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Old 10-06-2013, 10:51 AM   #1
Pauls_Workshop
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Member#: 370208
Join Date: Oct 2013
Default Need expert help please - noise and vibe problems!

Hi all, I'm Paul and am new here. I have a 2000 Outback Wagon 2.5L Auto with 165K that is in need of serious help. I've been trying to get help on a bad vibration and noise issue. I've asked for help over on the garage journal boards also, with some feedback and ideas (but recommendation to join and post on some Subaru specific expert forums like Nasioc here):

http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/s...d.php?t=214079

Here is the problem:

Folks, I need some Subaru Outback Mechanic or Expert Help if you would. I have a 2000 Outback Wagon with the 2.5L Boxer engine, auto trans. It has about 165,000 miles on it. Most things on the car are ok, engine is fine, trans is fine shifting normally, except one huge problem:

The car has a terrible vibration problem through the drivetrain. This vibration is present when the car is moving, both at low speed 10 mph and at high speed 60 mph. It varies in frequency a little at different speeds and generally gets worse at the higher speeds as you go up. The vibration is there if the engine is on or off - I turned it off and put it in neutral going 50 mph to verify this - no change. Not engine related. The vibration is a "whomp...whomp...whomp...whomp" noise at the low speed and at higher speeds is a "WHOMP.WHOMP.WHOMP.WHOMP.WHOMP" with a hammer effect felt through the steering wheel, floorpan, and into the driver seat. Pretty bad. When the brakes are engaged, the magnitude of the noise is cut in half instantly and the vibrations are also cut in half or more instantly. When the brakes are let off, it comes right back to original level. Vibs/noise is not related purelly to turning of the steering wheel, happens in any position, straight or turning, but it does get a little louder while turning.

I've already spent a good $1400 on this car trying to fix it. Here is what has been done from mechanic advice:

1. Changed out each of the front half shafts, first driver side, then a year later, the passenger side. After the driver side, no change in the problem. A year later, the noise/vibs got worse on the passenger side and was told that shaft had to be changed out. Did that and also the tie rod on that side. The noise/vibs got better but only back to original bad level with those changes (down from terrible level). Told the driver side prob had to be changed out again at that point, but did not do this since just done a year before and no change at that time. Also told driver side did not need a tie rod change, so that was not done. Remanned Subaru shafts were used from a dealer, not aftermarket. Now about 8 months later than this and not any worse or better than 8 months back. I think the half shaft/tie rods wearing out early is a symptom and not a root cause of the vibs.

2. In between, was told that the wheel bearings prob were the issue. So had all the wheel bearings also changed out and pressed out and back into the hubs. No change in the vibrations/noise at all after this was done. I'm no longer going to use this mechanic on this car, since unable to help the problem and convincing me time after time what to do next that would surely fix it.

3. Also, changed out which wheels/tires were where on the car and no difference with any position.

4. I've done as much reading/hunting as I could from the net and read a little about possible things but nothing definite or clear to me. Could it be a bearing problem of some sort somewhere other than the half shafts? I am not familiar with these Subaru drivetrains or what to do/where to go/how to do it for this problem. No one seems to be able to help me on this. Need forum help here from those who know what this likely is.

***********

What has come back so far are to check out the following:

1. Possible loose trans or engine mounts.
2. Possible U Joint problem.
3. Possible driveshaft or bearing related problem.
4. Possible wheel bearing problem, even though all replaced.
5. Possible strut or hurricane bushing problem? Struts never replaced on car but work fine on road bumps.
6. Possible ball joint problem under the tie rods? Pass side was replaced but not driver side on previous mechanic advice.
7. Possible differential problem (not sure which of the 3 in the car) or differential bearing problem.

After the above list the last two months, we put in an all new aftermarket driveshaft and did have a worn but funtional rear u-joint on it. The noise/vibes got slightly better after this but still a major problem. I've just recorded the noises from the car and posted them here for download. Please give a listen and some expert advice for me. Anyone have this noise before and know what to target here? I can't replace everything in the whole car but need to keep this car going if I can.


http://www.4shared.com/music/NFOOOebp/SDR_0003.html
http://www.4shared.com/music/uxebwpN6/SDR_0005.html


Thx - Paul
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Old 10-12-2013, 02:13 AM   #2
Strick707
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I'm having the same kinda sound in my 09sti. Not as loud. Wasn't making it until I replaced my strut due to hitting a rock.. I'll be paying attention to this post to see what responses you get.
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Old 10-17-2013, 10:07 PM   #3
Pauls_Workshop
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strick707 View Post
I'm having the same kinda sound in my 09sti. Not as loud. Wasn't making it until I replaced my strut due to hitting a rock.. I'll be paying attention to this post to see what responses you get.
Hi Strick, well so far nobody has said anything to me here. I am about to get some help in another week with some diagnosis on the car up on a lift. I hope to better know what to target next after that. Several people think at least one wheel bearing is bad, but don't know what else. I hope it isn't differentials or other things in the trans but don't know yet. thx- Paul
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Old 10-28-2013, 08:44 PM   #4
Pauls_Workshop
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UPDATE: Car driveline noise and vibration problems are now solved at long last !

So I hooked up with an expert mechanic with lift who was able to diagnose and repair the car! We put the car on a lift and gave it a spin. Within one minute, he identified several things to checkout. Passenger side front wheel making lots of noise, driver side front wheel making a little noise, center differential/trans making some noise. No noise on the rear of the car. Off the lift, we spun the front tires and the passenger side was making lots of noise. Nothing loose in or out though anywhere. So, took that apart and found a very bad wheel bearing there.

We went and got some NAPA parts and decided to go ahead and get both front wheel bearings to be thorough. Also needed 3 studs and nuts for bad ones that had to be replaced. Couldn't even get one wheel off without breaking off the stud to do it. And some new front brake pads while we were at it. So when we got to the driver side wheel bearing, found out that it was bad too for sure, so good we got those parts too. Also found the driver side tie rod rubber surround was bad and the ball joint rubber surround bad, so got those parts also. None of those were worn though or loose or anything. Suspension all was fine.

Long story short, after putting it all back together and doing the lift test again, all the driveline noises were GONE. I could hear the engine for the first time in about 3 years!

It was both front wheel bearings bad. So, what happened there? Because these were both replaced early on in this problem two years back and should not be bad. Well, the inner and outer seals are required to be replaced when you replace the wheel bearings. That was not apparently done, and so would let in dirt. But those replaced bearings didn't improve the condition at all when put in two years back - no change as soon as they were in. Our best thought is the mechanic likely pressed them in using the inner diameter and not the outer diameter, instantly destroying the new wheel bearings in the process. So those were botched and didn't fix the issue like they should have done. And the mechanic I had (a 30 year mechanic no doubt) kept saying well this is needed and that is needed, etc., so we did the halfshafts, which weren't likely bad at that time. It's a case of a bad mechanic doing faulty work and also giving bad advice consistently. The average Joe wouldn't know, and I certainly didn't at first.

Of all the things I had done, most of those are OK to do to get this car to the goal 250-300K mile mark if possible, half shafts, wheel bearings, driveshaft, tie rods. The only ones unnecessary were the two botched wheel bearings two years back and the halfshafts prematurely from when they would have failed. So it is all ok now. No issues with rear wheels, rear differential, or center differential, or trans after the wheel bearings were done.

My wife summed it up best when she drove the Subaru again: "This is not our car. Where is our car?"

I'm following up with the posting here so others might benefit from my journey. I hope this can help a few more out there! - Paul
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Old 12-19-2013, 04:02 PM   #5
Strick707
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thats what was wrong with mine. wheelbearnig went out.
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