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Repair Shop Woes Today On What I Thought Was A Simple Job


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31 replies to this topic

#1 roadsubiedog

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 10:06 PM

took my 99 outback to the shop today because it was "clunking" went I went to turn either right or left. the mechanic took it for a ride and said it was my right front axle.

 

150 bucks later they called the same afternoon and said it was done. I drove less than a half mile and it was still the same. clunking on any turn. left or right. so took it back and the owner told me that they would have to take a look at it in the morning.

 

they gave me a ride home. this shop is the best in my town. they win the "Best Auto Repair" shop award in my town almost every year. they have nothing but 5 star reviews on Yelp.

 

I posted the problem here in a couple other threads. it squeals or makes a noise on the right front side, but there is no noise if it is gliding in neutral and the noise stops when I push in clutch. it's been this way for at least a month, maybe more. I drive with the radio loud all the time..

 

anyway this morning, it clunked once. and then a little while later it clunked, clunked , clunked  when I was turning. that's when I took it to this shop. you'd think this was a problem this shop could diagnose correctly since our town has a million Subarus.

 

what do you think it is and what kind of questions should I ask when they call me in the morning? I really can't handle an expensive surprise. its been a bad time for us since the holidays.



#2 lmdew

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 10:32 PM

What were the responses to your Other Posts?

 

Does the noise change as you go around corners?  When you load the wheel bearings

Did you drain the Trans and check the gear lube for metal?

Does it do it all the time or is it intermittent?



#3 grossgary

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 07:10 AM

***short answer - i'm guessing front wheel bearing.

*** I'd ask for your old axle back if they still have it - no point in throwing away a perfectly good axle that wasn't bad that you paid for.  It can be rebooted in the future (they are same left and right) and will be higher quality than any aftermarket axle.

 

are you positive the symptoms are identical to what they were prior to the job?  no change at all?  i'm wondering if the new axle is bad, that's fairly common but it would be uncanny to have the exact same symptoms.

 

I posted the problem here in a couple other threads. s.

 

why did you post a couple other threads?  was it hard to diagnose or no consensus?

 

 

 there is no noise if it is gliding in neutral and the noise stops when I push in clutch. .

 

sounds like it has to be under load - which is typically front axle or front differential but this doesn't sound like front diff so axle is high on the list. will the noise stop when you push the clutch in and then return when you immediately let the clutch back out?

 

if it's not then an axle i'd be thinking wheel bearing . Subaru wheel bearings can be very difficult to diagnose, i've seen quite a few give no indications of typical "bearing" failure symptoms, including front 99 hubs exactly like yours.   clunking is not a symptom i typically see on front subaru bearings but i would suspect it's possible. 

 

**after driving i'd hit the front hub with a temperature gun and compare it to the other side - if it's notably higher your wheel bearing may be suspect.

 

that's when I took it to this shop. you'd think this was a problem this shop could diagnose correctly since our town has a million Subarus.

 

unfortunately doing a repair and not having the problem fixed is not rare. if you had 100,000 in tools and the training to use them and build a 3 car garage at your home you'll have the same thing happen.

 

it is possible for what is normally a very common issue to end up being something else.  i've done it before inadvertently, many things can share similar symptoms.

 

to "properly diagnose" would take 2 hours and $150, then you'd call them crooks for fixing ever job for $150 more than anywhere else.  everyone would go elsewhere and they'd have to close their business. it's a balance between quick diagnoses and proper repair - in cases like this it's usually easy....sure sounds like a CV axle.  



#4 roadsubiedog

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 09:09 AM

Thank you everyone for replies.

 

yes, the noise is under load. the first symptoms, noise , occasional squealing, were pretty consistant for about a month. yesterday I heard the first clunk while turning. it was slight and just one. this happened only 3-4 times. then it was clunk clunk clunk in turns.

 

it would stop when I went straight. after he changed the axle I drove it straight for about an eighth of a mile and the original noise and/or squeal was gone. as soon as I tried to turn, it was clunking exactly the same.

 

I'm kinda upset because they didn't test it out right before calling me and telling me it was fixed. I hate taking my car to a repair shop. I usually do everything myself ( minor stuff)

 

good advice on getting old OEM axle. it does have 275k on it and the boot broke about 3 months ago when it wasn't making any noise at all. I repacked it and covered up the boot tightly.

 

I am worried that this is going to turn out to be changing out parts until they fix the problem.

 

 



#5 grossgary

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 09:29 AM

strut mount

wheel bearing

tie rod

ball joint

sway bay end link

front crossmember rear transverse bushing

 

that last 4 should be easily tested in short order.  can you jack the tire up and check for play yourself in any of those components?



#6 roadsubiedog

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 09:54 AM

I watched them do this yesterday. he still has the car and the owners son who gave me a ride home said that he would do that again himself today to see what the problem is. they said they would call before they did any more work. I live only 4 miles away so when they call I'm going to go down there before I OK any more work.



