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1998 Subaru Legacy Outback
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976 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Was wondering if anyone here has any ideas what can be going on. The symptoms have me a little stumped.

Recently, when the wagon reaches about 50 mph and up to about 60 mph, I've noticed a shallow vibration in the area of my feet either coming from underneath or from the center console area. In addition, there is a deep drone, whine with this vibration is going on. I checked the front differential fluid and the tranny fluid and all is up to proper level. There is no vibration in the steering either. Also, when I get to my destination, I can smell what I think is the tranny fluid... same smell I always notice when driving in snow where the AWD system is consistently being engaged and disengaged.

Other symptoms that have been occurring previously but not sure if they are all tied together in any way:

-When making right turns (right turns only) at typical intersections, I get a heavy vibration coming from somewhere in the front. Vibration is not during the actual turn, but when accelerating back to speed while unwinding the steering wheel back to the straight position. Once the car is driving straight again, the vibration is gone. The vibration is somewhat rough, scale 1-10 (10 being very heavy), I rate it at about 7.

-Tranny hesitates when shifting between 2nd & 3rd gear. Does not hesitate at any other gears, only from 2 to 3. The tranny will come out of 2nd gear, float for 2-3 seconds, and then catch 3rd gear.

Again... I'm totally stumped. I've read anything from a possible bad drive axle to a bad U-joint for the driveshaft. The axle makes sense due to location where I can feel the vibration coming from. If it were anything related to the driveshaft, I would feel it in the seat.

Thank you in advance,
Andre
 

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1998 Subaru Legacy Outback
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976 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
I guess I'm not the only one that is confused about this situation... Lol.

Andre
 

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Registered
2005 OBW 2.5L, 1989 Subaru Justy, RIP Blu
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7,355 Posts
Was wondering if anyone here has any ideas what can be going on. The symptoms have me a little stumped.

Recently, when the wagon reaches about 50 mph and up to about 60 mph, I've noticed a shallow vibration in the area of my feet either coming from underneath or from the center console area. In addition, there is a deep drone, whine with this vibration is going on. I checked the front differential fluid and the tranny fluid and all is up to proper level. There is no vibration in the steering either. Also, when I get to my destination, I can smell what I think is the tranny fluid... same smell I always notice when driving in snow where the AWD system is consistently being engaged and disengaged.

Other symptoms that have been occurring previously but not sure if they are all tied together in any way:

-When making right turns (right turns only) at typical intersections, I get a heavy vibration coming from somewhere in the front. Vibration is not during the actual turn, but when accelerating back to speed while unwinding the steering wheel back to the straight position. Once the car is driving straight again, the vibration is gone. The vibration is somewhat rough, scale 1-10 (10 being very heavy), I rate it at about 7.

-Tranny hesitates when shifting between 2nd & 3rd gear. Does not hesitate at any other gears, only from 2 to 3. The tranny will come out of 2nd gear, float for 2-3 seconds, and then catch 3rd gear.

Again... I'm totally stumped. I've read anything from a possible bad drive axle to a bad U-joint for the driveshaft. The axle makes sense due to location where I can feel the vibration coming from. If it were anything related to the driveshaft, I would feel it in the seat.

Thank you in advance,
Andre
Vibrations at 60 mph - your car is old enough that a universal joint in the driveshaft may be seizing/failing.

Flush the transmission fluid and see if that has nay effect.

The 2-3 shift, does the engine rpm flare at all, or does it stay constant and just feel like nothing is happenining.

How many miles.

Do all the tires match, equally worn and properly inflated?
 

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1998 Subaru Legacy Outback
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976 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Car has 188,300 Miles. How would you check for a bad U-Joint?

I was planning on flushing again once the weather got better. Didn't think it would be needed since I did it about 15,000 - 20,000 miles ago, but doesn't hurt to do it again.

Tranny & RPM stay constant and feel like nothing is happening, and then engages next gear.

All tires are worn the same and I check tire pressure every 2-3 weeks... so should be ok.

Thank you,
Andre

Vibrations at 60 mph - your car is old enough that a universal joint in the driveshaft may be seizing/failing.

Flush the transmission fluid and see if that has nay effect.

The 2-3 shift, does the engine rpm flare at all, or does it stay constant and just feel like nothing is happenining.

