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1998 Legacy Outback Wagon - unknown wheel issue
Last post on Feb 06, 2013 at 2:51 PM
You are in the Subaru Legacy & Outback
What is this discussion about?
Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback, Auto Repair, Hatchback, Wagon
#4 of 6 Re: 1998 Legacy Outback Wagon - unknown wheel issue [ateixeira]
Feb 05, 2013 (10:33 am)
Oh, goodness, yes! Check the rear differential. Actually, you should check and/or replace all the fluids just to set the clock to zero if nothing else. transmission, front differential, rear differential, and brake fluids are very frequently overlooked as part of normal maintenance.
#5 of 6 Re: 1998 Legacy Outback Wagon - unknown wheel issue [xwesx]
Feb 06, 2013 (2:19 pm)
I've definitely got a couple loose and rusty heat shields, they make an interesting buzzing sound from the drive shaft when I rev the engine. An honest transmission specialist confirmed for me that it's nothing integral. I don't think that the aforementioned sound is related to this, as I don't hear it (only the buzzing) when I'm revving the engine out of gear.
As for the struts, they appear to be in alright shape, but my judgement is a little skewed because my last several vehicles have been very old (20-40 years old) and without particularly effective shock systems. I'm not sure how to physically inspect the struts (something I'll be looking into) but I haven't really noticed it clunking or bouncing over bumps. Given how little I paid for it, I'm altogether impressed with the handling.
The initial diagnosis that popped into my semi-educated mind when I first heard the sound was the bearing, for sure. Comparing the physics to the nature of the sound, that makes an undeniable amount of sense. But I also know that failed or failing wheel bearings will make a louder sound at higher speeds, whereas this is non-existant or indistinguishable at higher speeds, and tends to get louder as the vehicle is slowing down. I convinced a tire shop to put my car up on the lift for free to double-check my test, and they also got no play in the wheel. I'm under the impression that there are more bearings in the cv boots; could one of those potentially fail without the cv joint also failing? I also know that there are bearings in the differentials and transmission as well; not sure if one of those on its way out would make a similar sound.
In the mean time, I'm going to go check the fluid in the rear differential. I'd already checked the transmission and brake fluids, which both look as though they were changed recently by the mechanic I purchased the car from. It hadn't occurred to me that the differentials took fluid separate of the transmission (I'm showing my ignorance again!) so thank you so much for the tip. If it looks clean and at the proper level, I'll probably return for now to the rusty-brakes theory.
Thanks again for the feedback. Despite her developing quirks I'm really sold on the Subaru Outback, and I'm more than willing to take the time to fix her up, as long as I can figure out where to start! Those heated seats have got to be worth it. =D
#6 of 6 Re: 1998 Legacy Outback Wagon - unknown wheel issue [nsunbeam]
Feb 06, 2013 (2:51 pm)
I had a 1996 Outback with the 2.5L (DOHC) engine, and I really enjoyed it. I had 220,000 miles on it when it crashed, but I'm sure there would otherwise have been many more added to the odometer.
Good luck with it!