Axle assembly replacement debacle (?)
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This is a discussion on Axle assembly replacement debacle (?) within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Kinda long post...Cliff-notes = axle seized into wheel hub causing repair complications...please see questions below. 2004 WRX wagon, 58,000miles A ...

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    ODJ
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    Axle assembly replacement debacle (?)

    Kinda long post...Cliff-notes = axle seized into wheel hub causing repair complications...please see questions below.

    2004 WRX wagon, 58,000miles

    A few months ago my front-passenger CV boot split open. Since I lack the time to swap in a new axle myself, I took the car to a trusted garage for the repair. I've used this garage for a few tire installations/alignments and I found them to be an honest and well-run business, but they don't have much experience with Subarus.

    I used this garage anyway since I didn't think a Subaru axle replacement would be different than any other. I did some searching on ClubWRX to find a few threads where people were attempting their own axle replacements and the responses led me to believe the job wasn't overly complicated. I was quoted $160 including parts and labor (most other mechanics in the area charge the same thing).

    The first snag was the garage could not find a Subaru-OEM re-manufactured axle for less than $300. Ok, maybe I should have sourced my own parts, but they already had the car so I told them to use the NAPA part.

    I get a call later saying they can't get the axle out of the wheel hub, and will I pay another 1/2hr of labor to remove the hub so they can press out the axle. I tell them no problem, just get the job done.

    Another call lets me know they've been unable to press out the axle, it's seized in the hub, and I'll now be needing a new hub since mine has been deformed by the press. I stop by the garage to see for myself. Indeed, axle/hub are out of the car, I can see some rust where the axle joins the hub, and the hub has some bent bolt holes. ASFAICT, they are being truthful so I tell them to order a new wheel hub.

    The only replacement hub they can find in the area also has the axle seized into it...a different hub was apparently ordered from South Carolina. That hub arrived with a bad bearing (probably from the removal a seized axle). So, my 3hr/$160 repair turned into a week without my car and a $450 repair bill. They didn't charge me any extra labor, but it was another $200 for the new hub and bearing.

    QUESTIONS:
    Is it common for Subaru axles to seize into wheel hubs? Will I be eventually dealing with this on all 4 corners of the car?
    Did I get fleeced by the mechanic somehow? (I really don't think they would have bothered removing the hub if the axle wasn't really seized)
    Do I just need to find a mechanic with more Subaru experience?
    Am I an idiot for not tracking down the parts myself? (again, I don't really have the time, which is why I'm paying someone else to do the work)
    Last edited by ODJ; 09-21-2010 at 06:41 PM.
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    ODJ
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    Nobody?

    No one's heard of or experienced Subaru axles seizing into wheel hubs?
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    Seized Subaru WRX axle

    Quote Originally Posted by ODJ View Post
    Nobody?

    No one's heard of or experienced Subaru axles seizing into wheel hubs?
    Funny that I came across this today.... I am mid 2003 WRX front axle change and and my passenger side axle seems to be completely seized in my hub.... definitely not a happy camper.... the driver side one came out using a front wheel drive hub puller, but the passenger side one stripped/bent 2 pullers and has withstood countless onslaughts from a 6pd sledge.... I'm completely at my wits end....

    I hit it with a unrelenting attack of penetrating oil and will try again tomorrow, but am not too optimistic. If it doesn't work I plan on removing the hub from the vehicle and taking it to a shop to press it out.... fingers crossed it doesn't come to that, and if it does it doesn't result in a deformed hub.... super unhappy right now....

    I was going 2 pay subby Carlsbad to do it, but they quoted me $1,300 for parts and labor to do both... I found new after market shafts/CV joints for $130 (for both) and decided a weekend would be worth $1,170 of my time.... did I mention I'm not happy?

    So to answer your question ODJ, Yes I've encountered a seized WRX axle/hub assembly... funny thing is that I have not found any other threads regarding this issue.

    Please let me know if you find anything to shed light on this problem....


    Thanks, and Stay Awesome!

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    This happens regularly on almost any front wheel drive setup, and some independent RWD setups. Sometimes they just won't let go. I've had hubs heated cherry red with a torch and a 20 ton press on the axle and they still woudn't let go.

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    Thanks

    10-4 Trainfriendly -

    If she won't let go in the AM I'll order a replacement hub assembly.... the torch/press combo is a good idea though, I dig the DIY the most!

    Thanks for the quick response.

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    ODJ
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    Snowmadic, I'm sorry to hear about your own experience (although it's nice to know I'm not alone in this). I hope you got everything squared away.


    I'm not sure what the chances of this happening to me again might be, but I think I'll begin a CV boot restoration campaign on my car:

    1. reinforce all metal boot clamps with zip ties (this may sound silly, but I've had good luck with this...the boot that split had been held on with zip ties for over 4yrs).
    2. regularly clean and condition all boots with some sort of silicon-rubber treatment (maybe Black Magic)

    Has paranoia set in, or might this actually help me avoid future headaches due to split CV boots?
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