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All,  I got this noise in the front area that I have been trying to diagnose, but it is time for the experts.   Car is a 2006 Legacy Outback , 143K on the odometer.   At around 25 to 30 mph the whine starts up and increases and decreases with the speed.  I first thought it was back feed thru the speaker from engine noise.  After a few checks of things I crossed that one off the list.  So I am down to a mechanical noise.   No clunks or clicks in turns.  Yesterday I put a new set of tires on the car and the noise got quieter but is still there.  I had hoped it was the snow tires but no such luck.   Last week was a new set of rotors and pads all around. 

So what do you all think?   Wheel bearing?  Axel? 

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I'd say wheel bearing, especially if the noise changes when making a turn

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if it's like a squeal, could be the backing plate has trapped some debris against the rotor, or is dragging?

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I think we will try the wheel bearing route first,  any way I can do something to confirm it?    I thought about the backing plates and when I put the new tires on the other day I cleaned out around the rotor.  

Thanks again everyone,  Mark

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jack up the car and try spinning the tire while putting your hand on the spring.. bad bearings can often transmit vibrations that can be felt thru the spring

temperature difference after driving a bit can also prove/disprove a bearing going. the corner that is going will usually be hotter than the others - use caution when checking, dont want you to get burned..

 

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We will try this and let you all know.  

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Checking for heat or looseness is always good, I had a back get loose but by then I was literally driving with ear plugs.

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Thanks Dave,  I am waiting for a dry day when I can warm up the car good and get the noise going again.  Then jack up the car and check it thoughly.  The wheel does not seem to wobble or anything yet.   

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7 hours ago, CNY_Dave said:

Checking for heat or looseness is always good, I had a back get loose but by then I was literally driving with ear plugs.

cant always count on "looseness" unless it is really far gone.

temp will tell you faster than if it is loose or not. Just be sure the brakes are in good working order and not dragging (that will cause things to heat up as well)

If brakes are good, and it still gets hot, it is the bearing

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I have never had one get warm, man some of them that would have made things a lot easier!

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1 hour ago, CNY_Dave said:

I have never had one get warm, man some of them that would have made things a lot easier!

huh, both of the ones i had go bad got warm.. one got REAL warm.. but both were warmer than the other 3 axles after driving for about 20-30mins

 

 

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18 hours ago, heartless said:

huh, both of the ones i had go bad got warm.. one got REAL warm.. but both were warmer than the other 3 axles after driving for about 20-30mins

 

 

Yeah the symptoms are all over the map. Suggests multiple failure mechanisms.

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My two wheel-bearing failures were both hard to diagnose.

I bought an Infra-Red temperature gun, but I could not detect any temperature difference on the bearing hubs, even after a longish test-drive.

Nor was there any looseness on the wheels. Neither with the wheels loaded on the ground, nor with the wheels unloaded up in the air.

In both cases, it was only after the audible rumble got very annoying that I could feel a very-slight 'click' on the jacked-up wheel with the failed bearing.

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We took the car for a ride tonight and brought it to a friends shop, put it on the lift and started to check things out.  No looseness of the bearing and the temp with a gun did not show it much higher.  I am thinking this is in the earliest stages of failure.  We think that when we took the real aggressive snow tires off and put the real nice quiet summer tires on the vibration has actually gotten quieter.   The car comes up for inspection in about 8 months and that will be one of the things that gets checked again, unless the bugger starts to really growl.  Then it will get changed right away. 

Thanks everyone,  I really learned a lot about bearings with this thread.

Mark 

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Running in air with wheels off a mechanics stethescope will tell the tale.

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When I test drove my most recent car (2011 Impreza Outback Sport) at a Subaru dealer I noticed it had a sort of “whine” that started around 30 mph. The frequency of the whine would change based on RPMs. I told them I wanted the car but not until they looked into and fixed that noise. I had owned a 2010 model for 5 years prior and never heard anything like that, so I knew the noise wasn’t right.

They called me a couple days later and said they had their mechanic look at it - which I highly doubt ever happened - and he said it was “better than new, and there was nothing wrong with the car.”

So I bought the car and drove it home...the noise was still present but I trusted their word that it was ok. I figured the noise would work itself out and go away. A couple weeks later it was still there and hadn’t changed at all.

