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Old 09-16-2018, 01:56 AM   #1
T-37
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Default Wheel Bearing differences and longevity - possible upgrade path for 5x100

Edit: update coming soon. Long story short, I went with 08 WRX knuckles. Minor modifications required to the knuckle, and an 8mm spacer between the axle and bearing is required...hopefully I'll have it out for a drive and alignment this week. Detailed post and pics coming soon.

I'm on my 900th bad wheel bearing and I've been thinking about alternatives. I'm mostly thinking out loud here, but I'm curious who else has gone down this road and what ended up working. I'm trying to throw some ideas out and hopefully stimulate some conversation and arrive at a solution that can be held for posterity.

I'm tired of dealing with the press fit 5x100 wheel bearings and the carnage of ruined hubs or knuckles when one goes. But I also don't want to change my wheels and suspension since I've got a bit of money into them, so I'm planning out an upgrade path. It's also important that it isn't unnecessarily expensive and can more or less be a DIY.

I want to use a bolt on wheel bearing for ease of maintenance - it makes for loads less downtime, and it would also mean I don't need to break alignment to replace the hub.

The way I see it, there are 2 options:
1) 08-14 WRX bolt on wheel bearing-hub assy
https://parts.subaru.com/p/Subaru_20...8373FG000.html
Is the bearing life any good on these, or are they about the same as the press fit 5x100's?




2) 05+ STI bolt on wheel bearing-hub assy redrilled to 5x100 (could be troublesome getting them redrilled)
https://parts.subaru.com/p/Subaru_20...8373VA000.html
I know these are a stronger bearing, but how much better are they in terms of service life? 2x? 3x?



Now the most important question is, do they have the same bolt pattern where they attach to the knuckle? It looks like the housings indeed are different, but it looks like they could have the same hole spacings, but one would have have to measure them both to verify

If they're the same bolt pattern, then I think it's a simple case of modifying some 05-07 STI knuckles to recieve my struts, and bolting on the 08 WRX hubs. I'm pretty sure I can handle the knuckle modification, but redrilling STI hubs to 5x100 accurately has me a little nervous. I think even if the bolt on 08 5x100 hub has the same lifespan as the press fit, it could still be a worthwhile improvement just in ease of replacement.

DON'T ATTEMPT, BOLT PATTERNS DO NOT MATCH

The other option I thought about was to use the 08+ knuckle, but I don't know for sure if that would work since it has the wider track and even those may require modification to fit the struts. It also looks like the ABS sensor is different?

The final piece of the puzzle is axles, I'm currently using 02-04 WRX axles (STI trans with 04 stubs.) Will these work with the upgraded knuckles/hubs? It looks like spline count of the 08+ hub is the same based off some googling, so It seems possible.

Possibly more to come...
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Last edited by T-37; 10-07-2018 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 09-16-2018, 09:48 AM   #2
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Interested in this possibility as well
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Old 09-16-2018, 09:51 AM   #3
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How many miles are you getting out of a bearing?
How are you driving it? Lots of track days, hard cornering, off-road?

Unless some sort of hard use, maybe the procedure used is the issue, not the bearing. Thus it is either damaged on assembly or the wrong torque for the axle nut.
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Old 09-16-2018, 11:28 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie-III View Post
How many miles are you getting out of a bearing?
How are you driving it? Lots of track days, hard cornering, off-road?

Unless some sort of hard use, maybe the procedure used is the issue, not the bearing. Thus it is either damaged on assembly or the wrong torque for the axle nut.
Well I've got 2 cars with this problem, so that's magnifying it a bit for me. One car is a DD, 90% street driven, but my commute is through roads that haven't been maintained/improved for decades (think undulating/choppy asphalt with potholes), so they're worse than most gravel roads. The other car is mostly autocross, but gets driven on fridays and weekends when the weather is nice. I do tend to drive them both pretty hard around corners when I can.

I remove the knuckles and take them to a shop. I don't have a press myself so that part I don't have 100% control, but the shop doing the pressing is very reputable. Each time I've replaced the hub, bearing and seal with new OEM. I've replaced 1 knuckle as well. It's averaging about 2 a year since the original bearings went, those lasted several years.

