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(Yet another) wheel bearing (?) post - FIXED


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9 replies to this topic

#1 outback_97

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Posted 22 January 2004 - 05:47 PM

EDIT:
It was in fact the front left wheel bearings causing noise. It slowly got louder and more pronounced. Fixed by an indy shop ($300), which is not cheap but I think they are a good shop, first time I used them. At least now I know what to listen for if the right side goes.

________________________________
'97 OB Wagon 4EAT w/ 100,xxx miles.

At moderate speeds (25-50 mph) my car is developing a "droning" sound while turning (on/off ramps, curving roads, etc.) Doesn't seem a lot different right vs. left, but it's definitely louder when the wheel is turned than straight. It's not what I would call loud yet. Seems to come from the front of the car, not the rear. No change if I shift to "N" and coast. The frequency is speed dependent, but not greatly variable.

Searching on "wheel bearings" here yielded MANY posts. But most of them refer to the rear bearings, and the .pdf I found through endwrench seems to only be a procedure for the rears. Do the fronts have the same problems as the rears... just not as prevalent maybe? I'm not sure my problem is the bearings, but it sounds similar to what others have described.

Should I try rotating the tires? No uneven wear has been noticed. PSI is normal (mid 30's front, low 30's rear). Other things to check? Last time I looked at the boots they were fine.

How does one positively diagnose wheel bearing problems? I don't want a wheel to lock up at speed, but it sounds like one has to keep an ear on things and wait for it to start howling louder and louder to know that's the problem.

TIA.

Steve

#2 Setright

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Posted 23 January 2004 - 04:14 AM

Well, I would suggest a wheel rotation, so that you can rule out tyre wear.

Rear wheel bearings on Subes are weaker, but fronts die at some stage too.

My right rear bearing started a drone and it went on for months. One day it started to really DRONE and WHIRRRRR, albeit intermittently, and I booked the car in for a bearing replacement soon after. The risk of lock-up is there, but I think you will get plenty of warning.

#3 mtsmiths

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Posted 23 January 2004 - 10:20 AM

It wasn't too bad but we we're heading out for about 8,000 miles of driving so I had it fixed. mid $200's at a local indie.

Both of our '87's have had to undergo front wheel bearing replacement.

Rotate the tires anyhow, hardly any of us do it enough.

#4 outback_97

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Posted 23 January 2004 - 11:29 AM

Thank you for the replies.

Last night I put the front end up on jack stands. The front wheels rotate freely, can't hear or feel any grinding, even holding a stethoscope to the wheel. Pulling in and out on the wheel... didn't budge or feel loose at all. There is something round rolling around in the RF tire... ice maybe? It sounds like it's BB or pea-sized. PSI was slightly low in RF tire, but only 2 pounds or so.

Under the car, checking things out while I turned one tire by hand, the CV joint would flex slightly and lightly "clunk" when jogging the wheel back and forth, then seemed stable once the tire was rotating in one direction. Both CV's do this in the same fashion. Is this normal? The shaft seemed very solid, but the part between the joint and differential seemed "loose", both left and right sides. Is there normally some play or looseness in this?

Then I noticed this (Right side, looking up at CV and front diff):
http://users.sisna.c...subaru/axle.jpg

The boot seems to be leaking a little grease. Other than that it didn't feel any different than the other side. I'm due to change the front diff oil, so I'll do that soon. I didn't have time to rotate the tires, but I'll do that this weekend. The fronts were very slightly more worn (like a mm or less).

Any suggestions?

Steve

#5 outback_97

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Posted 24 January 2004 - 07:35 PM

This morning I:

Rotated the tires, and readjusted pressures.
Changed the front differential oil.

Haven't done a real thorough test drive, but just cruising around it seems like the sound is still there, *maybe* a little quieter, hard to tell. In any case, the diff oil needed to be changed, it had been over 30K, but I was happy to see that there were very few metal shavings on the magnet. The ones that were there were very small.

Still not sure if this is CV or bearings. I saw a post on Edmunds from a guy w/ a '97 GT that just had both rear bearings done. $1000 at the dealership, ouch! If mine need to be replaced I'll try an indy shop I think.

Steve

#6 lmdew

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 08:26 AM

my 93 Caravan has been making that noise for the last 90K miles in turns. If it isn't broke, don't fix it. Just a thought

#7 applegump

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 11:31 AM

How hard is it to replace the rear wheel bearings? Is it a DIY?

#8 Setright

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 01:01 PM

Apple, you need to take the entire hub off. Not difficult, but some bolts might put up a resistance.

The tricky part is getting the old bearing race out...you need a hydraulic press.

#9 outback_97

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 01:03 PM

lmdew: That's the plan, I'm just going to keep an ear on it and see how it progresses. It's not noticeable unless you're listening for it right now.

I'm still wondering if it's normal for the area between the front diff and CV joint to be "loose" or have some play. Anyone?

applegump: Go to endwrench.com and look in the archives, they have the procedure as a .pdf file there. Not something I'd feel comfortable doing, but many folks here would consider it a DIY. Changing fluids and unbolting / bolting on stuff is as far as I like to go, I'm no mechanic!

Steve

#10 outback_97

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Posted 03 April 2004 - 12:36 PM

Got it fixed... the front left wheel bearings were bad. It was getting louder every week, but gave me plenty of warning (over two months). CV joints looked fine. Thanks for everyone's advice :)

Steve




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