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Aftermarket Front Axles for 2006 Subaru Outback

Hi folks. I need to replace both front axles on my 2006 Subaru Outback Wagon. My auto repair shop says that they cannot get anything but OEM axles at $360/each, so I’m looking at about a $900 job. I really can’t do this right now. It APPEARS that I can get axles for between $60 and $110 from sites like partsgeeks.com. My mechanic says he’ll be happy to install the parts if I can get them cheaper. Has anyone had any experiences with websites like this? Any recommendations?

What lead to replacing both front axles?

I had a boot leaking on mine but they (Subaru versed techs) were able to replace a single boot and joint for around $200. My single boot was leaking due to a typical failure in WRX as the boot is very close to the downpipe exhaust from turbo.

For the past two weeks, I have noticed a funny smell from the front end when I come to a halt after driving awhile. Last week, I noticed that grease was leaking from the right CV boot onto the exhaust system, which was burning oil and making the smell. The left CV boot was leaking as well. My neighborhood general-purpose repair place was prepared to replaced just the boots, but when they got into it, they said the axles needed to be replaced. I’m not a car expert (if they were made of wood, I’d be a genius), so I don’t know why the axles went out, but I guess I drove too long with bad CV boots.

I can’t believe your local aftermarket auto supply stores like Autozone, Checker, OReilly, Pep Boys doesn’t stock the half shafts or cannot get them from their warehouse in a few days. Just so you know, the boot itself is around 20-25 bucks. If you drove around for a while and dirt and sand got into the CV joints, then maybe they are ruined. You should find a parking lot, turn sharp in one direction, and back up in a circle. Then turn the other way. If you don’t hear any noice or feel any clunking or ratcheting, the joints might not be bad. If your car is disassembled at the shop, then you might not be able to check it out and have to take the word of the mechanic.

Like benny, I have difficulty understanding why you can’t go to a local parts store to get the parts you want. For example, O’Reilly’s sell them for $73 each with lifetime parts warranty. I suspect other parts store prices are on a par with this. In these cases, I prefer to deal with a local auto parts store rather than order from the internet in case the part isn’t right.

Thanks guys…I do get groaning and clicking when I make turns, so I buy that they might need to be replaced. I went to Autozone today and the don’t sell the axle for the '06 Outback. Now that you mentioned O’Reilly’s, I just realized that one has just opened in a town about 20 miles from me, and I’ll happen to be there tomorrow, so I’ll check it out. Thanks guys!

A look at the O’Reilly site shows they have a listing for reman axles with a notation to call the store first. This can sometimes mean they’re not available.

A word about reman axles. I’ve installed a bunch of them with no problems but over the past few years I’ve gotten a number that were no good from the get-go. Apparently the “reman” part of these axles consisted of nothing more than cleaning them, installing new boots/grease, and calling it good.

In one case a couple of years ago I got repeated axle failures (twice in several months) and after that I took to removing the axles from their packages and checking them on the counter. In this instance it took 3 re-orders before I got one good axle. The first 2 re-orders led to bad halfshafts right out of the box.

If you want to verify the reman shafts are good (or verify as best as possible) you should inspect for any looseness in the joints when they’re moved. There should be none.
When rocking the joint in all directions the movement should be firm but smooth. There should be no hitches in the movement or loose spots.
In the case I mentioned above that was O’Reillys. I still use them all of the time but the part comes out of the box before I leave the store.

ok’s advice is very good - don’t trust the remans! I have had nothing but trouble with them and would give something like a 50/50 shot that they are bad out of the box or soon after. So I would avoid the internet order and find them at the kinds of places mentioned. That way you can inspect them at the counter - or at least have a lot less hassle if your shop inspects them and finds them wanting.

Call ahead and make sure they have the part. They can order from a warehouse if they don’t have it, and it generally arrives within 24 hrs. Generally no deposit is required on the less expensive items to special order.

About 10 years ago I bought a reman axle from NAPA for a Dodge Caravan. I began the road test after completing the install. As soon as I turned the steering wheel , the outer CV joint came apart and grease splattered everywhere.

I returned it to the NAPA store, where the two guys behind the counter shrugged their shoulders, looked at me and said “we’ve been having a bit of trouble with axles from that supplier”.

I wish they told me that before I bought the axle.

That’s almost the same thing the counter guy at O’Reillys told me. My feeling is that these parts houses also likely use the same supplier; just with different boxes.