Axle nut torque is correct. But I'm using duralast reman axles (lifetime replacement) and dorman axle nuts. I'll probably be switching to the Subaru remans soon, but I haven't had axle problems for a while.
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Old 09-16-2018, 12:23 PM   #5
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The bearing housing in the upright itself can go out of round. If you keep going through bearings you may want to consider new ones. Also if they are not oem bearings you might want to use some or at least re-pack them with better grease.

As far as I know, the 5x100 bolt in beraings and 5x114 bearings don't interchange. On top of that, the 5x114 hub is too big for a standard 5x100 wrx rotor to go over it after it's redrilled. LIC has/had all the stuff to do this and they turned down the hub so it would fit.


The only reason I can think of for the 08+ upright to not fit is the abs sensor. strut mount, steering, ball joint, geo, etc should all be the same.
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Old 09-16-2018, 12:26 PM   #6
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I have had a good shop get a new guy doing a job which they screw up. So the shop is good, the tech is bad.

Unless the axle is soft and stretches, axle nut torque should remain fine, regardless of the axle brand.
Axle nut torque is what preloads the bearing correctly.

Since you listed time, not miles (which is what I requested), let's assume you do under 10,000 miles/year, so you get 5,000 miles from a bearing?
Sounds like your parts are fine.
Common denominator is the shop. I would go chat with them. Be nice, just explain.

Personally, I freeze the bearing in my deep freezer for a few days. Remove old bearing (heating to about 120*F......rather hot to the touch but NOT glowing), old bearing out, almost drop new bearing in, let cool.
Bearing pocket gets wheel bearing grease, as does hub where it contacts the bearing.
Hub also gets frozen before pressing.

I may also pack the new bearing with more grease before freezing.

BTW, I usually don't have a press. Big blocks of wood, 3lb hammer, freezer, some heat for knuckle, Gearwrench axle nut socket kit are what I usually use.
I have bearings with over 100K miles on them that are fine using my method.
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Old 09-16-2018, 12:30 PM   #7
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Old 09-16-2018, 12:51 PM   #8
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Cryo treatment has proven to help trans gears, pistons, etc. Could this be a possibility for bearings as well? Assuming cleaned from all grease and repacked.

I am starting to have the opportunity for more track time and have been questioning how well my bearing will hold up.
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Old 09-16-2018, 01:12 PM   #9
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I have not tried your option #1 with the 08 up wrx knuckles

I am not sure if they are same or similar geometry as gd knuckles or if the 05-07 or 08 up sti or wrx bearing/hub assy's will fit

the abs sensor is in a different location and would require that to be attended to , not sure how that would go down but hybrid axles may be needed to get the proper length as well as tone ring setups

not sure if the 08 up wrx and sti bearings are the same , or the same as 05-07 sti bearings for that matter

I know for certain the 05-07 bearings are worlds better than the gd wrx stuff as well as way easier/quicker to change

option #2 with the 05-07 knuckles and bearings redrilled to 5x100 is what I have on my 04 sti right now , front bearing/hub assy's are actually available from lic if you cannot find a competent machinist for the job , if you want longer wheel studs do it all at the same time , most often if using aftermarket dual drilled rotors the outer hub diameter will not have to be turned down , but if using oem 04 sti rotors, that's OEM , the 05-07 hub will not fit into the rotor , not the bolt pattern of the wheel , the hub itself

once again the abs thing , 05-07 sti has a different tone ring placement as well as wheel speed sensor location in the knuckle itself

if using 05-07 sti knuckles , lic offers 2 different tone ring adapters for the 2 different early 04 sti front axles that use stubs on the transmission , one of them also works on the later 04 sti axle as well , the late 04 sti axle is male male like the 05-07 sti axles but has the tone ring placement like a gd wrx knuckle because that's what the 04 sti has up front , I converted my early 04 sti stub axles to later 05-07 style , seal changes , different sun dials , slightly longer overall , yada yada .

