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'03 L L Bean - LOVE IT!!
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110 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Well, it looks like the front axles need to be replaced....and it doesn't look like too bad a job....the hubby says he can do it.

Now, the big question. What do you guys recommend to use? Is there a certain brand or do you stick with soobie parts? Brand new ones are almost $600 :eek: and remanufactured ones are $350 for the pair.

We've been looking and prices run EVERYWHERE. What do you guys use/recommend?

Thank you so much--and I did so some research here looking for this answer, but couldn't find it!!!

Elle

Oh--this is an '03 LL Bean....in case that makes a difference.....
 

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I bought remanned axles from O'Reilly's Auto Parts for about $50 each. Been 2 years, so far so good.

Took about an hour per side to change out, not too hard to do.
 

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Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
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Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
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Let's try this again

Doh! (Homer Simpson style) :rolleyes: I just noticed I sent you to a link showing you how to replace the axles on an H6 and your LL Bean is more likely an H4. You can Google the directions for your actual car or have a gander at the attached PDF.
View attachment Axle-Service_Manual.pdf
 

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Meh.
I has wagons.
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12,323 Posts
My thoughts:

Reboot the existing axles if they are split but not damaged.

MWE are solid Subaru re-manufactured axles. (Have one in Kaylee right now.)

EMPI have a mostly positive reputation, but I have no personal experience with them.

Aftermarket is hit or miss. Miss equals either an annoying vibration, or frequent replacement. (Replaced a Cardone axle after 10k due to vibration that made car miserable to drive.)
 

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02 OBW
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131 Posts
What are the symptoms that the axles (both?) need to be replaced? I think it is more common that the passenger side inside boot tears, not actual CV failure.

Rebooting seems to be a great option if it's just a boot rip that was discovered recently.

My $.02:

The DIY DavidP linked to should be pretty accurate (H4 vs H6), only difference might be some of the torque values?

If going the rebuilt axle route; MWE has very high reliability, you may also check at the dealer for their pricing - mine was very competitive.

Check the seals on the transmission for leaks, if it's not leaking, don't replace them. I personally wouldn't replace the seal on the hub either, it's a pain to clean any loose rust and then be super careful you don't contaminate the bearing installing the new seal.

And my last cent (hmm, i think i'm up to more than 2). If there is a good amount of rust on the hub, don't even bother with the ball joint pinch bolt unless you have a used hub standing by.
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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H4/H6 axles replacement goes the same, not sure of the ****** has a higher axle nut spec though.

I strongly suggest leaving the pinch-bolt the heck alone and popping the ball-joint stud out of the lower control arm with one of these:

 

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'03 L L Bean - LOVE IT!!
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110 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
First, we do have the H6 and not the H4........and LOTS of info here!!

THANK YOU!! When we get home in a couple hours, we'll go thru it all...we're thinking remanufactures too, I just wanted to know what you guys recommend...........

He's pretty sure he can do it, and they tell us BOTH CV boots are leaking. I guess we'll do those first..........sigh
 

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'03 L L Bean - LOVE IT!!
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Discussion Starter #9
Doh! (Homer Simpson style) :rolleyes: I just noticed I sent you to a link showing you how to replace the axles on an H6 and your LL Bean is more likely an H4. You can Google the directions for your actual car or have a gander at the attached PDF.
View attachment 27722

OH WE ARE SO PRINTING THIS OUT!! That manual is AWESOME!

We were thinking of buying the Chilton's or Haynes....is it worth it?

Thank you!!!
 

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2003 LL Bean Outback H6 and 2019 Outback Base
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514 Posts
YES !!! I have the Haynes book...invaluable..............best $ 30.00 you will spend....like stated above.just take your time...do not rush or have some place to go......I have seen this and it usually results in error and aggravation plus...good luck...keep me posted......................
 