#7 roadsubiedog

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 02:13 PM

just got back from the shop and it's what I was dreading. the owner took it for a ride and he is reasonably sure that it is the pinion gear in the front differential. he quoted me 800-1500 to replace the diff from a wrecking yard.

 

isn't it a tranny that needs to be replaced? he told me that wrecking yards guarantee the part for 60 days.

 

do they also tell you how many miles is on that part? I sure don't want to put a 300k mile diff in.

 

wouldn't a reman tranny make more sense? my car has 275k on it but the headgaskets and everything else was done 90 k ago.

 

I spoke to another mechanic and he told me that it would be 1500-1800 if I put a new clutch in. these 90k miles are all highway.

 

I told the first guy NOT to do any work on it yet. he said he was gonna call his 2 main suppliers and then quote me a price. BTW I'm not sure if I mentioned this previously but this shop wins the "Best Auto Repair" shop in my area almost every year and friends and family swear by these guys.

 

he offered to put the old axle back and refund my money total but with 275k on it im not sure if that is a good idea. I did ask and did take the old axle home . (oem)

 

this is gonna be a real tough call for me. I don't have enough expertise to do the work myself. I live in the Reno area and there are a lot of Outbacks around (96-01) that have had headgaskets, timing belt, water pump, clutch.... the whole 9 yards done for 2500-3500  dollars. im real tempted buying a worked on 99 for 2500 and parking the other one.



#8 grossgary

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 04:09 PM

i would almost trust yours with all those known miles on it more than any EJ25 that has unknown history.  the way they overheat causes lots of overheating scenarios.

 

yes the transmission is usually replaced.

 

a really good mechanic can swap front diffs by retaining all the important parameters to hopefully retain the backlash and bearing preloads.  if he's comfortable doing that, it can be done.

 

most places just swap the transmissions.  a used transmission would probably be the best route.

 

www.car-part.com lists all the junk yards in the US just about, check there for options.

 

if you swap transmissions keep your center differential from your old transmission in case you ever get torque bind.



#9 roadsubiedog

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 09:12 PM

if I decide to just swap trannies, do they know the miles on the used one? or would I be better off getting a reman?

 

plus should I have them do the clutch while its out? the clutch was done 90,000 miles ago ( all hwy ) when we did the headgaskets, etc.



#10 heartless

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 09:33 PM

the junk yards should know the mileage on the tranny - BUT - dont be lulled into a false sense of security with just low mileage - find out how long it has been sitting around and where it has been sitting - indoors, outdoors, etc.

 

I bought a used tranny with only 31,000 miles on it - turned out to be junk.

got another tranny with 158,000 miles on it - works great - shifts smooth as silk.



#11 roadsubiedog

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 10:57 PM

that's great to know...thanks. the shop called today. it seems that my 5 speed is the one harder to find than the other. they found 2 but they only had 6 months warranty.

 

the owner of the shop called my wife today to apologize for all the trouble. they changed out an axle which was not the issue. I'm telling them to leave it in since the old one was an original and had 275k miles on it. they gave me the old one back.

 

I have no idea what the prices are for junkyard trannies. haven't had a chance to call around. a reman is about 575 for one year parts and labor and free shipping. right now I am letting the repair shop do the looking with no guarantee that I will let them do the work. they seem to deserve their good reputation.



#12 luko

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 07:34 PM

Just a thought that has nothing to do with the whole tranny issue....but was the timing belt done 90,000 as well? if so that is kinda getting near the change interval for it 



#13 roadsubiedog

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 10:21 PM

thanks for asking bout the timing belt. it was redone about 10k ago.

 

I was wrong about the reman for 575. that was from Quality Used Trannies. just used.



#14 cal_look_zero

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 10:29 PM

Center differential. Any phase 2 (99+) 5MT unit will work; outback, impreza, wrx. Should be about 5 hours labor, center diff, gasket, and new fluid for the tranny.

It's incredibly rare for the front diffs to have issues, all they are is moving parts. But the viscous coupler in the center diff can bind and cause clunking/hopping on turns, especially when the car is warm. Plus, with the front diff being RIGHT over the drain plug, they would be finding chunks or at least big slivers of metal on the drain plug. Whereas the VC of the center diff is more stealth.


Edited by cal_look_zero, 05 February 2014 - 10:35 PM.


#15 roadsubiedog

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 11:24 PM

thanks for the info. I changed the fluid last month when I started to hear the noise. there was sludge on the plug but I did not feel metal. the oil was very black and it had a lot of silver looking specks in it. the tranny has 275k miles on it.

 

when you say center diff , youre speaking about the whole tranny, right? I think that is what the shop is looking for. he said the pinion gear sounds like it is worn out. the clunking happened very quickly. in about 5 miles.



