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Old 03-16-2008, 08:50 PM   #1
surowrxa
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'12 Forester
'08 Legacy

Default Rear diff or wheel bearing?

My '99 Forester has a rear-end humming noise, almost like worn sticky tires, directly related to speed. At 40mph it becomes audible, at 60mph it's fairly loud. Weird thing is, I just drove the car last week and the noise was not pronounced enough to notice.

Since it's Sunday the only people willing to look at it was Sears, and they say it's not the wheel bearings, it's the rear differential. The only evidence against their theory is: when you put it in neutral at speed (it's an auto), the noise stays.

1999 Forester, 113,400 miles, never had wheel bearing or diff issue.

Anybody with stories of how their dead wheel bearing or diff sounded greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-16-2008, 09:40 PM   #2
subtoy
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Im sure it is the wheel bearing(very common)
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Old 03-16-2008, 11:23 PM   #3
Illsti
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Bump for it being the wheel bearing, try driving and swerving left to right and see if the sound goes away if its a wheel bearing the sound should go away when the weight is transfered off the side thats bad..
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Old 03-17-2008, 08:01 AM   #4
surowrxa
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It's going in tomorrow to my dealer. Service manager is a great guy, even told me if if it is the diff (which he doesn't think so), we can get a good one from a yard for cheap ($100) because there is not much demand.

They do use the Legacy bearings (for several years) now for all replacements. Charge is $300.

Illsti, thanks for the tip. I'll try it on the way there to pinpoint the bad one.
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Old 03-17-2008, 08:54 AM   #5
Doc Holiday
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That gen Subaru Wheel Bearings are the biggest pieces of junk I have ever seen. I've replaced all 4 in my 00RS. Stupid Subaru refuses to admit they messed up and issue a recall, oh well.
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Old 03-17-2008, 12:40 PM   #6
bulwnkl
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Yep, almost certainly NOT the diff. Sounds like you have a good svc dep't at your dealer!
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Old 03-17-2008, 10:51 PM   #7
surowrxa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulwnkl View Post
Yep, almost certainly NOT the diff. Sounds like you have a good svc dep't at your dealer!
Thanks for the input. Yeah they're not out to gouge customers. It's tough being a little import dealer in a hardcore "USA all the way" area. I think they want to keep it limited to actual needed repairs at a realistic cost to help the image of Subaru overall. This approach has paid off big time, the dealership recently got a major overhaul compliments of SOA because of sales.

The Toyota dealer in the area does not think this approach is necessary.

Semi-non update: When I was under the car checking the diff/axles I noticed that the left rear tire is worn on the inside. It got this way (mostly) up on the front right, but was rotated to the left rear a few months ago (Sam's Club, they also re-balanced). The tires are BFGoodrich Touring T/A's, not a sticky noisy tire, actually quite hard. 6 to 7/32's left everywhere else. Could it be the tire?
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Old 03-17-2008, 11:31 PM   #8
bulwnkl
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Yes, it could be. Can you describe the noise a little more? For example, we have a cyclical noise in one of our vehicles. It sounds like regular road noise but there is a cyclical nature to it that varies with vehicle speed. It's the tires, which get worn badly on the inside edge due to toe issues (in combination with camber) in the almost-non-adjustable rear.

Only one of your tires is worn strangely? If so, you need an alignment. Still, the wheel bearings are a weak spot on those so don't discount a bearing yet.
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Old 03-17-2008, 11:52 PM   #9
surowrxa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulwnkl View Post
Can you describe the noise a little more?

Only one of your tires is worn strangely? If so, you need an alignment.
It resonates throughout the cabin, it's a constant hum, but it does have the cyclical "pulse" that is relative to wheel revolutions/speed. Gets really loud at 50-60 mph, I did not push it past that.

The first thing I thought was "it's a tire", and checked for a flat. Remember, the noise was not there a week ago. When I drove it yesterday (and immediately heard it), I took it to people who do tires all day (the only people open), Sears. They did drive/check the car and told me it's not the tires (or wheel bearing ), it's the differential.

And about the alignment: I agree. The tire was not looking this bad before the rotation, but it must have cupped the edge and now it has worn off. I was hoping to get alignment + tires in a few months when my wife was out of school before next winter.
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Old 03-18-2008, 12:03 PM   #10
bulwnkl
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Well, many things are possibilities. If the noise appeared dramatically after a rotation it may be either thing. I wouldn't write off either the wheel bearing or the tire at this point. Your dealer sounds straight-up enough to diagnose and repair appropriately. Let us know what it ends up being?
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Old 03-18-2008, 03:51 PM   #11
surowrxa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulwnkl View Post
Let us know what it ends up being? So that when people search old threads for an answer they can actually find it? So that I can have a little closure?
Fixed!

I feel the same way, reply a few times to someone's problem and then they (seemingly) fall off the face of the earth, and you (and everyone else) will never know what really happened.

But I'm like you (I think...), I actually come back and post the solution. It was the left rear wheel bearing, they just called.

It's not all bad, got to see the new '09 Forester and a STI laden '08 FSXT in DGM at the dealer...nice cars.

Thanks for the replies!
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Old 03-18-2008, 06:30 PM   #12
bulwnkl
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Cool! Thanks for the follow-up, surowrxa. Glad you got it fixed.
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