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2011 Outback Limited 2.5
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42 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey Guys...I recently replaced my wheel bearing and after not knowing which was bad I decided to go with some science instead!

Hopefully this will help anyone else out with a similar issue.

Background:
I've had a bad wheel bearing for the past 5 months and the sounds finally got to be too much. I tired the typical grab the wire and shake it and after trying each wheel twice i have has no luck.
Calling the dealer they said they run it on the lift and listen to each hub with a stethoscope...really??

Well being an engineer I knew that the sound was coming from the friction of the poor wheel bearing...friction develops heat.

So one day after my 60 mile commute home i took out instantly my infrared thermometer and shot each hub.
See below:

470147

Three wheels were around 122 Deg F - So That's normal

470148

153 deg F...hmmm okay i think i found it!

Replaced it
470150

man what a pain

470151

new!

And best of all the noises are gone! it feels nice to drive a silent car again!!

Anyway hope this is helpful for you guys!
 

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'17 OB 3.6 , '12 OB 3.6 (Deceased MVA), '11 OB 2.5 , '11 Legacy 2.5
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73 Posts
Hey nice job, and good pics !! I'm getting ready to do mine, on my 2011 Outback 2.5. Mine is the L-Rear, I've had an intermittent rumble for months now, but I think I will try your method just to confirm. I already have the OEM Subaru hub/bearing, just dragging my feet. I will definitely do it before Winter comes, and I think I'll also do my rear brakes while I'm in there. Thanks for posting, have a nice Holiday Weekend :)
 

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'10 3.6R Outback Limited, 2zr swapped Toyota Yaris track toy, '05 AWD Pontiac Vibe
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204 Posts
Thanks for the tip. So the wheels passed the wiggle test but did they all spin freely?

My OB is starting to sound like an airplane at speeds higher than 50km/h but there are no play in any wheels and they all spin smooth and free. I also have no change in noise when turning either way. I'm assuming it's a wheels bearing as it changes noise level with the speed of the car.
 

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2011 Outback Limited 2.5
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42 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Hey nice job, and good pics !! I'm getting ready to do mine, on my 2011 Outback 2.5. Mine is the L-Rear, I've had an intermittent rumble for months now, but I think I will try your method just to confirm. I already have the OEM Subaru hub/bearing, just dragging my feet. I will definitely do it before Winter comes, and I think I'll also do my rear brakes while I'm in there. Thanks for posting, have a nice Holiday Weekend :)
Hope it helps and good luck! Mine was a pain to do, if you do it on the ground like I did a 4lb sledge hammer with a long handle worked best! and put a scissor jack under the control arm so the suspension doesn't absorb the shock :)
 

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2011 Outback Limited 2.5
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42 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the tip. So the wheels passed the wiggle test but did they all spin freely?

My OB is starting to sound like an airplane at speeds higher than 50km/h but there are no play in any wheels and they all spin smooth and free. I also have no change in noise when turning either way. I'm assuming it's a wheels bearing as it changes noise level with the speed of the car.
Yeah they all spun freely for me. Though, when I took off the rotor and spun the hub by hand i was able to feel the grainy feeling of the bad wheel bearing.

Yeah anything over 45 mph for me was humming, at first there was a change in sounds depending on the turn i made but after a while the sound was always there.
 

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Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
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4,105 Posts
Having an impact wrench really makes the difference between absolute misery and a simple job when doing tasks like wheel bearings. I don't know why I waited so long to get mine.
 

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Great job Geneworld!

"So one day after my 60 mile commute home i took out instantly my infrared thermometer and shot each hub."

I've figured that on mine too, but using my hand. Your tool would make that easier and eliminate questions, (outside of a potentially sticky brake caliper), to which one was bad. I have a question since ive got a front wheel bearing going too. I've put it off since I don't have a hydrolic press. My old GL you could easily DIY by tapping it in and out.