#16 heartless

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 07:48 AM

that's great to know...thanks. the shop called today. it seems that my 5 speed is the one harder to find than the other. they found 2 but they only had 6 months warranty.

 

the owner of the shop called my wife today to apologize for all the trouble. they changed out an axle which was not the issue. I'm telling them to leave it in since the old one was an original and had 275k miles on it. they gave me the old one back.

 

I have no idea what the prices are for junkyard trannies. haven't had a chance to call around. a reman is about 575 for one year parts and labor and free shipping. right now I am letting the repair shop do the looking with no guarantee that I will let them do the work. they seem to deserve their good reputation.

 

6 month warranty on used is far better than what most offer around here - usually only 30 to 60 days - with a rare 90 day if you are lucky.

 

The tranny I got that turned out to be junk only had 30 days - by the time the shop could get to my car (one of the best in the area, very busy), get it installed and test it we were one day over the 30 days and the jy refused to honor - trying to blame the shop for doing shoddy work. $500 for the cost of the tranny, $75 in fuel, and an entire day to go get it wasted. Needless to say, I will NEVER deal with that jy again.



#17 taz ride

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 08:26 AM

I am just sending my 98 in for simmler problems and reading this is scareing the crap out of me. The cv joints were making noise and yesterday the front wheel drive gave out..I am sitting here hopeing for the best..



#18 ivans imports

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 11:09 AM

Awd cuppler and trans mainshaft bearing I would call the trans



#19 Fairtax4me

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 12:15 PM

Black sparkly gear oil in the trans usually means there is pretty severe wear of something. But it would not be the differential ring and pinion gears without making a serious howling noise at speed. It's a very distinct sound. Wear of the spider gears (the spider gears would cause clunking) in the front differential is not common.

The mainshaft bearing is the common wear item in these transmissions, and leaves a ton of shine in the oil. This tends to cause a kind of whirly grinding noise when accalerating.

99 transmissions have problems with the center diff coming apart and damaging the transfer gears in the back end of the trans. This could also leave a lot of shine in the oil and could cause the center differential to clunk when turning.

Try to get a 2001 or newer trans to avoid repeat problems with the center diff.


Taz, you probably just have a broken CV joint.

#20 Gloyale

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 01:05 PM

Whoa!!! stop the runaway diagnosis train!!

 

Squeking throw out bearing, goes away when clutch pushed in.  Common......benign, and not an issue until next clutch change.

 

CV axle on the other side.  Clunk clunk in a turn.

 

Pinion trouble (espescially a clunking) would happen going staight, and be most audible when coasting......not go away.

 

This is getting out of hand......Diffs hardly ever go bad in the manuals....if anything the uppershaft large support bearing goes and it starts poping out of 4th and 5th.  That bearing can be replaced for <$500 parts and labor.



#21 roadsubiedog

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 02:50 PM

fairtax

 

from what you described its sounds like the main bearing sound and spider gears causing clunking on either right or left turn.

 

gloyale

 

maybe I should take it for another ride? I think it was clunking on right and left turns. I only drove it a half mile. it wasn't clunking straight but the shop owner took ride and said it was. i'll have to see for myself.



#22 roadsubiedog

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 02:53 PM

never pops out of gear.



#23 Fairtax4me

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 04:17 PM

Mainshaft bearing will start to make slight noise with little other signs of trouble for 15-30k miles before the trans starts popping out of gear.
Open your door with engine running and trans in Nuetral press the clutch pedal down. When you release the clutch pedal listen for a whirring sound from under the car. Pressing the pedal down again should make it go away.
This is the sound of a worn mainshaft bearing.

Spider gears in the center diff can be excessively worn, and cause clunking or clicking. The problem with the 99 center diffs was a retaining ring that held the back part of the diff housing together can fall off and let the diff come apart. This creates excessive clearance between the spider gears in the diff and can lead to clunking when turning. The only time the spider gears in the center diff move is when turning.

If just the center diff is bad then its worth replacing just the diff, and that's easily done.
If the mainshaft bearing is worn its not worth replacing the center diff. The mainshaft bearing will start causing problems shortly after replacing the diff. Best to go with a whole used transmission in that case.

CV axle is still entirely possible, but with a replacement axle installed and the exact same noise still present, seems kind of unlikely.

Ask the shop if thy have a "chassis ear" kit. They can put sound sensors on various parts under the car, including the transmission case, and drive the car to confirm the source of the noise.

Edited by Fairtax4me, 07 February 2014 - 04:23 PM.


#24 roadsubiedog

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 04:41 PM

I  have been saying all along that the noisewas going away when I pushed clutch pedal in or was coasting. it clunked on left hand turns and they replaced the right axle. is that right?

 

I was wondering if it would help to put on 4 jack stands and run it in gear and have someone move steering wheel while I watch?



#25 taz ride

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 07:04 AM

Yep you guys were right again, Just a cv joint.... You guys are great . Thanks..






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