CV joint boot grease leakage

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by KR, Dec 20, 2007.

  1. KR

    KR Guest

    96 EX Accord w 150k miles. On right inner & outer & left inner cv
    joints there is a grease leak from the ends of the boots. Boots are
    good & the boot clamps look ok. Why/how is grease getting out? No
    typical bad cv joint symptoms yet. Garage recommended new half axles
    - apparently nobody changes just boots anymore because of the labor
    costs. Before I go that route I'll get a lot more miles out of these
    - at least until they start clicking. I've not heard of grease
    leaking from good joints/boots. It's the vertical sling out pattern
    on the facing & backing surfaces & right where the boot/clamp there is
    seepage. Any ideas?
    KR, Dec 20, 2007
  2. KR

    Tegger Guest

    Aftermarket shafts with insufficiently tightened boot bands. The shop can
    replace the bands without removing the shafts from the vehicle. Should be a
    quick and cheap fix.

    The shafts may go a long time yet even with a lesser amount of grease in
    the joints, so it's definitely worth a try before replacing the shafts.
    Tegger, Dec 20, 2007
  3. KR

    Elle Guest

    If grease is leaking from the boots, failure is likely not
    far away. You don't want them failing when you are driving
    down the highway. How long they'll last is hard to say, but
    point is, you want some peace of mind.

    Your garage is right about just replacing the half-shafts.
    Reason: "Simply" re-packing is expensive, because the tech
    first has to take off the half shaft, then remove the boot,
    then thoroughly clean (and CV joint grease is about the
    thickest grease-based lubricant you'll see on a car), then
    re-pack. Major time in labor. Also, rebuilt half-axles have
    become plentiful, forcing down their price. IIRC boot
    quality has improved since 1996, so this may be the last
    half shaft replacement the car needs.

    To see how competitive your shop is, check prices for half
    shafts for your Accord at Majestic Honda (probably around
    $150 per half-shaft), Napa Auto Parts and Autozone (closer
    to $75 per half-shaft). Insist on OEM from your garage,
    though that may be automatic, since one half shaft from one
    model of Honda does not exchange generally with that of
    another model. Compare prices.

    Figure labor of a couple hours? That's a rough ballpark.
    Lots here have done the job, so check back for how long they
    think this should take.

    I disassembled a CV joint a year or so ago in an automotive
    course, then reported on current practices and the thinking
    behind them for repairing CV joints.

    Original owner, 1991 Civic
    Elle, Dec 20, 2007
  4. KR

    Tegger Guest

    OP should ascertain if the boots are split or not.

    When I read his message I gathered it was leaking from the boot/band join,
    which is different from leaking due to a split in the boot.

    So, to elaborate: If the boots are split, replace the shafts. If the boots
    are leaking because the bands are insufficiently tight, replace the bands

    And to the OP: CV joint boots split with regularity if not examined once in
    a while.
    Tegger, Dec 20, 2007
  5. KR

    Elle Guest

    I think we should see what KR says about the halfshafts'

    KR, did you buy this car new or used? If new, has any work
    been done on the halfshafts before the boots started
    leaking? If used, have you any of the cars' maintenance and
    repair history?

    If I were the tech working on this car, then I would
    hesitate to just tighten up the boot bands. It's said that
    ingress of dirt of any kind into the CV joint grease leads
    to failure. Maybe if I'd seen more reports of just
    tightening working fine, I'd go with this fix. But it sure
    does not come up here much, if at all.

    OTOH, since clicking (outer joints) and clunking (inner
    joints) normally present before full failure, your approach
    might be worth a try. Whether a shop will agree to do only
    this is another matter. I guess they might.
    Aside: I was reading at your site a little while ago on
    this, to see if we were of the same thinking. Have you
    changed your position about changing only the boots when the
    boot splits but the joint seems fine?

    Not that I am presenting myself as experienced as you. Just
    an observation.
    Elle, Dec 20, 2007
  6. KR

    Tegger Guest

    It sometimes happens (only on aftermarket) that the bands are
    insufficiently tightened. When that occurs it's not like the boots are
    loose the way your sleeve is on your arm, but that they're loose just
    enough to be unable to keep violently flung grease from being flung out the
    tiny gap. The gap is far too tiny to allow dirt or water to enter, but is
    just enough to allow grease to leave.

    In such a case it is standard operating procedure to simply replace the
    bands and make sure the new ones are sufficiently tight.

    However, as I said, my advice was based on a possibly faulty reading of the
    OP's description of the problem. If, and only if, there are no visible
    splits in the boot, should the bands be replaced. A professional tech
    should be able to tell the difference between a split boot and loose bands.

    Where do I say that? If that appears anywhere I'd better get rid of it.

    My opinion has always been that if the boots have been split for an unknown
    length of time under unknown conditions that the joint should be replaced.
    Tegger, Dec 20, 2007
  7. KR

    Elle Guest

    I hear you. I also found a few reports (though lacking
    updates) of same in the Honda newsgroups. Indeed, especially
    with aftermarket shafts, and with three of four leaking, it
    seems like a good first guess.

    I have yet to hear of a catastrophic CV joint failure on the
    Honda newsgroups, besides. Clicking and clunking, but not a
    dangerous failure while driving. Though I am sure it could
    seems to imply that one should just replace the boots if one
    finds them split. It's a little vague. I think I'd be more
    emphatic that the choice these days is to replace the
    Elle, Dec 21, 2007
  8. KR

    Tegger Guest

    This is that text, in part:

    "Did you know that your superbly-made and top-quality original Honda
    outer CV joints are very expensive new?