I hate to assume but I bet the tone ring adapter thing would work on a gd wrx axle to get the ring in the right spot in relation to the sensor if using the 05-07 sti knuckle , once again , unsure of exact tone ring placement in 08 up wrx or 08 up sti but "looking" at them side by side they "look" the same , as far as the abs details , the 05-07 sti and 08 up sti I mean , iirc , it's been a while for this stuff for me

one last thing to consider with any 5x114 sti knuckle , whether you remachine to 5x100 or not is ..... the 5x100 strut will not fit , you must swap to a 5x114 fitment strut. you can also purchase modded knuckles from lic or do them yourself , but considering your comment about redrilling the hubs I would suggest you break out the credit card and leave it to a competent shop with a proven track record , see the pun ? track record.....

there is a #3 option , 05-09 legacy/outback/lgt/obxt . the bearings are not as stout as the 05-07 sti I believe but seem to hold up way more betterer that the gd wrx stuff and are easily replaceable as they bolt in rather than press in , the knuckle geometry is damn near spot on and the alignment rack will tell you that as well , the gd 5x100 strut bolts right on , the oem backing plates for the brakes that fit these knuckles are available in two sizes (everything else and lgt) so pretty much wrx brakes or brembo , the only real downside is the abs thing , pretty much the same "what do I have to do" as above for the 05-07 sti knuckles , I would build a hybrid axle using everything from the gd wrx except the outer cup with the splines to drive the hub from the lgt .

this would most likely be the cheapest and easiest route

Last edited by motorbykemike; 09-16-2018 at 01:18 PM.
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Old 09-16-2018, 01:36 PM   #10
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just read the op's

"final piece of the puzzle"

3 options as I see it if using any knuckle other than gd wrx fitment , which it's apparent the op wants to do

1 swap sundials and seals to late 04 male/male axle or 05-07 sti (same stuff) and use the 05-07 sti axles

2 build hybrid axles (see below for caveat)

3 purchase aftermarket axles built to fit inner cup(04sti stub)/outer cup(whatever knuckle)/axle length(04sti) needs

the third option seems the most appealing to me as op most likely is making more power than stock, is using the car in a "spirited manner", and possibly unbeknownst to op , here's that caveat , the axles currently in the car are too long as the six speed is wider than the 5 speed (hopes op has the longer 04-07 sti alum front lower arms to ease the issue) (and is it a wagon or sedan? that makes a difference too) ...........

thinking a call to driveshaftshop or insane shafts may/should be in op's future



now I know a bunch of the kewl kidz will say this is all b/s and you can use long axles on a wide trans with narrow arms and itzallgudbro , fvck em

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Old 09-16-2018, 01:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snow_bound26 View Post
Cryo treatment has proven to help trans gears, pistons, etc. Could this be a possibility for bearings as well? Assuming cleaned from all grease and repacked.

I am starting to have the opportunity for more track time and have been questioning how well my bearing will hold up.
My "freezing" is just to aid in assembly. It's not cold enough to change anything else other than size, just a little bit.

As to true cryo treating a bearing, can't say I ever read about that before although I have read about treating gears.
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Old 09-16-2018, 02:01 PM   #12
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have cryo treated steel bearings in road race bike engines where ceramic are not legal

he who cheats the best ................

and meticulously checked 50 for each position to find the perfect ones in a motor that needs 1 in each position , they most often take 6 bearings

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Old 09-16-2018, 03:26 PM   #13
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Thanks for the info provided Mike. You've raised some good points that I hadn't thought about. The autox car is a sedan. It has an '06 6-speed with the '04 axle stubs and seals, duralast 7334N axles (supposedly wagon fitment), and has STI control arms. Also RCE T2s I don't want to replace.

The other car is also a sedan, and has the 04 5 speed out of the autox car. Also has STI LCAs and the same Duralast axles. It has RCE yellows on AGXs, I could see a front strut swap being pretty painless.

