CV boot replacement

I got new tires today for my 94 Accord at Hesselbein Tires, and they found that the outer CV boot on the right side is torn. I confirmed that when I got home. The left looks ok. The car has 53K miles on
it.
They want about $100 to fix it, and would use an aftermarket boot.
I've tried turning sharply in both directions, listening for strange noises, and don't hear or feel anything strange. So I'm gonna assume the axle is ok and just get the one boot replaced.
I assume the vast majority of the $100 is labor, and just wondered if boot replacement is something that a normal human being could easily do, or if it really should be a mechanic who knows what he's doing. I'm pretty handy, but have never tackled anything like this. If I get them to do it, I would also get them to do the front brakes at the same time since they are the original brakes and the pads are down to alomst nothing. I would insist on Honda pads.
Does the after-market boot sound ok? Does the $100 sound reasonable?
I got Toyo Spectrums, by the way, total cost of $281 including road hazard. So far, they ride nice, but may be a little firmer than the OE Michelins. I thought I had an option to get BFG Traction T/A's at near the same price, but that turned out not to be the case. So I went with the Toyo's.
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If it's torn, the conventional and emphatic counsel is dirt got into the joint, and it's going to fail soon.
Depending on how experienced you are, I'd buy a half-shaft (which holds the inner and outer boots and joints for one side) for $70 at Autozone (lifetime warranty) and do it myself.
Replacing /just/ the boot takes more labor than slapping a whole new halfshaft in.
You can also buy a rebuilt OEM halfshaft online for around $135. See www.hondaautomotiveparts.com , for one.

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Data point for the archive: Firestone replaced both of my 91 Civic's original outer boots in mid-2000 at 112,000 miles. I do not know the exact condition of the original boots when Firestone called and recommended replacement; I was not hip to what CV boots were all about until the last year or so. I would bet money the replacement boots are non-OEM.
For the last several years I have inspected the boots closely during at least twice yearly oil changes. After another 6.5 years and at 186.5 miles, so far so good.
Tegger's, JT's, and other's comments on aftermarket boots seem sound to me, since I am aware from other parts that the OEM Honda rubber used in general is superior to aftermarket. But if one is not going to keep the car long, one might want to consider aftermarket.
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If the joints are OEM it is definitely worth just replacing the boot -- IF the joint is still OK. You need to have an *experienced* mechanic listen for clicking from the joint.
And even if the joint passes the listen-test, it will still need to be inspected thoroughly once disassembled and cleaned to make sure the balls and races are not chipped or dented in any way.
If the joint is OEM and passes both inspections, replace BOTH boots with NEW OEM, NOT aftermarket! New OEM is more expensive, but the new OEM boots last well over ten years, and your OEM joints will outlast them. And if one side is torn now, it's a sure bet the other won't be far behind.
If your current joints are aftermarket, then just rpleace the whole shaft, like Elle says. It's going to be a lot less trouble. Just remember to let a bit of air into the inner joint boot after shaft installation, so the rubber doesn't stay puckered. Puckered boots will break within a thousand miles.
People, I'll say it again: Inspect your CV joint boots! Catch them early and you can save that very expesive, high-quality joint! Honda OEM joints will last the life of the car if the boots are never allowed to split. New OEM boots last well over ten years.
--
Tegger

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Tegger says...
> If the joints are OEM it is definitely worth just > replacing the boot -- IF the joint is still OK. You need > to have an *experienced* mechanic listen for clicking > from the joint.
> And even if the joint passes the listen-test, it will > still need to be inspected thoroughly once disassembled > and cleaned to make sure the balls and races are not > chipped or dented in any way.
Yes, this is all OEM. The car is 12 years old, but only has 53K miles on it. I'm just now replacing the original tires and front brakes.
> If the joint is OEM and passes both inspections, replace > BOTH boots with NEW OEM, NOT aftermarket! New OEM is > more expensive, but the new OEM boots last well over ten > years, and your OEM joints will outlast them. And if one > side is torn now, it's a sure bet the other won't be far > behind.
What about the inner boots? Do they not usually fail as fast? The mechanic didn't say anything about them, and I don't think I can see them.
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They don't usually fail *first* because they don't get the amount of flexing the outer boots do. They are exposed to the same environment as the outer boots, though, and I actually had an axle where the inner boot failed. Obviously, the boots are changed when either fails, so we rarely know how much longer the inner boots would go... we only know the first to fail.
Mike
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Peabody wrote:

