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Rhythmic clunking noise from right rear wheel/exle

I have a 2003 OBW that has developed a clunk, clunk, clunk noise form the right rear wheel area. Seems like it might be an axle (bad cv joint). the noise increases on the highway forcing me to take a secondary road. I am not quite sure how to diagnose a bad rear cv joint as all the boots are untorn. the frequency of the noise seems to match wheel rotation but it isn't a clack, clack , clack like I am used to in a front axle situation. If I have someone drive the car slowly I can bit my hand on the fender and run alongside the car and I can "feel" the clunk like some one is hitting the car with a hammer. I can find nothing loose. Any thoughts and help would be appreciated. Thanks

Comments

  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 683
    I presume you have checked the tire and rim and checked tightness of the wheel lugs.. Exchanging left and right rear wheels temporarily might make sure.
  • New tires were just installed due to a one bad belt in a tire so tires are fine. This is a sharper sound more like a hammer hitting a suspension part but there are no loose parts rotating and hitting. After reading posts there is talk of differentials and other parts in a AWD system that I am not all that familiar with. Seems to be emanating from the hub area of the wheel assembly so my thoughts are:

    bearing-usually growls not clunks but I am not sure if it could make a sharp clunking noise.
    CV joints- usually gets louder when you turn but this is a rear axle so no turning to test. My boots seem fine but joints can still just wear out. Car has 180k miles.
    Differential- I know nothing but from what I have read this could cause a clunking noise.
    Brake caliper- a quick inspection turns up nothing alarming.

    If this is the drive axle how difficult is a rear axle on a OBW to replace. I have done my Honda and VW for years so I know the basics just not the tricks on a Subaru.

    Thanks again for your thoughts. Jon
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My guess is wheel bearing.

    We had a Mazda 626 that had a bearing go out and I described the sound as "chunk chunk chunk", also speed-dependent.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,396
    I suspect the same thing. When the bearing went out on the rear axle of my old '69 Econoline, it was the same clunking. It didn't turn into a growl until the entire assembly disintegrated!
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