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2009 3.0R Outback
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Discussion Starter #1
While doing the rear brakes on my 09 OB today I noticed that the passenger side diff seal is leaking. While pondering the dilemma I decided the grab the axle and check it for play. Both sides have a small amount of axial play, but the leaky passenger side has what seems like excessive radial play.


How screwed am I? I think I can handle the seal replacement myself, but putting in a new bearing and/or adjusting backlash isn't something I'm sure I'm capable of.
 

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2009 3.0R Outback
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Discussion Starter #2
No comments? Should I just replace the leaky seal and run it?


I found a used diff for sale from an 08 with 55k for $300. Don't really have the money right now but I can swing it if I have to.
 

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2009 OB 2.5i 4EAT
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Well looking at the FSM, rebuilding that rear diff is a doozy/requires a lot of specialized tools, so I'd recommend against that.

You could try replacing the seal and see how it holds up. There might be significant play but it may not manifest as a problem. If it holds fluid and isn't giving you trouble otherwise, then just drive it until you start having problems again. At that point, look for replacement or contact a shop for a rebuild... but at $300 for a replacement, I'd be surprised if a shop would be cheaper.

That's just how I would approach it anyway. I'm no expert by any means.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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maybe check car-part.com or LKQ for used prices.

rare to read of a problem like this.
 

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2009 3.0R Outback
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Discussion Starter #7
That's just how I would approach it anyway. I'm no expert by any means.

Thanks for the input. I think I'll just do the seal for now. I'll end up kicking myself later for passing on the diff if a more serious problem develops though. Most of them I see for sale have 100k+ on the them and this one only has 55k.
 

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2009 3.0R Outback
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Discussion Starter #8
maybe check car-part.com or LKQ for used prices.

rare to read of a problem like this.
That's the thing; I'm not sure if it really is a problem or not. Is it just coincidence the leaky side also has more play? What amount of play is "normal". If the play was the same on both sides I probably wouldn't have thought anything of it. I don't have any experience with diffs.


There isn't any strange noises or other symptoms that I can tell, but there's vibration from a crappy front axle that might be masking it. I just put in poly diff inserts and now there's a noise/feeling like driving on aggressively treaded tires, but I've read that's normal with the inserts.
 

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2009 OB 2.5i 4EAT
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Just an idea... is it even possible to get an accurate feel of play via grabbing the axle? Could play not be in the cv joints? The seal leak might be a clue, but it could also be a coincidence.
 

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2005 Legacy GT wagon 5MT Limited
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Just an idea... is it even possible to get an accurate feel of play via grabbing the axle? Could play not be in the cv joints? The seal leak might be a clue, but it could also be a coincidence.
Yes. If you feel play, there's too much play. Feel a good diff for comparison.
 

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2009 3.0R Outback
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Discussion Starter #12
So my OB developed a severe vibration under load and decel the other day; like driving on those "wake up" shoulder ruts some highways have. Worried that the diff finally bit the dust, I found a used one at wrecker. Jacked the car up today ready to install it. Happened to notice that the rear u-joint is toast; tons of play and it looks like at least one cap is probably missing all of its needle bearings.


Ok, not a big deal. Just replace the stupid thing, right? I can't find anyone that has the Dorman shaft in stock and neither of the local Subaru dealers have an OEM on hand. No luck with LKQ or car-parts.com (found the diff through them).


Looks like I have to wait for it no matter what, so I might as well order it online and save some money. Here's the whole point of this post though; will the play in the u-joint cause any damage to the center diff in the short term? I don't have any other transportation right now.
 
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