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hohieu

Hub Tamer and Rear Wheel Bearing Replacement

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There have been a rash of wheel bearing issues lately on this wonderful forum, and I recently verified (after 40K miles of anguish) that I have another bad rear right wheel bearing. I am awaiting shipment of a "Master" Hub Tamer set (#6490). I believe that the updated "Elite" Hub Tamer (#6537) has a redesigned puller weldment adaptor and some other tidbits for Ford appliciations that should not come into play with our Subes.

 

For those out there who have experience with this tool, is there anything else I need for this job (slide hammer and adaptor for hub removal)? Put another way, can I remove the hub and the inner race from the hub with the Hub Tamer? I've read through some other posts, but could not find a definitive write-up. It would be great to get any advice from those who have experience using this tool.

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I surely don't know but am envious as the hub tamer is one sweet tool. I think there was an article on endwrench with pictures about the svx tool for this job; maybe that would be helpful? And I do recall discussion about similar a Harbor Freight tool and whether it would be suitable...

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For those out there who have experience with this tool, is there anything else I need for this job (slide hammer and adaptor for hub removal)? Put another way, can I remove the hub and the inner race from the hub with the Hub Tamer? I've read through some other posts, but could not find a definitive write-up. It would be great to get any advice from those who have experience using this tool.

Hey there. I didn't bother with a slide hammer and just used the hub tamer. There is an issue when doing the rear wheels as the tamer pushes against the backing plate for the drum brake (emergency brake) assembly. I just took a BFH and bent it back to where it should be before reassembly. Here's a free tip--don't try to remove the brake rotor (drum) with the emergency brake still on.

 

The bigger problem was with the bushings in the trailing arm. Man were they ever seized to that bolt. I never did get one side apart. As for the bearings, I found only one potentially bad roller, but replaced both sides anyway. I was really wondering if the issue was in fact the wheel bearings, as it sounded just like road noise. The noise was gone afterwards, however.

 

One more tip--the hub tamer was intended primarily for servicing the front wheels. The instructions may tell you how to position the tamer for bearing removal; however front and rears are removed in opposite directions (at least in my Legacy). Make sure you're applying pressure in the proper direction and not trying to press the wheel bearing further into the hub.

 

A good write-up can be found here: http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=787070&page=1

 

It's really just a simple tool that works really well.

 

jim

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There have been a rash of wheel bearing issues lately on this wonderful forum, and I recently verified (after 40K miles of anguish) that I have another bad rear right wheel bearing. I am awaiting shipment of a "Master" Hub Tamer set (#6490). I believe that the updated "Elite" Hub Tamer (#6537) has a redesigned puller weldment adaptor and some other tidbits for Ford appliciations that should not come into play with our Subes.

 

For those out there who have experience with this tool, is there anything else I need for this job (slide hammer and adaptor for hub removal)? Put another way, can I remove the hub and the inner race from the hub with the Hub Tamer? I've read through some other posts, but could not find a definitive write-up. It would be great to get any advice from those who have experience using this tool.

 

I apologize for barging in on this thread but I'd like to know what you hear when rear wheel bearings begin to fail. My '99 Legacy GT is beginning to sound like a car that has snow tires--it makes a "roaring" noise beginning at approx 20 mph or faster. Tires have been rotated frequently and they're not cupped or worn irregularly. Is that the sort of noise that you heard?

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I was really wondering if the issue was in fact the wheel bearings, as it sounded just like road noise. The noise was gone afterwards, however.

Thanks for the great tips and link. I'm glad to know that this box of tools will do it all.

 

I've been dealing with the same rhythmic noise for the past 40K miles (64K km) or so and at first attributed it to road noise as well. However, it has gotten progressively worse, and I can now feel a bit of vibration in the pedals.

 

I surely don't know but am envious as the hub tamer is one sweet tool. I think there was an article on endwrench with pictures about the svx tool for this job; maybe that would be helpful? And I do recall discussion about similar a Harbor Freight tool and whether it would be suitable...

I thought about going with the harbor freight tools but pulled the trigger on the hub tamer because having everything I need in one simple tool set was irresistible. I didn't feel like running around looking for additional tools that I might need for the job or having the harbor freight tools fail midway through. The price was justifiable as I imagine this will be the first of many wheel bearing jobs I do on this car.

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FYI NAPA will press you new bearings for 35$ per hub...something to keep in mind since hub tamers are generally expensive and you may use them only a few times throughout your life time unless your a pro mechanic.

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I apologize for barging in on this thread but I'd like to know what you hear when rear wheel bearings begin to fail. My '99 Legacy GT is beginning to sound like a car that has snow tires--it makes a "roaring" noise beginning at approx 20 mph or faster. Tires have been rotated frequently and they're not cupped or worn irregularly. Is that the sort of noise that you heard?

