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?
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.
Thanks for all the responses on this. Obviously this is a pervasive
concern & common experience. The CV joint boots were replaced in 2003
either at the Honda dealer or a reputable garage. Half-axles/CV
joints are original. No clicking or thunking at all & boots are good
- no cracks at all. The grease really is coming out of the ends of
the boots under the clamps. I'm intrigued with the approach of just
replacing/tightening the clamps, at least as a 1st step. Does that
require special equipment/tools? Is that something I could do myself
or is it a 5 min job at the garage that they probably would not charge
But I think you'd need to buy some new bands, since the
excess is required for tightening and then gets cut off.
I used one (once, in the course). It's a little tricky for
the inexperienced to use. I think I'd call around and see
what a shop wants to change out the bands. I might go for
The important part of replacing the bands without replacing the boots is
cleanliness. After removal of the the old bands, the boot should be
cleaned along with the axle mating surface to ensure that no grease
exists between the boot and that surface. Failure to do so will surely
result in the boot slipping and leakage reoccurring...
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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?
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,
Two cents in this fine holiday season. :-)
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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