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My 2003 Honda Element has 260,000 miles on it. I am the original owner and have kept it in good running condition. It recently developed some vibrations, so I did the following: I had all the wheels balanced, which helped. Then I took it to my mechanic and told me that the differential mount was broken and 3 of the engine mounts were shot. All were replaced with Genuine Honda parts.
Now I am left with a slight vibration between 15 and 25 MPH, which is more noticeable on acceleration.
I was told by a friend that used to be a mechanic, that the mounts that were broken and worn out could have put a lot of stress on the universal joints. There seems to be a great deal of controversy on whether the universal joints on the drive shaft can be replaced. Honda only sell the drive shaft which is quite expensive.
So my question at this point is, can worn universal joints cause this type of vibration, and if so can the universal joints on the drive shaft be replaced?
 

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You can rebuild them but it looks like the individual joints cost about as much as the whole axle.

Almost every shop will try to talk you into replacing the whole axle with aftermarket.
Saves a LOT in labor (takes about an hour to rebuild one so ~ $90-120 in shop time.)

Some of the folks with oversized tires have gotten bad aftermarket axles that have a wobble in them. I may have gotten a mediocre one myself. It’s got a slight wobble from 10-15mph, but it doesn’t bother me much (it’s not a speed I maintain). I kept the factory axle so I can rebuild it to put back if I’m ever in there again for something else.
 

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do you know for sure there is play in the Ujoint? in my last 4x4 i would go under the truck and physically check for play in the ujoints and output flanges. seriously wiggle stuff around.

maybe it's grease is dried up. had that happen to me. don't know if honda ujoints are grease-able like my toyota's
 

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Are you referring to the driveshaft that provides power to the rear differential and axle (ie when in 4WD) or are you referring to the CV joints on the front axle half shafts (the ones that are always spinning regardless of 2wd vs 4wd)? Based on the description of your problem, I would be checking the half shafts to see if any of the CV joints are worn or failing. Not always easy to tell unless you have a blown boot but your mechanic should be able to confirm if they have issues. As far as replacing just the CV joints vs replacing the entire half shaft assembly, that is up to you. All the parts are available from Honda to do it either way but with 260k miles on the car, I'd personally look at it as routine maintenance to get another 260k out of the car and replace the shaft(s) themselves. I'd also advise on spending the extra $$ to get the OEM half shaft assemblies. I believe they are something like $230-$250 each from Majestic Honda (the cheapest OEM parts option I've found online). There are much cheaper aftermarket half shaft assemblies available out there but seems like most folks have had mixed results at best with those. I'd rather spend the extra $$ and fix it right for the long haul.

Also, if you do remove one or more or both of the axles, have your mechanic check the condition of the ball joints (he'll need to separate the ball joints to be able to remove the axles) and also check the condition of the control arm bushings. Not a bad time to consider replacing these as well as long as you have things torn apart. The OEM control arm bushings are fairly inexpensive and just need to be pressed in (make sure your mechanic properly aligns the front bushing when pressing them in). Honda doesn't sell just the ball joint but rather only sells the entire knuckle assembly, but assuming the rest of your knuckle is fine, Moog makes a good quality ball joint you can use that is substantially less expensive than replacing the entire knuckle (Moog part #K500004).

Here's the Majestic Honda website in case you are looking for discounted OEM parts:
https://www.hondaautomotiveparts.com/
 
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