How many miles.

Do all the tires match, equally worn and properly inflated?
 

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Premium Member
03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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18,113 Posts
a bad axle might exhibit some of the symptoms.

but, you may have 2 problems at once.
 

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2005 OBW 2.5L, 1989 Subaru Justy, RIP Blu
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7,355 Posts
I have noticed that as the 4eats get older the like fresh fluid more often. What I did was switch to a drain and fill every other oil change.

As long as there isnt a flare it isnt anything to get too excited about. What helped resolve mine when it did it was a replacment MAP sensor form a scrap yard (lower mileage car) and a new ground from the engine to the battery. They may not resolve it for you, just a suggestion.

Right turn can be an outer or inner CV joint. The CV can also cause the high speed vibration. What condition are the boots in? They dont have to have torn boots to wear out.
 

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Premium Member
01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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15,483 Posts
To verify an axle vibration, cruise with the your foot on the accelerator creating torque on the drivetrain at the point the vibration occurs, then take your foot off the accelerator. If the vibration quits, its the axle. You just have to figure out which one from there by feeling for which side it is coming from or jack it up on stands or a lift and put it in gear and look for the one that wobbles.
 

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98 and 99 Outback
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36 Posts
I just had a very similar vibration. My right side axle boot lost all the greese, and the joint finally gave out. I replaced both front axles just because my Leggy Outback Wagon has a 160,000 miles plus. I paid $50 for each side at Napa auto parts rebuilt. Best of luck!

Eddie
 

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1998 Subaru Legacy Outback
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976 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Well... finally had time to take the OBW to the shop. I was starting to think that it was the driver's side drive axle but after inspection of the boots, they were perfectly sealed. But since there could still be internal damage without the boot actually rupturing, I still thought it was that. Mentioned this to the mechanic and also told him to swap out the front, right wheel bearing as it was making some noise, so figured it would be bad.

Well, my trusted mechanic put the car on the lift (I wasn't there for this) and drove the wheels and he said the amount of vibration coming from the front was a lot.

Long story short, it was the wheel bearing that was causing all the vibration issues. The drive axle was perfectly fine. The mechanic also said that there was an ABS ring that was broken as well?!? My father is actually the one that picked up the car for me, so he is the one that relayed the message to me... does that make any sense? I don't know if this 'ring'.

Thank You all for your help.

Andre
 

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Somebody Else's XT
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14,437 Posts
Long story short, it was the wheel bearing that was causing all the vibration issues. The drive axle was perfectly fine. The mechanic also said that there was an ABS ring that was broken as well?!? My father is actually the one that picked up the car for me, so he is the one that relayed the message to me... does that make any sense? I don't know if this 'ring'.

Thank You all for your help.

Andre
ABS tone ring. It's a sprocket looking gadget with magnetic teeth. As the teeth pass by the sensor head, they create magnetic fluctuations which the sensor can count to determine the rotational speed of the wheel. The ABS computer uses this data to make sure the wheels don't lock up.

In many modern cars the tone ring is integrated into the wheel bearing, or mounted so close that a bearing failure can wipe out the ring easily.

Sounds like your guy nailed it.
 

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1998 Subaru Legacy Outback
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976 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
ABS tone ring. It's a sprocket looking gadget with magnetic teeth. As the teeth pass by the sensor head, they create magnetic fluctuations which the sensor can count to determine the rotational speed of the wheel. The ABS computer uses this data to make sure the wheels don't lock up.

In many modern cars the tone ring is integrated into the wheel bearing, or mounted so close that a bearing failure can wipe out the ring easily.

Sounds like your guy nailed it.
Ah... I know exactly what it is.

Yeah... he is good and very fair with his pricing. He actually does a lot of work for me and my family for free, which is uber nice. We just give him large tips :)

Andre
 

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2010 2.5i Limited, Graphite Grey
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60 Posts
Thanks for this thread. I have a similar issue; at 60-65MPH and higher I start to get some vibration. i'm building my list of possibilities on why. I was thinking originally it was a tire (or tires) that were off balance a little; I've driven cars that drove just fine at lower speeds but at highway speeds had vibration and rebalancing the tires fixed it. I'll have to try that test Cardoc mentioned.
 
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