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'06 Legacy Outback Wagon 2.5 94k miles
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Discussion Starter #1
*Disclaimer: my car knowledge is severely limited*

Brought my Outback to the local dealer for an oil change. They found a few problems and provided me with the following estimate:

Right front axle boot cracked, throwing grease: $525
Front brake pads down to 2 and 3 mm, rotors rusted (replace both): $505
Cracked drive belts (replace): $105
Terminal corrosion (not sure): $45

I'm not sure if the estimate for the axle boot involves replacing the axle or just re-booting it. I'm interested in getting opinions from smart people on the following:

1) Does this sound like a reasonable estimate?
2) Is getting a second estimate from an independent shop advised, or is this the kind of stuff that should be done at the dealer?
3) Is it possible to avoid replacing the rusted rotors by turning them, or are they shot because they are rusted?
4) I've seen some DIY guides on replacing the brakes and belts and I'd be willing to try my hand at this, though I have never worked on a car before and I'm a little apprehensive about screwing stuff up. In your opinion, can these tasks be done by a novice?

Thanks y'all. I've been poking around these forums for the past few hours and feel like I've learned a bit (but also somewhat discouraged about all of the knowledge I lack!)
 

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With the number of how-to guides posted for brakes, I feel like that is a job you could tackle yourself. It would probably be about $220-230 in new Subaru (OE) parts. Less if you go with Napa, etc.

Terminal corrosion; I would guess that they will pull the cables off the battery, wire brush them, and spray them with some CRC battery terminal protector (couple bucks at napa).

Drive belts are pretty simple to do as well. Probably $40 in parts.

Do you know how long the boot has been torn? I would only reboot it if its only been ripped a short while.. Subaru Reman axles run about 175, give or take...

If you don't mind me asking, what indepedent shop did you stop by? There is a place in Broadway (near Asbury) called Broadway Automotive, they specialize in Subaru's. A friend goes there and has been very happy with their work.
 

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2003 LL Bean Outback H6 and 2019 Outback Base
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I would have Subaru do all but the battery terminal. If you have a friend ,who has worked on cars, I would have him/her do the brakes and belts. They are pretty basic jobs, BUT..if you have never worked on a car, why risk it. Brakes stop you from collision with an object..not something to do as a " first timer"
Subaru dealer is expensive.................but its done right....and with a warranty.
I have a friend who is a master technician and he has a lift at his house. I have seen just about everything done. Some jobs are a real pain, and require special tools.
I would suggest starting with the basics. Oil and filter change. Air filter change. battery cleaning, changing wipers. change spark plugs, lightbulb replacement, A/C tune up.
Hope this helps !!
 

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'06 Legacy Outback Wagon 2.5 94k miles
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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you both for the advice. Nick, I have not taken it to an independent yet but I was considering Camp's in Hackettstown because some people at work have had good experiences with them. That's good to know about Broadway, I'll check it out!
 

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2011 SSM Outback 2.5i Premium
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Does the brake disc have to come off for axle removal? If so, see if they'll comp some labor if you have both jobs done. Why pay for part removal and reinstall twice?
 

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right axle is about $100 for a nice rebuilt. about 2-3 hours labor for a novice, less than an hour for experienced.

you can get a set of brakes and rotor off or ebay for less than $100 brand new. less than 2 hours labor

terminal corrosion? $ baking soda and a wire brush. 1/2 hour labor

DIY and learn and save. Don't be bent over by the man
drive belts? 20-30 in parts and less than an hour in labor
 

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1. Do NOT replace the axle. I can't stress how true this is without writing a book which I don't 'have time for, I'm speaking from decades of Subaru specific experience, not opinions or my preferences - reboot the axle no matter what the mechanics say. The original Subaru axles are robust and last the life of the vehicle if rebooted. Replacing with subpar aftermarket axles is a very bad idea - you can easily search the internet and find the wealth of issues with aftermarket axles...and there's no need..your current axle is fine - just reboot it. That's like replacing the engine because your timing belt is old....silly.

rebooting is far cheaper too. usually $150 - $250 per axle. cheaper and the only benefit to new axles is the mechanic can do it quicker and make the same loot.

2. Do not replace the rotors unless you have vibrations/pulsing when braking (that you think is the rotors and not wheels/tires). ALL rotors rust, brand new rotors are solid steel and rust by the end of the day quite literally when it rains. The surface rust is quickly removed by the pads and anything that isn't is on an unused surface of the rotor. Completely pointless to replace the rotors if you have no issues/symptoms. Rotors generally last through quite a few brake pad changes just fine.

If your rotors are bad - you can have them turned for $15 each. They are designed to be turned multiple times before replacement. And you definitely don't want cheap chinese recycled washing machines for rotor material - keep your high quality Subaru rotors. But that is annoying taking them somewhere and down time.

*** If you have your rotors replaced - keep your old ones, I'll buy them from you and have them turned, place right across from my office does it so it's convenient.

