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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought my 2005 Outback Sedan 3.0R yesterday. Today I was on the highway doing 75 mph and I noticed that on a long left sweeping turn that there was a growl coming from the right front tire area. If I straightened the steering wheel just a hair the sound went away. If I'm going straight I don't hear the sound. And if I turn the wheel to the right there's no growl. The slower I go the harder it is to hear and if I'm in town doing 25 or 35 mph then I don't hear it at all. I tried a hard lane change to the left and it definitely gets louder but as soon as I straighten out it goes away.

I was thinking maybe the tire was rubbing but nope. No rub marks anywhere. Then I thought it was maybe a bad right front hub/bearing but it only does it if I turn the steering wheel left just a little bit. And so maybe it's a bad strut or bad strut mount? Or maybe a bad tire?? I'm not quite familiar with the car yet so I'm not sure what else it could be. What ever it is, it is definitely coming from the right front tire area.

Any ideas?
 

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Meh.
I has wagons.
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Wheel bearing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's what I was thinking but I'm almost sure if it was a wheel bearing it would make the sound all the time and not when turning only to the left. Is there a way of checking the bearing while the front is jacked up and wheel is removed?

I may try rotating the tires on that side tomorrow to see if it makes any difference. The original owner of the car put Big-O Euro Tour tires on it. They look like they maybe have 80% tread left. They are a very loud tire for some odd reason. They transmit a lot of NVH into the cabin unless the strut mounts are flat out shot.
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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classic wheel bearing symptom. (might be a coupla other things - but remote chance)

coupla things to try, use an infrared remote thermometer to compare temps of the right and left front hubs after driving.

Put the front up in the air and listen/feel for roughness while rotating the wheels. Compare sides.

grasp the wheel at 12 and 6 o'clock and rock up-down. (NOTE this test is very inconclusive on subarus - but certainly the slightest movement is cause for concern)
 

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1. rotate tires first
2. make sure brake dust shield isn't too close to rotor and rubbing
3. wheel bearings

if that side front hub is notably warmer than the other side (verify using your hand - VERY CAREFULLY as some of that stuff is too hot to touch - or easier to use a infrared thermometer).

i wouldn't bother checking for hub play - Subaru wheel bearings don't fail like that - or if they do it's already obviously what it is by the time they exhibit play on the vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone! I'll swap front/rear tires and take it for a drive to see if anything changes. If not I'll bring my temp gun with me and check hub/bearing temps. And I'll get it up in the air and check the brakes, shield and etc. Plus this will give me a chance to check out the back side of the rotor (front side looks good).

If it does turn out to be bearings is a Subaru OEM part suggested or are the Timken or Moog parts just as good?
 

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it is a pig of a job.

for that reason i generally favor subaru on these. i think the cost difference is minimal, but check if you're concerned. and there are bearing changes/updates (depending on year - though i don't think it'll affect you on the fronts for your year), and different seals...it's very beneficial to get them from Subaru but i wouldn't consider it a requirement.

if you're doing it yourself you'll want the harbor freight FWD bearing tool kit. about $89 - $99. the professional versions are much, much higher.

did i mention it's a sucky job? LOL i mean it's fairly straight forward for the most part but it takes some serious force and tools to get everything apart and back together. glad i haven't had to try it without a 950 foot pound 3/4" air behemoth.
 

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I had Napa auto parts machine shop press the bearing for me $10 per wheel. Cost me around $65 subaru parts online for the part. Far far easier to have it pressed correctly and professionally for $10 vs renting a tool or trying to jimmy rig it etc. As for replacing the bearing it was easy unbolt take to the shop pick it up at lunch and bolt it back on after dinner.
 

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it is a pig of a job.

for that reason i generally favor subaru on these. i think the cost difference is minimal, but check if you're concerned. and there are bearing changes/updates (depending on year - though i don't think it'll affect you on the fronts for your year), and different seals...it's very beneficial to get them from Subaru but i wouldn't consider it a requirement.

if you're doing it yourself you'll want the harbor freight FWD bearing tool kit. about $89 - $99. the professional versions are much, much higher.

did i mention it's a sucky job? LOL i mean it's fairly straight forward for the most part but it takes some serious force and tools to get everything apart and back together. glad i haven't had to try it without a 950 foot pound 3/4" air behemoth.

I've wondered if taking the knuckle to a dealer wouldn't be a good compromise for a shade tree like me? Might only save $100-$200 but still get a professional bearing install.


edit: DOH beat by a minute. Didn't realize NAPA had a service like that. cheap enough!
 

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I did have some noisy tires which also contributed to this sort of thing they got worse the more miles they had on them. I had one bearing that was just a tad rough and could have been contributing some of this noise.
 

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there's no need, or indeed opportunity, to press bearings on a 2005+ as there was on the earlier models. The bearings are integrated into the hubs and it's the hub that's changed as a unit.

