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Blown out axle...options? Empi?


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26 replies to this topic

#1 hatchsub

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 01:55 PM

Ok coming home from school today i blew out an axle just going over a speed bump nice and easy. Im wondering what my options are. I just called the local napa and they said they cant get the empi axles. They carry AME (i think?) axle that are brand new for 128 bucks a pop. I looked at the other one i have and it also is not looking so hot. Its spewing grease EVERYWHERE. So basically the way i see it i need two new axles and possibly motor and tranny mounts. I was hoping to not have to do this but now my car shakes so bad its not drivable as far as im concerned.

#2 zyewdall

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 02:12 PM

That sucks.

I'd get OEM subaru ones -- all the others seem to have a lousy reputation. I think that 1stsubaru parts has them (and hopefully they don't goof up which ones you need). I get mine from Superrupair here in Boulder.

I had a set of rebuilt ones from Rockauto -- only lasted about 15k miles before they started clicking (boots were still good, but clicking inside). Checker auto has never been able to get me the right axle... (23 spline vs 25 spline stuff...)

#3 grossgary

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 02:23 PM

If you want a good axle that won't have any problems, go with MWE or Subaru only.

Avoid anecdotal "reviews" and take it from people that have installed lots of axles, anything else is a waste of time. If you don't believe me, spend some time searching here and you'll be glad you did.

If you're time isn't valuable and you can't plan ahead (i.e. wait for something in the mail), then I guess it doesn't matter. My time is too valuable to waste replacing boots, clamps, joints blowing apart, shaking, vibrating, and clicking out of the box. I've seen "new" axles last less than 2 days, complete joke. And by "last" i mean - blow apart into tiny balls all underneath the car.

Can you tell I'm still bitter??? :lol::lol::lol::lol:

#4 hatchsub

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 02:35 PM

I remember reading awhile ago that EMPI axles were good. I actually found a dealer in ct for EMPI axles so now im just waiting to hear back to find out how much they will be for the pair. I have GCKs in it now and they are supposed to be good too :lol:. Btw does 23 splines inner and 30 outer sound right? Just making sure before i buy em and then realize they are wrong.

#5 hatchsub

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 04:19 PM

Heard back. I have two options and already chose. New EMPI axles are 128 a piece which isnt too terrible i guess. But he also rebuilds axles with all new parts from EMPI. So....im going to have him rebuild them in house. Hes been doing it for years so i trust that they will be good not to mention cant beat the limited lifetime warranty (aka free rebuilds if the boots are not cracked). Best of all its only 96 bucks a piece. So i save 60 bucks about.

#6 renob123

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 05:05 PM

Heard back. I have two options and already chose. New EMPI axles are 128 a piece which isnt too terrible i guess. But he also rebuilds axles with all new parts from EMPI. So....im going to have him rebuild them in house. Hes been doing it for years so i trust that they will be good not to mention cant beat the limited lifetime warranty (aka free rebuilds if the boots are not cracked). Best of all its only 96 bucks a piece. So i save 60 bucks about.


That sounds like a good deal, but I feel I should warn you. I bought some EMPI axles. The driver's side one rubbed on the steering shaft, and I blew the boot after about 700 miles. They didn't return my calls, and they won't let me return it and get my money back. I guess I'll keep it for a core and go through NAPA, whose axles did not fail after 700 miles.

Jacob

#7 ferox

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 08:35 PM

People have had a range of experiences with aftermarket axles. The Empi's I have used have been flawless. I think when people ask about front axles (as they frequently do) the need for good transmission mounts and engine mounts (but especially trans. mounts) should to be emphasized. If the old axles have worn out and failed that means they probably had a lot of slop and could tolerate/absorb extra motion from the transmission. If you then put new axles on, they will have tight tolerances and will be severely impacted if the powertrain isn't stable, especially if you have a lift. I would not be surprised if much of new axle failure was due to the condition of the vehicle it is being installed on rather than the quality of the part itself.

