Common repair, just my experience yesterday.
1999 Forester L 80k miles, right inner driveaxle boot split above catalytic convertor, spun grease onto exhaust, caused oily smell in car, especially at idle after running on highway.
Drive axle readily available at local discount parts. $70+$50 core. Got a $30 ball joint and a $12 driveshaft nut socket while I was at it.
The trick is to have the correct balljoint separator tool, that and a 19mm (3/4") socket, and a 14mm pinch bolt socket. (floor jack, jackstands, wire brushes, sockets, etc.)
Separating the balljoint is the critical procedure in getting this repair done.
Replacing the balljoint is optional, but probably a good idea anyhow.
Securely jack and support the car. Safety absolutely first.
The ball joint separator I used is the lever type, like this: http://www.jcwhitney.com/autoparts/...ZX/appId-480787 The inside of the fork had to be ground away a bit (with angle grinder) to get enough purchase grip on the upper side of the control arm. Loosen the nut, get the separator in place. Since I was going to replace the balljoint I pretty freely hammered it into position. Screw it tight and wait a few minutes; mine popped off pretty quickly. (I hate pickle forks)
This allows you to pull out the lower end of the strut assembly and lets you grab the axle and pull it out. Check that the circlip came out with the axle. A 2.5 foot rebar fits perfectly over the control arm, into a hole above the control arm pivot, lets you step on the bar and pull the strut free of the lower arm.
The order of operations is not critical. I was able to remove the drive axle nut after I separated the balljoint.
Replacing the ball joint was a little more involved for me. Rust had built up a little and the pinch bolt was very tight. I was worried about breaking the bolt. Liberal use of PBlaster and patience. I cleaned and marked the opposite end of the bolt (paint markers are great) so I could see if it was twisting. Bolt out, tapped a scredriver into the slot to spread it a little. There enough rim on the cup to grab with a visegrip and twist, rock, loosen. It took some minutes to get the cup out of the insert, tappin on the vise grip with a hammer, alternately twisting and spraying with lube to to wash the interfering rust out. Cleaned the cup with wire rotary brush, ground a slot in the old pinchbolt and chased the thread backwards.
Reassembly reverse of opposite, as the manuals are wont to say. The stub axle on the removed driveaxle must be moved to the new driveaxle. There is a 5 mm pin the must be punched through to remove the stub. New pin comes with replacement. Stub hole lines up with axle hole only at one position, not at 180 degrees.
Locktite on pinch bolt, liberal grease on splines, torque pinch bolt and ball joint nut 40 lbs. each, driveaxle nut 140 lbs.
Oil smell gone, also a slight judder at 45 no-downshift acceleration gone. Think I did okay on this one. Total cost just over $100. Ready to do the others as required.
MPergiel Elmhurst, IL
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Guest Message by DevFuse
Standard Axle-balljoint replacement procedure.
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