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Left turns=clicking noise. drive axle boot questions

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Hello subarusers.

 

I was in a an accident back in march. Got hit on the right steering tower and found out there was a lot of work that needed to be done to the front end.  ball joints, left brake calipers and things like that.  I took it back to the body shop where the guy (dave) was able to also help me with the front end under neath stuf too. Anyway I have been hearing a clicking noise when I make left turns.  I took it back to Dave who wanted to make sure things were safe and sound.  he referred me to a friend of his (Donny) who told me all boots under the car were good and that i needed a swing kit.  He replaced the swing kit (~$100) and told me it needed to be done but i would likely still here the clicking and he needed an open ticket it to dig further and he would be charging $94 dollars an hour labor (seems high to me).

 

So I get home and just want to look and crawl under the car.  What I think is the drive axle boot is totally torn open, enopugh that I can stick my fingers up insde there.  The clicking suond continues.  So i take it back to Donny ask about the torn boot.  He is a royal rump roast and shoes me away like a fly and says maybe I need to go to a smarter mechanic.  I am not really sure what i did pay for and not to keen to go back to the guy just to get some understanding.

 

Questions now:  There must be CV boots and drive axle boots?  Is this so?  How much of a concern is a torn drive axle boot?  How long can I let it go and put up with the clicking noise?  Does anyone here have a rough idea of what replacing one of those would run?  If I let it go am I risking further irreversible damage?

 

Lastly:  any suggestions for good subaru repair shops (non-dealer) in the twin cities area?  

 

Sorry for the long story but the guy, Donny, it probably the worst car repair experience I have had.  thanks for thoughts...

 

Craig

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The clicking is a bad CV joint. The torn boot most likely allowed the grease within to sling out. Without the proper lubrication, the joint more or less destroys itself. Sounds like you need a new CV joint/axle.

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The CV boot, which is right up against the the wheel (?) looks  intact.  Is there a difference between cv boot and drive axle boot?  I count at least four rubber boots under the front end of the car.  Is there a difference between axle and drive axle.

 

Also does anyone know anything about a swing kit?  Did I get taken is it worth going back to this guy and making a stink.  ( Yelp has lots of good reivess for the fellow, saying he does wotk enough to make the car safe but not going to upcharge unnecessary things)

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there is no difference between "cv boot and drive axle boot" - for all intents and purposes they are one and the same. Subaru axles have 2 joints and thusly 2 boots - one by the wheel and one by the tranny.

 

You need a new axle if the boot is torn and it is clicking when turning - torn boots will allow the grease that lubricates the joints (essential) to escape - usually slinging it all over the undercarriage of the car as the axle rotates....


Sometimes they can go for a long time, sometimes not - kind of a crap shoot on how long it will last.

 

You dont mention year/model of Subaru, so pricing on a decent axle assembly is just a guess - but should run somewhere around $75, give or take. That is just for the axle, no labor.

 

Sorry I can not help you with a "good" mechanic up there in the cities, but I will agree with you that $94 an hour labor does seem a tad high - $55-65 would be more within reason.

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you can drive it a loooong time while clicking if you stay out of sand and other abrasive nastiness. depending what they put on the roads in the winter too - in MD they just use gobs of salt and it doesn't matter.  in WV they use rock/coal dust of some sort that will eat them quickly.  i've put 50,000 miles on fronts and 100,000 miles on rears (i never bother replacing the rears, there's no point as they never fail) with broken boots/clicking outer joints. i learned all this in college when i couldn't afford to replace something if i didn't have to.  if you stuff the joint full  of grease by hand the clicking may even subside and if you kept stuffing grease up there it would likely last the life of the vehicle.  but the front joints throw it everywhere so this is impractical.

 

*** DO NOT replace the axle with an aftermarket axle of ANY kind.  if you don't believe me then simply search any subaru forum to convince yourself, the aftermarket axle supply is rife with issues.  anyone that says something else hasn't done dozens of axle jobs and seen how common the failures are.

 

The best solution is to buy a used Subaru OEM axle (they're $25 - $33 each, i buy them all the time) and replace the boots with new Subaru OEM boots. 

Aftermarket boots are fine but don't last nearly as long, i've seen them break in 2 years. 

 

If you reboot axles as soon as the boots break, the axles easily last way past 200,000 miles.

 

Find your axle here, www.car-parts.com.  i've bought gobs of axles off of their and reboot them

 

Total cost will depend on mechanic and your area, etc, but generally $150 - $225 per axle.
$25 axle

$30 for boots

$100 for install/supplies/shop

 

Once the wheel is off it requires removing one nut, one bolt, and knocking  pin out to replace the axle - it's not hard for a shop to do at all.  Should only be an hour labor.

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milesfox is a member here who i think has done work for people before up in that general area...i forget where he lives exactly though.

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Thanks Heartless and gross gary.  This is the kind of informastion i have been looking for.  The car is a 2005 outback 2.5  I have about 134,000 miles on it.  I would like to try to regrease and reboot if I can.  I know a shop that might be able to help with that direction and i guess I could buy the part myself and take it to them I am pretty sure they install 'your own parts'

 

Also thanks on the labor thing.  Unfotuately I think i he put $94 on as a labor estiamate to keep me from cominug back.  Well as soon as he told me to buzz off and that maybe i needed a smarter mechainc I realized I don't need to talk to him again.  I hope the swing kit/box (?) was necessary.  The car does seem to drive well.

 

I appreciate your response.  Thanks again.

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be unfortunate to dump the money/effort into rebooting it if it still clicks after the job....although it'll still last to 200,000 miles rebooted if you can tolerate the clicking.

 

to test it you could try stuffing grease all up in the joint by hand and drive it.  if the clicking diminishes then that's a good sign.  if there's no change then it'll likely click when booted.  maybe it won't be as loud if it's completely covered with a good boot though.  LOL   i've had the inner joints, twice, that were making noise, be perfectly smooth and noise-free after a reboot.  2 for 2 so far. haven't tried that on an outer boot yet though, i replace far fewer of those.

 

if you tell a mechanic you talked to some experienced subaru folks who said the subaru boots last longer, they'll generally gladly install it - they get a better end product since you've done the research.  if you're trying to save a nickle then they get annoyed.

 

online subaru parts are 20% cheaper than locally...but then you got shipping so probably a wash. 

 

you'll need both boots as the inner has to come off to replace the outer. 

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Miles lives in the Milwaukee area - I would be closer to gritle than he is. :) only about 3 hours versus 5.

 

Do a little shopping around on the phone - smaller, independant shops - see if you can get somebody to give you a ballpark estimate for the job (or at least an hourly labor rate)

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