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Can I drive with a torn axle shaft boot?

1997Legacy outback

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22 replies to this topic

#1 pginter96

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 06:30 PM

While underneath my car trying to find and patch the exhaust leak for the umpteen-thousandth time, just by chance I looked up at the right time and I noticed my right front axle shaft boot was torn completely. There was a small amount of grease splattered around, but nothing major enough to have noticed from that. I have no idea how long it has been like this. How much of a possibility of damage is there if I kept driving? I have two jobs to go two, one 20 minutes away and one 30 minutes away (luckily one of them is right next to a Subaru dealership, I work in the shop at a Dodge dealer.) I can borrow my parents car for now but I'm wondering if it'll cause damage if I drive anywhere with it. Thanks guys

#2 Rooster2

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 06:42 PM

You can drive for a long time with a blown out half shaft boot. Sure, the torn boot will throw out the grease, and allow dirt and road salt to enter the axle joint. You can buy replacement half shaft grease, which I have done, and jam as much grease back into the joint. A good temp fix is to then wrap the torn boot repeatedly with a lot of saran wrap. yea, it is a red neck fix, but it does work for a while. If your half shaft is not making clicking sounds when rounding a corner, then your half shaft joint is going to last a good while longer.

 

Only true fix is to swap in a new or rebuilt half shaft, as their is no easy way to replace a torn rubber boot.



#3 pginter96

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 06:49 PM

Believe me, I have nothing against redneck fixes...
Good to know. Thanks for the info. No clicking noises yet.

*EDIT*
Now that I think about it, that's probably what that noise is. It's been there for months though

Edited by pginter96, 11 August 2014 - 06:54 PM.


#4 Rooster2

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 09:05 PM

Believe me, I have nothing against redneck fixes...
Good to know. Thanks for the info. No clicking noises yet.

*EDIT*
Now that I think about it, that's probably what that noise is. It's been there for months though

Not experienced the clicking noise from a bad CV joint, but have read on this forum of others, who have had bad CV joints that clicked, and drove on for many miles.

 

If you do a search for "half shafts," or CV joints, you can read a lot of what others have experienced. Installing a rebuilt half shaft is a relative cheap fix. Lots of car parts store sell them. The  problem is buying one that will last a while. Too many rebuilders, simply install a new rubber boot on a worn out joint, without adding any new parts, and sell it. Even if the parts store honors their guarantee with a new rebuilt, you can still get a bad one, plus you are out the time to swap out old for new, and also cost of a front end alignment.

 

There are quality rebuilders out in the marketplace,  Others should be able to name who they are.



#5 thornleyjacob

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 09:42 PM

I have about 100,000 miles on torn axle boots on my 00' OBS - PS Side one is just now presenting with noises and they will be replaces soon.



#6 Ibreakstuff

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 02:04 AM

Can you, yes. Do you really want to, no. If it clicks really loud when making a u-turn expect the CV to blown up soon.

A proactive boot replacement will save you cash.



#7 upnorthguy

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 06:38 AM

Boots are cheap.  I picked up some Beck Arnley boots from Rock Auto for about $7 each (they come with a packet of grease for each boot).

Lots of discussion about problems with non-OEM axles...better to reuse yours (assuming they are Subaru-look for the green paint on the cup that is on the transmission side) or buy rebuilt OEM or a decent used OEM axle from a salvage yard.

 

Excellent write up with pictures about boot replacement:

http://www.ultimates...ld/#entry811297

 

Good youtube vid:



#8 Rooster2

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 07:32 AM

Boot replacement is good and cheap if you are good at half shaft removal / replacement, and the bearings are not already clicking. The clicking is a sign that there is bearing wear, and I don't think fresh grease and a new boot is going to give new life to that damaged CV joint bearing. .



#9 grossgary

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 09:03 AM

Can you, yes. Do you really want to, no. If it clicks really loud when making a u-turn expect the CV to blown up soon..

untrue. 

 

 

Original Subaru axles routinely go 50,000 miles for fronts and 100,000+ miles for rear axles with broken boots.  Almost zero risk if it's a Subaru axle (inner green cup)

I've done it countless times over the decades.

If it's an aftermarket axle it had just as much chance of having issues without a broken boot, so who cares. LOL!!!!!

 

***  keep it out of the dirt, offroad, gravel, and particular sand.  It'll go from noise-less to noisey very quickly in sand for obvious reasons.  take that precaution and you can drive it for years as-is. 

 

If you're going to replace the axle - you've got years before it would break (if you follow the note above).

 

If you want to reuse the axle - replace it sooner rather than later.

if you want to drive a few miles, stuff grease up in there by hand and wrap it in saran wrap.

 

You got options and have no reason for concern about driving it.

 

Aftermarket boots don't last as long as Subarus, i'm having them break in as little as two years.  I'm using Subaru on my own vehicles from here on out.



#10 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 09:19 AM

my experience is mostly with Honda axles.

 

If they click only when turning, keep driving.

 

when they START clicking going straight - save up for the axle and change it.

 

You can drive for MONTHS on clicking axles. No one can say precisely when one will break.


Edited by 1 Lucky Texan, 12 August 2014 - 09:19 AM.


#11 Ibreakstuff

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 12:30 PM

You can drive for months on a clicking axle that is booted/greased properly, but a clicking axle with no boot is a ticking timebomb... What type of sterile environment are you getting 100k from an axle with no boot and no grease?
 



#12 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 12:45 PM

there are factors that will alter different folks experience of course. Just saying that clicking when turning is not an indicator of immediate failure.

 

Outer joint with split boot off road is gonna have a much lower lifespan than a highway cruiser with a split inner boot.

