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Clicking Axle: Worry Or Not?

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I was reading the Divorced Transfer case thread, where some folks from here took their modified Soobs up to Rubicon for some hard-core rock climing. A sub-thread came up about new vs reman axles, and I think it was ZAPAR who suggested starting a new thread about it. So I am.

 

A couple of years ago I slid off wet pavement and kissed the curb with the right front wheel of my 88 wagon. This caused a rather spontaneous rearrangement of the front end drivetrain - scrap one wheel and tire, strut, lower control arm, and axle shaft. My dear State Farm insurance wanted to total the car for this, saying it would cost $2200 to fix (with all new parts of course). I talked them into letting me have the car fixed at my local favorite Subaru junkyard (Jim Reed Motors in Austin, you may have seen this place referenced in another post from me).

 

Anyway, they did a great job on the rebuild. It aligned just fine, and drives just like new. They put in used parts which were in good condition, but now I'm starting to get some axle clicking from the right front when making sharp turns under power. It's becoming apparent the axle shaft they put in must have had quite a few more miles on it than the original.

 

My question: What if any is the risk of just continuing to drive with this axle? I don't do a lot of off-roading, maybe the occasional beach trip. Most of my driving is highway and commuting to work. The clicking shows up only under the sharpest part of a turn, and goes away as I straighten out. Should I go ahead and shotgun this axle, or is it safe to just live with it?

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They will click for a long time before they break.

New is better than the average reman.. However I have heard very good things about www.cvaxles.com

 

You got a couple of years out of a used axle.. thats not bad.. I got 8 months out of a nice fresh reman I just had to replace.

Next time they offer to toal your car like that, let them.. then take the cash and buy it back for $25 bucks and fix it.. you will still have cash in your pocket :)

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Mine clicked for nearly 10,000 miles before they broke in my wagon. I just put one's in from www.cvaxles.com and I would highly recommend them. They are very easy to work with on the core charge and very good prices.

 

Joe

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drive it until it breaks, stop when it violently shakes the car

if you continue, you risk breaking brake line, and other parts in its path of destruction

 

rebuilt with new stub and neoprene boots :banana:

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Man, it is just an axle. Go to Autozone and fork over $80 and get a new one. End of drama, end of problem. If you need to wait till the end of the month, do so without any real worry that the clicking one will fail in that time. Best yet, replace it yourself, it is easy.

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Another vote for www.cvaxles.com. However, they click for a long time. Check the rubber boot it's probably torn; if not, it'll last quite a long time. When my son's roommate lost a front axle, he called and I went out with an old coat hanger and tucked the axle out of the way, put the car in 4WD and drove it home. Fixed it with another junkyard axle.

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Bragging time....

 

Today I replaced the pass side axle on a 95 FWD Auto Legacy in 28 min and the drivers in 21.

 

Yesterday I did the pass side one on the Brat in 31 min.

 

Clicked when turning hard left was left axle today.

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Oh me too (CVAXLES), custom ones for me too. RX (turbo spline) inner with Ea81 outer. great boots!

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Hey ShawnW,

 

Great advice you and everyone have given here! It's ok to brag. Brag with some more details, if you would... what sequence of steps to replace the axle, since it can be done by the home mechanic?

 

James

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I wouldnt worry too much about the noise, in my 79 brat the two fronts shake the car violently every time i let the clutch out and the two rear ones have been clicking and banging around. the car still drives just fine other than that, and i have been putting 3000 miles per month for about 7 months.

 

side note: all 8 boots are missing. too lazy to put my new axles in.

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Jack the car up, chock tires.

 

Remove wheel, remove axle nut.

 

Remove 14MM ball joint bolt.

 

I use a gorilla bar (long pry bar) and pop the knuckle off the balljoint just below the 14MM ball joint to knuckle bolt.

 

Then I approach the axle pin. I take a 10MM deep metric impact socket, stick the punch into that (fits perfect) and then stick an appropriate amt of extentions onto it so I can hammer on the "extended" punch easier.

 

Then you can slide the axle off the inner stub. Then you persuade the axle out of the bearings (alot easier on a Legacy) by tapping the end of the axle with a hammer (protect threads with woodblock or use a plastic deadblow hammer).

 

Once the axle is out its a reverse of the removal.

Applying a little wheel bearing grease to the axle end makes the slide in easier.

The control arm can be popped back into the knuckle pretty easy by either tapping again with the deadblow hammer or by using a floor jack gently. I find the 2nd method to be a little dangerous but it works well. (courtesy of MilesFox on that tip).

 

I use Air tools for the axle nut and 14MM ball joint bolt. Lots faster.

 

HAND torque lug nuts especially on legacy models as this will screw up your brake rotors. It will warp them rather quickly.

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I use a 2 foot long piece of 5x5inch wood that I keep just for pounding out axles. It really is just as easy as Shawn says. You can also do it without removing the ball joint but it is easier to get the shaft off at the tranny.

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I had my front left axle blow out on me when I was getting off the freeway. It had been clicking big time for a few weeks, and then the rain came... Luckily, it still held the shaft into the cup, so when I drove, the shaft did'nt fly around clipping brake lines and etc.. I put it into four wheel drive, and drove it to work, where I drove the axel pin out and remnoved the axel in three minutes since i didnt have to loosen any suspension components. I have been driving a rerar-wheel drive wagon since (man are donuts fun!)

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