I‘m wondering if this is normal or are the CV joints worn out. The boots are torn for who knows how long. Anyhow the whole axle moves/slides back and forth between the tire and transmission. It is tight front to back. Seems like a lot of play. Is this normal??
yeah it's ok for the center of the axle to float almost 2 inches. but the boots being ripped is bad. they will wear out fast like that as dirt can get in and the grease is being spun out. when there totally shot you'l know because they'll click. if there not clicking yet order some new boots and put them on. they make some boots with a seam that you can put on with out removing the axle.
This is Normal. You have to have some end play so that when your wheel goes up and down with the bumps the shaft can lengthen and shorten to need. Think about this: If you are standing arms length from a wall and you can barely touch the wall from where you are standing with the tip of your longest middle finger, then you raise your arm up without leaning closer to the wall you will produce a gap between your finger and that wall effectively shortening the length of your arm relative to the wall. When and axle does the same thing with relation to the wheel and suspension moving up and down in relation to the transmission its connected to, the only way to keep them from pulling apart and disconnecting from either the wheel or transmission is to have a telescopic or lengthening shaft! And of course the same if the wheel (or your arm) moves downward. The end-play is actually manufactured into one of the cv joints usually the inner one for this reason. The axle is not bad for this reason. The boots should be replaced for further extended life as long as the axles don't make a repeated repetitious clicking sound w/turning sharp and accelerating Hope this helps.