Worse case scenario for CV Joint (high mileage 1993 Camry)

Hello,
I have a 1993 Camry with 200k + miles on it. So far, engine and tranny are fine but the rubber boot for one of the CV joints has cracked
open. At this point, I'd rather not spend money on maintenance unless necessary, since with such high mileage there's a chance (even with my dear Camry) that the engine or tranny could fail -- with my luck, that will happen the day after I spend the $600 on new CV joints.
My question is: can a CV joint suddenly fail in the same way that a timing belt can, rendering the car inoperative? I'd be much more willing to spend the money if there's a risk the car will die in the middle of a road trip. From what little I know, I think the answer is "No", and that the CV joint will simply get worse over time -- but I'd like to hear from others.
Many thanks for your input.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

In my experience, CV joints will not have a sudden catastrophic failure, they will fail slowly and give you plenty of warning. One warning is that they make a clicking sound while turing in a tight circle. Go to a parking lot, or cul de sac, and turn the steering wheel to full lock and listen for clicking noises while driving at about 3 to 5 mph. Turn the other way and test again. If you hear clicking sounds in either direction, you have failing CV joints.
Torn boots are a bigger problem in parts of the country where there is significant wet weather -- snow and salted highways being a very bad set of conditions.
They make a replacement boot that can be installed without pulling the half-shaft out of the car. The strategy here would be to cut the old boot off, pack the joint with a qualified grease, and put a new boot on. This won't fix any damage that's already been done, but it will help to slow the ongoing damage or prevent damage that hasn't happened yet.
I once removed my half shafts and disassembled the CV joints and cleaned and relubricated them, and gave them new life. I doubt that a mechanic would invest the time to do this, but if you have a reasonable set of mechanical abilities you can do this at home. As with anything, the success depends on the existing damage -- lower damage giving higher success rates.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

No, but a rebuilder will. Swap out old for rebuilt, he gets the core to rebuild, move on.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In article

That's not maintenance, that's a repair.
Those are different things.
Find an independent shop that will install a rebuilt axle for you. It should be cheap.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/13/10 1:00 PM, SJ wrote:

Usually there will be some warning, like a noise while you turn the car. However, it can fail suddenly, too. And you don't want that to happen while that big 18-wheeler is right behind your back bumper.
Jeff
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 13 Dec 2010 10:00:44 -0800 (PST), SJ

I would think that getting the joints evaluated by a mechanic competent in such things would be the first order of business. If he/she doesn't detect any existing contamination, then getting new boots on them would be the minimum consideration. Just leaving them open is asking for pre-mature failure, whether it's relatively slow, or catastrophic. Toyota didn't spend the engineering and manufacturing money to put those boots on because they thought they looked sexy!
But you should know that my knowledge of CV-Joints stops shortly after the "general concept". But I'm guessing that they are not very tolerant of contamination (I think they share some design concepts with ball-bearings, which are notorious for their inability to tolerate contamination). It would be a shame to have to junk your Camry because a torn rubber boot. Damn fine car for that kind of neglect!
Actually, you might even be able to patch the boot--I've had some great results bonding rubber to rubber using cyanoacrylate (sp?) adhesive (super-glue). Hack up an inner-tube from a tire, and experiment with the glue to see if it bonds well. With care, the patch could mimic the bellows of the original boot. If the original boot tore simply from age, then that's another story.
--
croy

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Like they said, they will start to click on turns when they flake out. And you should have plenty of time to deal with it. But if the joints seem OK, and don't click, I would not wait to get that boot replaced. You have to keep the crud out of those, or it will soon be toast. Often, it's a torn boot that starts the process of one flaking out. It's best to get an OEM style boot. But they do make some that you can install without removing the axles. They split apart, and use screws to seal it back up when installed. I would prefer the OEM type, but using one of those clamp on type would be better than having a torn one. If you did use one of those, make sure all the clamps are on correctly, and tight, otherwise they can creep off the ends and come loose. Of course, if it's clicking, it's near toast and needs to be replaced.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.