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I just bought this 2000 outback and it had a HORRIBLE rear end noise. I jacked it up, spun the wheels and touched the coil spring to test for a bad wheel bearing. The driver's side vibrated meaning that wheel bearing is bad. I replaced it (thank you god of all things subaru and holy for rear unit bearings), and now the noise is about half as bad.

 

It still sounds like there's a bad wheel bearing, but when I spin the pass side wheel, it doesn't make the coil spring vibrate like a bad bearing usually will, what's going on here? Should I spend another $70 and do that side, too? I feel like I'm just throwing parts at it.

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The "vibration in the coil spring" is not a definitive test, so I wouldn't let that deter you from thinking it's a bad wheel bearing.

 

Actually, the few times I've tried the "vibration in the spring" test based on people suggesting it here, it never worked. Granted I've only tried that method a couple times since usually I'm sure and if I'm not I just use a temp gun.

 

So - try a temp gun if you have one?

 

And in the end I wouldn't put much faith in the coil-spring test now or in the future. It's nice if it does confirm it for you, but it easily gives false negatives too.

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All along I thought it was the pass side. But only the driver's side vibrated.

So I replaced the driver's side, and to be honest, I'm not even sure that one was bad. It seems quieter, but I have nothing to compare to, so maybe I just forget how loud it was or wasn't. Hrumph. A bit disgruntled, but hey, I should never have to do rear wheel bearings in this again...

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I wish it was possible to remove the bearing assembly from a junk yard car without ruining it. That way I could see if that was the issue for $10. But it's hard to get a unit bearing out without abusing it.

 

Maybe if I removed the axle and hammered on it from the back side carefully it would work.... I just don't want to spend a lot more money right now.

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make sure it's not a rusty dust shield or rotor rubbing causing the noise? i've seen the edges of rotors rusty and rubbing or the inside of the rotor is built up with rust and rubbing on the inner emergency brake shoes. creates a nice growling sound that could be mistaken for wheel bearings. have to wire wheel the rotor, if the rust is bad even adjusting the shoes doesn't really pull them off enough.

 

Did the car sit before you bought it? If so then that makes me suspect rotor rust build up.

 

Did the previous owner have any thoughts or prior diagnosis/shops comment on the noise?

 

I wish it was possible to remove the bearing assembly from a junk yard car without ruining it. That way I could see if that was the issue for $10.

I forget when they changed...does the 2000 have the bolt-on-bearings? I assume so since you mentioned how easy the first one was?

 

could you attempt to remove the entire knuckle assembly if the bearing alone won't come off of a used one?

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Yea, the 3rd gen started with bolt on unit bearings. I'm not gonna event attempt to get the trailing arm/hub/lateral link assembly off. It's a gigantic massive piece on the 3rd gen that I have no interest in touching. Heh.

 

It doesn't sound like brakes. It would make the noise all the time, probably.

 

Speaking of brakes... Subaru.... What's wrong with you making it almost impossible to access the rear caliper bracket bolts on the 3rd gen:banghead:

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Got it - I thought the change came after the 3rd gen facelift...like 02...04 or something, I think Foresters are later like that. Good to know finally.

 

You are correct, the rust is pretty much noise all the time for the brakes., good call. Well so much for the simple fix.

 

You did this job once - do the bearings have any access at all? If so, squeezing some fresh grease in them with a needle attachment of your grease gun would most likely quiet them up.

 

You could put an add in the parts wanted forum and some of the non-rust people might have one they could send you. A used bearing isn't really worth anything so if you can find someone parting it out. Easy to replace, don't fail very often, gives plenty of warning when they're warn out...sounds like a good option if you can find one.

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They didn't really change anything with the 03/04 facelift in terms of suspension.

 

I dunno if/when the forester changed to rear unit bearings. It's an impreza, and the impreza used the old style suspension until 08.

I know that the 02 impreza GD uses pressed in horrible PITA bearings, so it wouldn't have been until probably 04 anything changed.

