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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello - first time posting here but it sounds like this is the place to hear from some Subaru pros! I'm also a first time Subaru owner, as my wife and I just purchased a used 2017 Outback 2.5i from a private seller. It has 33K miles on, so not much wear. It is an R-Title that had some some minor front end damage (replaced bumper and headlight), but it has been repaired and my trusted mechanic checked it out and gave it the all-clear. It also had an "Enhanced Inspection" just days ago for PA. So wife and I were very excited to the join the Subaru family!

Everything about the car seems fine - basically looks like new - except for one thing. We noticed during a joy ride today that around 40 MPH we start to feel a vibration at the front of the car that is very rhythmic in nature. A low "Vvvvvv" humming sound, almost like we're driving over a rumble strip. As we accelerate the rhythm speeds up and gets higher in pitch, going from like once every 2-3 seconds to once a second at 70+ MPH. The car is hovering between 2 and 3 RPMs.

Performance doesn't seem to be impacted at all - it's accelerating just fine, it's just the noise and a slight vibration that travels through the car that's bothersome. Note that the vibration seems in the front and bottom of the cabin (the pedal) and not the steering wheel. Is this normal? I would think not, but I have read complaints and noisy highway driving in 2017 Outbacks. I also have never had a CVT car and I heard they drive differently so maybe we just need to adjust. It's not something we noticed when we tested out the car but we're afraid we must have been stuck with a major problem otherwise.

I'm not a car guy, but my first thought is that it's tire related - but would the sound be that rhythmic and increasing with speed if it was the tires? Could use some advice on this one! Thank you!
 

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I'd check to see that the air deflectors under the car are all attached proper. Wind/air moving under the car with high velocity will make loose plastics vibrate. Since it was "repaired", and I see a lot of these, my bet is on loose retainers, missing retainers, zip tied parts you don't see unless you're under there, or a piece is missing that helps support the others.

With low miles, I doubt it's a wheel bearing, but you may want to check both front as a bad bearing will create noise and vibration. Was the wheel hit?

Other than that, check the front diff and CVT fluid level and condition. There's a specific method for checking the CVT fluid. Your mechanic should know, or he should know how to find out. If he doesn't, post back and I'll give you the run down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'd check to see that the air deflectors under the car are all attached proper. Wind/air moving under the car with high velocity will make loose plastics vibrate. Since it was "repaired", and I see a lot of these, my bet is on loose retainers, missing retainers, zip tied parts you don't see unless you're under there, or a piece is missing that helps support the others.

With low miles, I doubt it's a wheel bearing, but you may want to check both front as a bad bearing will create noise and vibration. Was the wheel hit?

Other than that, check the front diff and CVT fluid level and condition. There's a specific method for checking the CVT fluid. Your mechanic should know, or he should know how to find out. If he doesn't, post back and I'll give you the run down.
Thanks so much for these details, cardoc! So it doesn't sound like an actual engine/tranny issue to you? That's our biggest fear!
 

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Well, I can't hear it. I go by what you posted.
It's been wrecked and repaired. Body shops tend to go cheap and worry more about what the top looks like and disregard the undercarriage. The "Vvvvvvvv" noise seems to me like something is vibrating and it picks up tempo with higher speeds. Ergo, plastic air deflectors came to mind first. Look to see if one of them isn't slapping on the undercarriage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, I can't hear it. I go by what you posted.
It's been wrecked and repaired. Body shops tend to go cheap and worry more about what the top looks like and disregard the undercarriage. The "Vvvvvvvv" noise seems to me like something is vibrating and it picks up tempo with higher speeds. Ergo, plastic air deflectors came to mind first. Look to see if one of them isn't slapping on the undercarriage.
Thank you, cardoc. I'll try to get it up in the air in the next few days and see if that's what it is. I certainly hope it's something simple like that. I'll let you know - thanks again!
 

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If it sounds like a rotational noise that gets louder/higher pitched as you increase speed, I'd check wheel bearings. Could be rear, as those noises are tough to pinpoint location-wise. No big deal and good luck with the car! PS - They may still be under warranty... so a visit to the closest dealer might be in order.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If it sounds like a rotational noise that gets louder/higher pitched as you increase speed, I'd check wheel bearings. Could be rear, as those noises are tough to pinpoint location-wise. No big deal and good luck with the car! PS - They may still be under warranty... so a visit to the closest dealer might be in order.
Thanks bbmach! I'll talk to my mechanic about that possibility as well. As for the warranty - I can give my local dealer a ring but I'm guessing the fact that it's an R-Title might void any kind of warranty, no?
 

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Thanks bbmach! I'll talk to my mechanic about that possibility as well. As for the warranty - I can give my local dealer a ring but I'm guessing the fact that it's an R-Title might void any kind of warranty, no?
Is a "R" title the same as a salvage title? Kind of extreme if was just a front bumper and headlight replacement. Either way, it's worth a shot with the dealer. If the accident caused the problem, then no chance, but if it didn't, it shouldn't matter if its under mileage and time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Is a "R" title the same as a salvage title? Kind of extreme if was just a front bumper and headlight replacement. Either way, it's worth a shot with the dealer. If the accident caused the problem, then no chance, but if it didn't, it shouldn't matter if its under mileage and time.
Yeah, Salvage Title. You're right... Definitely worth a shot either way! Thanks.
 