That's exactly what I used to hear. Before that, I swapped my winter and summer tires and didn't notice any difference in the sound. Even when cornering, the sound wouldn't change appreciably. I was just hoping that it wasn't something in the rear end or a driveshaft bearing somewhere. The noise progressively got louder over the months, but still sounded just like tire noise.

 

Also, there was no play when trying to wiggle the wheel by the top and bottom. The only other symptom I had was found after I removed the rear drive axle--the hub would feel like a digital volume control knob being rotated (very tiny detents). After tearing apart the bearing, one of the conical rollers had a small flat spot. That's what was causing all that noise.

 

jim

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Yup. It's not an awful noise, though I recently (in the last 10K miles or so) noticed some slight vibration at the gas pedal. The previous owner had both rear wheel bearings replaced twice in the first 59K miles at two different dealerships, the second time with the updated roller bearings. I was hoping the second set would last awhile but started noticing the slight, rhythmic noise at highway speeds at around 75K miles. I went through the who ordeal of having the tires balanced, which caused a slow leak in one tire because one of the wheel weights was inserted too far under the bead, and more recently feared point feared that it might be a bad rear differential. All the while, there has been no play in the rear wheel.

 

Last week, I put all four corners up on jack stands and could feel some notchiness in the bearing and vibration on the suspesion coil as I roated the wheel.

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When I had a rear bearing replaced on my Loyale at the dealership a few years ago, the mech wanted to replace the shaft also saying that, since the part of the shaft that spins inside the bearing's grease seal was pitted, the seal would destruct quickly and i would soon need a new bearing.

Since then I've read similar stories here and elswere. Maybe repetitive bearing failures have this as a cause.

About the Loyale: I refused to have the shaft replaced at the time cause i did'nt have the money. The mech polished the pitted section with fine emery paper but thought it would'nt be enough. Since the car was stolen less than a year after, I dont know what the outcome would have been.

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Hey Porcupine,

 

I scored the hub tamer on ebay for just under $190 including shipping, which was about $100 bucks less than the best price I could find online. I'm sure you could do better on ebay, but I was satisfied with the total cost. The seller was kind enough to charge actual flat rate shipping, which was around $19.

 

Frag,

I've heard this, too, on this board and from a trustworthy private Subaru mechanic in Vermont. But my 1999 Forester had the notoriously bad ball bearings installed from the factory and once more at around 35K miles before having the updated roller bearings installed at 59K miles, each time with new seals all around. Also, we get some but not too much salt on the roads in Philadelphia. This would lead me to believe that the half shaft polished surfaces are probably fine, but I won't really know until I take things apart.

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Yup. It's not an awful noise, though I recently (in the last 10K miles or so) noticed some slight vibration at the gas pedal. The previous owner had both rear wheel bearings replaced twice in the first 59K miles at two different dealerships, the second time with the updated roller bearings. I was hoping the second set would last awhile but started noticing the slight, rhythmic noise at highway speeds at around 75K miles. I went through the who ordeal of having the tires balanced, which caused a slow leak in one tire because one of the wheel weights was inserted too far under the bead, and more recently feared point feared that it might be a bad rear differential. All the while, there has been no play in the rear wheel.

 

Last week, I put all four corners up on jack stands and could feel some notchiness in the bearing and vibration on the suspesion coil as I roated the wheel.

 

I also have noise that sounds like a bearing in the rear of my 91 Legacy. Trouble is I can't tell which side it's coming from.

 

I jacked up the car and put it on jack stands. None of the wheels had any play or roughness when turning. I suppose I could change both rear bearing but I would rather just do the bad one. Without taking everything apart, how can you tell the bad one?

 

(Unless of course both are bad)

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Without taking everything apart, how can you tell the bad one? (Unless of course both are bad)

 

Last week, I put all four corners up on jack stands and could feel some notchiness in the bearing and vibration on the suspesion coil as I roated the wheel.

 

You should feel some vibration on the suspension coil spring as you rotate the wheel. It may not be your wheel bearing. If not, it could be a bad rear differential, bent brake backing plate, something impeding the movement of your rear cv shafts, or if you're lucky, tire noise. Could try rotating your tires to eliminate one of the possible causes.

 

Good luck!

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99 Forester on the original wheel bearing at 132,000 and counting. I bet the lack of salt and frost heaves is the reason the survive well in CA.

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You should feel some vibration on the suspension coil spring as you rotate the wheel. It may not be your wheel bearing. If not, it could be a bad rear differential, bent brake backing plate, something impeding the movement of your rear cv shafts, or if you're lucky, tire noise. Could try rotating your tires to eliminate one of the possible causes.

 

Good luck!

