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2012 Outback - 2005 Outback XT
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Discussion Starter #1
So what's the opinion on aftermarket wheel hubs?
The wife's 2012 has a noisy bearing...somewhere. Still haven't pinpointed which corner(s).
Pricing replacements, as you'd expect, aftermarket hubs can be had for significantly less than OEM.
Normally, on wear items like that, I stick with OEM, but the price difference usually isn't so dramatic.
A single OEM for front is about $175. I can get a pair of aftermarket from Amazon for $85. The labor isn't too bad, so I don't mind the risk... assuming the cheaper ones aren't known to be total garbage.
Thoughts? Experience?

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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I check who the warranty is through. For example, a Napa Premium hub is actually and SKF, one of the best mfg in the world. I think they were $165 bought over the counter. The Advance gold (I think) is actually a Moog and if I remember were about $90.

We all know a $45 Chinese hub unit, is just that. So I would find out who built them and then decide.
@ruby2012 how's the XT doing? Problem still solved?
 

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2012 Outback - 2005 Outback XT
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Discussion Starter #5
I'm going to steer clear of the ultra cheap $45 Amazon hubs.

Rock Auto offers Timken, SKF and Moog. All are historically reputable brands. But all are almost certainly manufactured in China. So my choice will be one of those.

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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16,118 Posts
Rock Auto offers Timken, SKF and Moog. All are historically reputable brands. But all are almost certainly manufactured in China.
Here is my experience with SKF through Napa and Moog through Advance. (I like to shop local, and sometimes don't have the patience to wait.



USA ... USA ... USA



China

 

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My experience with Timken has been phenomenal (not in this application) well worth the price if you never want to have to replace again. Usually made in japan but I've used them for years in 18 wheelers that get tons of miles and never had problems with them.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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My experience with Timken has been phenomenal (not in this application) well worth the price if you never want to have to replace again. Usually made in japan but I've used them for years in 18 wheelers that get tons of miles and never had problems with them.
Timkin are world class. They actually had a bad run of bearing a year or so back ... maybe 2. But any decent storefront or retailer should honor the warranty without issue.

3 years 36,ooo miles is the best I have seen on an SKF, Timkin ... the Moog carries that as well. I do believe the OEM Subaru replacement is 12 months 12,ooo miles.
 

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'03 outback limited, '01 Outback Limited, '01 Legacy L wagon, '96 Legacy Brighton wagon
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Almost all Moog stuff is made in China now, so avoid them unless you have no choice. Use to be a good quality company.


SKF has a bearing/hub assembly that from what I have seen is of higher capacity than the OEM version. Not inexpensive, but more than likely well worth it.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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Almost all Moog stuff is made in China now, so avoid them unless you have no choice. Use to be a good quality company.


SKF has a bearing/hub assembly that from what I have seen is of higher capacity than the OEM version. Not inexpensive, but more than likely well worth it.
I am currently testing this assumption. I decided to considering the cost difference. (3) years is long enough for me. My (4) SKF on Frankie are beyond 3 years. They have about 18K miles on them. The Moog fronts on Cherry have 23K miles and counting. 19 months on the calendar. The fronts cost me about $170 less going with the Moog. Again, I shop local.
 

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I've replaced three of the four bearings on my 2011 with Moog, I'm going for the fourth in a week or so. Not many miles yet, but they seem fine.

You should understand that "made in" simply means the last place an assembly operation occurred. In today's wacky world, the parts can easily be made in five different countries, but bear the origin designation of wherever they were gathered together into a complete assembly. This will be even more true as manufacturers seek to duck tariffs for importing whole assemblies.
 

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2009 Outback XT Limited
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I've been having a lengthy conversation on a Mercedes forum about bearing\ball joint qualities. We decided one of the key important pieces most often overlooked was the grease that came in those parts.
The cheaper the quality part, the cheaper (and least amount) of grease.
Have any of you tried filling your newly bought part with high grade grease? Especially sealed bearings or ball joints?
I've done this a number of times with better than expected results. Even the cheapest Chinese parts lasted significantly longer!
Ever since first trying it I've made a point to open up all (supposedly) pre-greased items (like ball joints) and check on the grease. Almost every time, even on dealer parts, there's not as much grease in it as there should be.
I've certainly never encountered one with too much grease in it!
....
Two weeks ago I grabbed these super cheap front end pieces. Every single ball joint had about almost nothing in it!
I can only imagine how many people have been installing these and wondering why the only last 1 whole year.
I'm actually amazed they don't have a warning label stating grease before use!
....
But if you haven't tried it yet, the next time you buy something, wipe out the grease that comes in it, and refill it with high quality stuff.
Hopefully it'll last much longer for you.
 

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I use an industrial hypodermic for this. A fairly large gauge needle can usually be wiggled in between the neck and seal without causing damage. I inject SuperLube, a high quality silicone grease. Also works well for repacking older joints. Subaru OEM is hardly better than the cheap stuff.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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I use an industrial hypodermic for this. A fairly large gauge needle can usually be wiggled in between the neck and seal without causing damage. I inject SuperLube, a high quality silicone grease. Also works well for repacking older joints. Subaru OEM is hardly better than the cheap stuff.
SuperLube is what you get with CKE SSP sway bar bushgings.
 

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2012 Outback - 2005 Outback XT
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Discussion Starter #16
So here's what you get when you order Timken (S. Korea)

I ordered a pair for the front. Replaced the RH one, since it's the one I suspected was making the noise. My suspicion was correct, even though inspection didn't reveal anything obvious. Apparently just had to be loaded a certain way to growl.


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Discussion Starter #18
I've seen a lot of good quality from Korea. Even their guitars are better than the average.
I definitely prefer to see S Korea as country of origin over China.

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In most cases the easiest way to find a bad wheel bearing is drive around for 45min-1hr. Then check temp of each wheel. The "hot one" is bad bearing. I usually just feel with back of my hand but infrared thermo if you want to be clinical. Its more reliable measure than other diag methods for wheel bearings as you can get noise and drag and still have no noticeable movement on inspection.
 

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In most cases the easiest way to find a bad wheel bearing is drive around for 45min-1hr. Then check temp of each wheel. The "hot one" is bad bearing. I usually just feel with back of my hand but infrared thermo if you want to be clinical. Its more reliable measure than other diag methods for wheel bearings as you can get noise and drag and still have no noticeable movement on inspection.

How would you differentiate from normal brake heat?
 
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