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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wheel bearing failure



  • What part of the country can you get $250 for replacing wheel bearings? I checked with another subaru dealer and they wanted the same, about $400-500 dollars.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    The parts are $50 for the wheel bearings.

    The install takes no more than 2-3 hrs.

    In my book that's $250-300 max for the wheel bearing replacement.

    Dealers will rip you off obviously....


    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • My Subaru (our fourth since 1998, of which we still have three) is an '05 Legacy Outback with about 48K miles (& 11K since all brakes replaced). We have loved the vehicles, especially in our climate and geography, and the cars have by and large been reliable. The '98 needed replacement gaskets at about 110K, but don't they all. I have never had a wheel bearing failure in 35 yrs of hard driving. I now get a fairly loud and high pitched screeching noise, sounding like metal on metal. I hear it most of the time, regardless of the application of brakes. It cycles faster as the car accelerates. It appears that the noise is not present while driving in a straight line, but appears to return when the wheels are turned. Wheel bearing failure? Something else-center differential problem? The performance seems about the same. Any thoughts? One of the posters states that the warranty has been extended on certain 05 Legacy Outbacks, but no explanation known for difference in treatment. We purchased extended warranty from Subaru, and we expect/demand that the warranty will cover the problem. Will the dealer have seen this problem before? Can I trust my local neighborhood mechanic, who seems like a good guy? Thanks.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's how the failing wheel bearings on our Mazda 626 sounded. Speed dependent, just like yours, the pitch would change.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    If you have the extended warranty it will be repaired without question. If your VIN (as mine did) falls into the ones effected in 05 by the rear wheel bearing issue, then it will be covered under the original warranty (as opposed to the extended that may have a deductable).

    It's a fairly easy job that most dealers can do without messing up your car. Your neighborhood mechanic probably can't do the job if you want it covered by Subaru since it would need to be done at a Subaru Dealer.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • I drive a 92 Subaru Legacy and I'm pretty sure that today my rear left bearing went. I first heard it pulling in to the driveway and it sounded like something dragging. Now I can hear it while driving at a slow enough speed. The Holidays, etc, and I'm broke. How long can I drive on a toasted bearing?
  • w8ifiw8ifi Posts: 78
    I'm not a mechanic by any means, but usually a wheel bearing will show beginning signs of failure for awhile, not sudden like yours. Sounds to me like a spring holding a brake shoe might have failed and the shoe is dragging in the brake drum. One of the regulars here can probably give you a better diagnoses.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    It could be either the brake shoe of a rear drum brake, a brake shoe of a parking brake, or a bearing. If it is the bearing you are usually ok for 100-2500 miles depending on how bad it is. I'd plan on getting it fixed/looked out soon though.

    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'd fix it ASAP...the increased friction may kill your gas mileage.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I did some work on my LGT. I had 2 bad LCA Bushings so we replaced them. When you do that you also need to do the ball joints so I put in the AVO LCA Bushings, Whiteline's roll-center kit which includes the Ball Joints and tie-rod ends. Also added he Whiteline front sway bar and kartboy end links. And finally a Whiteline Strut bar.

    Well when we went to put the ball joints back on one side the knuckle cracked. So we replace that. Oddly we had to press out the bearing even though the LGT has a bolt in bearing/hub setup. After putting it back together, the bearing appeared bad, so we had to replace that. My thought was that the bearing was going bad all along and overheated the knuckle,making it brittle.

    So the bottom line is that the bearings should get done ASAP. I also paid $200 to get the bearing/hub replaced!

    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • lupinelupine Posts: 1
    First time poster, so be gentle :)

    $200 for the parts to do it yourself?