As for modding the knuckles vs the hubs. There's a little less precision required to fill, redrill 1 hole and face mill the knuckles vs the 5 on a circle. I could see myself modding some knuckles and buying the LIC bearings possibly. As for the axle it would be pretty simple to switch the 6 speed back to the 06 style seal and use 05-07 sti axles. Possibly the same thing for the other car as well, at some point that one's getting a 6 speed as well.

It seems like new axles are most likely going to be in the cards, and at best I could shim/space the tone rings. At this time I'm most worried about the autox car, but the other one won't be too far behind.
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Old 09-16-2018, 04:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie-III View Post
My "freezing" is just to aid in assembly. It's not cold enough to change anything else other than size, just a little bit.



As to true cryo treating a bearing, can't say I ever read about that before although I have read about treating gears.


You mentioning freezing made me think about the possibility of true cryo. I haven't played with cryo in any parts yet myself but and thinking about it once I do a built SB. Completely understand shrinking them for ease of assembly.

OP, I just purchased some shafts from insane shafts for my STi LCA conversion on my wagon. Haven't had a chance to install them yet but should be done in the next couple weeks. I'll make sure I leave a review.
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Old 09-16-2018, 04:43 PM   #15
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are you not destroying the rear wheel bearings ?

or are they gd sti?

I was killing "wrx" style rear bearings on my dd sf , lots of suspension stuff and tons of mechanical grip when I have good leftover rubber on it from the sti , fronts on the sf and the 04 gd sti are def considered consumables and pretty much suck to replace

I only use oem Subaru bearings

wiped out 2 sets of gd sti rear knuckles on my sti , street/hpde/ta car with about as much grip as you can get with a 255 tire and no cage , 200tw/r-comps depending on what's going on that day

replaced the new 05-07 sti front bearings after 13k of use , new ones are quieter and tighter, but old ones are "good spares" for sure

built a street/ax sg and gg with the lgt front setups and they seem to be fairing quite well , not as much grip as my sti or sf for that matter I think but either are still no slouch with 500/430 springs and 650/550 , both on very good rubber and all the other complimenting "bit of kit" to kill it in the corners , front bearings go 25k+ and can be changed in 45min/side drive in/out , another sf out west running same stuff w/ good results , maybe not as much grip though

I have a set of lic tone ring spacer doohickies I never used , if you need , pm me

bunch of sti knuckles too , some 100 , some 114 , all gd , some need bearings , some don't

and a few oem axles in 31 flavors



you saying axles in the cards , the insane shaft axles are reasonably priced and have been holding up for guys I know with 4-550whp with no issues , they were killing oem non-sti axles , only one broke , not drag cars , the issue was the cv joints themselves were just wearing out quickly , they never tried remans or Chinese axles like the duralast or cardone

anyways one of those guys has "custom built hybrid axles" to make the front work from insane , no tone ring adapters






oh and , do you find the t2's to be bouncy and overdamped/undersprung ?

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Old 09-16-2018, 11:26 PM   #16
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Believe it or not, the rears have been fine on both cars, at least in terms of spinning freely and not moving radially. I actually did the rear bushings in both cars earlier this year so I had the suspension all apart and they all checked out.


I went ahead and ordered a pair of used STI knuckles off ebay to start from.

Insane Shafts' prices do look very good. I'll probably do that route.



Not to go too OT, but the T2's are great. They can be a little choppy on the street, but I don't switch settings around for street vs autox. That said they're much smoother than the Stance Supersports they replaced AND the KYB AGX & RCE yellows in the other car. I did try out the recommended "street" settings when I first installed them and it was the most comfortable the car has been since it was stock 10 years ago . Using the recommended "track/autox" settings, the compression damping does seem a little strong but it seems to help mid-corner/exit. I did end up backing front compression off one or two clicks to help with turn in a little. As far as spring rates, I'm pretty happy with them, but I'm running fairly large bars too (25F/22R - probably what was hurting my turn-in, but it carried over from the previous setup.) There seems to be plenty of range in the dampers to go up on spring rates though.