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If it's a salvage title the damage was probably more than you think. I would also be checking the axles.
I would agree. A car doesn't earn a PA R-title from a minor collision. R-title comes from the car being a total loss.

It is almost certain the vibration is accident related and foolish to think any warranty is still in place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I would agree. A car doesn't earn a PA R-title from a minor collision. R-title comes from the car being a total loss.

It is almost certain the vibration is accident related and foolish to think any warranty is still in place.
Thanks guys, I understand that the R-Title could be causing this and that I'm taking a risk there. My last 2 cars were R-Titles and didn't have any issues so I decided to roll the dice again. I will check out the things mentioned above and see what I can figure out. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hello post responders. In case you're bored enough in quarantine to be interested in an update: I did some test drives with my mechanic and he's leaning heavily towards a failing front left wheel bearing. Not concerned about engine/tranny which was my biggest fear.

Not coincidentally this is the same location as the accident the car was in (a strut was replaced there too) so they might have put a damaged part back on and it that should have been replaced. We got the car in the air and he didn't notice anything out of the ordinary with loose parts, plastic or anything else so that's good.

So hopefully if I get that taken care of we'll be in good shape! Fingers crossed...
 

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33k? Original tires? If you find nothing else........


I'd also ask the same about the brakes......
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
33k? Original tires? If you find nothing else........


I'd also ask the same about the brakes......
Yeah, it has 33K Miles. 3 of the 4 original tires (one was replaced due to the accident I assume). Brakes pass the eye test according to my mechanic... so we'll see if this wheel bearing replacement fixes the issue or not. Hopefully so!
 

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Yeah, it has 33K Miles. 3 of the 4 original tires (one was replaced due to the accident I assume). Brakes pass the eye test according to my mechanic... so we'll see if this wheel bearing replacement fixes the issue or not. Hopefully so!
Oooooooooo....... you should always replace all 4 tires, at the same time. AWD and all...... So yea, if you have mismatched tires, that could cause a vibration.
 

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One other thing you may want to consider......... get it to a reliable, local alignment shop and have them tell you what they see, if you not already. Or, does your mech have alignment equipment?

Looking forward to hearing what you discover.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
One other thing you may want to consider......... get it to a reliable, local alignment shop and have them tell you what they see, if you not already. Or, does your mech have alignment equipment?

Looking forward to hearing what you discover.
Thanks for the tips! The tread looked pretty even on the mismatched tires but my mechanic thought the same thing so we rotated the tires just in case. The sound was unchanged still coming from the same place (front left side). He says he wouldn't quite bet his house on it but he's pretty sure it's the wheel bearing. So we're going to try that first and see what happens! Will keep you posted.
 

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Oooh, salvage title, mismatched tires. Even the OEM tires should last longer than 33k miles. Salvage title means the damage estimate was more than the value of the car. A 2017 car would have a pretty high Blue Book value so the estimated damage would be way up there. I have a feeling that the mismatched tire replaced one that was blown if not having the wheel torn away and junkyard parts substituted to make the car "look" derivable. I agree you should have an alignment check at least, maybe even a frame check to make sure the frame is straight. Otherwise you'll be going through tires like oil filters. It would be a good investment to have an experienced person check out the entire car to see if it's worth keeping or if it would be one of those "write it off to experience" expenses. Who knows, if it's good to go, you'll have the assurance that it was a bargain.

Check the airbags to see if they were replaced.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Oooh, salvage title, mismatched tires. Even the OEM tires should last longer than 33k miles. Salvage title means the damage estimate was more than the value of the car. A 2017 car would have a pretty high Blue Book value so the estimated damage would be way up there. I have a feeling that the mismatched tire replaced one that was blown if not having the wheel torn away and junkyard parts substituted to make the car "look" derivable. I agree you should have an alignment check at least, maybe even a frame check to make sure the frame is straight. Otherwise you'll be going through tires like oil filters. It would be a good investment to have an experienced person check out the entire car to see if it's worth keeping or if it would be one of those "write it off to experience" expenses. Who knows, if it's good to go, you'll have the assurance that it was a bargain.

Check the airbags to see if they were replaced.
Thanks rsrocket1. I've been told by some folks that it's getting easier and easier to total cars due to insurance reasons, especially in some states. The seller actually showed me pictures of the damage and it definitely doesn't look like what you'd think a "totaled car" would look like. But I know looks can deceiving. My last 2 cars were R Titles so I've rolled the dice before and thankfully succeeded - but this one is definitely on the pricier/more premium side so it's a bigger dice roll to be sure.

I actually did take my mechanic (a family friend) with me and we ended up getting the thing up in the air. The only major thing he could notice was a replaced strut on the damaged side. Our mistake was not getting it on a highway to go 50+ which is the only time we hear the vibration/noise. The vehicle came with paperwork demonstrating the repairs and that a proper alignment was done... so assuming that's legit (looks legit) i hopefully won't need to re-align. I guess I'll know soon enough if I start eating through tires so I'll definitely keep my pulse on that.
 
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