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Old 08-11-2000, 08:01 PM   #1
Bob OM,Md
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Post Update: Wheel Bearing Failure #2

Just returned from my dealer who was to replace the left wheel bearing on my 99 Forester S for the 2nd time. They decided to wait and replace not only the bearing but the hub unit(?) as well. They have the bearing but need to order the other part because they don't normally stock it. In an earlier post, someone said that SOA is aware of the problem and that it is NOT all that rare. Does anyone have any information about this? I'm a bit annoyed because the wheel makes an awful noise and I think the rolling resistance is growing. I'd rather not drive it until its fixed, but they say that it will take a few days to get the part. I'd appreciate any information. Thanks.
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Old 08-11-2000, 11:00 PM   #2
N/A
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Do they even know what's causing the problem? How long was it since the last one was replaced? It's safe to assume they aren't blaming it on you auto-xing it. Didn't this happen to a Legacy owner also?
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Old 08-12-2000, 06:04 AM   #3
Bob OM,Md
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There are 39 posts referring to wheel bearing problems since January. If there are that many on this site, imagine what could be found if SOA did a search in their database!! While most of the posts deal with the Impreza, it is safe to assume that the problem exists also in Foresters which are, after all, Imprezas with a different body.
I am trying to collect some information that will imprez (forgive the pun) SOA and ....
If there is a design flaw, it should be looked into.
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Old 08-12-2000, 06:13 AM   #4
TR
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what are the symptoms of this? my car just started to make a creaking sound sometimes when I turn the wheel at low speed - i.e. parking. usually the creaking is only towards the end of the wheel turn, but it has to be moving.
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Old 08-12-2000, 07:58 AM   #5
Bob OM,Md
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The symptoms is a rumbling noise of metal scraping metal. It is constant and changes volume and pitch with increased speed. Also I've been noticing that if I release the gas pedal the decleration seems a bit more rapid. The sound is kind of like caliper scraping on rotor, but that's because its metal against metal. There seems to be no difference going straight or turning and after awhile the rumbling starts to sound more like a roar and there is some vibration as well. From what has been said by the dealer and the other posts, its sounds worse than it is, but nevertheless it MUST be replaced. The bearing is a sealed piece and there seems to be a level of skill required in replacing it and packing it correctly --a skill which some of the posts report as lacking in some instances of dealer servicing which guarantees a necessary second replacement. I hope this helps.

BTW: I finally broke down and ordered a set of shop manuals so that I could see more exactly what is going on with my Forester in general as well as this instance. I thought I might be able to get away without manuals for this vehicle, which would be a first for me, but apparently not. When I installed my Hella auxiliary lights, for example, wading through the wiring --even with the able assistance from other posters-- was pretty hairy.

[This message has been edited by Bob OM,Md (edited August 12, 2000).]
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Old 08-13-2000, 06:15 AM   #6
Dave_Clark
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This is not so much a defective part problem as it is an improper installation problem. I've been told by a Subaru tech that the new wheel bearings do not come pre-greased and packing the correct amount of grease into them is crucial. Also, I think maybe getting the correct amount of preload when installing is difficult. In any event it's apparently not like most cars where you just take the bearing out of the box and press it into the hub.
Even so, the question of defective parts looms. A one year old car should not be needing new wheel bearings yet. My '84 Audi Quattro has over 160,000 miles on it and I just replaced one of the original wheel bearings.
Pat Richard's rally car is a MY98 and he's been rallying for a year and a half on the original wheel bearings (and y'all know how he drives ). None of them show any signs of needing to be replaced. I've got new ones but I'm afraid to put 'em in!
Are the bearing failures limited to a particular MY?

As for driving on a noisy bearing, just grin and bear it for a few days. It doesn't take a very big pit in the bearing race to make for horrible noises. It will start sounding a LOT worse and more obvious before the wheel is in danger of falling off.

-DC

[This message has been edited by DMS-USA (edited August 13, 2000).]
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Old 08-13-2000, 08:59 AM   #7
Rich L
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Bob...

I was talking to the chief mechanic at my dealership. He told me that it you hit a pothole a certain way, it can cause a "nick" in the bearing which eventually worsens with milage.
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Old 08-13-2000, 11:26 AM   #8
Bob OM,Md
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Thanks to all for your replies. It is good to know that I am not totally in the dark about this. I just hope I do not damage any other parts of the rear drive by doing some light driving. My usual weekday routine is a 40 mile round trip journey to work. That should be another 100 miles before midweek (with Monday off). It should make it, shouldn't it?
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Old 08-13-2000, 03:22 PM   #9
ColinL
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I doubt this applies to you Bob, but let's all remember that wheelbearing loads go up significantly when the offset is lowered (less positive).

Stick to +53 or very near it with 7" wide wheels, even if you don't rub on the fenders with lower offset you will accelerate wear on the bearings. This is especially important for those in motorsports-- road racing being the worst. (Dave, any tarmac rallies? )
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Old 08-13-2000, 04:07 PM   #10
Retsyn
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For what it's worth, the wheel bearing in my wife's Forester went after 15,000 Mi. The dealership I go to really seems to know what they're doing. Haven't had any problems with the bearings since. They said it had to do with "how they're inserted". Essentially, the job has to be done right or they'll just burn out again. They may be full of crap, I dunno. But we've put on 30k since with no problems.
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Old 08-14-2000, 03:05 AM   #11
Dave_Clark
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Colin - There are no all tarmac rallies in North America but many have tarmac stages. Rallye Charlevoix in Quebec is perhaps half tarmac (right in town!), plus 60,000 spectators! You should see the picture of Pat's car a couple of feet in the air over a jump at the Lake Superior Rally last year; he had the 17" ricer boy wheels on it for the tarmac spectator stage.

-DC
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Old 08-15-2000, 05:42 AM   #12
vinman
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Hit a pothole and cause a nick in the bearing? Give me a break! Some dealers will say anything and apparently some people will believe anything!
I had my right rear bearing replaced at 14K, should have been replaced at 12K but I didn't have any vibration or roaring noise. Instead it made a buzzing sound so it wasn't very apprarent to me or some other people that it was a wheel bearing. I had it replaced at a dealership in Silver Spring (the service reps ar jerks but the tech that did the work was a good guy). they admitted to me that they have replaced numerous bearings on imprezas, foresters and SVX's. Usually the rear bearings on imprezas and foresters and front and rear on SVX's. they thought it was an installation problem since the new bearings they are installing are the same design. With the amount I drive I'll be out of my warranty in less than a year so hopefully they did a good job on the replacement.
FYI - don't go to russel subaru in ellicott city for service, i bought my car there and after talking to some of the techs there i'm sure, make that absolutely positive, that they won't do a good job.
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