I took the car to a different Subaru dealer closer to me for them to look at it. They came back saying it needs a new transmission. So I immediately call the dealer I bought it from to tell them the issue and that they need to fix it ASAP.

I bring the car to them and lo and behold they actually find an issue this time! LOL.

I don’t remember exactly what they did to the car, but I’m pretty sure it had something to do with the differential. Whatever they did, the noise went away and I haven’t heard it since.

Maybe your issue is the same??

 

When I bought the car there was 110k miles on it.

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Darn,  I wish you knew what they did.  My car has 140K on it for a 2006.   The car has not left the garage in quite a while because of this damn virus,  we don't leave the house anymore.  Maybe when this all goes away in a few months I will finally figure it out. 

Stay healthy all and thanks again for all your help,   Mark

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Something to think about. A few years ago I bought a used 97 RHD Legacy wagon with a 2.2 and 4EAT AWD. I replaced both front axels, both front wheel bearings, brakes all around, left inner tie rod and swapped the heads with 95 heads. The car ran great, but it had a whining noise that the pitch would get higher with speed. I know what a gear whine sounds like, so I checked the front diff fluid. The dip stick was dry. I added the recommended 80W-90 gear oil and checked it, still dry. I ended up adding almost a full quart. It holds 0.8 quarts. There were no leaks underneath and it was not going into the tranny fluid. Then I noticed the drain plug had been removed and replaced. Apparently, the previous owners mechanic had drained the oil and not refilled it. The guy drove it for a while until it developed a miss in the engine and that is when I got it.

With no oil, the ring and pinion gears started to ware causing the whine. The damage to the teeth was already done.

My wife drove it for a while but the noise started getting louder, so I drained the oil and replaced it with 75W-140. That kept it going until I had time to pull the tranny and swap the diff and pinion from another (bad) tranny.

So, check your front diff oil and see what shape it is in.

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i will go out and check it today.   Thanks!!!!!

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Ok everyone,  I checked the diff oil and it is full and has great color.  Not cloudy or have a burnt smell.  So I wonder if the inner axel joint is starting to go.   It is not a Sooby axel.  

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21 minutes ago, foxgap said:

 It is not a Sooby axel

Very possible.

I have swapped the axels side to side to see what happens. The noise will either go away or move to the other side.

On our RHD 95 (472,711 miles), non Subaru Reman axels usually last about 2 years, although the last pair has been on 3 years. On our 97 RHD our local Subaru Dealer Parts Man told me to use Napa axels. So far they have been in 2 1/2 years.

Both Legacy Wagons are used as USPS Mail cars driven by my wife and are going to retire shortly after August when she retires. A 50 mile route with almost 700 mailboxes is rough on them along with the rust.

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1 hour ago, Rampage said:

A 50 mile route with almost 700 mailboxes...

Are these USPS cars manuals? Or automatics?

I would guess that the stop-start nature of a mail route would be hard on an MT-clutch, no matter how skilled/careful is the driver.

But I suspect that an AT would last longer with that kind of service.

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EJ2.2 4EAT AWD

The 95 is on it's 3rd tranny and the 97 is on it's second one.

The first replacement tranny I put in the 95 would chirp the tires on a 1-2 shift with about half throttle. It wasn't  supposed to, but she really liked that.

The route is hard on brake pads. Raybestos and Wagner (good) semi-metallic pads would last exactly 3 months. Subaru Postal Pads go 7 to 8 months.

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2005 Legacy, MT.

Put car on lift, grab wheel at 6 and 12 o'clock and see if you get any play. May be no more than 1/4 to 3/8 in.

Some of the common diagnostics  don't always tell.

I had a whine in FR which I first thought was a bad tire. Noise would lessen when the wheel was turned while moving, to the right.

Had car on lift, used stethoscope, no discernible difference than FL.

Had some play at 6 and 12 which is characteristic of bad tie rod. Replace TR. Still no change.

Looked harder at axle while lifting and could see the housing move!.

Replaced hub and all is now good.

The noise could not be duplicated it seems unless the wheel was under load.

If you plan on replacing, spray PB on the caliper bracket bolts and the 4 bolts than secure the hub..

You don't need a puller. Once the 4 bolts are removed you can tap it out with a hammer.

O.

 

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