By on July 7, 2014

TTAC Commentator Detroit Iron writes:

Long time no talk (I sound like a native American an Indian).  (Yeah, not so much. – SM)

I have an 09 Outback with ~65k miles.  I had noticed a bit of a burning smell after running it for a while and it was pretty strong after a recent trip.  I thought it smelled like a belt slipping but when I popped the hood the two belts looked fine.  After looking around for a minute I realized that the passenger side CV boot had torn and was dripping grease on to the cat.  Checking the other side revealed that the driver’s side boot was also torn.  Apparently this is a pretty common failure for scoobies.  The Internet says I should be concerned if I hear a “popping” sound or the clunk associated with failing bearings.  Luckily I am hearing neither.  The dealer had a set price of $370 per boot for replacing the boots that the service manager somewhat disconcertingly blurted out almost before I finished describing the problem.  The independent shop thought they could do both for less than $500 if the axles weren’t bad, but if they were bad then it would be another $450 per.

My question is this:  Can I just get split boots from JC Whitney and pack them with grease or do I really need to have the pros fix it?

Sajeev answers:

The split boots are probably a great idea, Dorman makes good stuff for old cars when the OEMs can or will not. That said, I’ve never used split boots on my rides as I roll RWD only.  But here’s the real problem: armchair analysis.

  • Do you think road dirt/debris lodged inside the boot will eventually eat the axle bearings?
  • Do you have any doubts to that question?
  • Is that your final answer?

Only you can answer that and decide what’s worth your time/money.  The $20-something for split boots is a cheap fix that’ll probably work, as you mentioned the axles are neither clunking nor popping: now try it from a standstill with the steering wheel turned at full lock (i.e. full left AND full right) and listen for the clunk.

If that test works out, well, go ahead and use the split boots.  They will probably extend the life of the axle long enough to justify their expense.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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77 Comments on “Piston Slap: New CV Boots? A Split Decision!...”


  • avatar
    grzydj

    It’s easier just to replace the entire shaft with rebuilds. You’ll probably find that it’s a good idea to replace the ball joints while you’re in there.

    You can do this job on jackstands in your driveway in about an about hour per side.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      Sure, it’s far easier to replace the entire shaft with a poor-quality imported one like most shops do these days. You might as well buy two sets of axles so you have them on hand for the next time they fail in a year or two. Yes, some of them are really that bad.

      If the CV joint grease hasn’t become contaminated on the vehicle yet, I’d opt for replacing the existing boots (which may require a special tool for the boot retaining straps) with new OEM ones.

      • 0 avatar
        klossfam

        The “poor-quality imported” statement is not based in any fact – so ignore remondjp on this…Most rebuilt half shafts are just that, rebuilds from cores. Installing a rebuild is the way to go. I’ve done it several times and had no issues. The rebuilt half shaft on my daughter’s 2006 VW Rabbit is going strong after 25,000 miles. No issues. I agree split boots are a waste of money. Only use split boots for a beater you plan to nurse along for 10k miles or less…

  • avatar
    Mike

    Split boots are 99% a universally bad idea. Your better off just price shopping the higher priced Axles on RockAuto and Raxles, then swap the whole axle out.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Split boots are waste of money. And I really don’t understand, how much is this cost? $450? If the boot cost $20 and hour of mechanic’s job is $100, than it is about $240 for 2 boots.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        The service manager could explain the overhead, insurance, property taxes, business license fees, business loan repayment, bookkeeping/compliance report costs, utilities, tool depreciation, owner’s wife’s fender-bender expense, etc., but probably won’t. All of that can’t be included in a $100 labor charge with at-cost parts. Dealers and shops are in business to recover their costs and make a profit.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          This is why they never see my cars. When I heard $700-800 for timing belt on my Villager, I said, Thank you and did it myself. Lets say, I would find one who would do it for $500, then I still saved $400. Yest, I did it in 6 hours but it was worth it from every view

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            If you can do it yourself, you’re ahead of the game, but a lot of people can’t, and have to pay the price.

            They’re limited to becoming knowledgeable about the minimum repairs needed, and the lowest reasonable price. The dealer and independent shop prices are rather high – they must be planning on doing a whole half shaft replacement, which is simpler and faster to do.

