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Old 07-30-2009, 06:59 PM   #1
gathermewool
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Default 97 LGT CV boots abye bye

Changed the oil today and noticed some grease on the cat, passenger-side control arm and pretty much every where circumferential outward from the passenger-side inner CV boot. Couldn't see the tear, but I guess that doesn't matter. The outer boot sheared all the way around with grease flung about as well. The driver-side front has a few cracks. Replace, too?

I've got another car I can drive, so the Leggy will be sitting until I figure out what to do. I called the local dealer who said at least $200 to replace the boots. He asked if I heard a rapid ticking when I take sharp corners. I relied that I hear a click or two, but no rapid clicking. I don't really drive the leggy hard so that doesn't mean much, maybe. He said I might as well add $75 to replace some thigamajigger just to be safe.

I think I have a pretty good relationship with the service guy, and the price seems to be reasonable for the pain in the ass I think it might be. Any input would be great. I know prices will vary from place to place, but comments specific to how easy this is would be appreciated.

I've replaced all four struts, do brakes myself and simple things like this. My level of skill is competent, not-so-experienced newb
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Old 07-30-2009, 07:44 PM   #2
silver2004impreza
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It's a lot less labor intensive to replace the entire axle assembly rather than just changing the boots. You can get reman axles for I'm guessing less than $100, which will have new boots, as well as fresh CV joints and grease.

I've had customers demand that I only replace the boots rather than the entire axle assembly, and I know that I replaced the boots properly, as well as packing everything properly with grease after a thorough cleaning, only to have the joint fail two weeks later, which caused them to have to buy a fresh axle anyway.

IMHO, save yourself the hassle and replace the whole axle rather than the boots. It's easier, even if it is a little more costly. But you have to ask yourself, how much is my time worth? It'll take you probably better than 2 hours to change both boots, especially if you've never done it before, whereas you can most likely replace the axle in less than an hour. YMMV
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:35 PM   #3
Charlie-III
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silver2004impreza View Post
IMHO, save yourself the hassle and replace the whole axle rather than the boots. It's easier, even if it is a little more costly. But you have to ask yourself, how much is my time worth? It'll take you probably better than 2 hours to change both boots, especially if you've never done it before, whereas you can most likely replace the axle in less than an hour. YMMV

+1. With a 12 year old car with likely well over 100K miles (mine is a 98 with ~150K miles) it is time to replace both front half shafts.
It's not too hard (after getting the wheel nut broken free) and you get all new/refurbed parts.
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:39 PM   #4
gathermewool
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I've always compared shop costs to pay-myself costs, but when it comes to cars I'm still learning so it's more fun than a pain in the ass (even if I am cursing/yelling at things along the way )

I think some one recommended something similar before. I'm glad you reminded me. I guess I should just hold off on the driver-side axle until the boot tears, too, right?

I forgot to mention in the OP that the ball joint boots on both sides are also loose at the bottom. I can see a bit of dark grease when I give'er a good poking, if you catch my meaning (sorry, bad joke ) I think the same person who gave me advice on the axles also told me it would be easier to replace the entire arm instead of just the ball joints on some cars, but that he wasn't familiar with Subies.

Where's a good place for a good refurb'd part? I was just going to check subarugenuineparts.com and sites like that to see what they had.

Thanks again for all of the help, guys. I can't say enough how great this site is.
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Old 07-31-2009, 03:26 AM   #5
avk
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You don't need to take the axle out of the wheel hub to change the inner boot. It used to be a factory procedure, before they started replacing complete axles.
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Old 08-27-2009, 07:21 PM   #6
gathermewool
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I went to the shop today with axle and ball joints at the ready. Unfortunately, during the pre-job inspection I noticed a small, pinhead-sized hole in the front cat right at the O2 bung weld. Sure enough, she leaked nice and good when I started the car. It seems like the leak is directed more forward than toward the inner CV shaft boot, but it may have accelerated the failure. Either way, I need to figure out a few things before I continue.

The cat-back is only a couple of years old, but I have no idea how old the cats are. Some of the welds in the catted section look pretty crappy - the cats may not be original. Also, the flanges all look pretty rusted, but the bolts between the headers and catted section as well as the from the catted section to the mid-pipe aren't corroded or rusted at all. I still have the raw fuel smell at cold start up, especially when cold, and the car seems to run noticeably better when at temp than cold. I've also got the mysterious P0400 (EGR malfunction) code.

Options:

1. Replace both cats with two aftermarket OEM-equivalent replacements.

2. Replace both cats with one high-flow cat.

3. JB Weld the bung hole (no pun intended )

4. Say to hell with it and sell it to my kid brother for $500, including the shaft and ball joints.

I've searched around online for cats, but I can't tell a good brand from a bad one; something that will last me 20k mi. vs something that will far outlive the car. I've got near 200k mi. now, but I'm hoping for at least another 40k. Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated.
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:09 PM   #7
yarrgh
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you can try getting one at an exhaust shop. Try asking around in the for sale threads and see if anyone has a stock cat section.
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Old 08-28-2009, 10:35 PM   #8
gathermewool
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Thanks for the advice. I'm going to have a local shop I trust weld a bead over the hole for $35 first. I'm just worried the cats are starting to deteriorate. I've got it in my head that the infamous P0400 (EGR Malfunction) code may have something to do with poor cat performance. No cat inefficiency code, but no way to determine their health besides that that I'm aware of. I'd rather not spend the money unless I have to.
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