 

I have know one person that broke a half-axle. It was a Honda (FWD) and he was trying to leave from a stop light, the axle broke, and his car just sat there making some odd noises. Our cars should still move at least. Zero failures is the goal, but as failures go, even a broken axle may not be all that bad. I'd rather have happen on my 03 H6 than the fuel pump cap/o-ring failure for example.

 

just save your money and get it fixed. maybe before Thanksgiving OK? No need to park the car and get a second job to pay off an emergency loan if you hear some clicking today.



#13 pginter96

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 08:34 PM

Well I already have two jobs (one of which is right next to a Subaru dealer) and have saved up a little. Ill probably have it replaced within a couple weeks (maybe have them find my exhaust leak too!). Im staying off the dirt roads for now. Its an inner boot thats torn, and I baby my car so Im not too worried. I do hate driving knowing somethings wrong so Ill have it done but for now Ill do the saran wrap redneck repair to keep dirt and stuff out of there. It is clicking on corners, but its been doing that since I bought the car last Nobember... Hmm...

#14 Ibreakstuff

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 09:08 PM

Saran wrap/duct tape and a handful of grease is an approved rally service fix, well if its a short service..



#15 MilesFox

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 10:48 AM

you can pack grease in it by hand to get by until you can repair it properly. It only fails after the grease gets out or water or sand gets in. pack some grease in it once a week and you will be fine. You might get some on the cats which will burn and stink. use a sheet metal screw and a piece of aluminum to fab a heat shield. The boots fail prematurely from heat of the cat.

 

And the left and right axles are the same part



#16 pginter96

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 11:19 PM

Well I have an appointment at the Subaru dealership (I work next to it and have employee pricing). Im just having them put on a new boot and pack it with grease. A new genuine axle shaft costs $360-something employee pricing not including labor. A boot is $10. They cant use napa or other generic parts because theyve have a lot of fitment issues with them. Shafts too short, etc. They cant do remans for this year because its so old. So Ill have a new boot put on. Im not getting enough noise to concern me so Im not worried about an axle shaft breaking. This car (at the very least, it pains me to say because I love it more than life itself) just has to get me through the next 2 years of college.

Edited by pginter96, 14 August 2014 - 11:22 PM.


#17 grossgary

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 05:31 AM

Pginter96 - you can also buy an axle from www.car-part.com for $25 - $33.  It'll come with a good boot already on it....though it'll obviously be aged and prone to failure at some point down the road.

 

But you can search for 2001 legacy/outback axles and use those - knock the outer tone ring off (just tap it off with a hammer, takes 20 seconds) and presto - it'll fit your 1996.

They have a better outer boot with more convolutions that lasts longer than the older axle boots.

 

I've had inner joints vibrate terribly when they run out of grease.  cleaning/repacking them cured all the issues - i just drove a set to the office this morning like that.  vibrated probably the worst i've ever seen from the inner joints.  they've been fine for years now.

 

Outer joints will click for a looooooong time with broken boots going around turns. Clicking is not an imminent sign for Subaru axles.

Seeing an aftermarket axle is an imminent sign, so i'm not talking about those - they suck, i've had them fail right out of the box.

Offroad, sand, and states where any kind of rock/gravel debris is used in the winter will make joints fail very quickly.  If your area is full of those conditions it'll differ.

In the northeast where it's largely chemicals and not particulate matter it's no big deal but does vary by locale. Either way it's not winter in NY yet so he's got lots of time.

Eventually as LT said they'll start clicking while driving straight.  And that's my general indicator, but they can still go a long time after that.



#18 hogweed

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Posted 03 November 2014 - 10:49 AM

hello,

are the axles the same from an auto trans and manual trans? i'm working on a 1998 legacy wagon (5 speed) that needs an inner boot. i have access to a 1999 legacy sedan that was an auto trans. can i just swap in the axle from the 99?

 

thanks

g



#19 PA Grown

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Posted 04 November 2014 - 09:54 AM

Yah hogweed I'm pretty sure that's the same model series. I'm definitely about to put seran rap on my axle. I live out in the boonies and don't have access to a damn thing. Oh and I live on a farm so my torn open boot sees a lot of dirt roads and watery mud. Started clicking 3 weeks ago and threw in wheel bearing grease and it quited right up. Seran rap and duct tape is definitely gonna be my new boot.

#20 PA Grown

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Posted 04 November 2014 - 10:00 AM

Oh and don't be scared to do the job hogweed work comes to worse you have to say codswallop it doesn't fit and put your old axle back on and get better at replacing axles. I got really good at doing subaru Gl axles. I went to Napa for my first axle replacement on my old Gl and they gave me 4 WRONG axles in a row... It just got me really good at replacing axles. And it's not gonna happen to you because yes it'll fit your car.

#21 hogweed

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Posted 04 November 2014 - 10:01 AM

Yah hogweed I'm pretty sure that's the same model series. I'm definitely about to put seran rap on my axle. I live out in the boonies and don't have access to a damn thing. Oh and I live on a farm so my torn open boot sees a lot of dirt roads and watery mud. Started clicking 3 weeks ago and threw in wheel bearing grease and it quited right up. Seran rap and duct tape is definitely gonna be my new boot.

my car failed the Pa. enhanced insp due to torn rt inner boot (among other things) so i'll be swapping in a good complete axle from a parts car



#22 PA Grown

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Posted 04 November 2014 - 11:28 AM

Cool deal man. Ive never lived where they had inspections thank god. Good luck, don't let the man get chu down.

#23 hogweed

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Posted 04 November 2014 - 02:16 PM

Cool deal man. Ive never lived where they had inspections thank god. Good luck, don't let the man get chu down.

this inspection is for cars that have been totaled and have salvage certificates. once it goes thru insp you get a rebuilt title. they also perform a state insp at the same time and most of the time it is that small stuff that needs to be fixed and not the repair from the collision damage







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