Starting with the 00 legacy/outback they changed to that weird rear suspension that sorta sucks to deal with.

 

The problem with a used bearing is, there's no way of getting it out without ruining it. When you take the 4 bolts out that hold it in, it doesn't just fall out. It's stuck in there with rust. The best way to get it out is to attach a slide hammer to the hub and yank it out, but that kind of attention is really bad for bearings and pretty much kills them. It smashes the balls into the race and pits them both. If GD shows up in here, I'm sure he'll say the same thing. The only way to get one out would be to remove the axle and beat it out from the outer bearing casing from the back.

 

With all that hassle, I may as well just do it right and be done with it.

 

Although it's fairly easy to change one of these, getting the brake bracket off really sucks, everything is tight. It's not worth wasting a couple hours when I could just do it right and be done.

I almost wish it was a bad diff bearing because I have a spare one of those, but it's not a diff noise. heh.

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Loosen the bearing housing bolts then put the weight of the car on it?

 

How is the tire wear? What kind of tires? Done any research to see if they are noise makers?

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Loosen the bearing housing bolts then put the weight of the car on it?

 

How is the tire wear? What kind of tires? Done any research to see if they are noise makers?

 

To be honest, I was wondering if it was just bad tire noise. But it's SO loud I can't imagine it's all tires.

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You'd be surprised at how loud some tires can be. It could also be the carrier bearing. What speed does the noise start?

 

I can hear it from about 5mph up. It changes a bit cornering hard, that's why I ruled out diff. I could put the wheels from my 98LGT on it. They have the wrong size tires, but whatever. Just for a test. Those are decently quiet.

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Tire noise at that low speed would either be really aggressive tread, or very obvious cupping or feathering of the tread.

 

The tires are actually worn really well. They've obviously been rotated because the back ones have a bit more wear than the front. Which only makes sense if those used to be the fronts.

But they're getting low on tread, and old tires do make more road noise.

 

I looked them up (goodyear viva 2), and someone on another forum said "I thought a had a horrible wheel bearing problem, then I got new tires and it went away." So I'm gonna have to try another set of wheels before I condemn the other wheel bearing. If it is the tires, I'm glad you saved me from changing another bearing. If it is the bearing, I have one already. So it's cheaper to do that than tires. Hah.

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Definitely gonna try that with some other wheels first. If nothing else, it'll confirm to me I'm not wasting my time going one route or the other.

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Have you jacked up all 4 corners and had someone take it up in speed? Sometimes it's the only way I can figure out a bad wheel bearing.

 

I try to refrain from doing that. I'm always afraid it's gonna come off the jack stands and kill me.

It's definitely coming from the back, and I did one bearing. So if it is a wheel bearing, it's hopefully the other one.

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Yeah if you have another set of wheels & tires to try swap them on just for gits and shiggles.

I know those tires and they are known for making noise. Pretty much if it says Goodyear on the sidewall they make noise, and cost a fortune.

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that's kind of what i figured. subaru bearings are not consistently diagnosed with any one test.

 

hey you got the bearing off, cool!

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Hm something does look a bit amiss in there.

 

Hm that's a 2000 Outback? So they still went with the seemingly more failure prone ball bearings on the rear for that?

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Hm something does look a bit amiss in there.

 

Hm that's a 2000 Outback? So they still went with the seemingly more failure prone ball bearings on the rear for that?

 

This is the rear. The front still uses the same pressed in taper roller bearings like the 2nd gen and impreza use.

I really don't understand subaru. They put ball bearings in the front of the GL, and realized that sucked. So they changed to rollers in the Legacy.

Then they had lots of rear bearing failures because the seals sucked, so they went to a unit bearing. Which is great, but they had to make it a ball bearing again.

 

These bearings must be sealed separately on each race. Because I beat the other race out, and the grease was still a nice yellow. It was a little bit surprising to see that.

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