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99 Subaru Outback front end issues

angieaangiea Member Posts: 3
edited July 2014 in Subaru
My 99 subaru outback began grinding type noises in the front end, esp. on turns. The mechanic replaced my front right axle and cvr joint. The car now made a new whirring sound that I assumed was associated with the new parts. I continued to have some slightly different noise issues after about a month or so. so they took it apart again and discovered my bearing was shot so they replaced it and the spindle that goes with it. Following that surgery, my cars wheel made little soft rubber squeaks which I tried very hard to ignore because I am a picky type. But now I've noticed that sometimes when I turn my car sharply, the wheel grabs; sometimes just once, sometimes a few little grabs (small jerks/ like the wheel wants to stick in that direction). The mechanics I am using are not Subaru mechanics, but they're good guys. I'm beginning to wonder if I should've taken it to a Subaru dealer (and hour away) because maybe Subies are compicated under there? I just want it fixed and safe.


  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 16,130
    Hmmm. On both of the issues you mention first, I agree with the assessment and the repair. I don't think your mechanics did anything wrong there. The rubber squeaks may be bushings that could use some lithium grease. Are you getting that noise all the time, or over bumps, etc?

    For this last one, the "grabbing," I think you may have a differential issue. Does it matter what direction you turn? And, by "sharply," I am supposing you to mean you have the wheels at or near lock in either direction (low speed turns) as opposed to taking curves at a high rate of speed. The sensation of grabbing while taking corners is often caused by worn ball joints. I would expect your mechanics to have caught worn ball joints, though.

    For what it is worth, I had 220,000 on my '96 Outback and the ball joints were still in good shape. I did have to replace both front half-shafts (due to CV boot/joint failure); one was at about 125,000 and the other at 144,000.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I'll suggest something even simpler - make sure the tires themselves are not rubbing anywhere in the fender liners.

    Look at the fender liners themselves to see if there is any wear.

    I had that on my 93 Miata, but the car had been hit twice, so my guess it the body shop didn't put the fender liner is precisely the correct location.
  • angieaangiea Member Posts: 3
    Thankyou xwesx. The little rubber squeaks are present when the car is going very slow, especially when I first start out; both in forward and reverse. I don't know if the sounds continue as I speed up or not because they are so soft I cannot necessarily hear them over the other car sounds. I don't notice them being associated with bumps. I will ask the mechanic about greasing the bushings.
    As for the grabbing, I only notice it when I turn right, and mostly after the car has been sitting idle, like when I pull out of my parking place.
    New noise; I am now getting the little twirpy sqeak noises like brakes give off. The noise stops when I push on the brake peddle. However, my brakes are relatively new and should not need replacing. Could the work on my wheel and axle have affected my brake on that side?
  • atlgriffinatlgriffin Member Posts: 2
    I was wondering if you ever solved the issue. I too have had numerous and costly repairs to my 2000 outback. cv joints axles, even a drive shaft, and bearings on both sides. The last repair 2 weeks ago and now it is , again, undrivable because of the violent wheel jerks while driving ant any speed. Most repairs done my a subaru dealer, so I really am losing faith. Only 140,000 miles and over $5K spent since last April.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 16,130
    Yours really does sound like a differential issue; if so, though, I have to wonder why a dealer would not have caught it the first time! Symptoms for bearings and axles (CV joints) are very specific, like what angiea noted in the original post, and "grabbing" is definitely not one of them.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 16,130
    edited March 2010
    Twirpy squeaks that go away when hitting the brakes. Sounds like this may be the beginning of a failed ball joint. Any reputable shop should be able to easily diagnose the health of the ball joints. Replacement of ball joints is a fairly simple procedure, but does require specialized tools. I apologize for not replying earlier - I went down to Seattle on 9/24 to pick up my new Forester and missed many days of posts.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • angieaangiea Member Posts: 3
    Yes, I think I may have resolved the 99 Outback issue. Review: I went to a regular garage, not to the dealership. They replaced my right front drive shaft and cv joint, then a month or so later they replaced my right wheel bearing and supports. The squeaky brake syndrome they said was just a noisy brake...they switched it, complimentary. What really, finally, seemed to make the last big difference was new tires. My right two tires were worn, but my left two were fine (I think I got the sides right, anyway). When I drove out of the tire shop with my new tires, it made a very big difference, it seemed. Things felt right, noises ceased, and I've not had a problem since. Knock on wood.
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