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Noticed odd rotational noise the day before Christmas on our "A" car - 2006 Subaru Legacy Outback 2.5i. The noise is Most noticeable at low speed, low pitch rotational scrubbing/squelching noise. Ran by shop where we have most of the work done on it and they isolated the problem to the rear drive shaft. Specifically, the central bearing set where the shaft is supported by a bracket. Consulted friend who is currently rebuilding a 1998 Outback Sport and he said he had not heard of this being a problem. He and I confirmed the diagnosis by putting up on stands. My questions, is this common? Repercussion of driving? Ordered used replacement shaft but still may not be here for a few days because of he holidays.
 

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Very uncommon but it does happen. It usually happens on 1980's and early 1990's Subarus. It is a freak thing for any 2000+ vehicle. It's often called a carrier bearing or carrier support bearing. Good job diagnosing it.

It should be fixed sooner rather than later. They usually can be driven and vibration is what you're looking for. Once it gets really bad the vibrations will start - the rear view mirror starts to shake and gets worse - and you don't want that thing cutting loose and flopping around under there. It should even damage the end of the transmission - like cracking the casing when that thing cuts loose at speed and flops around at hundreds or thousands of RPM's. It has happened. You should be able to drive a significant way though, my only hesitation is that it's such a new and unheard of failure so maybe it's not quite like the older aged bearings.

If you can get access to the bearings you could use a needle insert for a grease gun, lift up the bearing seal and inject grease into the bearing. It is most likely devoid of grease. Probably more work than it's worth since the part is ordered though.

How many miles do you need to drive it?
How many miles on it?

A used one would likely last the life of the vehicle and is the usual replacement method since new ones are so insanely expensive. But at least they are very easy to replace.

When you replace jack the rear of the vehicle up to keep the trans fluid in the car. If you jack the front up a significant amount of ATF drains out the rear extension housing when you pull the splined shaft of the driveshaft out.
 

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The car only has 85k miles. If driven it would be just a few miles here and there in town at speeds under 45 mph.
 

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The car only has 85k miles. If driven it would be just a few miles here and there in town at speeds under 45 mph.
normally that's not too risky. when you can't see out the rear view mirror, that's bad. doesn't sound like you're anywhere near that.

did the shaft have much axial play when shaking it by hand?
 

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No not much play at all. We compared to my friends 98 outback and the displacement ws pretty much the same. as a side note In my work, i often use peristaltic pumps around a marine environment for extended periods of time (not underwater but around, say on a pier sucking up seawater), which destroy bearings quickly. The squealing sound reminds me of the early sounds of those pumps, the pumps often progress rapidly to rattling and shaking before completely failing. Hence my concerns about driving the car, however we have two children and this is/was our 'A'.
 

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copy that, we have an infant and small child too, i hear you. doesn't sound bad at all, i've seen a few of these and they usually take awhile to fail. it's just being such a new vehicle that is the weird part. ujoint failure (which is essentially bearings too -needle bearings) is more common than carrier bearings, but again that's on older subarus.
 

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In ideas on Potential causes? Car was purchased used, no crash or reported impact history on the car. It has been in Coastal Florida it's entire life and the shaft itself looks brand new.
 

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Probably bad luck, bearing grease dried up or lost over time. Even for 90's stuff this is rare.

Boat launching getting the bearing wet? Des it have or had a hitch? Hard to imagine that though.

PM or email me a price for the old one if you're up to shipping it (put it in the box the new one comes in)?
 

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There is supposed to be movement in the rubber portion of the carrier assembly. It is to allow for driveshaft movement under torque where the engine and trans pitch.

It is possible for the bearing to be bad at 85K. In high humidity environments, the bearings do fail more often. The moisture gets in past the seal and separates the lubricant causing bearing failure. Same with areas of heavy snow and ice. The minerals used in melting ice eat away at the seals and allow for moisture intrusion.

Worst case scenario with leaving it alone: The bearing locks up, but it will get louder before it seizes/breaks and even this will take a long time.
 

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Grossularite

So a friend and I replaced the drive shaft last wednesday. He has far more mechanic experience than I do. Anyways today I noticed a oil burning smell. Actually I noticed a faint smell soon after. We didn't drive it much because while we were replacing the shaft we noticed the struts needed replacing. We replaced those Saturday. Got home today and my wife had the car out from its normal spot and I noticed an oily spot on the driveway. When she got home the smell was overwhelming. I stuck my head under the car and the transmission pan had a nice film on it as well as there was a lot of oil dripping from where we inserted the drive shaft into the transmission. Do you think it is simply a broken seal between the shaft and the trans or something more. The transmission fluid is low. BTW we checked the transmission fluid Saturday when we replaced the struts but it was just a little low. Now it is much lower.

Recommendations!
 

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Replace the rear output shaft seal, I'd use a seal from Subaru.

If you installed a used driveshaft, make sure you clean up any debris or rust that's on the splined shaft that slides into the trans as that rides against the seal.

It's possible the failing driveshaft bearing caused excessive vibration/play that damaged the seal. Or it was just compromised with pulling/reinstalling.
 

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Ok so after two seals (three if you count the original) transient fluid is still leaking from the shaft. The spline shafted is fairly clean at least to the point where the shaft meets the seal. I am convinced that the leak is not from around the outside of the seal as it is super tight when removing it. Thinking that the used spline insert on the shaft is out of spec. BTW we completely drained the trans and added a new filter just make sure it was not overfilled when I tried topping it off after the original DS swap. Ay ideas Subaru gurus. Dang thing driving me bonkers.
 

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Where did you get the shaft? (I just chuckled :) ) Is there a number on the driveshaft? If so, you can reference it to what it mates to.

The part numbers for the output seals are the same for SOHC or DOHC and H6 and cover several years. There is a different part number for the Manual output seal, same criteria. There is also 3 separate part numbers for 4EAT, 5EAT and 5MT driveshafts for your year.

You may have gotten the wrong driveshaft and its not set proper.

Driveshaft numbers:
27111AG14A Manual
27111AG15A 4EAT
27111AG16A 5EAT
 

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Had vibration at low speeds that progressively got worse. Jacked it up and noticed a bit of play but nothing to alarming didnt think it was the cause. After having it inspected by a couple different shops, I finally accepted that the problem was in fact the drive shaft. Found a company online that specializes in driveshafts and seem to have a pretty good reputation on these forums. Sense I wasnt to willing to buy a new one for the dealers crazy price! or a used one off some car that had been junked or something, I decided to give them a shot. Happy to report I was extremely happy with the way things turned out, got a brand NEW driveshaft for about $460.00, had it installed the after receiving it. Considering what I was gonna pay to have it installed, needless to say I wanted it to work. One of my fears of buying a used one was having it fail shortly after install and having to pay again to have it re installed. 5K miles later and still have a happy Subaru and my wallet is still happy too. Anybody needing a driveshaft should check these guys out! :29:

wholesaleimportparts.com
 

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Just replaced the drive shaft in my Outback due to having vibration/shuttering on the highway or under load. I did my research, and seems Subaru has pretty obvious problem with there drive shafts. I personally have two friends with Subaru's and they have both replaced drive shafts right around 90-100K miles. I purchased a NEW drive shaft from Wholesale Import Parts.com rather than going with a used/salvaged one. My buddy recommended this place, because he purchased one for his Legacy a while back. Glad to say I was given very good advise, got my Outback back on the road for under $450.00. Three weeks into the new drive shaft, and she's' still driving as smooth as can be.
 
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