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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wheel bearing failure

I just had to replace a right-rear wheel bearing in a 2006 Outback 2.5 XT wagon at 15,300 miles!!!

I found a bunch of posts on premature wheel bearing failures on older models -- 1998 to 2001.

Is this a chronic problem with Subarus or is an old problem resurfacing? Is there anything to be done to make sure that if the problem continues past the warranty coverage that the costs will be covered by Subaru?
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Comments

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It was common in 1998-2002 Foresters, and on some Imprezas, up to 2001 I think.

    Ironically the fix was to upgrade to the Legacy's design, so we even had the part numbers handy for Forester/Impreza owners.

    I haven't seen too many post 2003 Subarus with the problem, so let's hope it's an anomaly.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Yes the "older" ones used ball-bearings IIRC whereas the legacy used barrel bearings. The Barrel style allowed the weight to be spread over a greater area. I haven't seen many new subies with bearing problems.

    -mike
  • erik9erik9 Posts: 25
    my 07 forester just had four wheel bearings replaced, three at 5000 miles and one at 13000.. and that didnt fix the problem..what a pile of krap this car is,i will never buy another subaru..
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,679
    Sounds to me like the bearings were not the problem, yet they bore the blame. :P
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I suggest taking longer test drives.

    Why would you buy a vehicle that was a pile of krap? :confuse:
  • erik9erik9 Posts: 25
    I will definitely never buy another subaru,their cars and customer service both suck..what a rip off!
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Ok wonderful, out of your 5 posts on Edmunds, they are all bashing Subarus. Unfortunately that is not what this site is all about. If you'd like to be a community member you are going to need to put up more than just bashing posts. Perhaps give the story of why you think they are "crap" considering they are in the top 2 in terms of reliability, 2nd only to Honda.

    -mike
  • erik9erik9 Posts: 25
    Mike,

    Obviously you didnt read my posts, my subaru forester is pile of junk BECAUSE,
    1) THE TRANSMISSION slipped from day one and was replaced with a remanufactured trans by the dealer at 5000 miles .new car rebuilt trans BS !

    2) The car drives terrible and feels unsafe at freeway speeds..

    3) The car has had four wheel bearings replaced in less than thirteen thousand miles..

    4) The car has a terrible axle shaft or drivetrain vibration that two dealers have been unable to fix...

    5) The car has been a complete rattle trap from day one and still has issues

    6) I am finding many other forester owners with the same complaints and i think a class action lawsuit against subaru might give us a small amount of justice

    Thank you for your concern,btw do you work for subaru or what?

    Erik
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Nope, I don't work for Subaru. But 1 bad car does not make the whole brand bad. I'm sorry you have had so many problems and as I posted in one of the other threads perhaps you had an in-transit damaged vehicle. Something to look into.

    -mike
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The car has been a complete rattle trap from day one

    I refuse to believe that.

    From day one?

    You mean you test drove it, concluded it was a rattle trap, and then gave the dealer money for it?

    Sorry, that doesn't add up.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,679
    I agree that these cars can be "rattle traps." I have had two in the past year that I would classify under that category, but the rattles have grown in scope since day one. On my '08, even the glove box was quiet on day one.

    That does not make it any less frustrating now. I tell you what, nothing has ever put a bigger smile on my face (other than the day my wife agreed to marry me... haha, what a mistake on her part!) than the first day I drove my '08 after having driven 2500 miles over 5 days in an F350 crew cab towing 14,000#! It was just me, the empty car, a nice, twisty road, and not a single rattle to be heard.
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Rattles, yes, plausible.

    Rattle trap from day one, no. Not plausible. He would not have bought it.

    Also, wheel bearings should be replaced in pairs, for balance.

    How did they replace 3, then 1 more later? Both odd numbers.

    Something is wrong here, at the very minimum that dealer was completely incompetent.
  • erik9erik9 Posts: 25
    Yes it was a rattle trap from day one,as soon as i got it home and pre delivered it myself(removed all the plastic etc) and took it on a long drive the rattles presented themselves quite noticeably,bought on sat afternoon returned to dealer mon afternoon..i have a one inch thick pile of repair orders to prove it..it took the dealers five attempts to fix the hatchback alone,the dash board still vibrates and the glove box latch ticks almost constantly..when i drive this car it gives me road rage, yes three bearings were replaced at one time by the first dealer.So does the subaru factory repair manual specify that the bearings should always be replaced in pairs??? thanks,

    Erik
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Sorry Juice, never have I heard or replaced wheel bearings in pairs.