[Edit] I just got new trans. mounts from Rockauto for $10 each. At that price, I will change them out with every axle replacement.

Edited by ferox, 08 May 2009 - 08:38 PM.


#8 hatchsub

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 12:20 AM

yea im not so sure my engine and tranny mounts are up to par. I might have to go in and check them. Tranny mounts im more worried about than engine mounts.

#9 renob123

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 03:08 AM

People have had a range of experiences with aftermarket axles. The Empi's I have used have been flawless. I think when people ask about front axles (as they frequently do) the need for good transmission mounts and engine mounts (but especially trans. mounts) should to be emphasized. If the old axles have worn out and failed that means they probably had a lot of slop and could tolerate/absorb extra motion from the transmission. If you then put new axles on, they will have tight tolerances and will be severely impacted if the powertrain isn't stable, especially if you have a lift. I would not be surprised if much of new axle failure was due to the condition of the vehicle it is being installed on rather than the quality of the part itself.

[Edit] I just got new trans. mounts from Rockauto for $10 each. At that price, I will change them out with every axle replacement.


I have new engine and transmission mounts. The EMPI DOJ was just too big, no matter what mounts I had. Aside from that, you bring up a good point:)

Jacob

#10 WoodsWagon

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 08:37 AM

My best luck has been with re-booting subaru axles. Find a set of used ones with age-cracked but not torn boots, spend $30 on boot kits, and repack the cv's. I got good at it with how many axles my lifted wagon went through. You drove that car, you know the kind of abuse it took.

Oh, a GLF coupe came in a my local yard. Power steering and cruise. You need anything off it?

#11 hatchsub

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 10:40 AM

My best luck has been with re-booting subaru axles. Find a set of used ones with age-cracked but not torn boots, spend $30 on boot kits, and repack the cv's. I got good at it with how many axles my lifted wagon went through. You drove that car, you know the kind of abuse it took.

Oh, a GLF coupe came in a my local yard. Power steering and cruise. You need anything off it?


I gotta check my motor mounts and get back to you. Im wondering if they are shot and making me go through axles.

#12 backwoodsboy

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 11:03 AM

Steve,

I would be far more suspect of your control arm bushings. Check 'em!

#13 hatchsub

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 02:02 PM

Ok we just got in from checking everything out. Tranny mounts..shot, motor mounts..on their way out or shot. There was a good amount of play side to side if i grabbed onto the alternator and pulled and pushed the motor around. I would say about 1/2" to an 1" of play. No good. So looks like im doing those as well. I already found the tranny mounts on rockauto for 10 bucks a pop. The engine mounts however could be harder to find. Anyone got a place to get them cheap?

Oh and the control arm bushings looked pretty good actually. Remember john...87k lol.

#14 backwoodsboy

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 02:22 PM

Remember john...87k lol.


Heh heh...

how about ZERO K? :lol: When I went to WalMart to pick up oil the other day, I almost grabbed the "high-mileage engine" oil out of habit Then I remembered... this is the FIRST OIL CHANGE! :headbang:

Damn you and your low-mileage CHASSIS though! :grin:

Actually, I HAVE a set of REALLY decent engine mounts if you want em.

Lemme know.

#15 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 10 May 2009 - 03:49 PM

I have had zero issues with the EMPI axles on my hatch. I replaced the engine and trans mounts at the same time. I drive it almost daily to/from work - probably around 5,000 on them now. 240k on the car.

I think a lot of the problems people have with axles is due to replacing just *one* axle. If you address the entire system - engine mounts, trans mounts, both axles, cone washers, wheel balance, engine idle..... etc.... you will have much fewer problems. Vibration can come from either the road or the drivetrain and the less you have the longer your axle joints will last. To date I have never replaced the same axle on the same car more than twice. And since I went to the GCK's, and then the EMPI's when GCK dissapeared.... I have replaced not a single one. Even the GCK's in my 5" lifted wagon are holding strong.

