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I had a strange roaring noise coming from the front of the car and was pretty sure it was the intermediate shaft bearing. The car is a 2006 Mazda 3 2.3 with a manual transmission. I figured I would try to fix this myself, and was determined not to have to replace the whole shaft like Mazda wanted me to. The dealer does not offer the bearing, only the two dust seals.

Removing the intermediate shaft is fairly simple. Remove brakes, unbolt lower control arm, then remove the cv axle after removing the nut. The intermediate shaft has a bearing support held onto the back of the engine with 3 bolts. Once they are out, its a matter of pulling the shaft hard enough to overcome the c-clip holding it in the differential. Gear oil or ATF depending on your car will pour out if you have not drain some of the fluid out before hand.

Once you have the shaft out, you can press off the bearing retainer first. It slid off fairly easily. I had to use a shop press to get the bearing off of the shaft. It damaged the dust shield and dust seal in the process. I was able to straighten the metal dust shield and re-use it. The two dust seals that hold the grease in were available at the dealer. I took the bearing to my nearest NAPA where they matched it up. The part number was slightly different, but the bearing was the same, had to do with their naming system. I made sure to get a bearing with the metal seals built into the bearing to retain the grease, there was an option for no seals or rubber seals which would have been wrong. I started re-assembly by putting the dust shield back on first, followed by the larger rubber dust seal from Mazda. Be sure to grease the lip of the seal to not damaged it. I packed the back side of the rubber seal with grease, then pressed the bearing back on, using the shop press, all the way until it bottomed out on the shoulder on the shaft. Be sure to only put force on the inner race of the bearing or you will wreck the bearing. I then pressed the new smaller rubber seal from Mazda into the bearing support, being sure to put it in the same way and to the same depth, followed by packing the inside of the seal with grease. The seal has outside written on one side to help. I then slid the bearing support onto the bearing already pressed on the shaft, being sure not to damage the rubber seals, essentially sandwiching the new bearing in grease, which was held in by the rubber seals. The bearing retainer slid onto the bearings outer race with little effort and did not require the press. The larger rubber seal you put on first has a smaller lip fits inside the bearing support to seal in the grease and keep the seal from rotating. I slowly went around and hammered the seal in a little at a time.

Then put it all back on the car in reverse order. My total bill was less than $50 for the bearings and seals. Be sure to properly re-torque the wheel bearing and top off the transmission with the proper fluid. I saved $250 in parts and who know how much in labor doing this myself.

Hope this helps someone else.
 

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what ever happened with the c-clip, or is that floating around inside your differential
did you fit a new c-clip
 
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