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2011 Outback 2.5i Limited
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Too bad you had to go through that, and it's unfortunate the information with the right steps isn't always easily accessible.

For the wheel bearing:
  • Do NOT use a sledge hammer as you may damage the axle and other components
  • You don't have to use a blow torch since this is excessive and may require you to take the e-brake shoes off.
The steps:
1. Take caliper off (2 bolts)
2. Remove rear 4 bolts off wheel bearing
- At this point you'll find the bearing is seized on
3. Spray PB Blaster in the rear plane mating surface & the bearing join mating surface. Could also spray in the bolt holes to penetrate the inner surface.
4. Use a rented drive hub puller from O'Reilley's/Autozone and attach it to your wheel hub using your wheel lugs and an impact gun:
5. Insert the rod into the pin hole in the axle end and use an impact gun to thread this in. This will squarely drive the axle out of the wheel bearing which attaches the majority of the seized surface area. This counter pressure of pushing the axle in will drive the axle out of the wheel bearing.
(6? If applicable: If some surfaces are still seized you can pivot the rear dust shield and everything should come loose.)

On reassembly use some (not much) antiseize on the axle splines when reinserting the axle into the wheel bearing.

I just had to replace the wheel studs on my rear a few days ago and had to remove the wheel bearings to fit the longer replacement studs to fit spacers so had to go through this exact procedure :) The passenger side bearing which I had previously replaced had come off with a lot less trouble since I had applied antiseize to mating surfaces. The driver side was seized on much worse so had to rent the drive hub puller tool again.

Hope this saves someone the headache in the future.
 

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2011 Outback 2.5i Limited
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Here is the pdf of the wheel bearing service manual section that describes to use the pulling tool. If you can drive a few blocks (presumably you do the research before starting or have a second car) to rent the tool this will save you a lot of time and risk damaging other parts. Value your time and just rent the tool :)
 

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'17 OB 3.6 , '11 OB 2.5 , '11 Legacy 2.5
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236 Posts
Too bad you had to go through that, and it's unfortunate the information with the right steps isn't always easily accessible.

For the wheel bearing:
  • Do NOT use a sledge hammer as you may damage the axle and other components
  • You don't have to use a blow torch since this is excessive and may require you to take the e-brake shoes off.
The steps:
1. Take caliper off (2 bolts)
2. Remove rear 4 bolts off wheel bearing
- At this point you'll find the bearing is seized on
3. Spray PB Blaster in the rear plane mating surface & the bearing join mating surface. Could also spray in the bolt holes to penetrate the inner surface.
4. Use a rented drive hub puller from O'Reilley's/Autozone and attach it to your wheel hub using your wheel lugs and an impact gun:
5. Insert the rod into the pin hole in the axle end and use an impact gun to thread this in. This will squarely drive the axle out of the wheel bearing which attaches the majority of the seized surface area. This counter pressure of pushing the axle in will drive the axle out of the wheel bearing.
(6? If applicable: If some surfaces are still seized you can pivot the rear dust shield and everything should come loose.)

On reassembly use some (not much) antiseize on the axle splines when reinserting the axle into the wheel bearing.

I just had to replace the wheel studs on my rear a few days ago and had to remove the wheel bearings to fit the longer replacement studs to fit spacers so had to go through this exact procedure :) The passenger side bearing which I had previously replaced had come off with a lot less trouble since I had applied antiseize to mating surfaces. The driver side was seized on much worse so had to rent the drive hub puller tool again.

Hope this saves someone the headache in the future.
Do you live in the Rust-Belt like I do ? I wish a Hub Puller worked on ANY hub bearing that I've EVER had to replace :)
 

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When I did both of my rear bearings (2013 outback), instead of a torch, sledge-hammer, or special puller tools, I used some "wedges" and a hammer. The wedges, in my case, consisted of a few pry bars and big flathead screwdrivers of various sizes that I strategically positioned so that when I hammered them straight in, they acted as a wedge to separate the hub assembly. This is an approach that I found worked quite well. I've used wedges in other places to split logs, and to break apart boulders, so a rusted hub was pretty easy in comparison.
 

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'17 OB 3.6 , '11 OB 2.5 , '11 Legacy 2.5
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236 Posts
I'll tell you it'll work better than a sledge hammer ;)
I'm totally with you on NOT using the sledge; I couldn't sleep at night wondering if I damaged the axle or any of the suspension components. My OB has 180k and my Legacy has 165k........if any more bearings go out on my watch, I will be doing the work myself, BUT the bearing will be coming out still attached to the knuckle/spindle. An extra $250 for a new knuckle is SO worth not having to beat, PB, MAPP, HubBuster, etc. Now THAT is the reality in the RustBelt, on a car with a decent amount of age/mileage.
 

