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'95 legacy outback wagon, 180k

About 13k ago the noise started. finally got tired of the growl in the left rear so its up for a new wheel bearing.

 

pulled the knuckle to work on it off-car. maybe won't do that again. more on that in a minute.

 

Heard that if you leave a bad bearing in for a long time you'll need to replace the hub or worse. my hub is scored a little near the outside end, two small scratches but no discoloration. wb cone probably spun on the hub a bit. good reason not to wait. but maybe i'm still ok.

 

ok time for some boring measurements.

hub OD measures at 38 mm +/- 0.02 mm on both my hub and a donor. wb outer and inner races are heavily pitted about half way around on one side with signs of discoloration (from heat). all that noise just from some pitting. one would think that the bearing would be metal powder by now with all the racket.

With the hub still in place, the bearing had no play in it, just noisy from the pits. End Wrench tolerance on the wheel bearing housing in the knuckle is 0.02 mm x-y. My housing tolerance is 0.05 mm and a donor housing I have specs out worse .10 mm and its wheel bearing was good, no pitting at all.

can I go ahead and use either of these hubs and knuckles or are they out of spec?

 

I have pictures, might post them eventually.

 

Now to touch on grease controversy. Bad wb was jam packed full with grease (causes overheating and seal failures so I read) which was black. Seals didn't look that good, outer seal on the hub was the worst. Good wb from the donor (I think from a '98) had very little grease which was not discolored (extracted the hub for practice thinking I would need it). i'm going to leave the new wb untouched as is, even though i have read that some people repack it going against the advice from End Wrench.

 

The inevitable tool discussion. End Wrench doesn't recommend using a press because the forces involved can deform the housing. For next time I have read that folks use the FWD kit from HF.

 

http://www.harborfreight.com/fwd-front-wheel-bearing-adapters-66829.html

 

dumb question: does this kit work on rear wb also?

 

For the rear it seems like the lateral link bolt has to come out either way whether you do the job on-car or off. had to cut it, rear lateral link bushing sleeve was seized to the bolt. still, not having to fuss with the ABS sensor (mine is still stuck in place even after an hour of wiggling, finally gave up and pulled the cable from under the bench seat) seems like a reason to do the work on car.

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For a 95 with 180k, why not save yourself some time and hassle and just replace the whole rear hub for around $30? Between u-pull-its and your local auto yards, I'm sure you can get one cheap. Then it's just a few big bolts and you're back on the road.

 

Just my thoughts. Bearings aren't a super common failure so you'd probably be okay going used.

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For a 95 with 180k, why not save yourself some time and hassle and just replace the whole rear hub for around $30? Between u-pull-its and your local auto yards, I'm sure you can get one cheap. Then it's just a few big bolts and you're back on the road.

 

Just my thoughts. Bearings aren't a super common failure so you'd probably be okay going used.

 

 

I went this route last summer when my hub went bad on my 99 OBW. Got a good hub from a wrecking yard (not a u-pull) for $75. Car has run fine ever since.

 

It sure beat the cost and hassle of buying a hub, bearings, and seals, and having bearings pressed in.

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why not save yourself some time and hassle and just replace the whole rear hub for around $30?

 

Thanks for the idea. I was going to go the bolt-on route initially. That's how I came across the donor (shipped from a yard in NJ for $50). But turns out they sent me the wrong side, with a seized lateral link bolt, hanging onto two cut off lateral link ends. Seized parking brake cable and ABS sensor to boot. Real gift it was :grin: Its worse (rust-wise) than my '95. But by tearing into the donor hub I learned some things, namely how not to destroy my ABS sensor, those things are somewhat fragile in contrast to the carnage on the rest of the hub...and also how to press out stuck bushings, minor victories in the battle.

Edited by 89Ru

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I went this route last summer when my hub went bad on my 99 OBW. Got a good hub from a wrecking yard (not a u-pull) for $75. Car has run fine ever since

 

Glad it worked out for you. My favorite u-pull yard (selection-wise) here doesn't guarantee parts, they might work, might not. They usually have around 8 subes for the picking.

 

I have seals and bearing on hand. Been preparing for this job for a while...better yet working up the nerve to finally do it. Next time I'll be a little more selective in donor parts.

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Glad it worked out for you. My favorite u-pull yard (selection-wise) here doesn't guarantee parts, they might work, might not. They usually have around 8 subes for the picking.

 

I have seals and bearing on hand. Been preparing for this job for a while...better yet working up the nerve to finally do it. Next time I'll be a little more selective in donor parts.

 

I, and a friend, did the press out/press in bearing replacement using a Harbor Freight hub tamer. We got the job done with a lot of hard work and cussing, only to have the new bearing go bad in 6 months. Turned out the hub was damaged to begin with, but didn't know that. Suggest having someone press the bearing in to save yourself time and aggravation. I won't press in a bearing again. Hope all goes well.

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Bearing is pressed in and seals are in. some question on seal depth for the two inner seals. End Wrench has a tool set the first seal depth, so that's a guess. Some pictures online show the second seal fairly deep but End Wrench says the second seal should be flush with the housing. Will know more when it mates up with the axle. Now have to find a lateral link bolt and bushing.

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only to have the new bearing go bad in 6 months. Turned out the hub was damaged to begin with

 

I won't be surprised if mine turns out that way as much as I don't want to repeat this job. Subie engineering changed the process mid-stream in response to an increased failure rate. This is my first wb failure amidst many quiet miles. One of the pleasures of keeping Subarus alive into old age is that they last long enough to see some interesting failures, and they have a high enough margin of error that they still can limp to the grocery store with broken parts on board.

 

I used to work for a company that made torpedoes among other things. One of my coworkers who worked on the torpedo job was asked how many torpedoes did they make before they got the process down right. He said about 50. Do enough wheel bearing jobs and you'll learn enough tribal folklore to get it right.

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