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Guest Message by DevFuse

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IS noise from wheel bearings or CV joints?

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6 replies to this topic

#1 RodA2003


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Posted 04 September 2003 - 01:40 PM

My 97 Outback has slowly developed a noise that seems to be due to the front wheel bearings. It is most noticeable at high speed when one makes slight turns - that is, moving the steering wheel rim just an inch or two. There is no typical clicking during tight turns at very low speeds, but I was wondering if there is a sure fire way to differentiate between bearings and CV noises?

#2 Tolerance02


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Posted 04 September 2003 - 01:54 PM

This is the 'terror' for all mecanics. First of all, to find out for sure the noise must be strong enough. If it are the bearings, the noise will be there turning the steering wheel in one direction and will disappear in the other.


#3 incognito



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Posted 05 September 2003 - 10:37 PM

Oh you'll know if its bearings.

Do what Tolerance says:

Drive @ about 35-45 mph, make the sudden movement, probably an inch or two, as if you were dodging an object.

If you turn your wheel to the right side and it gets quieter for a second, then the noise returns when you go straight again, its the right side.

What its doing is when you make your sudden movement, the weight of the car (on the right side) is off the bearing long enough to temporarily relieve the noise. Once the weight is returned, the relief is taken away, thus making the noise return.

Same test for left side

Whats your bearing milage?
Does your steering wheel shake at all (from left to right) ?
Can you hear "whirring" or grinding?

#4 Supaglu


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Posted 07 September 2003 - 07:09 AM

just to add my bit to the last post - with subaru's - it doesn't always ring true that if you turn the steering wheel one way then the noisy wheel bearing is this side or that side - because the front wheel bearings on subies are two individual bearings -slightly further apart than other makes of bearings, so in theory you have an inner and outer bearing on both sides.
So on the left hand side - the outer bearing will be quiet on left hand turns and the inner bearing will be noisy (if it's faulty).
Dave H

#5 Tolerance02


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Posted 07 September 2003 - 07:55 AM

Correct Dave.

By testdriving (swerving left and right) it can happen that the wheelbearing on the unloaded side makes noise and that the noise stops when turning the other direction. That is what makes it so difficult. The best thing is to wait until the noise gets strong enough so it can be heared when the car is jacked up and the wheels are turned by hand.


#6 Bullit


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Posted 09 September 2003 - 09:08 PM

I just replaced the right CV joint in my '99 outback - w/ 98k miles. I Guarantee this is what you will be doing based on your description of the problem. Bullit. :headbang:

#7 RodA2003


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Posted 10 September 2003 - 02:37 PM

I replaced the LHS axle last weekend because the outer boot had failed, spraying grease everywhere. However it didn't make any difference to the noise unfortunately. Car has 200,000 miles, so I'm going to replace the other axle, rather than wait for it to fail in the same messy way, and do the bearings on both sides anyway. BTW, unlike earlier models. there is only one bearing per wheel.

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