Problems with my 1997 Subaru Legacy Outback

It’s a 1997 Subaru Legacy Outback with about 229,000 miles. I’m trying to sell it, but it’s got an issue that I need to fix before I can I think.

When I turn the steering wheel to the left, there is a cranking sound coming from directly in front of me. Also, when I break, I can hear a “whomp whomp whomp” from in front of me that varies in frequency with my speed. The issues started after I drove the car on the beach. From a similar issue last year, I’m thinking I’ve got a cracked left front axle, but honestly don’t know for sure. Is this a reasonable guess? I’m curious at how much I need to shell out to get this fixed so I can try to sell it, or just sell it for scrap at this point. A

Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

Offhand, it does sound like an axle problem and are you saying that the right side was replaced for the same reason?

The price will vary a lot based on the shop, locale, parts source, etc. but it should not be obscene in price.

Yes, last year I replaced the front right axle. From what I remember it cost about $270 plus labor. That price range I can handle, but if it sounds like a lot more money, not sure the fix is worth it. KBB says it’s worth $3000, trade in of about $1950. Not sure I could get those prices, though.

It does sound like the left CV joint has a problem and may need to be replaced. The boot may have failed on it.

I agree it sounds like a CV joint. I’ve had a 2002 and 2005 Outback, and I’ve had to replace both front axle shafts on both vehicles for torn boots (it’s easier to replace the whole axle shaft than to just replace the boot, and it’s cost effective). Once the boot fails, the CV joint will fail shortly after the lubricant flies out. This happened to me in one of the four cases I mentioned, and the car made a pronounced “whomp, whomp” sound when braking down a steep hill, sounding as if you were driving on a flat tire. If you drove it on the beach, the wear could have been accelerated by the intrusion of sand. You can buy a rebuilt axle shaft from AutoZone for $60. As I said, very cost effective since one boot alone costs $20 and another $10 for the axle nut.