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2002 outback
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Discussion Starter #1
anyone done front wheel bearings? i have a bad one on the left side. looking online, they are not sealed, but open with race. also, the fsm seems to have some critical measurements when installing. i am about to buy a set of used knuckles, and have new bearings installed, then just swap them. it also says in the fsm that the upper bolt on the bottom of the strut is for camber adjustment. so i am also looking at alignment? i dont trust the "scribe and see" method.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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well, if you're swapping in different knuckles, I'd think it wise to do an alignment.
 

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01 Outback H6 VDC, 97 GT wgn w/ ej22, 98 OBW w/ej22
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i did this a couple of weeks ago. i used a cold chisel to mark the bolt head and the edge of the strut. i swapped one knuckle. and put it back together. i noticed no difference in the alignment. but we are talking about camber so it may not change how the cars drives, just how the tires wear. a week later a replaced the struts so i had the alignment done then.

in theory the knuckles are machined / drilled and so they be the same. but if that was an absolute there would be no need to have an adjustment on the cars. so plan on an alignment.

when i did mine, i dropped the knuckle off at the machine shop in the morning and picked it up by lunch. parts and labor for one wheel bearing $100.

you might weigh the cost of the alignment against the down time for re-using your existing knuckles. it just depends on your situation.

good luck.
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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Either way, the knuckle is removed for repair and an alignment will be necessary. Any time the suspension is disassembled and reassembled, an alignment is best because the camber angle change, however slight, will change the toe angle.
 

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01 Outback LL Bean
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I agree. Anytime I touch the front or rear suspension, the alignment needs to be done. It may drive fine, but the small misalignment can lead to things like premature tire wear which is more costly than an alignment in the long run. Good alignment shops will charge separately for a front and rear alignment and so if you find one, you can get an alignment for just the front if you want to save a few bucks.
 

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01 Outback LL Bean
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Also, seems like a waste of money to buy used knuckles, but if the shop needs a couple of days to press in the bearings, and you can't be without the car for that long then it makes sense.
 

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01 Outback LL Bean
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Also, for the money you are paying the shop and you are paying for used knuckles you could buy a 12 ton press from Harbor freight and do it yourself.
 

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2002 outback
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443 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
i would go the diy route, except i have no place to put a press. small garage. and past experiences taught me to get either a new or used part, rebuild it, then swap it. that way i avoid the go back and forth looking for other parts or other machining. i read up as much as i can, then decide if i want to remove the part on the car, or get another. i just changed the rear upper link. the inner bushing was fubar. my reasoning is that if the inner is bad, the outer is not far behind. i could get the 2 bushings, remove the arm, then get them pressed out/in. and new arm with bushings was 68 bucks. for me, it was cost effective to get a new arm. looking at the bushings, i can see them going out again in the near future, so i keep the arm, and get new bushings next time. same with the knuckles. there is enough of a chance that the hub(s) are worn, so i also am getting new hubs. 75 bucks shipped for a pair. this car now is my bread and butter, so i gotta try to keep it up for the long haul.
 

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01 Outback LL Bean
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In my experience, and I am not a mechanic, I have never seen a damaged or worn hub. The hub is pressed into the inner race which isolates it from the inner and outer race where the bearings are. I think it would take considerable driving on a really bad bearing before the hub would ever be damaged or worn. Basically the bearing would need to seize and then the hub would need to start turning in the inner race for it to wear. At that point your wheel is probably about to go flying off the car.

Experts, Is this a bigger problem then I make it out to be?
 

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2002 outback
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Discussion Starter #10
In my experience, and I am not a mechanic, I have never seen a damaged or worn hub. The hub is pressed into the inner race which isolates it from the inner and outer race where the bearings are. I think it would take considerable driving on a really bad bearing before the hub would ever be damaged or worn. Basically the bearing would need to seize and then the hub would need to start turning in the inner race for it to wear. At that point your wheel is probably about to go flying off the car.

Experts, Is this a bigger problem then I make it out to be?
if i can find the article, i will post it here. it was from an all subaru independent shop, i forget where. it showed a worn hub. the description was that after the bearing race is removed from the hub, the finish on the hub was described as like matte. a very slight lip had formed right near the inner end of the hub. they said they had changed a lot of hubs in this condition. i sold parts for a living for 30 years. there are certain situations about parts. one of them is that if there are a whole lot of a certain part available from several manufacturers, that means the part fails a lot. tooling up to make parts is costly. look at lower control arms. there are a few aftermarket manufacturers, so there must be a demand. i just changed the rear upper link. these are only available genuine, and no one stocks them. they have to come from one warehouse. however, the bushings in the arm are readily available, and aftermarket, too. even whiteline. for 35 bucks per hub, to me it is cheap insurance.
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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I got a new hub when I did my front, returned it when I inspected and 'cleared for service' the old hub.

Any stripes that go around the hub where the bearing races sit is a bad sign.

I drove on a bad rear until the races were pretty damaged, hub was fine. Those guys with the damaged hubs 9have seen a few pics) must be going for a loooong time on a bad bearing, or maybe the nut was left too loose during a previous service.
 

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2002 outback
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Discussion Starter #12
ok, found it.

NASIOC - View Single Post - Wheel Bearing Replacement - Guru's guide w/pics

and check out this post, scroll down to one by ottodog. he replaced both hubs:

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/81-wheels-tires-brakes-suspension/16755-03-outback-wheel-bearing-diy-job.html

i use my outback to deliver mail, on rural routes. a lot of dirt roads, and some have huge potholes. it beats the crap out of the suspension. i dont want to take chances, so i like to put new stuff on. my outback has 120k on it. i have to get the left side(car is now rhd) wheel bearing done, it is a bit loose, and i dont have a lot of time right now. at a later date, i will get a press and do it myself, along with front lower control arm bushings, rear upper link bushings, etc, cause i know they aint gonna last. if i find i do need hubs, that means another week or more, and i dont want to wait. i dont mind buying parts and tools, when i did my timing belt, i bought the factory tool for the front pulley. i paid i think 60 bucks, and i think it was worth every penny.
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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i would go the diy route, except i have no place to put a press. small garage. and past experiences taught me to get either a new or used part, rebuild it, then swap it. that way i avoid the go back and forth looking for other parts or other machining. i read up as much as i can, then decide if i want to remove the part on the car, or get another. i just changed the rear upper link.
You definitely need a 4 wheel alignment.
 

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01 Outback LL Bean
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Be happy that you got the pinch bolts out :)

If the knuckle is in the car then there are a couple of ways to apply force to get it out. Outside of the car that tool or similar is probably your best best.
 

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2002 outback
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Discussion Starter #17
i just picked up the knuckles, new hubs, bearings, seals. 80 bucks for both. i am waiting for my ball joint tool. installed the left upper link today. i cannot believe more people dont have the same problem. both inner bushings are shot all to heck. the steel inner has separated from all the rubber. outers seem to be ok, but it would be dumb to take a chance on changing just the inners. easy job, too
 

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2002 outback
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Discussion Starter #19
for 35 bucks delivered, i dont think it can be beat. here is a writeup on it:

NASIOC - View Single Post - Sniper1rfa's most kick butt ball joint removal tool

and if you look at the other pics on the ebay ad, it appears it will remove really bad frozen ball joints. since the knuckles are off the car, i can make sure the openings are nice and clean, and greased when i install. because i KNOW they is gonna go bad again. i also chased all the threads, and never seized them. i learned a long time ago, that if a certain part has to be removed, it will probably have to be removed again at a later date. might as well make it easier the next time.
 
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