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Can you be more specific? Where is it coming from? When does it squeak? Does it get louder when you rev the engine or when you drive the car?
That's exactly what I would do!
Your car is a Republican? Sorry, I couldn't resist!
This sounds like your transmission is going out on you. I hope I'm wrong, but you should get a shop to check it out!
Only if you need to! Sometimes you can removes the clamp, sometimes you can't. It depends on the position of the clamp!
You should be able to visually check and see if the leaf springs are broken. Make sure the spring shackles are tight!
Try these guys: http://www.usedpartscentral.com/search_ohio.htm
The problem is you got water somewhere it's not supposed to be. Have you checked for any trouble codes, that will help to isolate the problem.
It is possible that the dealership has encountered this problem and it's cause and other shops have not, but you are correct in getting a second opinion. I recommend that next time they try to sell you something, have them show you the problem. If it is leaking, then they should be able to show you the leak. An honest shop will do this. This helps to build trust and helps prevent you from being ripped off by unscrupulous mechanics.
Barbara, Brake pads should be replaced when they are at 15-20% remaining. Depending on where you live, what you drive and how you drive determines how long it will take to get to that point, so it's important to have them checked regularly.