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Discussion Starter #1
I did much work on my wife's Subaru over a month ago. The car was on four jack stands for one month. I could not begin to pay someone to do this as well as purchase the parts all at retail. I have a local wholesale account which made the total bill come in at about one-third or less than if I had a garage do the work! At that cost, we might as well have sold the car and purchased a new one, as it was I had over $2,000 into wholesale parts that I needed!

I am out of work now, so it makes sense for me to do anything around here instead of hiring it out, as I am capable of doing just about anything (except sewing or quilting).

I purchased a new torque wrench to torque everything to spec. I used white touch-up paint to put a dab of white paint onto every torqued nut and bolt head, and where they connect and on adjoining threads so I knew - with a quick peek - what was actually finished and what needed finishing!

With some tools, and time on their hands, anyone with any mechanical aptitude can do a lot of different work on their Subaru, instead of having to pay for someone else to do the work at times only when the car breaks down and stops working! At the price for my mechanic doing the work, I would have to have him only fix what is broken, no room for preventive-maintenance! I did have to purchase a floor jack, four three-ton jack stands, a torque wrench, an impact wrench and air ratchet to go with a compressor I already have from doing carpentry work. So, I paid about $400 to $500 in order to get these tools to make the job go easier. Even with buying the additional tools, I still came out well-ahead than if I had my mechanic do all the work!

I removed the original link to my FaceBook page, in case anyone is wondering where the pictures went.
 

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I can't see the facebook photos. Any chance of posting on this site directly?

edit. I see them fine now on another computer. Great work.

All that rust reminds me of the undersides of my subarus.
 

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Link seems to be working here.

Good photos and explanations. Well done.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all!

First of all, I would not have even thought of tackling this job without some sort of shop manual to go by. I have found that the shop manual for a yearly-fee of about $29 at http://www.alldatadiy.com was well worth every penny, even if I don't use the manual for the other eleven months left on the subscription!

For a little while there, with the major rust of the lower-right wheel knuckle ball joint locking-bolt, when I had to spend three days going through nearly a full can of PB Blaster, broke three "easy-outs," used a torch for some concentrated-heat -- then finally buying some left-hand drill bits and drilling out the bolt from small bit to larger bit -- I was wondering if I would have to start buying even more items than I thought I needed and also wondered if the car would ever get back on the road again! As I found online, apparently this particular bolt causes the same issue for other mechanics, even in places where the cars aren't as rusted! The apparent fix is to just drill the whole thing out larger and thread the larger hole and/or install a nut on the side of the knuckle having threads. Another thing they do is remove the entire knuckle and take it to a machine shop.

The drilling of that bolt was going so hard that I had a large steel bar against the back of the drill, my wife pressing on the end and the bar acting like a 4' lever against the back of the drill, the lower-end of the bar against the base of the right-front jack stand. With all that pressure against the drill and with some new left-handed drill bits, it finally drilled through! Suddenly, there was a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel!

I just happened to have the exact tap I needed for the new bolt that goes through the knuckle! Slowly tapping away, being careful not to break the tap in the hole, I finally got it all the way through the rear half of the split knuckle bottom!

That was finally a good feeling of SUCCESS!~

A combination of certain size washers and 1" nuts, and the new impact wrench, I was able to put the castle nut back on and draw the entire ball joint out with one fast 'BRRIP' of the impact wrench! The tapping took a bit of a while, however I did manage to install the new ball joint and torque it to specs with no problems. I did use red loctite on the bolt just to be sure it was not going anywhere!

In the future, I would just drill out larger and put a bolt with nut on the other side instead of trying to save the original steering knuckle lower threads.

That was really the WORST part of the whole job, after that, everything else went considerably-smoother (with much prayer, may I add)!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
USA Remanufactured Axle Only Lasted 6 Months.....

:mad:
Well, the price on the axle was right at $65. however, the only problem is the outer CV joint broke last week after making noises for about two weeks. Having to do this all over again made me wish I would have just put in a Factory OEM Subaru Axle last August, even though the price is about $400 with tax.

I will never purchase a rebuilt axle again. I've read that the OEM Subaru Axles are indestructible, and when they do need rebuilding, you can clean all the dirt, old grease, etc. out and do a rebuild and the thing will last longer than aftermarket.

The Subaru Parts Manager told me "we've had a LOT of problems with the 2005 Outback Remanufactured Axles."