          • 0 avatar
            Mike

            ….Another Villager owner
            Hai

            I saw on courtesy parts Nissan puts together a good timing belt kit with everything you could possibly need, for less then $300, I think is a deal.

  • avatar
    challenger2012

    Sir. I have used split boots twice, in my life, to repair damaged CVJ boots on my cars. The boots were held together with very small bolts and screws and two sealing bands. Both times, the boots lasted about 20,000 miles and then fell apart. You will never get a complete seal with these split boots, dust and dirt will seep into the grease of the CVJ and eventually destroy the CVJ. I would not buy rebuilt CVJ’s for your car. The rebuilt ones I had installed only lasted about 30-40K miles. I would suggest installing new OEM or new aftermarket CVJ’s; they will last the longest.

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      What he said.

    • 0 avatar
      Instant_Karma

      Precisely. The split boot solution was only good for about 15k miles when I tried it, and the cheapo Vato Zone $60 rebuilt driveshafts got replaced every 18 months like clockwork until I went across the street to O’Reilly’s and got the $90 new aftermarket parts, which have endured click and noise free for about 60k miles or so and the boots still look solid.

      Seriously, those cheap rebuilt parts suck, half the time when I had to take them back and swap them out, the replacements I received SUCKED. Once, the transmission end of the shaft so mangled I had to clean it up with a file to get it to go in properly and on another occasion one of the rebuilt parts was clicking as soon as I installed it.

  • avatar
    vvk

    I have replaced CV boots on my Subies and it is really not a bad job. You have to replace both inner and outer, though. Takes about an hour per side but make sure you have correctly sized center punch to take out the dowel pin. After this is done, the rest is pretty easy.

    If you have caught it in time, I believe it is better to repack your original joints rather that use rebuilt axles. The original parts are much better. If you do not plan on keeping the car a long time, use rebuilt axles. It is much easier.

    • 0 avatar
      johnhowington

      an hour perhaps with someone who is experienced with it on a daily basis. otherwise all i can see is you are bragging. first you have to take out all of the airbox, then the axle nut, lower strut bolts, try your best to punch the axle pin out. it might take two people one hour, but one person? you must be superman.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Bragging perhaps, but myself and a buddy swapped out an axle on his ’92 Civic in 20 minutes, on the side of a dirt road, with just the random tools he had in his trunk. A VatoZone reman about 2 years ago with no problems since. Maybe luck played a small role, but it’s not a huge undertaking. Get a lifetime warranty and who cares?

        • 0 avatar
          johnhowington

          so your buddy carries around quarts of transmission fluid (or a catch pan) and 32/36mm sockets in the trunk?

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            don’t be too smart. When you lift only one side of the car the transmission fluid is not likely to come out from shaft opening.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            A good tool box has a little of everything. But yeah spilled some on the dirt, stuffed a rag in it. Topped it off later. Point is, it’s not a big ordeal if it doesn’t last forever.

          • 0 avatar
            Instant_Karma

            I’ve done that in my 93 Civic on the roadside, only “specialty” tools needed are a ball joint separator and a 32mm socket. Transmission barely lost 1/4 of a quart at all and in a manual gearbox it’s just engine oil anyhow. It isn’t hard to do at all and the second time someone does one it becomes an easy half hour job.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            A ball-joint separator is good, but it’s too easy to tear its boot. We didn’t have one anyways and between striking the knuckle hard with a hammer and tapping its bolt/nut gently, it slid out. It’s a tapered pin, so it doesn’t take too much force.

      • 0 avatar
        vvk

        I don’t remember having to remove the airbox but that may be the case for this model. I would think an experienced mechanic can do both sides in an hour with the car on the lift. And I am talking replacing the boots, not just swapping the axles, which is like 10 minutes using air tools. It is really not hard. Definitely a nice job for $500 if you are working inside (no snow/rain) with a car lift using air tools.

        Subies are super easy to work on.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        I remember puling the drive shaft from Mercury Villager in about 20 minutes at easy pace, using manual tools.

      • 0 avatar
        guevera

        I know nothing about Subarus; the only CV shaft replacement I’ve ever done was on an 88 Tercel — but I’ve done a lot of work on a lot of cars, and the one hour to swap an axle sounds reasonable for the second time you do the job. Usually, if it’s a job I’ve never done before I’d expect to double the amount of time an expereinced mechanic would take.