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'03 L L Bean - LOVE IT!!
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Discussion Starter #11
YES !!! I have the Haynes book...invaluable..............best $ 30.00 you will spend....like stated above.just take your time...do not rush or have some place to go......I have seen this and it usually results in error and aggravation plus...good luck...keep me posted......................
I definitely will!!! And I'll look up the Haynes NOW.

Oh--I have an update for you...check your email later!;)
 

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DIY-Turbo 2.2l OBS 12.89s 1/4mile @ 106.17MPH
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H4/H6 axles replacement goes the same, not sure of the ****** has a higher axle nut spec though.

I strongly suggest leaving the pinch-bolt the heck alone and popping the ball-joint stud out of the lower control arm with one of these:

I just mark & remove the upper strut to spindle cam bolt & loosen the lower strut to spindle bolt to get the axle out, get the 32mm axle bolt off first - super easy.

NOTE to DIY'er:
1. Do not remove the transmission stub axle to remove the axle.

2. Transmission stub has a Locking end & "open" end DO NOT force the axle locking pin through the small end of the stub (small end should be visible to you / big end will allow the pin slide out of the stub)
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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I just mark & remove the upper strut to spindle cam bolt & loosen the lower strut to spindle bolt to get the axle out, get the 32mm axle bolt off first - super easy.

NOTE to DIY'er:
1. Do not remove the transmission stub axle to remove the axle.

2. Transmission stub has a Locking end & "open" end DO NOT force the axle locking pin through the small end of the stub (small end should be visible to you / big end will allow the pin slide out of the stub)
Do you need to remove the brakes to get those strut bolts out?

Side note, I had a rebuilt axle where the roll pin wouldn't fit with the inner slid on either way, it was off by just enough either way. Had to return it and get another.
Never heard of that before, but the 'ain't never heard of that before' is my stock-in-trade.
 

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'03 L L Bean - LOVE IT!!
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Discussion Starter #15
We found a thread about this in the Suspension section--DUH!!

It seems the NAPA axles are ok...we were first looking at the Duralasts at Autozone, but after reading what cardoc said about Autozone, we're a little hesitant.

NAPA has the remanned ones for $62....I think that's the route we're going to go..hope it goes well!!!
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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I have one NAPA, one EMPI, both seem fine.
It was a NAPA I had to try twice.

I would take the axle out in the store and make sure both joints feel OK.
The outer might be a little stiff, or easy to move.
 

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'03 L L Bean - LOVE IT!!
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Discussion Starter #17
I have one NAPA, one EMPI, both seem fine.
It was a NAPA I had to try twice.

I would take the axle out in the store and make sure both joints feel OK.
The outer might be a little stiff, or easy to move.
Gotcha. We'll take them out in the store. Thanks, Dave!!!
 

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02 OBW
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Depending on your timing, etc. maybe it would be worth finding/pulling 2 axles off a car that's being parted out and reboot/re-grease the joints? Then you get a good OE quality axle with new boots!
 

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2005 xt limited gone but not forgotten
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First, we do have the H6 and not the H4........and LOTS of info here!!

THANK YOU!! When we get home in a couple hours, we'll go thru it all...we're thinking remanufactures too, I just wanted to know what you guys recommend...........

He's pretty sure he can do it, and they tell us BOTH CV boots are leaking. I guess we'll do those first..........sigh
Foldsct,

You say both the boots are leaking. That's a far cry from replacing both axles. If it's only the boots that are leaking, replace the boots only, much less expensive than replacing both axles. Check and see if the joints are dry. If they aren't making noise, they are probably fine for rebooting.

After all the war stories about reman. axles, I'd rather keep my originals if they are still good.
 

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2005 Legacy 2.5i Wagon 4EAT; 2005 Forester XS 4EAT
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Doh! (Homer Simpson style) :rolleyes: I just noticed I sent you to a link showing you how to replace the axles on an H6 and your LL Bean is more likely an H4. You can Google the directions for your actual car or have a gander at the attached PDF.
View attachment 27722
ALL LL Beans (Outbacks) are H6s. Same for US VDC models.
 
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