This recent thread refers to replacing the rear "bearing" in the title, but in fact it's the hub that is changed. Much the same at the front: http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...46552-05-09-replacing-rear-wheel-bearing.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Whew! I was starting to get afraid that I was going to have to press out bearings. I just ordered up a Timken hub assy. It should be here on Sat or Monday.

I did swap the tires on the right side of the car this morning but it didn't make any difference. And I couldn't get the tire to wobble even the slightest. I did measure the temps of the hubs and they both read between 195 - 200. Even though it may seem like the bearing is good I'll still replace it anyway for piece of mind. If that doesn't fix it then my next step will be to replace the struts and upper mounts (because they need to be). And if that doesn't do it, then, well, either CV or bushings.
 

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My suggestion would be along the lines mentioned by the others -- before you get down to replacing the hub, check for unusual noise/sound/roughness at the bearings with the car raised.

Probably best to remove the calipers or otherwise make sure the brake pads are completely off the rotors, then manually turn the wheels one-by-one. Listen and feel at the hub mounting points and nearby suspension components for differences between the wheels. (A mechanics stethoscope is very good for this as it magnifies the sound. They're relatively inexpensive at most parts outlets.) A "growling" bearing when driving will still be noticeably different from a good one when manually turned. At least this way you will be in a more confident situation, and not inadvertently changing a good hub.

The LR bearing on my 07 had a low growl, almost more like a cat purring steadily, for a long time before it was isolated and replaced. In my case, it would growl when going straight as well, and was more noticeable at higher speeds (above 40 mph). It didn't get worse but didn't get better either. The dealer's mechanic found it using this method, fortunately, while still under the power train warranty.
 

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I tried this Plain OM - it is pretty hard to spot a rough bearing till you hold it in your hand and turn it. The one gritty bearing I had even with it in my hands could have easily been waved off as being fine but after a few spins in my hand you could make out the rough spots compared to the new bearing.
 

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oh wow - the front bearings are like that as well, i thought it was just the rears, nice hit. i'll look into that, that's great news...i think!?

I had Napa auto parts machine shop press the bearing for me $10 per wheel.
that's great you got a place so cheap, particularly in the typically high priced CA areas? many times there are minimum one hour fees...standard in the DC area where I'm from is $50 - $70 an hour. i had a napa shop at one point..really far out of the way, but they completely hacked some heads (posted pic's in another subaru forum, it was atrocious), and "repaired" them by milling them a few thousandths under spec. i'd probably go there again but they're so out of the way it's not convenient anyway.

and where i live now there are no machine shops within a reasonable distance or in the town i live in - the cost of living in a state where the largest town is 50,000 and nothing else over 30,000. i don't have the options that i had in large metropolitan areas. around here all the money is in mining equipment maintenance so that's what all the shops are geared for and they won't entertain automotive.

This is beyond my experience level but Subaru did revise wheel bearings and installation procedures to not use a press to prevent damaging the hubs/bearings. I had a shop press in new bearings and they shortly failed...one experience is completely anecdotal so who knows why they failed. Since i don't have access to a shop now i don't have the choice anyway, but I would go your route of having a shop press them again if i could. Just throwing that out there - there's an official TSB about it.
 

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I just did my right front wheel bearing. It was hard to pin point because there were so many things it could be. From what you're telling us it kinda sounds like a bearing to me.

Just like mine it got loud when you turned but was fine going straight.
 

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I tried this Plain OM - it is pretty hard to spot a rough bearing till you hold it in your hand and turn it. The one gritty bearing I had even with it in my hands could have easily been waved off as being fine but after a few spins in my hand you could make out the rough spots compared to the new bearing.
I agree, it probably doesn't necessarily work in all cases with all types of wheel bearing arrangements. Thing is, if it's not clear which wheel has a noisy bearing (and if the noise is even from a wheel bearing), how do you find the one to take apart? Have to start somewhere, and no doubt there's different methods.

Was yours on one of the earlier versions with the separate, replaceable, bearing? How did you identify which bearing it was before getting it in your hand?
 

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Was there a TSB or recall on the '05's for bearings/hubs?

good call!

I found this at cars101;

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5/2/2008
Legacy, Outback, certain 2005 and early 2006 models Rear Wheel Bearings may, over time, develop a noise condition that causes the bearing to produce a whining sound Subaru. has initiated an Extended Warranty Program for Rear Wheel Bearings on certain 2005 and early 2006 model year Legacy and Outback models. Coverage will be extended to 8 years or 100,000 miles.
During a quality review, Subaru discovered that there is a possibility that one or both of an affected vehicle's Rear Wheel Bearings may, over time, develop a noise condition that causes the bearing to produce a whining sound. This sound does not pose a safety issue and does not adversely affect the normal operation of the bearing. However, if the vehicle experiences this condition, it should be corrected by replacing the affected bearing, which will eliminate the sound. As a result of this finding and in the interest of customer satisfaction, SOA is extending the Rear Wheel Bearing warranty coverage period for the affected vehicles to 8 years (96 months) or 100,000 miles, whichever occurs first.
Technical Service Bulletin number 03-58-08

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says rear bearings so, I dunno if it's helpful for you.
 
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