  • avatar
    Garak

    If you go the split boot way, it’s a good idea to check them regularly to see if they actually hold the grease inside. I got maybe 3 months from my split boot before it tore apart, but it was held together only with glue. The ones with screws likely last longer.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Anything mechanical from JC Whitney I’d pretty much forget about. Split boots from anybody I’d skip, too. RockAuto sells Cardone rebuilt factory OEM parts and Cardone new. I always go with the re manufactured OEM CV joints, having done quite a few over the years. The trouble with just replacing the boot (split style or not) is that you can’t really be sure all the grit is out. Chances are they were split for awhile and water and grit will destroy the joint. That mileage/age for a boot failure is pretty low…I guess Subaru cheaped out. Even GM boots last much longer than that.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      I agree with this. A rebuilt factory axle is the way to go, and many times it’s cheaper than two boot kits.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Your OEM shaft is balanced and rebuilt is not. Best if you can replace the boot only. And since most don’t have a machine to safely pull a cv join from the shaft, it is good idea to get extra boot fasteners and work from the inner boot. Because inner join is easy to separate.

        • 0 avatar
          360joules

          I have the rebuilds that Les Schwab (Pacific Northwest regional chain) put on my Honda Accord beater/ hospital parking lot car. Both outlasted my OEMs. Running 110k and 130k. YMMV.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      I agree with replacing whole axles. I used a cheap AutoZone axle on one car and a pair of moderate price NAPA axles the 2nd time. Both outlasted the rest of the car, but I’d probably choose the NAPA or better part today. Also replaced just an outer CV boot on the first car and ended up having to redo the job later when the inner CV boot failed.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I’ve replaced the two front inner boots on my Legacy. Both times I have had others do it. The first I got Subaru to agree to do it under my CPO warranty, though the dealer wasn’t too happy with that for some reason.
    The second time I paid a local speed shop that specializes in Subarus do it for $125. I provided the boot and hardware (it came with grease).
    For that price I will probably go this route in the future too.
    But as grzydj mentioned, for a DIYer it is easier to replace the whole shaft. I bought one for the next time I need to do it if I feel so inclined. The price for the shaft is really reasonable. I got both the new boot and reman shaft from Rockauto for less than $100.
    I’d say buy a boot and shaft, replace the shaft and then use the boot kit to fix the shaft you pulled off and keep it as a spare, since you will definitely need to do it again.

    • 0 avatar
      brux2dc

      If you can say (not sure of forum rules), what shop is that? I’m in NoVA, and looking for a good shop for my wife’s Legacy. That Subie dealership in Tyson’s Corner just robbed her blind. She ok’d the work before talking to me. grrrr….

      • 0 avatar
        Land Ark

        Oh great, Stohlman’s Tysons was going to be my go-to dealer if I ever need them since the Herndon shop left a bad taste in my mouth the 2 times I’ve used them. What did she agree to?

        Mach V in Sterling is where I was talking about. That’s the only work I’ve had done there, so I can’t really speak to how they are for bigger issues. But my experience was pleasant and I will go back.

        • 0 avatar
          brux2dc

          New steering actuator(?). I can’t remember the total cost, but I looked up the part and they charged like 150% over msrp + labor at $200 p/h! It’s the labor rate they quoted that was truly insane… She also did a carbon cleaning. They charged $250 for that, I think. I did homework, and while expensive it wasn’t out of line vs other shops.

          Thanks for the Sterling shop name.

          Funny thing is I bought my last 3 cars from Stohlman. My new 2000 Mitsu, my used 06 Jetta, and my new 13 CC. I don’t use them for shop work though.

  • avatar
    CarMatch

    I would replace the entire axle shaft with an OEM shaft. You should get another 65k out of it, which is much more than you’ll get out of the other cheaper solutions. That all being said, it’s somewhat shameful that the original boots failed by 65k. Most will last 100k / 10 years easily.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    Update-

    I talked to the local speed shop and using aftermarket axles it is cheaper to replace them then do the boots because there is less labor, so I think that is what I am going to do. This is the 2.5 non-turbo and it is a manual so I don’t think it is a stressful application.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Be wary: aftermarket axles vary wildly in quality. If your old OEM axles were not contaminated too badly, spend the money and get new boots put on (as another poster above me suggested). If you do insist on going aftermarket, do NOT, I repeat do NOT get remanufactured units. Buy entirely new axles from a reputable manufacturer. I’ve had reman axles be horribly unbalanced right out of the box, or start clicking within 2 months of being put on. You have been warned!