How did you get that bearing out of the hub and a new one in?
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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15,967 Posts
The new hub bearings are assemblies. There is no pressing involved like with the older models, you just swap out the entire hub assembly.
 

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2011 Outback Limited 2.5
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42 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Oh yea. I forgot that those are available too.
That would save a lot of time.
Thanks!
Yeah Just go for the whole hub assembly, I found them onlint from MOOG for only 75$ which is more than half of what the auto part stores are offering.

One thing that would have made it easier would have been a hub puller but i didn't have one, I've also seen people using one of these Here which comes in handy from what it looks like!

I even found it cheaper Here

Edit: I'm not sure why the links i post don't work, but if you google "ATD Tools Wheel Hub Removal Tool (ATD-8629)" You'll find what i'm talking about from Amazon and also from TOCBER Where i found it at over half the price
 

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Registered
2012 Subaru Outback, 3.6 V6
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2 Posts
Hey Guys...I recently replaced my wheel bearing and after not knowing which was bad I decided to go with some science instead!

Hopefully this will help anyone else out with a similar issue.

Background:
I've had a bad wheel bearing for the past 5 months and the sounds finally got to be too much. I tired the typical grab the wire and shake it and after trying each wheel twice i have has no luck.
Calling the dealer they said they run it on the lift and listen to each hub with a stethoscope...really??

Well being an engineer I knew that the sound was coming from the friction of the poor wheel bearing...friction develops heat.

So one day after my 60 mile commute home i took out instantly my infrared thermometer and shot each hub.
See below:

View attachment 470147
Three wheels were around 122 Deg F - So That's normal

View attachment 470148
153 deg F...hmmm okay i think i found it!

Replaced it
View attachment 470150
man what a pain

View attachment 470151
new!

And best of all the noises are gone! it feels nice to drive a silent car again!!

Anyway hope this is helpful for you guys!
I am so happy to hear this. I just bought a 2012 Outback 3.6 Limited and the dealer is giving me all kinds of trouble. I hear a whinning noise and the rumbling feel going down the road. It is in a new dealership and they are replacing a U-joint and left rear wheel bearing, $800.00. Hope this is the right fix.
 

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131 Posts
Yeah Just go for the whole hub assembly, I found them onlint from MOOG for only 75$ which is more than half of what the auto part stores are offering.

One thing that would have made it easier would have been a hub puller but i didn't have one, I've also seen people using one of these Here which comes in handy from what it looks like!

I even found it cheaper Here

Edit: I'm not sure why the links i post don't work, but if you google "ATD Tools Wheel Hub Removal Tool (ATD-8629)" You'll find what i'm talking about from Amazon and also from TOCBER Where i found it at over half the price
Thanks for taking time to add these!
Thats the way I'll go after replacing my clutch.
You just saved me a lot of time and money!
 

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2011 Outback Limited 2.5
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42 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Glad I could help you guys out!! Let me know if you have any issue when you start your work and I can see how I can help from experience. :)
 

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'10 3.6R Outback Limited, 2zr swapped Toyota Yaris track toy, '05 AWD Pontiac Vibe
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204 Posts
Glad I could help you guys out!! Let me know if you have any issue when you start your work and I can see how I can help from experience. :)
I just realized you are from NY - how did the hub removal go with all the salty goodness your OB had seen?
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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12,371 Posts
Almost the same title to the same suggestion I posted 6 years ago:

The temp gun doesn't always work so our titles might border on click-bait. LOL. Subaru wheel bearings are easiest to diagnose by ear. If you pay close enough attention you can tell which corner it is, with terrible hearing I get it right 100% of the time. I just ordered 2 Subaru front wheel bearings 30 minutes ago for two different Subarus and I have no worries about which corner is bad and I used nothing but my ears.

Very occasionally some are hard to pinpoint and no method is 100% determinate on all failure modes - these require a multi pronged approach of noise, temp, stethoscope, play.

