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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Wheel Bearing Question

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7 replies to this topic

#1 crazyman03


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Posted 11 October 2013 - 07:40 PM

So I'm pretty sure  I have the workings of a wheel bearing going out on my Impreza ('95, ej22 Automatic)


I just did a CV Axle on the D/S front about a month or two ago - I'm pretty sure i got the Nut on there tight enough. After a little while though, I'm getting a vibration from the D/S front. I went back and tightened the nut.. It budged but not a whole lot. 

The tire has some in/out moving now though, I'm convinced thats my vibration. But is it my wheel bearing? 


I don't have a press to be pulling the bearing out so: one, I gotta try and find a way to get it out of there and back in without one, and Two, I dont want to be going through the trouble to pull it out if thats not even the problem.




#2 Bushwick


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Posted 12 October 2013 - 01:41 AM

When wheel bearings go bad (using non Subaru as reference) you typically get noise and eventually grinding, some play if really bad. Spinning wheel by hand should make noise and transmit a slight grind if failing. If on the highway and going around a long right/left-hand turn, it can make noise going one direction, and not the other, or be all the time, etc. Reason for the one way and not the other is it's loading the bearing on one side.


In/out play can also be a tie rod, ball joint, something loose with suspension, etc. With the tire raised, move it 12 and 6, 9 and 3, 10 and 4 etc. and look at the ball joint and everything else attached. Should be pretty clear to see whats moving. Auto Zone rents a small bearing press that can be operated with a ratchet. You leave a deposit and get the deposit with the tool returned (or keep the tool and they keep the deposit) so it's "free" to rent it. I've pressed bearings in/out with that and heavy duty 2 arm pulley pullers before (non Subaru). I just used a large socket or grabbed one of the sleeves from the press kit and used that with the pulley puller as alternative putting pressure on it in the same spot a press would) and had no issues. Just make sure it isn't crushing the sides or damaging the bearing. If in a pinch or low on money, this works. 


I buy from rockauto all the time as parts for my Saab are typically 4 times the price of what a Subaru price would be for an equivalent part ($180 for 1 engine mount, $150-250+ for a fuel pump, $65+ for head gasket, etc.) and they're typically cheaper than O'Reilly's or Auto Zone even with cheapest shipping selected though it helps to order more than one thing to offset the cheaper shipping fee. 



#3 brus brother

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 02:17 AM

Was the axle replacement aftermarket? Plenty of reports of vibration if not genuine Subaru or certain aftermarket.

Many here recommend go with a FW Enterprises axle (mwolf1303@juno.com). They were formerly MWE axles out Denver area. Apparently they rebuild genuine Sub axles.

But your question was wheel bearing.

My front right wheel bearing is heading south. More of a cyclical thrumbing sound when loading the outside wheel in a left turn.

If your axle was aftermarket with any sort of warranty, you might consider swapping it out and see if the fit is different.

I HATE doing work... twice!

Edited by brus brother, 12 October 2013 - 02:18 AM.

#4 Fairtax4me



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Posted 12 October 2013 - 11:20 AM

If you have play the wheel bearing is shot.
The older Subarus use tapered rollers instead of ball bearings, so they can make noise for thousands of miles without showing any play.
Ball bearings are kinda the opposite, they can have play any not make noise.

Subaru FSM says that the axle nut needs to be torqued before putting the wheel on the ground. This is done to preload the bearing and avoid damaging the races, which will cause the bearing to fail.
These are also unsealed bearings, so any dirt that gets inside the axle seals in the knuckle will damage the bearing.
The outer seal is not usually an issue since the hub has to be pulled out of the bearing, but the inner seal seals against the axle stub, so any time the axle is removed the bearing is exposed.

This means that most of the time the bearing failure is going to be the inner half of the bearing, which tends to reverse the typical bearing failure symptoms.
If it makes noise when turning right, it may actually be the right side bearing, rather than the left side which is typical for a failed ball bearing.

#5 crazyman03


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Posted 15 October 2013 - 09:38 PM

it actually doesnt make any noise, just the vibration at higher speeds (occasionally, sometimes i can go a few miles without any). and in/out motion.


Unfortunately the Axle is from checkers. I didn't have enough money to go the route I would've preferred which would've been through Shawn's shop where I got my Passenger side.



I dont have the bearing tool to do this or a press either so I'm thinking I'm just going to go to the JY and find the whole assy and swap in.. 


I was rather hoping someone would've said something that I didnt think of but alas I thought so. 



#6 hohieu


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Posted 17 October 2013 - 07:04 AM

As Fairtax said, if there's play...


If you're getting a used assembly, then I would also replace the inner wheel seal.

#7 idosubaru


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Posted 17 October 2013 - 09:22 AM

it does sound like wheel bearings but aftermarket axles are often problematic (extremely common, any google or subaru forum search shows).  an issue immediatly after axle replacement is suspicious.


hard to say without seeing it and knowing the history.


a financially free test would be to swap the axle to the other side and see if the noise moves (axle is causing it) or stays (wheel bearing).


with future axle issues, there are cheaper alternatives to aftermarket that are 100% reliable:

1. reboot your existing axle

2. get a used OEM axle from the yard - i get them for $25 - $33 (cheaper than aftermarket) www.car-part.com

3. reboot your used axle if you want to spring the extra bucks.


personally i'd rather reboot a noisy OEM axle than buy a new aftermarket. not recommending it, i've just wasted so much time on aftermarket axles it's not worth it any more.

#8 ivans imports

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 09:49 AM

I see alot with damage to the spindle were it rides on berring wears a grove in spindle and dosent sit tight on berring and will come loose over and over no matter how tight it is. I have a hub tamer for subaru berrings and is still a long hard job even with the exact tools

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