Inner boots generally last longer simply because they are not subject to the flexing that the outers endure.
Still, while the half shaft is out of the vehicle it's just as easy to replace both and be done with it. And as Tegger said, use OEM as the other rubber out there is pretty chincy and will begin to crack within a couple of years.
JT
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The inner boots will outlast the outers by several times. The inner boots don't undergo the steering stresses that kill the outer boots. It's not a boad idea to repack the inners with grease once every ten years, though.
If your OEM outer joints are still good, it would be *very* wise of you to retain them, with new OEM boots (about $40 each, plus the bands and grease). OEM CV joints are exceedingly high-quality.
The new OEM boots will last a dozen years easily, so this may be the last you'll ever have to be concerned about the driveshafts.
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Tegger

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I agree with all posts here. Don't waste your time with the "clam shell" aftermarket boots. They never stay on and dirt gets in anyway. Replacing the half-shaft, if necessary, is not that expensive, time consuming, or difficult.
As a life prolonging tip, I now spray the boots liberally with silicone spray every few thousand miles (usually when I am under the car doing oil changes). It only takes a few seconds and anything to keep them soft and flexible, and prevent them from drying out will help.
--Jeff
Tegger wrote:

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Jeff, exactly what silicone spray do you use? And what is the year, miles, and CV boot history one the car on which you use this?
If others concur, I think I would like to try this.
TIA

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I tried the silicone spray with the '96 Odyssey, exactly as you suggest at every oil change. It made absolutely no difference in the longevity of the CV boots. They failed at about 8 years and 120,000 miles just like every other Honda and Nissan I have owned.
There is anecdotal evidence, especially with the Nissans, that prophylactically replacing the half shafts when the joints are still good can reward you with an unbalanced axle. It is not a given that just because the boots are torn that the joints are automatically bad. It depends on how long they've been torn and what sort of driving has been done while they were torn. If you caught it soon after the tear happened, and it hasn't been submerged in water or slush or pounded with dirt roads, most likely the joint is still good. I have never replaced a boot until it tore, and have never had a joint subsequently fail. The mechanics like to replace the whole axle because its less work than doing the boot, not because its better.
On 12/19/06 9:28 AM, in article snipped-for-privacy@a3g2000cwd.googlegroups.com, " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com"

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I have no documented proof that the boots last longer with silicone than without. But since a can cost $3.50 and its pennies to spray them whenever I'm under the car anyway, I figure...why not. Anything that keeps them from getting dry and brittle can only help.
And I agree with E Meyer that if you replace the boot soon after its torn (assuming you know when it happened!), there is no reason to replace the shaft. But unforunately for me, I find out the boot is ripped when I hear that nasty "click click click" when making a turn. At that point, its too late.
--Jeff
E Meyer wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote in

Considering it's trivially easy to check the boot without even getting down on your knees, and considering it takes two years for OEM boots to split after the first signs of cracking, it's foolish and lazy to allow the boots to split in the first place.
--
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Tegger says...
> If your OEM outer joints are still good, it would be > *very* wise of you to retain them, with new OEM boots > (about $40 each, plus the bands and grease). OEM CV > joints are exceedingly high-quality.
Are Honda replacement axles/joints the same high quality? So, if it turns out that some crud did get in there, and the joints fail in the future, would it make sense to insist on using Honda replacement parts?
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If you can get official Honda reman driveshafts from a Honda dealer, GO FOR IT.
There is nothing better on the market. Trust me on that.
--
Tegger

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I appreciate everyone's advice on this. I had the work done this morning. I ended up just replacing the one bad outer boot with a Honda boot, and left the axles as is. Of course, I don't know for sure that he actually used a Honda boot, but that's what he agreed to do, and that's what I paid for.
He drove the car before and after the repairs, and said everything else looked and felt fine. Since there was no financial advantage to doing both sides at the same time, I decided to just do the one that was bad.
I also had the front brakes done, with rotors resurfaced and Honda pads. And new tires yesterday. So I should be set for another decade or so. :-)
Thanks again for the help.
By the way, the new Toyo Spectrum tires seem to be a bit firmer than the old OEM Michelins, but not enough to be bothersome. And I don't notice any increase in road noise, which some reviews had complained about. I think they should do fine.
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Every two months or so, turn the steering wheel all the way to the side the old outer boot is still on. This will both expose the outer joint boot and spread the corrugations so as to display any cracking. This way you can inspect the boot without having to get underneath the car.
Once the cracks get to about 1/8" deep, get the boot replaced. Waiting until it splits is not smart.
--
Tegger

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