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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wheel bearing failure



  • mike1957mike1957 Posts: 1
    I am with the others disappointed with their Subarus, and no, I do not feel I have high or unreasonable standards for the car. To begin with Subaru owners pay good money for their cars. The money spent is not in the high end category but it is certainly well above the economy level. The Subaru reputation is of a reliable, durable car, and they seem to always rate high in vehicle reviews. Me, I have not had that experience. We live in the San Francisco Bay Area so we do not have extreme weather. My commute was brutal, but my wife's is 17 miles with little traffic. We are on our third Subaru. Our first was a 2000 Outback with a manual transmission. With this car the clutch went out at 61,000 miles, the computer failed at 72,000 miles, the timing belt needed replacing at 74,000 miles. We now have a 2006 Outback with an automatic transmission and a 2006 Forester with a manual transmission. The Outback had a fuel injection problem at 32,000 miles, the transmission had a major problem at 42,000 miles, and now BOTH wheel bearings had to be replaced at 66,000. The Forester had its speed gear replaced at 17,000 miles, the catalytic converter was replaced at 33,000 miles, the timing chain went out at 52,000 miles, the oil seals went out at 86,000 miles. We have not spent over $100 for each repair because we have had extended warranties, or the repair was covered by the manufacturer's warranty but according to the invoices the repairs ranged from $650 to $1800 in cost. Each repair took a minimum two and a half days to complete, leaving us minus a car. I have been very religious with changing the oil and meeting maintenance requirements. Major servicing was always done by the local dealership. I have had other cars, Fords, Saturns, a Mazda, all "econo models" and have not had this type of reliability. The other reality is the Subaru gas mileage is not something to write home about. I hate to say it, but our next car will not be a Subaru
  • Increased "groaning" is either scalloped tires (try cross-rotation to even out over time; if too late, or tires are directional, you'll have to toss 2 or the set), or an emergent bad wheel bearing, probably one of the rears.

    Water pumps on the modern SOHC 2.5i are gold. So I would NOT trust your local shop. T-belts last well beyond the 105k service interval too unless the tensioner goes. In its 6th year I'd be sure that the plat plugs are new, as well air filter, ps belt, atf (do not ignore!), and other simple stuff. Check right inner DOJ boot if you start to smell it, and be VERY careful to keep coolant reservoir full (check monthly) as you probably have a small (normal?) #4 cyl coolant leak at the gasket.

  • I have a 2007 OB. In the last two weeks it has required two new axels, a brake job (3rd one it has had), and now they tell me it needs wheel bearings in the back ($1400) and a new clutch ($600). The dealer told me I should trade it in but not at their dealership!?!! It has 93,000 miles. I guess the sell before 100,000 is a good one.
    When I bought mine I was looking for a used one and all I could find were ones with 120,000 miles. Now I know the folks fixed them one more time and then got rid of them. That's my plan.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    $1400 for new wheel bearings? Do they come with new wheels and tires? That's insanely high.
  • the new wheel berrings need to be de greased and repacked with high temp disc break gresse like (crc) or stay-lube part # sl3161 this is what i use on my subarus and i only repack the berrings every 90,000 to 120,000 miles since i have used this grease i have had no wheel bearing falure at all so try it , i do belive you will find out the factory bearings come with packing like grease but its not designed for usage it only ment for it to sit on shelfs so it wount rust , i have been using this grease for 12 years on all 4 of my subarus including my 2 outbacks 07,10 it works great ,
  • rufus21rufus21 Posts: 2
    At 227,000 miles my left front bearing needs replacing, my mechanic said. It started out as a scraping sound like brakes needed to be replaced or like something was being dragged under the car. It got louder when I turned left. Don't have the money to replace it until 10 days from now. The mechanic said that could be dangerous and to only drive it on the back roads and not on the freeway.
    The mechanic said cost $250. Lived in San Fransisco Bay area for the first 2 years. Then moved to Foothills (country) of Sierra Mountains. It has been great in snow. I have had very good luck with it. Just regular maintenance, oil and brake change etc. The original odometer went out at around 100,000 miles, just before we drove throughout Mexico.
    2 years ago, had white light "check engine" come on and so failed smog test. Had that repaired,the catalytic converter.This year had the head gaskets replaced and the alternator.
    Even though things are starting to wear out now, I don't think that is too bad for having almost 230,000 miles on it. It is just starting now to give me trouble. ;)
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,158
    That sounds pretty good!

    The nice thing about wheel bearing failures is that they warn you ahead of time. The bad part is that when they finally fail, your car isn't going anywhere.... I've had it both ways.:cry:
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • longo2longo2 Posts: 347
    Been lurking on this forum for a few days and thought I would note your last post as one of the best pieces of advice a Subi owner could get on the constant wheel bearing issues a lot seem to be having.