GD

#16 hatchsub

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Posted 10 May 2009 - 08:50 PM

Did i mention that i love these cars. Joe (roommate) and i removed both axles and both strut assemblies in 45 minutes. We pulled the struts because im going to cut the springs a bit to get the car to sit better. It has the same ea81t springs on both sides but for some reason the drivers side sits better than the passenger side and yes both springs are fully seated in the perches. The only thing i can think is that i over compressed the driver spring making them unequal. Off to waterbury tomorrow to get them rebuilt and back in the car. Engine and tranny mounts to follow.

#17 ferox

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Posted 10 May 2009 - 11:03 PM

I have had zero issues with the EMPI axles on my hatch. I replaced the engine and trans mounts at the same time. I drive it almost daily to/from work - probably around 5,000 on them now. 240k on the car.


+1...35,000 on the EMPI's, 265k on the car

#18 hatchsub

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 08:30 PM

Well got the rebuilt axles back. One went into the knuckle like butter but the other one...not so much. We mic'd both axles right where it changes from splines to bearing races (where it keeps getting hung up) and found the one that is giving me trouble to be 1-2 thousands too big. I would not think it would cause that big of a problem but it is. So out comes a file i guess.

#19 baccaruda

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 08:44 PM

I'd wrap some emery cloth around it and chafe it off uniformly instead of using a file.

#20 hEaT

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 09:09 PM

I'd wrap some emery cloth around it and chafe it off uniformly instead of using a file.


Yeah, we were using a file to smooth the transition onto the first race. It measured 1.380 IIRC while the rest of the race is 1.378. The axle that went in no problem measured 1.378 uniformly. We've been filing that burr at the end and then using some abrasive cloth to make sure the rest of the race stays uniform. We're measuring as well to make sure it stays as even as possible.

PITA to make this last one fit, but these axles are NICE compared to the GCK ones that came out.



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#21 The Beast I Drive

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 10:44 PM

Ya'll shouldnt be filing/sanding the races on the axles! they are press-fit and are supposed to be 1-2 thousandths larger diameter than the inside diameter of the bearings. If the axle slid in smoothly it is worn. Still usable, but worn nonetheless.
-Bill

#22 hEaT

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 10:54 PM

Ya'll shouldnt be filing/sanding the races on the axles! they are press-fit and are supposed to be 1-2 thousandths larger diameter than the inside diameter of the bearings. If the axle slid in smoothly it is worn. Still usable, but worn nonetheless.
-Bill


Thanks for the heads up.

Both of these have brand new outer shafts, but only one had a .001-.002 ridge on the front of the race which seemed like a machining mistake more than anything.

Not sure on the exact name of the part, but we're going to take the four bolts off that hold the hub(?) to the spindle and try to use a nut and washer to pull the axle through the bearing before we do any more removal of material.

Edited by hEaT, 11 May 2009 - 10:57 PM.


#23 The Beast I Drive

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 11:19 PM

If you want to get fancy with it, in a couple minutes with scrap and a welder you can rig up a pretty sweet axle installer. Mine took about 10 minutes to make out of whatever I had layin around.
Posted Image
Posted Image

Basically mine is an 8" piece of 1 7/8" exhaust pipe, about 9" of 3/4" threaded rod, and axle nut, some flat washers and a handle. I spin the nut on the axle, then slip the pipe over the rod, and crank on the nut over the washers on the pipe.
-Bill

#24 hatchsub

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 12:06 PM

GOT IT. Pulled the hub off with the four 14 mm nuts and pulled it through with the axle nut. Then we put the hub back on and pulled it through the rest of the way. :)

#25 PoorManzImpreza

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 01:55 PM

If you want to get fancy with it, in a couple minutes with scrap and a welder you can rig up a pretty sweet axle installer. Mine took about 10 minutes to make out of whatever I had layin around.
Posted Image
Posted Image

Basically mine is an 8" piece of 1 7/8" exhaust pipe, about 9" of 3/4" threaded rod, and axle nut, some flat washers and a handle. I spin the nut on the axle, then slip the pipe over the rod, and crank on the nut over the washers on the pipe.
-Bill


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