repeatedly.

    At this point, the axle should slide an inch or so in or out. You'll want to slide the axle in as far as you can by hand without breaking anything important. Now is where you'll clamp the vice grips on the axle kind of like the following picture to keep the boot out of the way in order to remove the hub assembly bolts. The vice grips should actually be on the other side of the strut than the picture shows for this part.

    I don't have any pictures of removing the hub bolts, but here are a few tips. The very ends of the bolts are exposed. You'll see the threaded ends poking out slightly if you look behind the wheel flange. Clean the ends of the bolts and soak with penetrating oil. Secondly keep a variety of extensions handy as you're removing these. I used the 1" extension a lot. Also the universal may help at the bottom aft side in the rear corners, but I was able to come up with combinations of extensions to make the universal not absolutely necessary. I also removed my tension struts for better access on the rears. You may see some posts where people say that these bolts were nearly impossible to get to. If you push the axle out of the way, they aren't hard at all! Finally I highly suggest the use of that E12 socket. They are fairly tight to begin with and using a tool that fits the most snug is always your best bet for removing a fastener without damaging it!

    After removing the hub bolts, the hub assembly will come off along with the brake dust shield. Be sure to mark the top of the hub assy. as bolt spacing is not uniform. Don't forget that trick for the parking brake assembly if you're working on a rear axle! It will look something like this (but better hopefully!) with these parts removed:

    The tone ring is the ripped up, dry rotted rubber looking thing. As you can see, the tone ring is in terrible shape. All four were this bad or worse and only one looked bad from looking through the wheel speed sensor hole! It really takes a side view....

    Next step is to remove the tone ring. All of mine but one came out in pieces:

    Notice in the above picture that the tone ring consists of the magnetic material and also a steel ring that the magnetic material was bonded to. Be sure to get both pieces off. It's pretty easy using a small pry bar or a flat screwdriver. The next picture shows the axle with magnetic part removed and the steel ring still in place, a view you may be likely to see. Just don't forget it's there! On my first one I didn't know and spent a few hours cleaning that ring thinking it was part of the axle.

    After removing the ENTIRE tone ring, start cleaning and removing rust using the sandpaper, scotchbrite, wire wheel, etc. but keep in mind that the tone ring is magnetic and rust is ferrous! The better you clean it and remove the loose rust powder afterword, the better. Tone ring performance can be significantly reduced by contamination.

    Here are a few pics during various stages of cleaning. Use caution not to damage the end of the wheel speed sensor during cleaning, or better yet remove it if you think you can get it out without breaking things. Cleaning and rust removal was simplified by sliding the hub back over the axle part way, and turning the axle with a pry bar on the studs when it needed to be rotated to clean the next spot. This is the reason for lifting both sides of the car , even if you only have one to do. Not in any particular order, but these pictures may give you an idea of ways to manipulate the end of the axle for cleaning, access, and so forth:

    The one above has a pretty good shot of the parking brake cable end on the right side of the picture. This is what you'll be disconnecting the hook (actuator) from when removing the parking brake assembly. MUCH easier than disassembling the brake, even with extensive drum brake experience!

    So now it is as clean as you can get it, it's time to install the new tone ring. You may notice the vice grips on the axle again. This time they keep the axle pushed out, and help prevent movement while tapping the new tone ring on. A few things to keep in mind here. The tone ring is pretty fragile. Be careful not to damage it during installation. Tap it gently into place, don't pound on it. Remember that the knuckle has a lip that the hub will be right next to. With the axle pulled outward, use caution that you aren't messing up the back side of the tone ring by contacting the lip...the axle will be sagging down a little and won't be centered like it is when fully assembled!

    First step to installation is to get the tone ring lined up as straight as you can with the axle. It will really help in getting it to fully seat with minimum effort:

    Next, start tapping GENTLY with a soft faced hammer, working your way around to keep it going on straight and even. The rubbery part is soft and the metal is pliable. It seems pretty easy to damage them if you aren't careful!

    Finally, make sure the tone ring is fully seated and even all the way around. There should be no gaps between the axle and the flanged edge on the tone ring:

    That's about it! Re-assembly is the reverse of taking it all apart. Don't forget the thin washer between the axle and the bearing! I used new axle nuts, and suggest you do the same. Cheap insurance. Be sure to use the anti-sieze, grease, etc. to protect the parts where needed. Look up the torques and USE THE TORQUE WRENCH! Torque your lug nuts to 110 ft/lbs (or whatever your manual says), not as fast and tight as your impact will go.You'll be glad later that you did.

    The first one took me about a day and a half start to finish. I had to learn all these steps as I went. Second one took about 3 hours. The third and fourth took an hour or so each, start to finish, just because I knew how to do it. I hope this post speeds up the process for you!

    Hope this helps! Any questions, comments, corrections etc. are welcomed!

    Attached Images Attached Images How to remove and replace ABS tone rings-20140223_112953-jpg 
    Last edited by flypa38; 09-30-2017 at 05:44 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    I think I finally was able to fix the pictures.....please let me know if you can't see them!
    Thanks Jarlath, oldyellr, tokinmoenugz thanked for this post
    Likes Jarlath, tokinmoenugz liked this post

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Long Island NY
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    I may be doing this, thanks for the article.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Jonquiere, Quebec, Canada
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    Many thanks GUY for this post….. I followed all the steps… and now, I am a happy man with my 300C and my traction control in Québec winter !!!!
    Likes Johnsand liked this post

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