Changed out the noisy snows for some regular tires on a set of Hakkunamatta(sp?) wheels. Examined the take offs, and I think one of them wasn't even round anymore. No wonder they were so noisy and transmitted so much vibration. This different set is making my car act like it is brand new. Yay!
So, in 5th gear, it was still noisy and vibrated. I decided to replace with a new inner CV joint in place of the one that I swapped. The other one, when swapped, was just fine.
I also checked the transaxle. The main vibration was only in 5th gear, which made me wonder if there was a problem with my 5th gear set. Such as losing the lubricant out there and having just that gear wear terribly. But I loosened the bolts and lubricant drained out, so I think I'm good.
Replaced the CV joint 2 days ago - Friday. Used a Meyle kit. The joint seemed OK. The heat treating on the outer race seemed thinner than that seen on other joints, but maybe I'm not perfect in my perceptions. So as long as it lasts I'll be fine.
I didn't use the new boot because the old one was OK and I wanted to do it as fast as possible - i.e. in the car and not pulling the half shaft completely clear of the car. That worked out OK as long as you undo the 3 bolts below the ball joint at the end of the control arm.
The Meyle grease seemed OK. The Meyle grease has added carbon that has the appearance of very fine graphite particles. This is opposed to the OEM grease which is very thick and very black.
The Meyle spring clip that is supposed to pre-load the CV joint, well, I am glad I retained the old one. I am talking here about the washer like item that goes on the half shaft before the CV joint. I have seen some kits that supply two of those spring clips, one where the inner side is smooth, and the other with little serrations that match the 'teeth' on the end of the shaft. Mine only had the smooth one, and it is too large to be stopped where it is supposed to in order to retain the CV joint. I am glad I kept the old one and reused it here.
Meyle's kit also has 6 new bolts to bolt the CV joint to the transaxle flange, but while they are pretty and black, they are also hex not XZN type. I reused the OEM bolts as I know what I'd end up doing the next time I had to remove that CV joint.
All in all, the Meyle kit appears to have a good CV joint and good grease, but the ancilliary hardware means to me that GKN's kit is a better idea.
Oh, and the new CV joint has resolved the 5th gear vibration problem. Yay! Now I just need to resolve my a/c issue...