    Rear right bearings are failing on our 1995 Subaru Legacy LS wagon, and just got a quote for $370 + tax from our local Subaru shop (not a dealership). Parts are much cheaper, and I believe I could do it myself, with the help of a auto mech friend of ours (Ford), but reading through the forums and seeing all the different part options makes me a bit nervous. Off topic, but going to replace the shocks at the same time (190k on the original set would infer that they're due lol).
  • blackbeanblackbean Posts: 100
    My front right bearing went at 77k on my '02 bean. It was $414.03 at the Subie dealer. I actually asked them to replace both front bearings and they said it was not needed. I guess back in the day (25 years ago), as a backyard mechanic I would just make a day out of it and replace all of them thinking that if one went, they were all close...maybe true for my old 67 Volvo, but the bearings on Subies should last for 150-200k (unless ther eis a defect and premature failure) according to the dealer.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,268
    That should be right. I put 220K on my '96 Outback with no wheel bearing problems whatsoever.
  • garyg1054garyg1054 Posts: 4
    First of all, let me state that we just bought our fifth Subaru. We only still have four of the five, because the 2003 Outback was lost in an underground garage flood.(We now have two Outbacks and two Impreza Sports). All have run exceptionally well, in my humble opinion. They have been safe cars for my children. I have owned two Toyotas and two Hondas in my 38 years of driving and the Subarus are at least as well made. The Odysseys have had ongoing transmission and catalytic converter problems documented at the Ody club site. The Subarus are better made than the Mazda and Nissan which I formerly owned. The '98 Outback had the gasket problem. Anyway, I will get to the point. I wrote last fall to this forum to inquire into the potential of a wheel bearing failure in my '05 Outback Legacy, but it turned out to be a brake issue. I am now newly hearing a rather loud (and never before heard) noise from the rear at low speed while the engine is cold, and it is a little intermittent. It sounds like metal scraping on metal but might have a little grinding mixed in. The noise disappears at higher speeds when the engine is warm. The noise tends to most often occur while making a turn at low speed when it seems to echo off the walls of the underground parking facility. Just a few weeks ago I had the transmission and transaxles flushed for the first time (at 58k miles). Is it possible that the oil in the differential was not replaced? While I no longer do my own repairs, I foolishly think that I can understand the mechanics of the car well enough. This noise has me stumped, though I have never really had a bad wheel bearing before. I have read thru all of the prior 95 messages in this forum, and no one provides a basic explanation of the noises and symptoms which lead to a diagnosis of a wheel bearing (or CV joint) failure. Would one of the pros (like paisan Mike, or kcram) explain symptoms and clues? Would the noise of a bad wheel bearing be constant? Is is always a grinding noise? Could it occur as I have described? Would the car ride any differently, such as with a slight vibrational up and down movement? Almost all of the posts in this forum seem to assume that the diagnosis has been already been made. What should I expect to occur? I do have the 80,000 mile Subaru extended warrant-the car now has 59,950 on it. For repairs, I switch back and forth between a good local mechanic and my dealer, depending on the issue, level of expertise involved, warranty coverage, etc. but that assumes that I have a good idea of the problem. Thanks guys, I appreciate your willingness to impart your knowledge. Postscript after reading prior messages: erik9 may have somehow bought a lemon (I never heard of self-prep on a new car) but he really was determined for a good while to just show up at the forum and bad mouth the entire brand. If many people really had his experience then the brand would be in bankruptcy.....Thanks again.
  • I'm glad I found this thread and read about this extended warranty. On the way home tonight (cold out!) on the parkway I started hearing loud strange growl and pitch from the right rear on my 2005 Outback with 64K.

    I'm like ARE YOU KIDDING ME? It sounds like a wheel bearing. It actually made noise also as I was slowing down... then after I pulled into a parking lot to check it out, it went away. See what happens tomorrow.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Usually the pitch of the noise will vary with speed, i.e. higher as you increase speeds.

    Our 626 went "chunk chunk Chunk CHUNK CHUNK CHUNK" when its bearing went bad.
  • Anyone have consistent problems with Subaru wheelbearings? I have a 99 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport with 250,000 miles on it. Engine runs great. My only real problem is the wheelbearings going out over and over again. I have replaced the wheel bearings on the car SEVEN times. The first time at 77,000 miles after the 50,000 mile warranty was expired. No one has been able to put in a wheelbearing that lasts more than 50,000 miles and no one has been able to tell me why they keep going out. I am the original owner/driver. The car does not carry extra weight and usually has just the driver in the car. :lemon?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    For Foresters, Subaru recommended replacing the wheel bearings with similar parts from the Legacy, which were heavier duty. You should try the same, I bet they'll fit.

    I'm surprised your mechanic wasn't aware of that, or what it a Subaru dealer? Maybe they wanted you to keep coming back, if so shame on them.
  • Hi - I've got a 2005 Legacy wagon that I bought last year at 95 km, now 112. Just found out the front bearings need replacing. Not surprised - I had been hearing a fairly loud hum that I thought was the tires combined with AWD (my first AWD vehicle). Don't know if first owner was hard on it or what, or if that can possibly make a difference with bearings. It was a lease though. I'll be forking out $720 for the two at dealer (Toronto).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I guess you're past the powertrain warranty?
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