A big part of this bearing upgrade is prepping for the switch from 200TW tires to Hoosiers.
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Old 09-21-2018, 08:19 PM   #17
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Update,

So some parts arrived today and I was able to compare the 08 bearing to the STI bearing. They don't match at all. The STI bearing is at least 10mm bigger diameter and the bolt spread is different. So that's a fail. Looks like I'll be going the redrilled hub route.
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Old 09-24-2018, 04:23 PM   #18
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How do you folks re-grease bearings? Last time I did it I used rags to wipe out as much of the original grease as I could, put the bearing in an alcohol bath to try to soften the remaining grease, then hand packed with the Mobil 1 grease (the Dow Corning stuff was just too damned expensive).

Interested to see how other folks did it.
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Old 09-24-2018, 06:57 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by car_freak85 View Post
How do you folks re-grease bearings? Last time I did it I used rags to wipe out as much of the original grease as I could, put the bearing in an alcohol bath to try to soften the remaining grease, then hand packed with the Mobil 1 grease (the Dow Corning stuff was just too damned expensive).

Interested to see how other folks did it.
That's pretty much what I do, except I use mineral spirits instead of alcohol.
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Old 09-24-2018, 07:27 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motorbykemike View Post
I have not tried your option #1 with the 08 up wrx knuckles

I am not sure if they are same or similar geometry as gd knuckles or if the 05-07 or 08 up sti or wrx bearing/hub assy's will fit

the abs sensor is in a different location and would require that to be attended to , not sure how that would go down but hybrid axles may be needed to get the proper length as well as tone ring setups

not sure if the 08 up wrx and sti bearings are the same , or the same as 05-07 sti bearings for that matter

I know for certain the 05-07 bearings are worlds better than the gd wrx stuff as well as way easier/quicker to change

option #2 with the 05-07 knuckles and bearings redrilled to 5x100 is what I have on my 04 sti right now , front bearing/hub assy's are actually available from lic if you cannot find a competent machinist for the job , if you want longer wheel studs do it all at the same time , most often if using aftermarket dual drilled rotors the outer hub diameter will not have to be turned down , but if using oem 04 sti rotors, that's OEM , the 05-07 hub will not fit into the rotor , not the bolt pattern of the wheel , the hub itself

once again the abs thing , 05-07 sti has a different tone ring placement as well as wheel speed sensor location in the knuckle itself

if using 05-07 sti knuckles , lic offers 2 different tone ring adapters for the 2 different early 04 sti front axles that use stubs on the transmission , one of them also works on the later 04 sti axle as well , the late 04 sti axle is male male like the 05-07 sti axles but has the tone ring placement like a gd wrx knuckle because that's what the 04 sti has up front , I converted my early 04 sti stub axles to later 05-07 style , seal changes , different sun dials , slightly longer overall , yada yada .

I hate to assume but I bet the tone ring adapter thing would work on a gd wrx axle to get the ring in the right spot in relation to the sensor if using the 05-07 sti knuckle , once again , unsure of exact tone ring placement in 08 up wrx or 08 up sti but "looking" at them side by side they "look" the same , as far as the abs details , the 05-07 sti and 08 up sti I mean , iirc , it's been a while for this stuff for me

one last thing to consider with any 5x114 sti knuckle , whether you remachine to 5x100 or not is ..... the 5x100 strut will not fit , you must swap to a 5x114 fitment strut. you can also purchase modded knuckles from lic or do them yourself , but considering your comment about redrilling the hubs I would suggest you break out the credit card and leave it to a competent shop with a proven track record , see the pun ? track record.....

there is a #3 option , 05-09 legacy/outback/lgt/obxt . the bearings are not as stout as the 05-07 sti I believe but seem to hold up way more betterer that the gd wrx stuff and are easily replaceable as they bolt in rather than press in , the knuckle geometry is damn near spot on and the alignment rack will tell you that as well , the gd 5x100 strut bolts right on , the oem backing plates for the brakes that fit these knuckles are available in two sizes (everything else and lgt) so pretty much wrx brakes or brembo , the only real downside is the abs thing , pretty much the same "what do I have to do" as above for the 05-07 sti knuckles , I would build a hybrid axle using everything from the gd wrx except the outer cup with the splines to drive the hub from the lgt .