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'17 OB 3.6 , '11 OB 2.5 , '11 Legacy 2.5
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When I did both of my rear bearings (2013 outback), instead of a torch, sledge-hammer, or special puller tools, I used some "wedges" and a hammer. The wedges, in my case, consisted of a few pry bars and big flathead screwdrivers of various sizes that I strategically positioned so that when I hammered them straight in, they acted as a wedge to separate the hub assembly. This is an approach that I found worked quite well. I've used wedges in other places to split logs, and to break apart boulders, so a rusted hub was pretty easy in comparison.
Nice! What kind of wedges, and where exactly did you place them?
 

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'10 3.6R Outback Limited, 2zr swapped Toyota Yaris track toy, '12 Mazda3 skyactive
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I'll tell you it'll work better than a sledge hammer ;)
Up here in the salt belt that is absolutely false.

The shock and impact of a hammer and air hammer (even better) are much more effective than a puller that applies constant pressure.

This is why you see seized hubs on YT that are in 80 ton presses and wont budge. But once hit they eventually give.

It is the shock that works wonders, hence why an impact wrench tends to be more effective than a basic wrench.
 

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2011 Outback 2.5i Limited
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Up here in the salt belt that is absolutely false.

The shock and impact of a hammer and air hammer (even better) are much more effective than a puller that applies constant pressure.

This is why you see seized hubs on YT that are in 80 ton presses and wont budge. But once hit they eventually give.

It is the shock that works wonders, hence why an impact wrench tends to be more effective than a basic wrench.
The puller I linked drives the central pin into the axle with the aid of an impact gun, so you are effectively hammering the thing apart but in a very direct and precise way that avoids damage to other components.
 

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'17 OB 3.6 , '11 OB 2.5 , '11 Legacy 2.5
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The puller I linked drives the central pin into the axle with the aid of an impact gun, so you are effectively hammering the thing apart but in a very direct and precise way that avoids damage to other components.
I'm not sure I understand, because that "central pin" that the puller you linked to is pushing on, is actually the short axle. What if the axle is ALREADY free ? A hub bearing can be rust-frozen and unremoveable due to 1.) the axle being rusted in-place inside the hub, and 2.) the outer rim of the actual hub being rusted in-place inside the spindle/knuckle. Your puller should effectively remediate #1 (sometimes, not always), but I don't see it working very well on #2. However, I will at least give the "wedge" strategy a shot next time, although now I am mentally on-board and prepared to just buy a new knuckle everytime (at least until they all are done, with plenty of anti-seize). Screw it :)
 

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2013 3.6r limited, 2013 2.5 pzev limited with SAP
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Wagners Subaru said that they also remove just a slight bit of metal so that the hub fits into the housing but not as tight as from the factory. They also said they put a lot of anti seize on the back of the bearing assembly when they put it all back together. Since both rear have been done within the last year I think im good. Now if I can only get my backup camera and puddle lights fixed.
 

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I'm not sure I understand, because that "central pin" that the puller you linked to is pushing on, is actually the short axle. What if the axle is ALREADY free ? A hub bearing can be rust-frozen and unremoveable due to 1.) the axle being rusted in-place inside the hub, and 2.) the outer rim of the actual hub being rusted in-place inside the spindle/knuckle. Your puller should effectively remediate #1 (sometimes, not always), but I don't see it working very well on #2. However, I will at least give the "wedge" strategy a shot next time, although now I am mentally on-board and prepared to just buy a new knuckle everytime (at least until they all are done, with plenty of anti-seize). Screw it :)
Yes you're right when it's seized you have to take extra care and use plenty of PB blaster. My front bearing was seized on and required straightening the wheel such that the axle didn't flex at a side angle when driving the axle rod in.

Rear passenger side I had previously installed back and used antiseize:

This took a lot more impact hammering the first time I took it off.
 

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'17 OB 3.6 , '11 OB 2.5 , '11 Legacy 2.5
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Yes you're right when it's seized you have to take extra care and use plenty of PB blaster. My front bearing was seized on and required straightening the wheel such that the axle didn't flex at a side angle when driving the axle rod in.

