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2008 Outback 2.5i, 2009 Forrester 2.5 sohc
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm pretty sure one of my front bearings is making noise. How do you know which bearing is the noisy one? Its hard for my ears to tell which side of the car the noise is coming from. It almost sound like tire noise.
 

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6,271 Posts
Lift the car and use an auto stethoscope as you spin each wheel. You will be able to quickly tell which is the noisy bearing.
 

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2008 Outback 2.5
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966 Posts
Quite frankly I don't think it matters. If one bearing is bad, you'd probably want to change both sides at the same time anyway.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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26,473 Posts
if you got a pistol style thermometer pry off the center caps.

and drive the car and get it to make the noise for a while and then stop (like after a half hour of listening to it ). you can take heat measures at the wheel hub on each side.

front left vs. front right,

rear left vs. rear right.


the hot one of each pair maybe the one.

at the same time measure the temps of the top of the brake discs, and brake calipers in the same way. (might be a hanging brake,...just like a bearing).

getting the thing up with 4 wheels off the ground on a lift /jack stands is better though, then using a cheap mechanics stethoscope. and spinning by hand is easy. and look for a axle ticking from a loose/cracked boot,...or a tire that is not the same as the rest.
 

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2008 Outback Wagon LL Bean Limited 2.5i
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851 Posts
Quite frankly I don't think it matters. If one bearing is bad, you'd probably want to change both sides at the same time anyway.
I will have to disagree with changing bearings on both sides of the car. Bearings do not have to be replaced in pairs. I will agree when brakes pads go bad on one side, you'll have to do the other side. Wheel b
 

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2008 Outback 2.5i, 2009 Forrester 2.5 sohc
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Discussion Starter #6
do you put the stethescope on the knuckle?

I replaced the front left in May, 2016 with a Timken, I think that is one making noise. front right is still the original. In a way I hope it is the one i replaced, it will be easier to remove.
 

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2008 Outback 2.5
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I will have to disagree with changing bearings on both sides of the car. Bearings do not have to be replaced in pairs. I will agree when brakes pads go bad on one side, you'll have to do the other side. Wheel b

Actually, yeah you're right. It's just that if you learn how to do it on one side, you could do it on both and save yourself relearning how to do it on the other side when that goes out. At my age 2 years is enough time to forget how you did it the last time.

With egg on my face, if Joe finds out his 2 year old bearing went out again while the original one is still holding up, I'll have double egg on my face.:surprise:
 

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2019 Outback Wagon 2.5i limited
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307 Posts
Actually, yeah you're right. It's just that if you learn how to do it on one side, you could do it on both and save yourself relearning how to do it on the other side when that goes out. At my age 2 years is enough time to forget how you did it the last time.

With egg on my face, if Joe finds out his 2 year old bearing went out again while the original one is still holding up, I'll have double egg on my face.:surprise:
No reason to replace bearing until they have noise problems. I replaced my first REAR bearing probably around 60,000, second one to go bad was the front (same side) at around 140,000 miles. Now, I have another one growling and I actually think it is the same on as the first to go bad. Should have used a better quality part I guess.

I haven’t figured out a good way to determine the faulty bearing yet. Maybe if I remove the pads, I can feel the grinding or hear it better.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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no single method confirms every wheel bearing every time unfortunately.

1. i prefer to just listen and the sound will tell you. in the cases where i'm unsure but it "seems" to be the left - the uncertain guess has always been right. get some help, sit in both front seats, windows down/up/radio off, no fans running - listen closely. change your head/ear position from down low to high. stand outside the car on both sides as it drives by at the lowest speed it'll produce noise - if it's loud enough. maybe someone with better ears can help confirm/listen?

2. infrared gun - take multiple readings to get a feel for what's going on, the temp fluctuations are so variable even by moving the gun millimeters that you need to average or look at extremes to see it.

3. stethoscope

4. rotate tire by hand and look for resistance/drag/lumpiness while you're turning the wheel by hand.
 