this would most likely be the cheapest and easiest route
Quote:
Originally Posted by motorbykemike View Post
just read the op's

"final piece of the puzzle"

3 options as I see it if using any knuckle other than gd wrx fitment , which it's apparent the op wants to do

1 swap sundials and seals to late 04 male/male axle or 05-07 sti (same stuff) and use the 05-07 sti axles

2 build hybrid axles (see below for caveat)

3 purchase aftermarket axles built to fit inner cup(04sti stub)/outer cup(whatever knuckle)/axle length(04sti) needs

the third option seems the most appealing to me as op most likely is making more power than stock, is using the car in a "spirited manner", and possibly unbeknownst to op , here's that caveat , the axles currently in the car are too long as the six speed is wider than the 5 speed (hopes op has the longer 04-07 sti alum front lower arms to ease the issue) (and is it a wagon or sedan? that makes a difference too) ...........

thinking a call to driveshaftshop or insane shafts may/should be in op's future



now I know a bunch of the kewl kidz will say this is all b/s and you can use long axles on a wide trans with narrow arms and itzallgudbro , fvck em
Been trying to follow along but info is a bit jumbled and maybe I'm just not getting it. As far as I've read in this thread, the hybrid axle setup seems to be the most fitting for the GD Chassis.

Personally speaking I have an 06 WRX and recently acquired 05 STI knuckles. What I was hoping to come across in this thread was whether or not the WRX axles will slide right into the STI hubs for my year. Can someone confirm if this is possible? I've already contacted the driveshaft shop on a quote for hybrid axles for my r160 to 5x114 hub to use on the rear.

I use the car for track with some DD in between. Mostly concerned about converting my setup to the stronger wheel bearings and to 5x114 for more wheel options.
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Old 09-24-2018, 07:38 PM   #21
T-37
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The front axle splines are the same. The ABS tone ring won't match up to the sensor.
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Old 09-24-2018, 10:02 PM   #22
CarmelValleyWRX
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i had a bad bearing on my 05 wrx. it wore down the hub where the race pressed on so my wheel had quite a bit of slop in it. it happened fast too. one day good one day bad. i think my axle nut loosened up or something... anyway, i replaced both front wheel bearings with timken and the one hub (OEM subaru replacement) that was FUBAR. now about 6 months later i hear light grinding from my brake rotor when cornering hard with the windows down so im assuming there is some play in my wheel again. i checked the axle nuts and they are tight still. i guess i need to repack the bearings next time or something. i pressed them in myself. i have done wheel bearings before so i think i did it right. i do drive my wrxy pretty hard though. about 50% of its life is twisty fast road. other 10% is bumpy dirt road to get home.
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Old 09-25-2018, 01:39 PM   #23
Wayne Suhrbier
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"You mentioning freezing made me think about the possibility of true cryo"

The higher the alloying of the steel the more benefit from cryo post heat treat. The biggest benefit from cryo is a quick complete phase change of the austintite to martensite (sp? on both of those). This helps prevent small locations being harder and/or more brittle in the steel. Seconday is a stress relief. I have no idea if the subaru bearings are 5160 or not, but that is one of the most common steel for bearings in general. It will have a complete phase change at room temperature so cryo won't help that.
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Old 09-25-2018, 02:51 PM   #24
jexeffectz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T-37 View Post
The front axle splines are the same. The ABS tone ring won't match up to the sensor.
Would this mean I can use the 05 STi+ knuckles I have with 05+ bearings in the front, provided I use the LIC abs/speedo tone ring spacers?

As for the rear, would this mean that if I get hybrid axles made to fit the r160, I would need the abs/speedo tone ring as well?
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Old 09-25-2018, 02:57 PM   #25
T-37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jexeffectz View Post
Would this mean I can use the 05 STi+ knuckles I have with 05+ bearings in the front, provided I use the LIC abs/speedo tone ring spacers?

As for the rear, would this mean that if I get hybrid axles made to fit the r160, I would need the abs/speedo tone ring as well?
For the fronts, yes. No idea for the rears.
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