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2007 2.5 L Obsidian Black Outback XTL
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602 Posts
It may not be a particular problem with the bearings themselves but instead it may be in how they are pressed in. If the bearings are not in perfect alignment or the bores are dirty/corroded/gunked up or if they are pressed in or tightened against the inner races it will damage them before the first mile is put on the car.

Bearings should be pressed on with the force only on the outer race and perfectly parallel to the seat. I have seen youtube's of people banging on them with hammers or they tighten down on the axle nut to pull the bearings fully in to their seats. Using axle nut technique of seating bearings puts the force on the inner race and causes the bearing to use the bearing balls and the wear surfaces of the races as the means of transferring force to the outer race. This will create little divots in the race and also micro stress fractures on the bearing balls.

It is almost as if some people think that since the underside of a car is dirty, grubby, covered with mud, rust and grease that it is less important to maintain an absolutely clean work environment when installing wheel bearings. They are just as critical as the main journal bearings on a car engine and if you left that much dreck in the crankcase you would not have high expectations for the motor to last very long.

If you are doing your own wheel bearings then put a little bit more effort in to cleaning things out when you have it apart, measuring dimensions and clearances before assembly, use the proper tools and techniques when pressing in bearings and use a legitimate, high quality grease and not just whatever you happened to have sitting around the garage.
 
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