The temp gun should be the first step as it is the simplest as it requires no tool or jacking the car up. And if you have to buy a tool you get a fun one to play with for other things too! Additionally check for play and take note if you can amplify the noise around turns at certain speeds to assist listening or check with the gun multiple times in case the style of driving didn't exacerbate the bearing failure and heat geneartion.

But honestly, with just focusing and paying closer attention most people should most of the time be able to pinpoint the corner it's making noise. If you have a "hunch" or a guess, like I did when I first started diagnosinig them, you're probably right and after you do this dozens of times you'll learn that hunch is right. Sit in both sides of the car, lean over, window up/radio off, quiet, or window down to hear external noises. Sit in the rear and do the same. Vary driving speeds and turns to see if you can amplify the noise.
 

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Registered
2011 Outback Limited 2.5
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42 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
The temp gun doesn't always work so our titles might border on click-bait. LOL. Subaru wheel bearings are easiest to diagnose by ear. If you pay close enough attention you can tell which corner it is, with terrible hearing I get it right 100% of the time. I just ordered 2 Subaru front wheel bearings 30 minutes ago for two different Subarus and I have no worries about which corner is bad and I used nothing but my ears.
The noise you hear from a faulty wheel bearing doesn't come from nothing though, it is added friction to the system; friction develops heat.

You're right though; no method is 100%, I've had a few different people in my car in different seats going through bendy roads and they all couldn't agree on which one it was. I was the only one with the correct suspicion before doing the heat test.

I simply took the personal opinion out of it since numbers don't lie.

But I can edit my original post saying that this might not work for everyone to not make it "click-bait"
 

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2011 Outback Limited 2.5
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42 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
I just realized you are from NY - how did the hub removal go with all the salty goodness your OB had seen?
Actually a lot better than I thought in a way, all the parking brake and the four hub bolts came off no issue at all. The only problem was the typically difficulties with actually removing the hub.

I also upgraded my rear sway bar at the same time and all those nuts and bolts were in good shape too! I was expecting to need to replace bad ones but I'm not used to things not breaking :LOL:
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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12,371 Posts
The noise you hear from a faulty wheel bearing doesn't come from nothing though, it is added friction to the system; friction develops heat.

You're right though; no method is 100%, I've had a few different people in my car in different seats going through bendy roads and they all couldn't agree on which one it was. I was the only one with the correct suspicion before doing the heat test.

I simply took the personal opinion out of it since numbers don't lie.

But I can edit my original post saying that this might not work for everyone to not make it "click-bait"
Nah man, don't edit anything, "click-bait" totally a joke boss. just adding more data points here, not discounting anything.

Temp guns need to be more commonly the first step, anyone can do it! I only added additional comments for future readers, not to critique the post.

The temperature method is awesome and works often - but it doesn't have 100% efficacy. Getting technical with friction/heat is fun to me and I would bore the !()(%*!% out of almost anyone traveling that rabbit hole because I like data and statistics and rates and mechanical systems to a fault. But it's more complicated than that, since some don't show overheating, and future readers who might not be mechanically inclined would probably be better off knowing that to avoid a possible false negative.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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12,371 Posts
Actually a lot better than I thought in a way, all the parking brake and the four hub bolts came off no issue at all. The only problem was the typically difficulties with actually removing the hub.

I also upgraded my rear sway bar at the same time and all those nuts and bolts were in good shape too! I was expecting to need to replace bad ones but I'm not used to things not breaking :LOL:
Good grief! Good condition, that's impressive. I pretty much expect every sway bar to need cut or torched and call it lucky if I'm wrong.
 

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'10 3.6R Outback Limited, 2zr swapped Toyota Yaris track toy, '05 AWD Pontiac Vibe
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204 Posts
Actually a lot better than I thought in a way, all the parking brake and the four hub bolts came off no issue at all. The only problem was the typically difficulties with actually removing the hub.

I also upgraded my rear sway bar at the same time and all those nuts and bolts were in good shape too! I was expecting to need to replace bad ones but I'm not used to things not breaking :LOL:
What was your method of removing the seized hub?
 
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