Rear passenger side I had previously installed back and used antiseize:

This took a lot more impact hammering the first time I took it off.
Nice Video !!! Man, you're right, that anti-seize sure does work good and makes things SO much better the next time around :)
 

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'17 OB 3.6 , '11 OB 2.5 , '11 Legacy 2.5
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Wagners Subaru said that they also remove just a slight bit of metal so that the hub fits into the housing but not as tight as from the factory. They also said they put a lot of anti seize on the back of the bearing assembly when they put it all back together. Since both rear have been done within the last year I think im good. Now if I can only get my backup camera and puddle lights fixed.
I'm glad to hear they did such a nice job :)
 

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Do you live in the Rust-Belt like I do ? I wish a Hub Puller worked on ANY hub bearing that I've EVER had to replace :)
Exactly. I don't care if you use a drum of penetrating oil. If you try to pull a badly rusted hub this way, you will only succeed in pulling the hub and bearing out, leaving the housing firmly attached to the upright.
 

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'10 3.6R Outback Limited, 2zr swapped Toyota Yaris track toy, '12 Mazda3 skyactive
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I replaced my front bearing last night on my 2010 3.6R and figured I would post my experience here instead of starting another wheel bearing thread.

I opted to not spend north of $200 for the hub removal tool and try my luck without it. It apparently works well but there are a handful of reviews online where it didn't work so I didn't want to be out more than $200 and have the tool not work. On top of that once I replace a wheel bearing I never have to worry about a seized one again as I coat everything in anti seize, so the tool wouldn't be used a whole lot down the road.

A couple tips that helped me (front hub) remove the CV axle at the beginning, this allows easy access to the four 17mm bolts holding in the hub. Just pop out the ball joint from the control arm and then you can swing the knuckle outward to give clearance to remove the cv axle. A ball joint removal tool will make this easy and quick. You can also turn the steering wheel to full lock in either direction to give you better access to the hub bolts.

Use a wire wheel to clean off the threads of the four hub bolts and then cover them in a DIY penetrating fluid of 1:1 ATF and Acetone in an oil squirter can. Use an impact and keep working the bolt out and in continuously each time adding more penetrating fluid to each end that is sticking out. The bolts will then come out and use the same wire wheel to clean the rust off of them.

For the hard part - the hub removal: I hit the hub with a sledge hammer just for kicks and it did absolutely nothing except loosen the bearing a lot. Using this method, the bearing would have likely just split and left the hub still attached to the knuckle. I then used an air hammer/chisel and tried to hit the side of the hub to spin it in the knuckle to loosen it up. I didn't try very long but this seemed to do nothing, even after letting the penetrating fluid sit on it. I then used a chisel I sharpened to chisel the top between the hub and the knuckle where the splash guard sits. I didn't seem to get anywhere as the air hammer didn't seem strong enough. It did however make a good indent.

I then sharpened a cold chisel and used a small sledge hammer to hammer the chisel in the groove made by the air chisel. The hub popped out a quarter inch. I filled the gap with penetrating fluid and then used the sledge to hit the hub off and out. The chisel slightly damaged the splash guard but I was able to cut that piece off and it was reusable.

The inner bore on the knuckle was very pitted and corroded, I used a wire wheel to clean it up as well as the mating surface on the knuckle. I covered everything in anti seize and reinstalled.

Torque specs (according to online):
hub bolts: 50 ft/lbs
CV axle nut: 163 ft/lbs
Lug nuts: 90 ft/lbs

I'm pretty sure the bearing was the original and it actually came out easier than I thought with the chisel. That really was the only thing that seemed to work. I would have tried threading a hub bolt in partly and hitting it with an air hammer if the previous method wasn't successful.

The bearing never had any play in it but it felt loose when I was turning it with no CV axle installed. The car has less road/growl now but I think my right front bearing is bad because now it is obvious that I have a similar noise coming from there. I'll see in the spring time when my summer tires are installed again.
 

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I just fought a rear bearing from a 13 Outback. Used a 4 pound sledge, 10 pound sledge, hub buster (broke it), removed the knuckle and used a 12 ton press with heat from a mapp gass torch. Nothing. Still stuck.

Check out this puller. I need this, but not for $3K. Someone out there can probably make one for Harbor Freight stuff.

 

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2010 Outback 3.6R 2014 Legacy 2.5i 2003 Legacy L special edition (retired to backup)
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given harbor freights recent history with jackstands I am not sure I would want to buy a hub puller... if that thing comes apart under tension, that's gonna be ugly
 

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My four Harbor Freight jackstands were not part of the recent recall but I certainly wonder about them. I have had them for at least 7 or 8 years and they have always operated perfectly.
 
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