 

Rotating the tires is a good suggestion. They are due anyhow.

 

I was about to go out and try feeling the coil springs when I gave myself a slap in the head. My car does not have coils.

 

I can check for vibration in the air struts but I doubt the rubber bags would transmit as well.

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That's exactly what I used to hear. Before that, I swapped my winter and summer tires and didn't notice any difference in the sound. Even when cornering, the sound wouldn't change appreciably. I was just hoping that it wasn't something in the rear end or a driveshaft bearing somewhere. The noise progressively got louder over the months, but still sounded just like tire noise.

 

Also, there was no play when trying to wiggle the wheel by the top and bottom. The only other symptom I had was found after I removed the rear drive axle--the hub would feel like a digital volume control knob being rotated (very tiny detents). After tearing apart the bearing, one of the conical rollers had a small flat spot. That's what was causing all that noise.

 

jim

 

Thanks for your help! Sounds like I'm gonna' be replacing both rear wheel bearings. I'm lucky enough to have a neighbor that's the shop foreman at a Subaru dealer so he's got access to the correct tools.

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Okay, I had to finally cut the lateral link bolt off to do the job -- this was the most time consuming part of the job. I coated the bolt with antiseize upon installation. You can read about the ordeal in this thread:

 

http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/showthread.php?t=75218

 

The Hub Tamer "Master" Set worked just fine, even without some of the extra parts listed on the Subaru Kent-Moore tool kit. You'll have to improvise to pull the hub if you don't already have a hub puller kit and slide hammer, which I didn't, so I just slowly tapped it out from the inside with a forcing srew (#311811) from the kit. The inner race puller from the kit worked just fine -- just be careful not to scratch the hub in the process.

 

Installation was simple. After the disc from the kit made contact with the housing, I used the old outer race to seat the new bearing. In case you're interested, I used the red Mobil 1 grease to repack the Koyo roller bearings I purchased from RockAuto. Remember not to overpack -- fill up about a third of the bearing space with grease.

 

I also had a cheapy 19-piece seal driver set from Harbor Freight, which isn't great but did the job.

 

Well the noise had gotten progressively worse and after a 1,300-mile road trip, figured I had pressed my luck long enough. Upon removal and inspection, the old NSK roller bearing looked fine, and none of the rollers appeard damaged. However, the outside rollers (next to the hub) were noisy while the inner ones were still silky smooth. The grease also appeared to be in decent shape, and the polished surface of my cv halfshaft was fine -- not pitted. My conlcusion is that poor workmanship caused the premature failure or perhaps my bearing housing or hub are out of round. Only time will tell.

 

History:

-Car purchased new by PO in 4/99

-Wheel Bearings replaced by dealer under warranty at ~30K miles (presumably with old ball bearings)

-Wheel Bearings replaced by dealer with revised roller bearings at 59,347 miles in 10/03

-I purchased car in 5/04 with ~73K miles and heard a rhythmic noise from the rear right wheel. I rotated the tires and had them balanced, but the noise persisted from the same place.

-Just replaced the rear right wheel bearing myself at 117,595. The rear left bearing is still smooth. This means that the roller bearings have lasted at least twice as long as the original ball bearings.

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I put 200,000 miles on the wheel bearings in my 1999 Forester without even hearing one chirp. I wish I could say it was my impecable driving skills, but the snow and salt free winters here, in South Carolina, get all the credit. I used to live in the snow belt, and I'll have to say the Sun belt is much, much easier on a car.

BTW, I think you'll find that rear differential failure is preety rare for a Subaru. You'll know if you get it, the deafening roaring from a worn rear diff often makes a car undriveable.

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I don't know how much people are paying to have them serviced, but I ordered Koyo roller bearings and Beck/Arnley seals for both rear axles from RockAuto, though I replaced only the side that was making noise. The total came to $102.55 including shipping. OEM bearings are made by NTN.

 

The first two sets of the caged ball bearings on this car last 30K miles each. The updated tapered roller bearings certainly lasted longer than the caged ball bearings on my car. The updated rear bearing is still fine after 70K miles.

 

The faulty rear right bearing had been making increasingly more noise from the time I purchased the car until the time I repaced it 45K miles later. But it did not appear terribly flawed aside from heat marks on the hub-side (outboard) rollers into which the hub is pressed.

 

I'm guessing that the contact surface of the outer race and/or the rollers must have been slightly deformed somehow during installation -- either by pressing the bearing into the knuckle by applying force to the inner race rather than the outer race or by tightening the axle nut with the wheels on the ground.

 

The hubtamer installs the bearing with lower force than a convetional press, and is a part of the revised replacement procedure for these cars. The Koyo bearing I installed has been smooth and quiet during its first 15K miles of service.

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