    It's like a few posters who have had "gas smell" in their cars that no one can find out why....until one poster pointed out a difficult to find weak clamp on a gas line that simply tightening up, will fix the problem.

    I've been serioulsy thinking of getting a used Subi for a winter vehicle, but keep finding outraged Subi owners posting that they will NEVER buy another one. Of course as on any forum there are the usuall Fanboys, who would buy again even if it had 3 wheels and a garbage can for a seat.

    Posts like yours make me more confident that good Subi mechanics and long term owners have sorted out what seem like fatal defects and suggest simple but effective fixes.

    Now if there was a simple fix to my horrible Honda Odyssey a/t tranny issues! ;)
  • Sorry! I've heard about those horrible Odyssey trannies too....

    dlanning may have forgotten that the 2005+ Subies use sealed bearing hub assemblies that are permanently lubricated upon manufacture. There isn't even a way to "repack" them! However it's a good idea to lube mating surfaces carefully so that no excess torque is applied when mounting a new one in order to prevent crushing it.

    These assemblies are otherwise extremely easy to mount, total time being 30-40 min per corner. Fair cost is then $60-120 for the bearing hub [non-permissible content removed]'y and $50-80 for labor. Thus at less than $200 per corner it's difficult to countenance complaints of expensive repair requirements.

    But the rear struts in the modern Subies are "soft" too. But again, nice KYB GR2 replacements wholesale for only $59 and take 30-45min to install. Annoying, but hardly exorbitant.

    The real problem lies in the plethora of overcharging rampant in the industry right now, wherein I'm seeing estimates 2-4x the above!

    It serves one to remember that AWD vehicles, having TWO driven axles, are apt to have twice as many wheel bearing issues as simpler FWD or RWD cousins.

    Nonetheless I'm getting sick of having to replace so many RWBs this year on 2005-2008 OBs I service....
  • Feeling quite the same way. I had always trusted Subaru, and always recommended it to everyone. I have a 2008, with 39,000 miles, and the front hub bearing went. That is totally ridiculous, even IF the car had seen a lot of tough miles (which it has not)!
  • Any on else experiencing excessive noise sounding like "ur-ur" regularly and clanging once in a while? This all started after aprox 150 miles on the car.
  • longo2longo2 Posts: 347
    "Nonetheless I'm getting sick of having to replace so many RWBs this year on 2005-2008 OBs I service.... "

    I have noticed that a big Subie re-seller in Co. lists the things that have been done to their used ones for sale and just about all of the ones with 95 to 120,000 miles have had either one or both "Front axles" replaced, head gaskets, and brake jobs.

    Either the local Subies are being beaten to death by enthusiasts or there is something seriously wrong with that brands reliability. Knowing that the vehicles will be used off road, I would think they would be built pretty much indestructable for normal use.

    In your opinion, what are the older, (affordable) best years to be shopping for in an Outback 2.5 a/t?
    Thanks in advance...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    A wheel bearing is a fairly minor problem to have. At least we're not complaining about head gaskets like we used to, or transmissions like some other brands' threads.
  • I have a 1999 Subee Outback and 247,000 miles on it. Just heard a very loud bang when I turned into my drive way. There was something hanging down from the underside front of the car. Mechanic took the piece off. Said the sway bar broke. axles are fine. but we could still drive it without worrying as we had a 400+ mile trip planned that weekend. Drove fine on trip. When he gets the part in I will have it fixed. But can drive now without any problem.
    Meant this reply to go to the person who asked for years good for used cars. I'd say 1999 is good. I have never driven off road with it but plenty of snow driving in Lake Tahoe, CA mountains at ski resorts . Drives great in snow no matter what age it is. I gun it snow going up our steep driveway in snow and no problem.
  • longo2longo2 Posts: 347
    "Meant this reply to go to the person who asked for years good for used cars. I'd say 1999"

    Thanks for the info...this is amazing. 247,000 miles and this is the first problem, not head gaskets, nothing?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,158
    edited October 2011
    1999 is a bit of an iffy year for the transmission (automatic). For some reason, there just seem to be more reports of transmission trouble that year than either before or after; it might have something to do with a slight design change that incorporated an external filter... ? I would still rate the frequency as uncommon (if not rare), but it is notable because one almost never hears about transmission problems on the 4EAT in other years.

    longo, I had a 1996 Outback (2.5L) and replaced the head gaskets myself at 192,000 miles. I could tell there was an issue with them, but I didn't have any overheating problems. I continued to drive it to 220,000 miles with no further problems. Sadly, it was destroyed in a crash.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited November 2011
    the sway bar broke

    I bet it's the end links or bushings. If the sway bar itself is hanging there loosely, broken, I suggest removing them until you get the new one.