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2005 Outback 3.0R VDC/VTD/LSD 5eat , 2.8'' lift
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In most cases if sound changes from turning wheel to one side or other while driving then its bearings. Which one of sounds becomes louder when you turn to one side then that side is bad. I guessed mine couple times now without problem. One rear and one was front both driver side.
Btw do it on empty road some remote best.
 

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2019 Outback Wagon 2.5i limited
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Jack it up, put hand on spring, spin wheel -- You'll feel it.
Spinning the wheel on an AWD vehicle is not an easy task, you are trying to spin more than one wheel and they don’t really spin freely enough to feel any vibration.
:loveawd:
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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Spinning the wheel on an AWD vehicle is not an easy task, you are trying to spin more than one wheel and they don’t really spin freely enough to feel any vibration.
:loveawd:
Not so. I work on AWD vehicles all the time, and not just Subaru; BMW, Mercedes, Nissan, Toyota, Chevy, Land Rover and Dodge. The wheel will free spin off the ground just as it is able to turn freely in vehicle maneuvering when driving. The differential allows for slip. You'll also be able to tell if the bearing is loose by grabbing the top and bottom of the suspect wheel and try to wobble it. Movement is bad and don't drive it.
 

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2005 3.0R
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Jack it up, put hand on spring, spin wheel -- You'll feel it.
I've seen this in action. Grab the spring or hold a wrench or something against it while the wheel spins. Ideally with the car on a hoist and the car idling in gear. Quick and easy to check all 4.
 

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2006 Outback Wagon 2.5i
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Mine whined/rumbled as I turned right, so I thought the left front was faulty. Replaced the left front, same noise. Replaced the left rear, same noise. I replaced the right front with old left front bearing and no more noise!. I know it's like putting your underwear on inside-out and calling them a fresh pair, but I've put around 8K miles and it's still good. And if I have another bad bearing I know which side to start on!
 

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'03 outback limited, '01 Outback Limited, '01 Legacy L wagon, '96 Legacy Brighton wagon
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The last thing you want to do is install a used bearing so that it rotates in the opposite direction from what it originally did.


to source the noise by yourself - get out on a highway that has the concrete barriers on both sides. Drive in the LH lane, and then the right, with the front windows open. It will immediately be obvious which side is louder. it won't ell you if it is the front or the rear bearing, but at least you have eliminated 2 of them from consideration.
 

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2019 Outback Wagon 2.5i limited
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Not so. I work on AWD vehicles all the time, and not just Subaru; BMW, Mercedes, Nissan, Toyota, Chevy, Land Rover and Dodge. The wheel will free spin off the ground just as it is able to turn freely in vehicle maneuvering when driving. The differential allows for slip. You'll also be able to tell if the bearing is loose by grabbing the top and bottom of the suspect wheel and try to wobble it. Movement is bad and don't drive it.
I definitely have a whiner, but no movement when I grab the wheel. That was the first thing I tried. When I try to spin the tire, opposite tire spins with it. I might give another try to jacking up all wheels and letting the car do the spinning.
 

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2008 Outback 2.5i, 2009 Forrester 2.5 sohc
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606 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I changed the bearing I suspected yesterday, the Timken I replaced 2 years ago, and the car is quieter now, especially when turning at 20 to 40 mph. Luckily the Timken popped off easy. One hit with a hammer, and a gap between the dust shield and the bearing was visible, a couple more hits with a chisel and it came off without damaging the dust shield. Replaced with SKF, and again covered mating surfaces with anti seize. I also replaced the bolts holding the bearing, which are STARRED items in the FSM
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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Replaced with SKF, and again covered mating surfaces with anti seize. I also replaced the bolts holding the bearing, which are STARRED items in the FSM
I have had very good experience with the SKF, on my Jeep even, for the $$$ they better be good.
 

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Wheel bearings?

I have an 08 outback , and has a judder at low speed with wheel turned, also if parked you can rock car a good way backwards and forwards like there is play in something? what could this be?
 
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