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.
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)