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Audi C5 A6 Quattro 4.2 V8 Front Outer CV Joints
This article discusses the problem of torn plastic boots on the front axles on several of our Audi C5 A6 Quattro 4.2 V8 front outer CV joints. Predictably, this caused the grease to be flung out, and dust to come in, thus creating grinding paste. After enough neglect, the result is a clackety-clack sound from the front outer joints. These are best replaced before they fail catastrophically, which they're probably most likely to do under high-torque conditions that I'd expect to instantly cause highly destabilized driving dynamics.
Last Updated: 09/24/2017
Parts Group: Drive shaft assembly
When the boots have recently been torn, and there's no audible or visible evidence of excess wear on the joints, the most prudent approach, on a tight budget, would be to buy a replacement boot from Blauparts for less than $20. I have yet to do that, but I plan to. Assuming the outer joints are worn, then the next step would be to buy an outer replacement boot plus joint from Blauparts for about $100. I also have yet to do that, but it might well come to that if I run out of used parts to keep my own fleet reliable and safe.
The two front drive shafts on the 4.2 V8 cars are not the same length, driver side vs. passenger side, though they do seem to be identical, as to the inner joints and outer joints. I've been told that the V6 C5 cars have front drive shafts that are not interchangeable with those of the 4.2 V8 cars.