    I've upgraded sway bars (to a bigger size, not that they broke) and it's just 4 bolts, not a difficult job.
  • I just got the word that my 99 Outback with 225k miles needs a new driver side wheel bearing, got quoted at about $700 for the repair This seems like a ludicrous price to pay for a fairly quick fix. Could someone tell me, am I getting ripped off, cause it certainly seems like it? Thanks
  • re: 2007 Impreza Sport: Vehicle has about 58,000 miles. While turning left (and only turning left) with a full load (5 people and a little luggage), I heard a pronounced growling from the left rear wheel. It sounded very much like a bad wheel bearing. After reducing the weight load, the sound disappeared and has not recurred. Dealer states that wheel bearings in rear have been inspected and no problems found. Noise was not duplicated by dealer. Could weight load affect performance of bearing? Could weight load expose a bearing failure which should be expected in the future? Any thoughts? Thanks.
  • I currently own four Subarus for myself, wife and children. I had two more Subarus previously. I come from an era when Jeeps had incredible numbers of quality problems, AMC cars were junk, etc. No car is perfect. The Nissan Quest at one time had serious engine problems and the I also had a Honda Odyssey with a transmission that started to fail for the SECOND time at 135,000. My 1998 Legacy outback, like many, had an oil gasket problem and the brakes were too indistinct with too much pedal travel but those problems were corrected in subsequent years. All four struts went bad in the 1998 at about 160,000 miles but I have not had the same problem with the later cars. I still regard the Legacys made over the past ten years as just as well made and well engineered as any Honda or Toyota, and better than a Mercedes considering its recent problems. My family currently drives an 05 Legacy Outback, an 07 Impreza Sport, an 09 Impreza Sport and an 11 Legacy Sedan and all are driven a lot. I only recently started to suspect a possible wheel bearing problem in the 07. Realistically, the problems with these cars have been inconsequential to non-existent, and I have particularly enjoyed driving the Legacys.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,158
    160,000 on struts?! That's impressive. I replaced the struts on my '96 Outback at 155K and they were shot - I mean totally useless. 100,000 miles is about all you'd ever want to put on struts before performance will noticeably tank. As strut performance deteriorates, not only will the ride become harsher, but the amount of wear and tear on other suspension components (such as ball joints, bearings, tie rods) will increase proportionally.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,158
    Possibly, but as a rear wheel, I am surprised that you would only hear it when turning left. That wheel has the least amount of weight on it in that scenario. Were it the right wheel in a left turn, I can see it only manifesting at that time due to the combination of weight and force.

    If you put the car up on a jack stand and cannot get any wiggle out of the wheel when you test for bearing wear, I doubt it is the source of your problem. It could also be a differential or rubbing problem. Usually when you get to the "growling" phase, the bearing is fairly far gone.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • longo2longo2 Posts: 347
    "These assemblies are otherwise extremely easy to mount, total time being 30-40 min per corner. Fair cost is then $60-120 for the bearing hub [non-permissible content removed]'y and $50-80 for labor. Thus at less than $200 per corner it's difficult to countenance complaints of expensive repair requirements".

    So says the subaruguru on this guess, you ARE getting a rip off quote.
  • Have road noise, suspect wheel bearing/s. Got 4 wheels off ground, no play, but one seems to have more drag. Bad bearing or is drag coming from elsewhere in the driveline>?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    If one is different than the rest, that pretty much points to that particular bearing.
  • jc29redjc29red Posts: 1
    i have 1998 subaru legacy outback.i love this car but after years of standard maintance.things have gone bad for her the last couple of years.3 exaust breaks.and now i beleive its losing the wheel bearings.called napa for bearings and seals 105 for front bearings and seals but have to take the front spindle off since there pressed in,broke three bolts off last year changieng brakes around it. has me a little leary of taking this on myself.but on the account not much money these days fraid im going to have to.any advice is helpfull need a puller to swperate the shaft and spindle any body know what size of jaw puller this is?
  • I just had the driver's side front and rear wheel bearings replaced on a 2005 Outback turbo. An ABS brake sensor was also replaced. The work was done by a "Subaru dealer" in the Seattle area. Total cost? $899.00. This is excessive. What can be done about it? Does Subaru America monitor this sort of thing?
  • Monitor? How do you mean?

    I would have thought that bearings should be replaced in pairs, front and/or back.
  • There is likely 10 hrs of work, plus parts, involved in the job.

    You do realize that more money is made on parts than the initial car sale?

    The bearings aren't like our old american car front wheel bearings. They are sealed bearings, pressed in, and require parts of the suspension to be removed.

  • best answer here is to avoid the dealer. Surely there is a trustworthy competent service garage in your area. I take what repairs we have to a local garage. They have invested in the test equipment and service manuals and are way cheaper than the subaru dealer.
    New car dealers reward you for making the second biggest purchase in your life by screwing you royally when they get the chance. Once the warranty is up its not usually a good idea to go there. ten hours labor to change a wheel bearing? sounds like a lot but I have no personal experience so maybe its so.
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