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Old 02-11-2001, 08:54 PM   #1
Geoff
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Thumbs down Excessive Wheel Bearings Dying - Am I the only one?

A few weeks ago, I posted that I had a bearing going bad and that I had the dealership replace it. The bearing's been replaced. Last Friday, I was driving from Houston, TX to New Orleans, when I heard what sounded like I hit something (but I didn't) and my rear end started wobbling. I was doing ~75 on I-10 outside of Beaumont, TX (Vidor, TX actually) and pulled off the road - smoke was pouring from my driver's side rear bearing - AGAIN, only a couple hundred miles (if that) after the replacement.

I was stranded at a gas station for 6 hours; the only wrecker (that's towing service for those of you not in Texas) I could have come was one that works for Gillman Subaru in NW Houston. I would thank Gillman Subaru for their invaluable assistance, however the fact is that I missed out on a computer networking job at a (irony of ironies..) dealership in New Orleans because of this bearing failure.

This is the sixth wheel bearing that I've had replaced under warranty in this location (driver side, rear), and the dealership said they saw nothing wrong with the car. Three different dealerships have now done bearing replacements on the car and have stated that "everything else looks good" - none of my other bearings have gone, and no, I don't drive NASCAR tracks in reverse, nor do I beat the hell out of the driver's side of the car in any way.

After another 230 miles (all highway), the sixth bearing is howling yet again, and sounds like it's not gonna last a whole lot longer.

Have any of you guys had similar experiences with bearings just dying? The car's a MY99 Outback Sport/Minnam Stage-2 with KYB GR-2 WRX replacement struts and STi Type V Wagon springs. Any and all help is greatly appreciated.

-Geoff

[This message has been edited by SabreLion (edited February 11, 2001).]
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Old 02-11-2001, 08:56 PM   #2
Revision
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Start looking at the lemon laws in your area.
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Old 02-11-2001, 09:58 PM   #3
RallyKid
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Subaru bearings are not packed w/ bearing greese when new. When installing new bearings, you should take the packing greese out of the new bearing, and pack it w/ good, high quality bearing greese. This information has been passed to me by a Subaru tech, and has been varified by ppl. on this board.

next time you go, make them do this, and you'll be garateed a happy bearing.
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Old 02-11-2001, 10:00 PM   #4
Geoff
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RallyKid:
Each and every time they packed it with new grease. On one occasion, the bearing got so hot that all that was left of the grease was oil. Thanks anyway. :/
-Geoff
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Old 02-12-2001, 03:16 AM   #5
S.Damery
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Interesting, my subes in the shop as we speak for what I suspect as a bad wheel bearing. It started making a nasty metal on metal screeching noise on the way home from work on Friday. The noise got louder and louder as I drove on, I thought that it was going to sieze up on me. I'll know more about it today. BTW, I have a 00 Impreza.
-Shawn
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Old 02-12-2001, 05:50 AM   #6
micah
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This is standard fare for SVX owners, although not quite as extreme as what you described... other than making sure they are well packed I know that properly torquing all the related bolts is very important. Especially the axle nut and the lateral link bolt. Also consider that the housing may be warped or otherwise damaged, so a new housing and/or hub may be required.

good luck,
mbs
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Old 02-12-2001, 06:15 AM   #7
WRXPRESS
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I was just informed this weekend that the noise that I thought was my tires. A whurring sound . Is my left rear wheel bearings. I don't hammer on my left side either. If anything I hammer the right side and I haven't hit anything with it. It's good (I guess) to see that I am not alone.
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Old 02-12-2001, 06:33 AM   #8
bluesubie
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Lightbulb

Maybe they are being improperly installed. I believe there may be a TSB on this. You should call 1800Subaru3 and report your hassles.

Dennis

[This message has been edited by bluesubie (edited February 12, 2001).]
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Old 02-12-2001, 07:28 AM   #9
Geoff
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If it were one dealership doing the install, I'd think it'd be the dealers's fault, but this has been done by 3 dealerships.