    Axles, maybe.

    But never wheel bearings, and I've done several on impezas and my race cars over the years. We have a bearing press in our shop which we use for that purpose almost exclusively.

    -mike
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    If one fails, isn't the other one (on the same axle) overburdened?

    I had one bad one on our Mazda 626, they replaced the pair. :confuse:
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    It shouldn't be over burdened. The Wheel bearing basically supports the weight of the car if it's failed then the weight start to rub on the races and the other components on that sides suspension.

    -mike
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I think you may be thinking of the Axle or CV which I'd suggest to replace in pairs, but even then it's not necessary.

    -mike
  • I just had my Left front wheel bearing replaced, 03 Baja with 70k. $585 total. $65 for bearing and 5 hrs work. I have had this vehicle for 18 months and put 30K on it. I live in San Diego. The cost seems a little excessive to me, so I am looking more input.
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,664
    G'day

    Usually, if a wheel bearing required replacement it has been as a consequence of the flexible rubber boot over the joint being pierced and the joint losing lubrication.

    Five hours sound like about the right time adn labour rates can be checked byu calling a couple of local garages - rates vary depending upon dealers location and cost structure.

    Cheers

    Graham
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I dunno, seems a bit high to me.

    In another thread someone paid $200 to have an axle boot replaced. That should be a similar amount of work (remove caliper, rotor, etc.).

    I haven't done it before, but it seems kinda high. You sure they didn't do anything else?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,679
    This is only a wheel bearing we are discussing here, not a CV joint or boot. Five hours to replace a wheel bearing? What, was it an amateur technician doing the work? I say you were overcharged. If their shop rate is $104 an hour, they darn well better be doing quality, efficient work. Five hours does not meet criterion number two.

    As with what juice said.... that was the only work they did?
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • It was a left front wheel bearing nothing else. I do a little of my own work but haven't messed with WB's in about 25 years and wasn't sure of my abilities anymore. The shop also wanted $400 to do front breaks and rotors but I plan on doing the breaks myself this Friday. I guess I will have to start looking for another shop. Thanks for your input.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,679
    Well, I have not replaced any wheel bearings on a Subaru, but I replaced a couple half-shafts (bad CV joints), so I know the work that goes into tearing down the system to the point you can replace the bearing. The whole axle replacement job took me about an hour and a half for each side. So, assuming that long, maybe an extra 30 minutes to replace the bearing itself, where did the other three hours go?
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Guys I think we may be missing something here...

    Axles/CVs on a Subaru is relatively quick and easy.

    Bearing on the other hand is a PITA.

    The whole entire assembly of the knuckle and hub must be removed from the vehicle, then you need to press the bearing out. If the wheel bearing is shot to the point where it damaged the knuckle then you have to replace that as well. It's not a simple pull out the bearing thing, at least on all but the 05+ legacies.

    However with that said the price is usually in the $300-400 range, I've seen it at dealers as high as $600.

    -mike
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Thanks for the insight, mike.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,679
    Indeed. I did not realize the bearing required a press, though I stand by my statement that tearing down the car to the point where the bearing can be removed is fairly quick. It still makes me wonder about five hours worth of labor. $3-400? I could accept that.
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I thought newer models were sealed up so you just replaced the whole thing rather than pressing a new one in, but mike has lots more experience working on cars so I'll defer to him.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    The 05+ Legacies have a new style bearing that doesn't require a press.

    I would think the Tribeca and 08+ Imprezas have this style as well.

    -mike
  • Guys, just a insurance fight over recent repair, a deer slammed my front end drivers side against wheel, needed replacement of the corner panel, drivers door, un-wrindkle the hood, driver headlight. All cosmetic work was great, left collison shop to a load road noise in front wheel. Found out the wheel bearing on front drivers side where deer hit needed replacement. Had the big fight, goe through ranks , to get them to cover repair. The 2nd level adjuster told me to ask anyone in the industry. They said no way accident caused wheel bearing damage. It was a 2004 grand am 41,000, has a sealed bearing , no outward damage to tire or bearing. 2nd level adjuster said 99.9 % not caused by accident , just normal wear, wearable part . Did the bearing just wear out right after the accident and as soon as I left collision center ??? Well they paid it but told me so!!!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    If it happened within a week or so, I'd say the accident caused it to fail.

    For sure it puts stress on the bearing.
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