Last post on Dec 03, 2010 at 10:44 AM
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Subaru Forester, Auto Repair
#1 of 3 New Drive Axles?
Dec 03, 2010 (9:21 am)
I have a 2001 Forester with 181,000kms on it (112k miles). It's started making a sound when I make right turns. The dealer says I need new left and right drive axles. Here's my questions:
1) Is this a common repair?
2) Would I be better off just living with the sound for a year or so, or is this the kind of thing that can land me at the side of the highway very soon?
Thanks in advance for insights.
#2 of 3 Re: New Drive Axles? [thommango]
Dec 03, 2010 (10:38 am)
In my experience, when you have a CV joint go bad (which is your problem right now), it starts slowly and becomes worse over time. Yes, it could break at some point when it gets bad enough, but you would have ample warning before that day.
When my cv joints went bad, it started with noise while turning in the direction of the axle that was bad. So, if it made a sound while turning right (sort of a crunch/grind noise), it was the right axle, and if turning left, it was the left axle. My first axle, the left, I had it repaired by a shop shortly after the noise started. For the right, I knew what the sound was, verified that the boot was torn, and left it for a few months because I was planning some more major work on the engine and thought I would do them both at the same time. Because I put another 8-10,000 miles on the car in that time, the axle eventually started making noise all the time (regardless of direction turned or no turning at all!), but it still held together and propelled the car. While I had the engine out, I replaced the axle (myself), which made the work much easier since I could do it from above rather than underneath the car.
My axles went out at about 120,000 and 140,000 (miles) respectively, so given the age of your car, I would say that's about right. I had my car to 220,000 miles and did not have any further problems with either front axle or the rear axles (which were still original).
So, to answer your question, whether you are "better off" living with the noise for a year or so depends on how many miles you drive and how tolerant you are of said noise! If it gets to the point where it is grinding all the time (as I mentioned above), I would not put it off any longer. If that joint breaks, the best that will happen is that you will lose all power to the front wheels - at worst, you will bend/break all sorts of stuff that is within "thwapping" distance of the severed limb.
#3 of 3 Re: New Drive Axles? [thommango]
Dec 03, 2010 (10:44 am)
You may want to consider a 2nd opinion as well. If you had not told me the diagnosis, I would have guess it was a wheel bearing.