      • 0 avatar
        Land Ark

        And, naturally, everything I’ve read says to stay away from new shafts since they always seem to be improperly balanced.
        I’ve even heard of new OEM ones being unbalanced.
        In any event, I believe most auto parts stores give lifetime warranties so when the new ones fail (new or reman), you can get free replacement. Though they tend to cost a bit more than the Rockauto ones.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Lifetime warranty on reman axles just means your weekends will now be spent swapping out one reman axle after another ad infinitum. I don’t doubt that some new aftermarket pieces are unbalanced as well, but if you snoop around the forums and get some good fedback on a brand then I’d say go for it.

    • 0 avatar
      daneli

      I’ve replaced lots of cv axles with new aftermarket axles. While it is faster than rebooting an original axle, I’ve given up that approach because so much of what is available in the aftermarket turns out to be junk. I also agree that the phrase “lifetime warranty” is no longer a sign of a superior product. Like the phrase “OEM Quality,” there is no guarantee that the product you buy will perform as well as the axle you are replacing. (There are plenty of aftermarket axles that won’t last 60,000 miles.)

  • avatar
    Fred

    We used to use split boots on old air-cooled VW Beetle transaxles. Otherwise we would have to pull the axles. I don’t remember them causing any problems.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    If you can have some downtime on the Subie, go ahead and pull the axles and repair them yourself (if it’s not difficult; some are and some aren’t). While you’re under there, check the boots on the rear axles and the steering rack.

    I did the passenger side axle on my SE-R a while back, and it was pretty easy. I wrapped the old boot in an absurd amount of duct tape for a month or two until I had a free weekend. Pulled the axle, disassembled everything and the balls and cups looked good, so I regreased the joints and put new boots on. I did have to do it twice, though, since I assembled the wrong end first when I was putting it back together.

    • 0 avatar
      CriticalMass

      Did your year vehicle have the little carrier bearing outboard of the CV on the pax side? That cheap bearing, which apparently can not be sourced or changed without pulling the whole shaft and pressing it off. This has caused me to replace the whole shaft twice on my first gen SE-R while the CV’s were just fine. Not replacing it results in some hefty vibration under acceleration.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Yep, ’92 with the extension shaft. Never noticed anything wrong with mine, but any vibration from it is probably lost in the din from all the urethane bushings, stiffening bars, and such.

  • avatar

    This comment has nothing to do with cv joints, or cars, generally, but I could not resist an opportunity to puncture a PC myth. American Indians prefer being called Indians, rather than “native Americans.” I know, because I’ve written a couple of short profiles of Yvette Roubideaux, a Rosebud Sioux (grew up on the res) with triple Harvard degrees who is the most prominent Indian physician in the US. She decided to go into medicine in her mid-teens after waiting hours with her mother for some sort of medical treatment on the reservation, and wanting better for her people. She’s currently head of Indian Health Service.

    Fascinating post, Sajeev!

  • avatar
    RogerB34

    Install remanufactured CV joint assemblies.
    Both ends.
    Waste of $ to have the shop replace one boot.
    Check with other independents on price.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I’d be searching to get something done as a factory defect, a 2009 that needs CV boots is unacceptable.

    I’ve only had to replace 1 set of CV boots in the hundreds of thousands of miles of GM products I’ve driven… 2 years ago, I replaced the factory CV axles on an 1987 s10, not even clunking, just had bad boots.
    Pretty sure they were about $120 each, for comparison 3/4 ton CV axles for my H2 are ~$100

    • 0 avatar

      Are your GM products all trucks?

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Correct, though there are GM cars in the family I can add to that list minus me driving those miles.

        An early 2000s impala CV joint seems to range from $35-125, of course I wouldn’t risk my time putting in a $35 Cv axle. That car has ~130k miles and over 10 years on the originals.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Common problems in Subarus, close proximity to exhaust manifold/cat causes the rubber to get brittle and crack.