Had I known what I know today I would have spent the $400 last August and not thought a thing about it! We're just fortunate we weren't on some long trip somewhere! We're talking about a car that gets no abuse, only my wife and I drive it. For the axle to make noises for a week or so then completely break in two is unbelievable to me.
 

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Word is that you should use an Autozone axle if you go aftermarket. Posted over on legacygt.com by a well-respected shop owner:
"7336 - Autozone. Installed so many I cant count. "
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the advice!

I am now in the process of pulling the left-front axle as the inner boot went. This morning I took a can of Gunk Original Engine Cleaner and went to the high-pressure car wash and sprayed the entire can on the hot grease (hot engine, hot day out) where it had been flinging onto the catalytic converter and onto some frame members and power steering components, shaft and hose connections. When I sprayed the water, the pressure was so extreme I nearly lost grip of the nozzle, then I concentrated the spray all down in there from between any components, hoses, wire harnesses, etc. that I could to try to get to every angle on the rinsing-off of the Gunk and grease.

I took the car slowly home and it sat in the sun for several hours, drying. I now have it in the garage, wheel off, jacked about 15" off the floor, main axle nut removed, two strut bolts removed, the anti-sway bar link removed and only had to clean off two tiny blobs of grease around the split boot about the size of a quarter. My body is telling me to stop for the day, considering I put about three to four hours into it (including Gunking of the grease and organizing the garage to make room to bring the car in at a perfect angle so I have the clearest-space around me as possible in our 1.5 bay garage -- half of which has storage stuff in it).

I must say, I am happy with how much I got accomplished without even pushing it! At this rate, the car should be back together tomorrow or the next day. My body pain tells me how much I can and cannot do.

I did notice the outer boot on the axle I'm dismantling seems kind of like hard plastic instead of rubber. Do these boots get hard in time or is that the way they come from the factory? Is there any kind of protectant I can spray on all the boots (all eight)?

Attached are various pictures of the original axle replacement in August, September, 2012.
 

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The outer boot is made from Hytrel, a thermoplastic material (something US nameplates had for decades). It is not reproduced in the aftermarket. I don't know why the factory inner boot is still rubber. I would suggest rebooting the original axle, just the inner joint.
 

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by the way if you want to post pics hit the post reply button, instead of using quick reply the add pics is under additional options (kinda hidden) then click manage attachments and choose the pic and upload. just in case you didn't know
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you.....

OK, THANKS!
I wasn't aware of that feature!

by the way if you want to post pics hit the post reply button, instead of using quick reply the add pics is under additional options (kinda hidden) then click manage attachments and choose the pic and upload. just in case you didn't know
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It's amazing how many people have told me to get rid of my OEM and just put in a $65 aftermarket axle in place of the original with the torn boot! I have to explain how the OEM, New Subaru axles are indestructible compared to the junk they use to assemble many aftermarket axles.

I try to explain that, going through all the motions to do the work required to pull the axle then reinstall it, I might as well be using one that will last hundreds of thousands of miles as opposed to just thousands or even tens of thousands of miles.

The "factory-rebuilt" one I purchased wholesale and installed last August lasted about 9,000 miles (only six months) and broke into TWO-PIECES at the outer CV joint! The only people who drive this are my wife and I, so, the operation of the car is ordinary driving on mostly smooth, paved roads.

I can only imagine the hassle we would have had had we been on some long trip, like, say, to Alaska, California or anywhere else for that matter. Even a couple-day trip to nearby states over a holiday weekend and/or during late-night hours and, having the axle break as it did, would be a fiasco I can't even imagine having to go through!

Thank you for suggesting uploading pictures right to this site -- attached are three pictures, one with everything moved aside, only the lower ball joint still connected, axle removed, the second picture is the axle after installing new boot and repainting green end cup as the paint was coming off near the end of the cup, I happened to have the bright green paint so just used that. Third picture is another shot of the cup-end of the axle after painting the cup and the new Subaru Boot Kit completely installed.

You can see on the opposite end (the outer CV joint that is closest to the wheel) had major rust of the rounded end. I carefully ran it around my bench grinder wire-brush wheel to remove all scaling rust then used Rustoleum Clear Paint that I happened to have, you can see the shine of the cleaned-up rusted metal from the Clear Paint.

Click on the picture to open, then click on the opened-picture for a huge picture - THEN, click a third time for a humongous picture!
 

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