Those pads will be a cake to do. I'm doing my Father in Laws 2009 Friday I could take pictures. Once the wheel is removed it requires removing one (or two in come cases) bolts to replace the brake pads. There's some key things to know and do - you have to push the piston back in with a c-clamp, which is easy - but nonetheless - TWO bolts at max to replace brake pads. really tough work. LOL

The shop quoted him $500 for new brake pads and rotors - i bought pads for $23 and will be done in 30 minutes or less. Cracksmokers.

The battery terminal if it's corroded should just need cleaning, they typically last far longer than the age/mileage you have. But replacing isn't a bad idea if you have to.

You can definitely do the drive belts yourself, those are a cake walk on your car, I could do it with my eyes closed in a couple minutes, no tight spaces or anything, very easy.

RockAuto Parts Catalog for your belts and other parts if you want them.

if you shop locally you can get advanced auto parts discounts online almost anyday - %10....usually %20 off, buy online, pick up in the store or have it mailed.
 

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Does the brake disc have to come off for axle removal? If so, see if they'll comp some labor if you have both jobs done. Why pay for part removal and reinstall twice?
Take the axle nut off. either remove the ball joint nut or remove the pinch bolt and separate them. move knuckle out of the way while pushing the shaft end out. knock out roll pin on the inboard joint. Take out shaft.

the variable is if you want to reboot or replace the shaft with a different one.

i did the last one, a remove and replace in 45 mins.
 

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I would only reboot it if its only been ripped a short while
no symptoms = reboot. Seems as if you haven't done significant numbers of Subaru axle reboots yourself, or if you have, share how many failed, rebooted Subaru OEM axles you've seen since it's basically unheard of. They can even sometimes be rebooted after having symptoms depending on the cause, the symptom, and more information like that but no need to expound on all those contingencies here.

*Disclaimer: my car knowledge is severely limited*
Boards like this are great, they have more combined experience than the dealer mechanics. But they're also full of anecdotes and comments not very well versed in Subaru specific information. You'll see contradictory suggestions, sometimes it's simple miscommunication, not being able to see, touch the vehicle, but also you'll be best served leaning towards decades of Subaru specific experience over those that haven't done much, if any, of the work themselves before.
 

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'06 Legacy Outback Wagon 2.5 94k miles
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Discussion Starter #11
Boards like this are great, they have more combined experience than the dealer mechanics. But they're also full of anecdotes and comments not very well versed in Subaru specific information. You'll see contradictory suggestions, sometimes it's simple miscommunication, not being able to see, touch the vehicle, but also you'll be best served leaning towards decades of Subaru specific experience over those that haven't done much, if any, of the work themselves before.
Agreed. Reading the boards, and this thread in general, has armed me with information that I can take to the mechanic, so instead of just agreeing to have this work done I can ask questions such as "can you just reboot the axle instead of replacing it" or "can you just turn the rotors instead of replacing them?" If they give me a good answer I'll have it done, if not, I'll assume that they are wanting to do unecessary work to make extra $$ and I'll get a second opinion. So thanks again.

I'm curious why willis says to only reboot if it's been torn for a short time? Grossgary disagrees and backed his disagreement up with reasoning. What is willis' reason for his opinion?
 

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If they give me a good answer I'll have it done, if not, I'll assume that they are wanting to do unecessary work to make extra $$ and I'll get a second opinion.
I generally have a distrust for mechanics since it's a hard business and there's plenty to distrust...that being said, there are a lot of good reasons for them to quote the way they did without any alarm.

for rotors it's simpler to replace. they probably "make" more on turning, than profit in the rotors. but the opportunity costs are high - turning takes time, have to leave your car on the rack longer, taking up space, they make more money "per job" than per hour so they're best to keep things moving. many places don't even turn any more so they'd have to sub-contract that out to a machine shop making it lots of down time for a car that can no longer move without wheels. for some vehicles it very well may be better to replace rotors...the mechanic doesn't want return complaints/issues because of some cheap ford focus crap stock rotor (I'm making that up as an example). They would rather loose a few customers to higher job quotes/costs than do things more inexpensively and deal with complaints/come backs. This gives them a simple one-size-fits-all approach to reach the needs of various customer vehicles. But for Subaru's that's not the case - if your rotors are not currently vibrating - replacing...even turning...are not the best long term value. Turning makes them thinner and probably more prone to vibrations...and replacement in the future. The stock rotors are excellent and should be retained until they are actually vibrating or below spec's for thickness (that will take awhile). It's quite simple, you have no issues, why replace? "rust" is almost comical for all the reasons i outlined in an earlier reply.

same with an axle - they can swap an axle much quicker than reboot one. remove, reinstall. no disassembly or assembly involved so less down time. again - per job verses per hour. quantity, speeds things up, and there's value in that for the mechanic and customer. *but* when it comes to axles, there's a significant aftermarket axle supply issue so it's best to avoid it. that might be more so with Subaru's i don't know since I jokingly say i know everything about Subaru's and nothing about anything else...but sometimes there are general rules that are good for other vehicles but maybe not the best option for Subaru's (and the other way around too).

so they're not always doing something wrong, sometimes they just don't know or there's a lot more at stake for them and the customer.

