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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Rather a strange problem. My 1999 crv front wheels just stop running, and it is being driven only by the rear. I know this is the case because my rear diff is very noisy, and on the 3 occasions this has happened, I limped home slowly driving with rear wheels only. The first time, I actually found that one of the front cv joints had popped out at the wheel. I had to remove the ball joint etc to get it back in. OK so that made sense, no traction on the front wheel at all, so just the back engages. The second time that this happened, both cv joints were fine. I supported the car on 4 stands and noticed that the front wheels did turn, but I could easily stop them by hand. All of a sudden, there was a knock and the front wheels engaged, I changed the transmission fluid, dropped the car and it was driving fine for about 3 weeks. This has happened again. Perhaps significant is that this model was automatic, but a previous owner had converted it to a manual gearbox.
I wonder if it has to do with the hydraulic pumps that control the rear diff for AWD? Or the transfer box?

Edit update : I stripped the entire mechanism and cv joint. There is a circlip on the end of the shaft, that should compress to fit in through the cv joint. It would not go in, so I removed it, and reassembled everything. Obviously, the clip is supposed to stop the shaft slipping out of the cv joint, but in my case, it was preventing the shaft from slipping back in. I know it is risky, but 3 months of driving so far and no problems.
 

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The rear wheels engage when the rear differential determines that the front wheels are turning at a different speed than the rear wheels. The rear differential is self contained, and would only be affected if the propeller shaft that runs from the transmission back to the rear differential wasn't working correctly.

So I looked up the part numbers for the half shafts and found a difference.
The right side drive shaft for a manual trans is not the same as the automatic.

Manual

44305-S10-C61 Drive Shaft Assembly, R
44306-S10-C51 Drive Shaft Assembly, L

Automatic

44305-S10-C51 Drive Shaft Assembly, R
44306-S10-C51 Drive Shaft Assembly, L

I have no idea what the length difference is, or if that's what's causing your problem. And the bad news is that none of the drive shafts are showing as available to order on the parts site I checked.

I checked the propeller shaft part numbers, and they are the same for both manual and automatic transmissions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks racoon. you may have homed in on the issue. A while ago, a dodgy mechanic changed the passenger side half shaft (right hand drive) he did not properly secure the ball joint, and it dropped. It is very likely that he used the wrong part.... it could be slightly short, ..... the car has driven quite a few thousand since then though.
The propshaft seems to be working fine. - one of the first things that I did when this first happened (I had not noticed that the cv joint had popped out) was to take out the propshaft, thinking that it could drive on front wheels only. Of course it didnt go at all. I removed the diff, opened it, found some play on the spider gears and a worn bearing - the scraping noise. It was going to cost a fortune to recon the diff, so I figured that it gets used so seldom, I just put it back.

I will try to find out what drive shaft has been installed. The right one does seem to have quite a bit of movement, but still very much engaged.
 
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