Originally Posted by Busy View Post
I appreciate the offer of your personal experience. I'd like to offer mine, if you'd hear it.
1. Lifetime warranty from NAPA, at least here, means if you ever have a problem, you get another new one, free. I'm able to get labor comped as well. Those of us that cannot get labor for free means that we spend another few hours under a car hammering an axle out of the hub rather than doing something much more enjoyable. If you get free labor then by all means install whatever you want. If I got free labor, I'd put in the cheapest axle possible and let the shop deal with replacing it on a yearly basis for free.
If you pay to have the part installed the first time, the warranty will cover having them do it again. For the DIYer, this isn't such a large boon, but working with the front ends of these XIs is a royal PITA (lots of threads talking about siezed axles, bearings that needed a 20-ton press to remove etc - did one of those bearings last night, actually, and F***, that was a B****)
2. My experience has been totally uneventful while selling, installing and following up on new axles from Napa. I've been in the business for a few months short of a decade. Is this statement directed specifically at E46 Xi front axles or NAPA parts in general? While I appreciate your experience in selling these parts, if you read on this forum you will find that many, many people have had issues with them. I suspect that the reason for this is that the people on here pay far more attention to their cars and any issues than the average consumer. The random Peggy Sue out there with her E46 Xi would blow out her front diff long before she ever realized that it was leaking from the seal. She might also not even notice the grease splattered all over from the torn boot until after the labor warranty was over. While the statement was about Napa reman axles in general, I don't think that it should be discounted. Reputation is important. Also, the Peggy Sues that come to see ME are/become well-informed, and because of good operating policies and procedures on my end, these things don't get that far. If I think a repair needs to be done, I address it, and we check every car, every service, every time they come into the shop (lightbulbs in the lot - not so much). As long as they come here, they're checked frequently.
3. My Napa sales rep recommended buying from the Dealership before buying a re-manufactured axle from him, as he has nothing but claims and problems with them. Then why continue to sell them? Selling parts that have considerable warranty claims with a lifetime warranty seems like a poor business choice. Also, if there are this many issues with them then maybe the rebuild process needs to be revised? NAPA is a franchise, so they have to do things the way corporate likes them. Totally agree about the revision process, and as I referenced but wasn't quoted on for whatever reason - "(see: Subaru aftermarket axle vibration in park issues).". Subaru front axles were a problem in the initial wave of aftermarket support, they'd but up against the driveline components in such a way as to transfer vibration to the body in park while not in motion. The second generation of these axles were redesigned to totally alleviate this issue, and they did exactly that. This is common procedure, so I don't doubt at all that the first run of aftermarket axles for the new (at the time) driveline configuration could've been plagued with various issues, by now the problems are likely sorted. BTW: Napa isn't my first choice for most things, as there is a local competitor that carries much better brands and keeps much better hours and delivery service, so I'm not a NAPA nut by any means.
TL;DR; If you pay a shop for this, go with a NEW napa axle. Either one will wear out but only the new one will be free to you the next 3 times it happens if you keep your car that long.