I'm curious why willis says to only reboot if it's been torn for a short time? Grossgary disagrees and backed his disagreement up with reasoning. What is willis' reason for his opinion?
Actually I think I agree with his statement in a sense. Subaru axles are extremely robust and easily last 200,000 miles. This may not be the case for other manufacturers. I jokingly say that i know everything about Subaru's and nothing about anything else so I avoid commenting on other manufacturers. But I do know that often times approaches for one aren't good approaches for another - so often times a lot of comments made on the internet are borrowed from other manufacturers or decent "one-size-fits-all" approaches, like his suggestion probably is - it would be far better to head HIS advice for "all situations", but maybe not this one. My suggestion speaks directly to your vehicle, but that's it. You wouldn't want to borrow my suggestion as a rule across many years, makes, manufacturers, etc.

but given Subaru's robust OEM axles and the age mileage of your car, i can guarantee with 100% confidence your axle will last 200,000 miles if you reboot it and it doesn't have a manufacturers defect (which any axle could have but is highly unlikely), and you haven't hidden the condition/history of the vehicle (it was flooded, wrecked, offroaded...)

Clear as mud?:29:
 

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Wiliis' reasoning is that if the boots have born torn for a while

1) Most of the grease will have escaped. Less grease means more heat. More heat means much faster bearing wear.

2) Dirt enters the system. Dirt rapidly destroy bearing races.

With those two factors, your axles may only have a few thousand miles on them after the have been cleaned, greased, and rebooted even if they aren't showing any symptoms of a failed joint presently. (Vibration under load, vibration when turning a certain direction, clicking in sharp turns).

The only thing that sucks about having to pay for parts and labor is to have to pay for parts and labor twice.

Gary says that in his experience the bearings do not wear substantially if they are low on grease.

Here are my experiences:
1) A used rebooted Subaru axle from the junkyard is a much better option than a new or rebuilt junk axle if your axle is indeed dead.

2) Dirt/mud will absolutely kill your bearings in the joint.


Edit: Looks like me and gary replied at the same time. Let's see if agrees with what I think he meant:D
 

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Offer - I'll buy your used rotors and axles if you replace them. Axles sometimes have associated core charges, which I'd cover if you were local!

Gary says that in his experience the bearings do not wear substantially if they are low on grease.
I would never say that, indeed I never even used the words "bearing" or "wear". but what you suggested is the case - over time the joints loose grease and expand due to heat. debris contamination is possible but not that present in real world situations unless you're driving a lot of off road or a lot of dirt/sand/gravel roads. grease is lost and heat is generated and the metal expands. even that is not catastrophic failure...more on that later...

(Vibration under load, vibration when turning a certain direction, clicking in sharp turns).
there are remedies for these issues too. I've done it multiple times - so far with 100% success rate. For instance, here is an excellent read on how to reuse a clicking axle:
SubaruXT.com • View topic - Cheap Simple Fix for Ailing CV joints

I am not suggesting these and they need to be properly approached on an individual basis and the beauty of forums is that you can do that. There are more similar approaches as well to failing axles if one were to try (even one for the vibrating DOJs) for those that want to experiment, and learn by experience. My point isn't about these things though - my point is how little experience folks speak from on the internet. They're using broad sweeping generalities and anecdotes that confuse more than help. If the guy wanted basic, one size fits all anecdotes he could just listen to his mechanic.

But this guy simply needs to reboot his axle, that's the bottom line, none of that pertains to him, he has no symptoms.
 

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Rebooting is usually fine, unless the axle is actually making noise. If you are doing it yourself, just reboot and MAYBE you'll hear some noise some day that says you need a new axle, but it's unlikely.
 

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Let us know which direction you end up going. One thing I will add: stock up on pb-blaster/liquid wrench, and anti-sieze. Part of the fun living in this salty disaster of a state will be the rusted and frozen fasteners. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Well I took a quick look under the car and didn't see any tears in the axle boots, but I did see some stains from grease. After getting quotes over the phone from Broadway Automotive (thanks for the tip, nickb!) which were much cheaper, I brought it in today. Turns out there was no tear in the axle boot, but grease was leaking through a faulty clamp. They replaced the clamp for $22 (this in comparison to the $550 I was quoted for an axle replacement at the dealer)! In addition, new pads and rotors cost $279 (incl. labor), vs. the $500 I was quoted at the dealer. All in all, very pleased with the service and savings from the mechanic and the helpful suggestions on this board!
 

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Well I took a quick look under the car and didn't see any tears in the axle boots, but I did see some stains from grease. After getting quotes over the phone from Broadway Automotive (thanks for the tip, nickb!) which were much cheaper, I brought it in today. Turns out there was no tear in the axle boot, but grease was leaking through a faulty clamp. They replaced the clamp for $22 (this in comparison to the $550 I was quoted for an axle replacement at the dealer)! In addition, new pads and rotors cost $279 (incl. labor), vs. the $500 I was quoted at the dealer. All in all, very pleased with the service and savings from the mechanic and the helpful suggestions on this board!
like i tell my kids, knowledge is power. In the past, before the internet, many people were at the mercy of dealer or the local guru to fix ones car. thing have changed
 
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