    Did you also know that if you never allow the boot to split, those CV
    joints will easily last the life of the car? Did you also know that it
    takes about two years from the start of a crack in the boots to the
    point when the crack turns into a gaping slot that lets water and dirt

    If the crack is more than 1/16" deep, get the boots replaced now! It
    might cost you $200, but at least you're keeping your precious factory
    CV joints..."

    Maybe I ought to be explicit about the opposite situation, that if the
    boots ARE split it is advisable that the joint/shaft should be replaced?
    Tegger, Dec 21, 2007
  9. KR

    Dan C Guest

    So, you're saying that examining the boots will keep them from splitting,

    Dan C, Dec 21, 2007
  10. KR

    Elle Guest

    I understand your point about trying to preserve the
    original came-with-the-car joints. But that boot replacement
    and joint cleaning labor is going to cost a person. Wouldn't
    it be cheaper and just as reliable to buy the remanned OEM
    ones that Majestic Honda offers and replace the whole
    half-shaft? About a year-and-a-half ago, Majestic wanted
    $130 for a remanned half shaft for my 91 Civic.

    I am okay with tightening the bands (well, from my amateur
    reading and limited hands on) if a close inspection
    indicates the bands appear a bit loose and are likely
    leaking. But if the boots are badly cracked, I think
    remanned OEM from Majestic or another genuine Honda parts
    dealer is likely the best alternative, dollar-wise,
    time-wise, reliability-wise.

    Two cents in this fine holiday season. :)
    Elle, Dec 21, 2007
  11. KR

    jim beam Guest

    by close inspection, you need to determine the cause of leakage. if you
    have the original honda shafts, and your boots have not been changed
    before now, they're almost certainly failing - it's highly unusual for
    oem honda shafts to be leak any way other than because of a cracked or
    damaged boot.

    regarding the cost of repair, brand new aftermarket shafts, no core
    charge, are under $100 each and they take about 10 minutes each to
    change. repairing the oem shafts, while a better technical solution
    because they're better quality and last longer, costs a lot more because
    the parts are expensive and there are multiple hours of work involved.
    while driving, you'll be challenged to tell any difference. and
    financially, most of the time, the significantly lower cost of
    aftermarkets, even though they don't last as long, mean you're still ahead.
    jim beam, Dec 21, 2007

  12. I know people that have driven vehicles with noisy c/v joints for
    thousands of miles. In fact, both of the rebooted c/v joints on the '83
    are leaking and I have no plans to fix 'em. I don't know if they are
    noisy since the tranny growls pretty loud as it is. When the need
    arises, I'll simply install rebuilt units with a warranty.

    Grumpy AuContraire, Dec 21, 2007

  13. I have the two original half shafts for the '83 in the shed and they
    have cracks but are not split. Since the car only had 110K (miles) on
    it, I'm assuming that they were original so it might well pay to have
    these professionally rebooted, yes?

    Grumpy AuContraire, Dec 21, 2007
  14. KR

    Tegger Guest

    No, you can get them replaced BEFORE they split, and thus salvage your
    original joints.

    New OEM replacement boots are far more durable than the originals and will
    probably outlast the car.
    Tegger, Dec 21, 2007

  15. Don'tcha git a warm fuzzy feelin' when you hafta 'splain a simple detail
    with a hold-the-hand technique??


    Grumpy AuContraire, Dec 21, 2007
  16. KR

    Tegger Guest

    I suppose if the shaft assembly is an actual /Honda/ reman and not just
    an uncertified aftermarket that happens to being sold by Majestic, then
    it would be OK. Dealerships are independent companies and are free to
    sell anything they want to the public.

    In any case the part number would tell you. Also, the genuine Honda
    remanned parts I've seen all either have a sticker on them which
    indicates that, or come in a box with the same assurance.

    Since you have absolutely no idea what sort of condition any aftermarket
    reman is in, it is always preferable to replace your boots before they
    split and keep the original shaft assembly.

    My point in all of this is that the new OEM boots are so good you'll
    probably never have to replace them ever again. with aftermarket you're
    looking at the definite possibility of failed boots/joints in a few
    years. So that $130 may end up being a wash, or false economy, not even
    counting the aggravation and time required to replace the shafts again.

    The newest cars already have these new boots, so may never need boot
    replacement at all.

    The bands can appear tight but still be leaking grease. There's an awful
    lot of force and flex while the boot is spinning around, force and flex
    you can't simulate with your hands.
    Tegger, Dec 21, 2007
  17. KR

    Tegger Guest


    Absolutely! *Especially* with a car that old. How often are you going to
    run into actual unremanufactured OEM joints/shafts for that vehicle?

    Your problem here will be that the garage can't simply add new grease to
    the old as usual. The old grease will be dried out and useless, so they'd
    have to get rid of it all with a total teardown and clean.
    Tegger, Dec 21, 2007
  18. KR

    Tegger Guest

    I drove around on my noisy left-hand outer joint for a good two years. The
    clonking was almost deafening by the time I finally decided to do something
    about it.
    Tegger, Dec 21, 2007

  19. The joints currently in the car are from the wrecked '81 that donated
    the engine. A local garage "rebooted" 'em but shortly thereafter, one
    developed a small split which I believe was probably caused by a flying
    rock when driving down a friends dirt road too fast. At any rate, I
    don't plan on doing anything for a year at least when the rebuilt
    original engine will be going into this car along with a refurbished tranny.

    Grumpy AuContraire, Dec 22, 2007
  20. KR

    Dan C Guest

    That isn't what you said, though.
    If you say so.
    Dan C, Dec 22, 2007
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