okay so I've had a feeling something just wasn't right with the rear axle. took it to the shop to have a look see and sure enough there was fluid dripping from both rear drums, mechanic said basically the whole axle would have to go, save the housing; bearings, shafts, drums, seals. today being Saturday the part shop wasn't open so he'll call me Monday with an estimate.
my questions are how much should this entire repair cost me? how "safe" is it to drive with this issue? is there any upgrade I might as well get while these parts are being replaced? is there any DIY that might curb what I assume to be a costly repair?