      Between that, leaky headgaskets, bad wheel bearings, and a steady stream of emissions related CELs, I tend to stay away from Subarus. Not sure if the latest ones with the FB series engines have cured any of the maladies, but there’s now CVT longevity to worry about.

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        Sounds like the 07 Outback I had. Most things were fixed under warranty. I put the car up for sale, disclosed everything that was replaced with receipts, and still sold it for $3k over “book value”. Finally, living in Idaho paid off!

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      I’ve owned 4 FWD cars over the years (all Fords) and only had to do boots on one of them, a ’90 Taurus with 140,000 miles on the clock. I keep hearing of a lot of issues that seem endemic to Subaru’s, enough that I’m glad my sis didn’t buy one (it was on her short list).

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        It’s wierd a certain author here did another article on one of the “big” sites that cater to the people that really aren’t in the “know”.
        And it was a mess, every 5th person was getting upset because Subaru wasn’t in the top ten most reliable list, a list based on facts from reputable sources.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoTone Loser

        Its worth my mentions, from what I have experienced, foreign car CV boots split often and early. American car CV boots never seem to fail. I don’t know why this is.

    • 0 avatar

      I did one axle on My old Outback the other had been done before I got it. Most mechanics I know would replace the shaft with either a good quality rebuilt or high end after market. Look at the outback forums they will be plenty of talk about which shafts are good and which are crap. Subarus seems to be very picky about this. I used Napa reman one and it was fine for the 50k more miles I drove it before the engine blew. I do know a lot of people who had trouble with the super cheap ahhh-zone and vances autoparts ones so you may want to avoid those. But even there we threw ultra cheap ones on my moms dodge minivan and lasted till the engine quit as well so that not be true for all of them.

      On further note after owning 2 subarus (my wife had one when we got married) I don’t think they build reliable cars at all,(you can look at the forums or true delta to confirm) they just build cars people really like, thereby letting them ignore the frequent repair bills. That and most Subaru owners seem to be former euro car owners so the cheaper cost of repairs just may make them feel like it’s more reliable.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I’m a big fan of rebuilds that use the OEM axle, but new joints and boots. Raxles is the first vendor that comes to mind (I’ve used them a couple time; Marty and his crew are great!) I don’t trust Auto Store re-grinds, and all-new axles are either overpriced OEM, or horrible Chinese replicas.

    Very few shops re-boot any more. It’s messy, labor-intensive, and too often the repair fails due to joint damage. Most shops go with part-store re-ground rebuilts.

    Unless you plan on dumping the car soon, avoid split boots; they’ll fail quickly. Do it right.

  • avatar
    Rhiadon

    I and a friend who both own a 2005 legacy have done related repairs to our cars. On my friend’s car we rebuilt the out CV with a rebuilt kit from Fred Beans. (I’m not afiliated with them in anyway) This was a bit difficult but much cheaper than a new OEM half shaft. It performs as well as OEM and is quiet.

    On my car we replaced the right half shaft with an aftermarket shaft. I wodul not recommend this. It was *VERY* difficult to get it to actually seat in the transmission and then once done, there is much more drive train noise. It’s a difficult one to explain, but it is certainly there.

    So personally, I’d recommend either the OEM rebuild kit or a new OEM half shaft, depending on your desired work/money ratio.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Only use split boots if you plan to sell it soon; otherwise, do it right.

  • avatar
    stuart

    I changed a few boots on my FIAT 128s years ago. Messy but straightforward job, and satisfactory results after I learned to use plastic tie wraps to secure the boots.

    I never replaced an axle or a CV joint, because I noticed the leaking grease promptly, and because I was too poor to consider buying an axle. I think I had over 200k on some of my CV joints when I dumped the cars. (Admittedly, the 128 was a pretty light car, so the joints were low-stressed.)

    If you have a good manual and the right tools, I would encourage you to replace the boots yourself.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    More of that legendary Subaru quality.

    In the past on CV boots (former Subbie owner for the record) this is what I was told. With torn boots you have a choice. Replace them if you don’t think dirt and grime has gotten to embedded into the CVs to eat up the joints. If you think they are eaten up replace the assembly and axles.

    Option two – ignore until clicking and popping (which could take thousands of miles depending on where you live and how you drive) and then replace.

