I need some help re-installing the driver's side front axle on my 2011 WRX hatch. The car was all stock until installing aftermarket springs, struts, and socks. While installing the front struts and springs I pressed on the driver side lower control arm which gave me room to remove the old assembly but also popped out the axle draining gear oil everywhere. The axle shaft basically just unseated... it didn't come all the way out.
I decided to do it right and replace the differential side oil seal before reinstalling the axle shaft. I got the whole axle shaft out by disconnecting the lower ball joint and swaybar endlink. I also got the old seal out and the new one in.
My problem is I can't get the axle to snap/click back in. I can get the shaft in so the splines engage and the wheels spin but it's not seated securely, the green housing on the axle ( CV joint?) can slide freely an inch or two away from the transmission housing and back.
My searches here and elsewhere suggest the axle should click/pop back into place securely. Apparently the circlip should be audible when it seats into place. When the axle came loose it made a pop.
I suspect the circlip on the axle shaft has slid out of place but I don't know where it should be. When the axle came out the circlip was flush with the baffle that presses against the oil seal and tranny.
All the pictures I've seen in the service manual and online make me think that the circlip should be near the end of the front axle, on the section where the splines are, there's a channel cut there that could hold the circlip but it would fit quite loosely.
Also, there is only one circlip on the axle, right?
Any help would be appreciated, it's my daily driver.