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How To Tell if CV Joint Gone Bad?

30 March 2010
San Jose, CA
I pulled my passenger side axle because I heard some "clunking" from that side occasionally when going over bumps or when the body was rolling from left/right turns. I couldn't identify anything else in that area that might make noise.

Anyway I pulled apart the outer joint and it was filled with goopey grease, but when I disassembled the inner joint, there wasn't much grease at all. I guess about 80% had leaked out over time. The rollers still roll and they still slide in the grooves of the joint, but the grease that was in there smelled burnt and was darker in color than the outer joint grease. There are also more visible wear marks on the rollers and in the slides. Question is, is there any way to tell if the joint is bad, or can I just re-pack it with a new grease kit and boot, and call it a day?
Here are some pics, if they might help:





The pics look OK to me. You should have jacked up the car when it was together and felt for play in the joints. These joints don't fail very often but are known to ooze grease from the boots when the grease gets old and thin. Usually a repack is all it takes.