    Either way – you can pay now, or pay later – split boots are junk.

  • avatar
    CapVandal

    Drive until you start hearing noises.

    This advise is based on you asking the question. Some people have to have a car that is in top condition — others never fix anything.

    Like this person: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KC-SxrsgEwo

    The owner is up to 135,000 miles — most of them without an oil change. Hyundai. It’s a philosophy.

    Extreme … but almost everyone falls somewhere int the middle. Do or don’t do. Anyone with a paid off car should be able to afford keeping it in pretty good shape.

    I get my Acura serviced at the dealer and they said the boots are leaking a little, so keep an eye on them. I finally got the 100k mile service where they change the timing belt, water pump, spark plugs, and a few other things.

    Back in the day, a car that would start and had a 1/2 tank of gas was a luxury vehicle. Getting old sucks — so having a car professionally and regularly serviced is one tiny consolation.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      If you can afford it, replace boots as soon as they start to leak. Pay the extra cost in labor (offset by the low part cost of just buying boots), and get new boots put on. You now have your tried and tested OEM axles with new boots ready to go. If you keep driving until noises are heard, your only option is sketchy aftermarket axles. Yes you will save on labor, but you might be re-doing the whole job soon after.

      It is contradictory to start your post by saying to ignore the problem and ruin axles, then implore the OP to get his car fixed. Makes no sense.

      • 0 avatar

        Well to each his own but my feeling that if you’ve driven an unknown distance with blown boots the CV’S are not far behind so you migght as well keep rocking them until they completely go (this can be a surprisingly longtime) and even after they start clicking I have driven as many as 7,000 miles on failing joints. Most of the cost is in labor to take the front end apart to get at the boots replacing the axles hardly adds any labor so you may as well replace them, how much those parts cost will depend on your view of OEM etc.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Here is the bummer for you people. My 1998 protege with 192K has its original cv boots. Intact! Ha-ha

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Here is the bummer for you: your Protege’s rust proofing is equivalent to that of a 1960s Fiat.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        After 3 years I looked under and said, “Mamma mia”. Rust. But guess what – 16 years with that rust getting worse but no problems. I did replace 2 pieces of pipe out of 4. Muffler is original. @13 years, rear wheel wells started to go but I used cans from green beans and lots of Bondo to rebuild them. And it worked!! Here is some other original parts that still in it: clutch, antifreeze, water and fuel pumps, timing belt.

  • avatar
    anti121hero

    That’s highway robbery for cb boot replacement. 20$ do it yourself.

  • avatar
    waltercat

    My two cents – after a whole bunch of fwd/awd cars, I finally had to replace a CV for the first time, on my ’99 Acura TL. The factory boot failed at ~220K miles and I was not gonna do that repair myself. A trusted local independent shop replaced it with a rebuilt axle – total job was, I think, $250. Many miles later, all is still OK. My wife had a ’96 Outback for about 15 years, and we never had a CV problem. (Head gaskets, yes – but that’s another story.)

  • avatar
    Mr. K

    Well I might not know a subie right off the top of my head but I looked for a non turbo outback automatic on Rock auto and under 50 bucks each plus rock’s famous outrageous shipping makes less then 65 or 70 a shaft for cardone reman. Cardone is right here in Philly, and does decent qualty reman stuff.

    I looked on Worldpac and they have FEQ (Far East Quality, and not Japan or Factory Equivalent Part depending on your POV) heavy duty for my cost 124 each. Worldpac warns about the snap ring coming off the inner joint. if it’s not on your old inner CV joint, it might be a good idea to fish around in the diff or transaxle if you will to find it.

    Worldpac also says that changing the diff fluids is a very good idea. You have 3 – front center and rear.

    1.0 is my guess x2 for the shafts =2.0, and I will charge 1.5 or 2.0 for th fluids makes 4 hours, about 200 each for the shafts and about 11 bucks a qt for I AM GUESSING ATF FLUID FOR THE DIFFS (IF I AM WRONG DON’T BITCH, CHECK IT – I DONT HAVE TIME.

