Universal Joints? - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-15-2010, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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Universal Joints?

I got thinking about this the other night...how often do the universal joints on the driveshaft to the rear differential go bad? Since they're sealed, obviously they have a finite lifespan...and I got 147k on the car now...
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-15-2010, 07:24 PM
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Chances are your bushings that hold the drive shaft in place will fail long before the drive shaft coupling.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-15-2010, 09:18 PM
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I've seen a number of threads here over the past few years related to failed propeller shaft U-joints. It's not a common occurance, and I also don't think it's inevitable, but it does happen. Like a failed center carrier bearing or carrier bearing bushing, a failing U-joint will usually transmit noise into the car under various load conditions, and there could be unusual vibrations under heavy throttle or acceleration.

In one unusual case reported here, the front U-joint had destructed and as the shaft separated it apparently took out some of the shifter mechanism underneath the floor pan.

There's no maintenance other than perhaps inspecting for slack or noise while pushing and pulling on the joints or rotating the shaft. According to Subaru the U-joints are not repairable, and the whole propeller shaft is replaced, but there are some drive shaft shops that will do it. There was a thread here not too long ago that identified a shop in either TX or CA.

Are you having any symptoms that led you to asking?
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-07-2011, 11:49 PM
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Im bringing this thread back to life! Ive been doing a lot os searching, and it appears that my girlfriends Outback is having this exact problem. Her symptoms mimic those of other threads on here to a T, and their problem was the front drive shaft U-joint. Whats the price tag on this, as I understand its not repairable?


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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 08:48 AM
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I'm having a problem like this. when I accelerate uphill i get a vibration that feels like it is somewhere in the lower front of the car. i can feel it through the steering wheel and shifter and in the seat of my pants. if i back off the throttle it stops immediately. the passenger doen't notice it as much as the driver. the problem first popped up when I was towing a (too) heavy trailer across country. I had a CV joint with a torn boot replaced, and that didn't fix it. I had my suspension bushings replaced and my wheels aligned, that helped but didn't fix the problem. I took it to a reputable transmission shop, and they say the clutch and tranny check out fine. I'm taking it in on Monday. How much do you think they will stick me for replacing that whole unit, as it seems you have to do?
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 10:32 AM
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List price from Subaru is $600 + labor. Some driveshaft shops offer rebuilt ones. This is one that a forum member stated his experience Replacement Drive shaft

Here is another one http://www.driveshaftspecialist.com/...FcRM5QodjSGF_g
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 11:53 AM
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first make absolutely sure that's the problem. is this on your 2005 in your sig, that would be annoying?

if the CV was replaced with an aftermarket axle, that could be causing the issue. aftermarket axles are terribly inconsistent.

sometimes you can tell by looking at the joint, but sometimes you have to pull it off to see the problem and they're not noticeable on the car.

they don't fail often enough to warrant Subaru's price tag. since they don't fail often, demand is zero, and they aren't hardly worth anything - so you can pick up a used one for $50. post in the parts wanted forum on some subaru boards, you'll find one, just make sure it's in good shape! it's an easy job, i'd rather buy two for $100 than pay Subaru's insane price tag.

*yours being a 2005 changes things being so new:
post 05/01/2005 manufacture date these guys have one in "A" condition for $65 1-800-468-5612
before that date these guys have one in "A" condition for $75 401-624-6687

rockford sells ujoints that are made to replace the "non-serviceable" staked-in style ujoints in Subaru's. if you're handy with metal you can do it yourself. need to cut and grind and carefully install the new joint properly without damaging the needle bearings. if that's not for you, have a machine shop or driveline shop install it for you. $35 part and an hour labor (or less if they're nice and charge partial hours) puts you at $100 or less to replace one ujoint. they can do all 3 in an hour as well once it's all set up. plus labor to remove/install the shaft....which is really simple to do yourself for the DIY type.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-23-2013, 01:59 PM
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What is DIY type rear propeller shaft? We have a 2006 Outback 3.0 R and wonder if some drive shafts and particular ours are more or less conducive to rebuild?
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-02-2014, 10:35 PM
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In one unusual case reported here, the front U-joint had destructed and as the shaft separated it apparently took out some of the shifter mechanism underneath the floor pan.
Just posting to point out that this just happened to me. 2004 Subaru Outback Wagon, 160k miles. Three days before it went I noticed the transmission was slipping and had scheduled a visit to the mechanic. The U-joint froze, torqued the drive shaft and the transmission until the transmission cracked and the U-joint snapped. The drive shaft caught the shift cable, which caused the shift assembly to explode in a wonderful shower of plastic.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-02-2014, 10:40 PM
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I had to have my prop shaft fixed. My rear U joint failed, could grab the shaft and rotate it axially ~45 degrees. Driveshaft shop chopped off unserviceable rear yoke+joint and replaced with a serviceable yoke+joint. Was around $300 for parts, labour, and balancing.

When the going gets rough, just remember, some people own volkswagens.
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