The hub assembly was replaced along with the 3rd bearing, BTW.

Also, I'm not at work today because the sixth bearing went CATASTROPHICALLY this morning on my way in. My rear end went wild at 70MPh. I guess I was right in my post last night stating that I didn't think it'd last too long. I'm ready for anything with this car though...sure enough, I pulled over and smoke was pouring from the driver side rear; my car is sitting in the driveway with its SIXTH fried bearing. I'm lucky it went only a few miles from my house; I drove it home at 15MPh, its rear-end wobbling the entire way. I'm getting awfully sick of this car. (sigh)

WRXPRESS: Please, please let me know what happens with your situation. I wish you better luck than I've had.

-Geoff

[This message has been edited by SabreLion (edited February 12, 2001).]
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Old 02-12-2001, 02:08 PM   #10
CRZ_MSL
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If you own an SVX there are two things you have to worry about failing:

1) Transmission (we have a permanent fix for this now)

2) Rear wheel bearings-- no fix for these, they are cheaper to buy in bulk.
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Old 02-12-2001, 02:12 PM   #11
Imprezer
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Maybe it has something to do with you car being OBS and you using non-stock offset wheels.

Just guessing.
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Old 02-12-2001, 02:41 PM   #12
Geoff
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Alex,
If it were the wheels, the front bearing would be going each time I did a tire rotation. The fact that it's an OBS shouldn't matter one bit. My front bearings haven't gone out a single time. Also, I've got RaceLine RL-7s ... they're only made for Subarus to the best of my knowledge. Oh well...the dealership has it again...time will tell what the deal is.
-Geoff
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Old 02-13-2001, 12:00 AM   #13
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Bump...
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Old 02-13-2001, 12:51 AM   #14
lark6
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Hi,


I was referred to this post by another i-clubber 'cause I've had similar experiences. I have a '00 Forester S which I bought in January '00. At 8K miles I had both rear bearings go kaflooey; they were replaced by the dealer and failed again (I didn't use all caps though I wanted to) at 13K. It turned out that they were properly packed with grease but the retainers for them were not torqued down properly. There is a service bulletin from SoA that specifically addressed this (I got a copy from Darlene at Quality Subaru - I think the URL is www.qsubaru.com but I could be wrong). The upshot is that those retainers need to be torqued down using a torque wrench set to a specific lb-ft setting. "Technicians" often use impact wrenches to torque these down with the end result being that too much torque is applied, the bearing housing deforms, and the bearing fails prematurely.


Anyway, I brought this to the attention of SoA (reps were Patti Mickel and Susan Hopf - very helpful and responsible). They sent a rep out to my dealer to supervise the installation of the 2nd set - I have now crossed 18K miles this weekend and no failure yet. SoA also covered my rental and an unrelated expense while the Forester was in the shop.


So bearing failure isn't unheard of, but it appears many Subarus have gone many miles without failures. I'd venture it's a function of how they were installed - either from the factory or by a shop. I can only hope mine last longer than they have - it's the only major cloud on what's been a satisfying ownership experience. The way SoA has treated me is better than I'd expect from a manufacturer in Subaru's price range and has gone a long way in making me want to be a repeat owner.


Just my $.02 plus. Hope it helps.


Ed (edited for spelling and grammar and the proper URL)

PS: Quality Subaru URL is http://www.quality-subaru.com/


[This message has been edited by lark6 (edited February 12, 2001).]

[This message has been edited by lark6 (edited February 12, 2001).]
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Old 02-14-2001, 12:03 AM   #15
CRZ_MSL
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Make sure the bearings are properly greased before insertion. They come coated with a grease that is intended to prevent corrosion, not to lubricate.
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Old 02-14-2001, 12:47 AM   #16
Geoff
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CRZ: Check the third response in this thread. They assured me that they packed the bearing with new grease...each and every time. It liquified the grease on three occasions.
-Geoff
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