    400 labor
    400 parts
    50 fluids
    850.00

    DIY

    140 parts
    50 fluids – (might be a good idea to use OEM fluid – I used idemitsu in the estimate
    zero labor.
    200 bucks

    Take your pick.
    Dont change the fluid and
    200 labor
    400 parts
    600

    This is only an estimate and I don’t see many subies.

    BTW don’t do the split boots.

  • avatar
    brenschluss

    What’s the deal with silicone CV boots? I owned a Subaru from 99k miles to 190k and had to replace front and rear boots at least once each if memory serves.

    Would be good to know if quality silicone boots (these guys come up quick in a search: http://www.cvaxles.com/automotive.htm) are worth seeking out…

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    Stay away from split boot, and heck, stay away from a new boot without checking the CV joints to see if abrasive got in and wear out the joints itself.

    Stay away from parts store axles that just regrind the joints, the regrinding process typically remove the hardened material on the joints and make them wear out much much faster than they would have been even if you just take it apart, clean it up, reapply the grease, then boot it together.

    The only trust worthy route to go is to either get a new OEM axle (and make sure you get one that has fixed the bad boot design) or a high quality rebuilt with new joints (OEM or Raxles). If your OEM has bad design, I’d go for Raxles.

    Typically a rebuild axle in high quality cost about $150-200 ea, a new OEM axle cost $350+, and you have to wonder what kind of quality a $60 cheap Cardone rebuild would be.

  • avatar
    davew833

    I bought an ’04 Subaru Legacy AWD wagon about 2 1/2 years ago and it had a torn inner CV boot. The joint was still tight and quiet but I wanted to fix the boot. I got the same range of advice that is being presented here and I never could come to a decision, so I decided to just “let it ride” for a while. I’m still running with a torn inner boot on that side, and it’s still quiet and tight. While I’m sure I will need replace the whole axle (doing it myself) at some point, I think a failed outer boot is a much more urgent repair than an inner one. The inner joint doesn’t have the same extreme range of motion that the outer does, nor is it as close to the ground and wheel where it gets bombarded with crap.

  • avatar
    fiasco

    I’ve had less than wonderful luck with aftermarket axles on my 03 Legacy, both rebuilds and “new”. I’m just ignoring the grinds and pops for now. Doesn’t seem to be a difference in quality between the jobber shop and OtterZone axles, either in my limited experience.

    I tried the boot replacement bit once, but didn’t have the “special service tool” to crimp the boot clamps, so they didn’t last. In a perfect world, I’d buy the tool and repack/reboot some factory axles, but I don’t live in a perfect world, so I’ll live with the aftermarket junk for now.

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    Way back when, I used a plastic split boot held together with super glue on my VW. That one lasted long enough for the front strut towers to rust out. The last time I had to deal with a bad CV, the joint had failed so I got a good used axle, repacked the CV joint and installed a factory one piece boot. I don’t consider split boots the work of the devil but I would be very careful about cleaning and repacking the joint first.

  • avatar
    claytori

    No one had mentioned a “stretch-over” boot to replace the existing one. I have one of those on my car on the right side that has lasted for a long time. This must be done by a mechanic. But for the inner joint they can just pull the shaft out of the tranny after unhooking the ball joint and change the boot without removing the whole axle. I don’t know how well these work with outer joints. I have used the glued split joints long ago, which I installed myself. This was due to a shortage of $. Done in March on my driveway using a hair dryer to keep things warmed up. That one lasted a couple of months. The second one lasted OK, but of course I had some practice and the weather was warmer. You MUST keep the grease away from the glue joint. If you are $ challenged and the car is close to being scrapped by all means give the split boot a try. Most of my FWD cars have survived with no problems to the CV joints or boots to ~200,000 miles and were retired for other reasons.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    Dorman is not a bad alternative,
    I have installed 1 in a merc 300sd, still good when i send her to the crusher, even though the end cap came off, but the grease seems to be still inside and never added more grease in 1 yr.

    The 2nd one was a mid 80s camry, outer cv boot, is ok I guess I should have done it sooner.
    Still has some clunking when may hard turns.

    If u’re handy and able to do it yourself, u do save a bundle.
    To slide out the 1/2 shaft in a merc is no simple task!
    A camry is not all that hard.
    the merc’s was glued on, I glued one side slip her on and then glue the rest and wait for a day to cure.
    The strap do require special pliers, I went for some hose screw on clamps.


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