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Wheel Bearings


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12 replies to this topic

#1 Petox4

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 04:14 PM

Hello,
My Subaru dealer told me that my left rear wheel bearing is going...and should be replaced. His estimate was over $300 and was hoping to save some money by having a friend (who is an experienced mechanic) do it. The problem is that I don't know if I need to purchase the whole wheel bearing assembly hub or just the bearing. What is your experience in replacing wheel bearings? Thanks!

#2 thingol

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 04:34 PM

The only time I had one done, I did not do it myself (I don't have a press), so this is just what the mechanic told me. Because I had driven on the bad bearing so long, it had destroyed the hub (I dropped the rear into a mud puddle off-roading, and then let it sit for about an hour while we recovered the subie with a come-along, then I drove it for several thousand miles with it making unhappy noises, :D), so the answer to your question could be either, depending on how bad it is, and how long it has been like this. Not particularly useful information, but that is what I know.

#3 john in KY

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 04:54 PM

Easy enough to determine when the original bearing is pressed out. If it "falls" out then replace the hub. If it presses out hard then the hub is good.

#4 Scottbaru

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 05:12 PM

What year and model is your car? What are the symptoms you notice, and what symptoms did the mechanic point out or talk about?If your bearing got bad enough to damage your hub or spindle you may need to replace them, but you won't know that 'till you have it apart. An experienced mechanic should be able to tell if there's damage and how bad it is. I've put new bearings on slightly worn spindles with no worries. If you have to replace the hub, you'll probably save even more money having it done by a capable friend. If the dealership discovers you need new hubs, it'll be apart in their garage, and you're kind of at their mercy.

#5 Petox4

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 05:30 PM

What year and model is your car? What are the symptoms you notice, and what symptoms did the mechanic point out or talk about?If your bearing got bad enough to damage your hub or spindle you may need to replace them, but you won't know that 'till you have it apart. An experienced mechanic should be able to tell if there's damage and how bad it is. I've put new bearings on slightly worn spindles with no worries. If you have to replace the hub, you'll probably save even more money having it done by a capable friend. If the dealership discovers you need new hubs, it'll be apart in their garage, and you're kind of at their mercy.


I have a 1997 Legacy Outback with approx. 125k miles on it. Bought it used a year ago with great service records and it is just starting to have some issues. The dealer didn't actually speak with me about it, but just told my partner that the wheel bearing should be replaced soon. There is a pulsating humming-type noise that is noticable, (but not loud by any means), coming from the rear driver's side of the car, but it seems to be quieter below 50 mph and above 65 mph. I do not believe that the dealer said that the hub or anything else had been damaged, just that it was going to go out soon, so we should get it fixed.

#6 Andyjo

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 06:36 PM

i think it's actually easier to change the hub than the bearings ( because the bearing sare in the hub...) i just had mine done in the impreza, the bearings are like 100 or something from the dealer, and labor's going to rack you up.
If you jackup the rear end, and then spin the wheel, if you get a noise (a bearing noise.. rolling noise) then it's most likely the bearings, you can also try to move the wheel, grab both sides and torque it either way, if you get movement then that's not good.

#7 Scottbaru

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 10:16 PM

My Timken catalog lists:

Seal, inner #710266

Bearing Assembly, inner #513248

Seal, intermediate #225005

Seal, outer #710529

Autozone may have these, sometimes it helps to have the Timken numbers. Any industial bearing supply place will be able to get them with these numbers.

I haven't had this car apart. My Haynes doesn't have a blowup of the bearings or seals, just the recommendation to take it to a shop with a hydraulic press. I expect to see two bearing assemblies per wheel, and there may be more seals, maybe someone with a factory manual or experience can add to this.

#8 Cellothr

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Posted 24 June 2005 - 02:11 AM

Hello,
My Subaru dealer told me that my left rear wheel bearing is going...and should be replaced. His estimate was over $300 and was hoping to save some money by having a friend (who is an experienced mechanic) do it. The problem is that I don't know if I need to purchase the whole wheel bearing assembly hub or just the bearing. What is your experience in replacing wheel bearings? Thanks!

I've done a bunch of bearing changouts, both front and rear. I've never had a damaged hub. I seem to remember a decent shop charging about $30-40 per bearing to do the pressing. Just watch how you install the inner seals on the rear - its not intuitive. The seal lip needs to face inwards - found that out after two shops installed them incorrectly and I had to show them the factory manual!

#9 Petox4

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Posted 27 June 2005 - 02:33 PM

Thanks for everyone's advice! It seems that the parking break is connected in a way that my friend was familiar with, so I haven't changed the wheel bearing yet because he doesn't want to mess anything up. He did call around town (I live in a pretty small city) and the prices were still pretty high, even if we provided all the parts. It looks like it might just go back to the dealer and get the rear brakes done at the same time since the pads are at 10% or less.

#10 grossgary

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Posted 27 June 2005 - 03:04 PM

get a used hub. these cars are new enough that you can find a good used hub with low miles for 35 dollars easily and just swap hubs and forget about the bearings (that's something anyone can do with regular tools). call around local yards and get a rear hub. $35 or $300, sounds easy to me!

lewiston idaho has about a dozen hubs at 35.00 each:
1800 967 5228

more in idaho at $35 each:
1800 331 9630
1208 678 7580
1800 999 9076

i think ABS and non-ABS hubs may be different, you'll have to find that out as im not sure, but whatever it is your hubs should be widely available.


#11 ballitch

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Posted 27 June 2005 - 07:34 PM

Are the ABS hubs different? If so.......hmm, i have a bad front left bearing, i can move the wheel like 1.5'' either way, not good.



~Josh~

#12 Setright

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 01:43 AM

The noise does indicate bearing failure. It's not a critical thing until it makes distinct grinding noises.

They are a known weak-link and my local authorised Subaru importer sells the bearings so cheap I think it must be almost his cost price - a small good will gesture since they know the factory pinched the pennies when they fitted the weak bearings.

#13 Scottbaru

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 09:13 PM

Sounds like I'll need to invest in a factory repair manual if I ever have to replace a wheel bearing. I have various presses and machinery to do the job. Is there really just one bearing in there, no inner and outer? I guess I can see one bearing possibly doing the job if it's really beafy, or even one ball-bearing, but that doesn't save much $ when two smaller bearings could be put on a lighter and less stressed hub. Any problems with heating the hub to get it apart (assuming I replace the bearing)? I wouldn't want to mess up anything heat-treated. We have liquid nitrogen at work, maybe a little in the inner hub?




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