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2005 Subaru Outback LL Bean Edition
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone, been lurking these boards ever since we purchased a high mileage (174k) 05 ******. The car was fairly neglected when we purchased it for 2800 a few months ago. We took her to the dealership and they advised us to fix:

a) Rotors and pads on all four corners
b) Worn front driver's side lower control arm
c) Worn front links and bushing

They gave us an estimate of $2100 which was a bit too much to swallow. So, I took her to an independent mechanic who changed all rotors and pads and did a brake flush for $900.

One thing I didn't pick up during the test drive was a humming/whirring sound coming from the passenger side that started at around 40mph and got louder when I lifted my foot off the accelerator. Google suggested the car be put in Neutral when it starts making this sound (to see if its the differential) but it does not go away.

My first thought was a bad front wheel bearing (I've read the 3rd Gen Outbacks has issues with wheel bearings) since I noticed a high pitched WEEE WEE sound when the wheel is turned to the right (this also only happens when the car is going 40mph or faster so I just assumed they were related). Unfortunately, after replacing both front bearings, the noise persists..

Could I have a transmission problem? Should I get the rear wheel bearings looked at? Or hopefully its a simpler fix like a loose heat shield?

Additionally, I noticed that when the car goes over bumpy roads, the wheels sometimes will chirp. Is this normal for a AWD car (I've only driven front and rear wheel drive cars before)?

Thanks for reading and would really appreciate some feedback!

2008 Outback 2.5
992 Posts
Cost of parts:
Rotors: about $35 each
Pads: $30-$40 for a pair
Control Arms: $70-$100 each
End links (2) and bushings (2): about $50

Pads and rotors: (highly unlikely that the rotors needed replacement unless someone ground the pads down to the metal lining and kept using them for a while longer). Pads take 10 minutes each to replace and if the pads are already off, the rotors take another 5 minutes to replace.

Control arms: you can do this on a Saturday morning and still have time to drive out to lunch but if you have a shop do it, it will cost about $5-600 if they are honest. The end links have to be disconnected anyway to remove the arms and the sway bar bushings are just a couple of bolts more to remove. None of this is time critical if you have to wait a couple of paychecks to save up for.

No, there should not be a chirping sound when you go over bumpy roads. It matters whether the sound is a creak or a chirp like metal grinding and squealing. A creak could be just old sway bar bushings.

The humming sound could very well be a bearing. It's not immediately time critical (could last a few more paychecks) but if it is a bearing it will only get worse until you can't talk over the noise at highway speeds.

To prepare oneself for the sticker shock of repairs, check out something like repairpal. The numbers can be all over the place but with some research and some calls, you can get a better understanding of what you ought to pay. That way you won't be shocked at the estimate (or if you are, go somewhere else).

One of the best things I've done in car ownership over the past couple of years is learn how to do most of my own replacing of parts on the car. It turns a $500 job into a $150 job or a $1100 job into a $200 job. At the very least, oil changes and break pad replacements should be an automatic DIY for all but the most infirm.

But I digress.

With your 05 approaching 200k I certainly hope the original timing belt was replaced and if it was done at around 100k, you are getting close to another replacement. Nothing will kill the engine quicker than a broken timing belt (or running out of oil).

Premium Member
Twilight Blue 2015 3.6R with Eyesight
5,023 Posts
What he said, LOL!
I was going to add timing belt, but he covered that as well.
I'm disabled, but after acquiring ramps, a Fumoto valve, and drain pan, I'm now doing my own oil changes again.
Like @rsrocket1 said, unless you're feeble or affirmed, simple preventive maintenance isn't that big a deal.
If I were better physically able I'd rotate the tires as well, but I have a shop close by that only charges me $10 to do it.
And as of writing this, I purchased a new set of tires at Tire Discounters, so tire rotation is free for the life of the tires.
And the reason I even bring up tire rotation is that with an AWD car, tire rotation is a MUST!
Also, matching tires as well. Something you should check seeing as to the fact you mentioned the previous owners didn't maintain the car very well.
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Fresh Out of Outbacks!
14,495 Posts
Rear wheel bearings fail more often than fronts in 3rd generation Outbacks.

The noise could also be related to the propshaft between transmission and rear diff. Sometimes you can isolate this by using the FWD fuse to lock out power to the rear wheels. This trick only works if the car has the 4-speed automatic transmission.

Steering-related noise might be just a dry seal in the power assist pump.

AWD cars will chirp tires more frequently than FWD/RWD when making tight turns on pavement- think stacked parking garages. On a particularly bumpy road I'd expect the cause to be worn suspension bushings, particularly in the rear.
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