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Source of the noise?

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  • Source of the noise?

    I wonder if this is the source of all the drive train noise in my 2006 AWD Subaru that developed over the last 1-1/2yrs

    I was pretty sure it was coming from the transfer case area. Finally got to tearing into that yesterday. Took almost 2hrs to get the rear case cover off due to a stuck dowel pin. Not fun rolling around on cardboard under the car. I was expecting the center differential/viscous coupling carrier bearing to be bad based on my prior research but it seems OK. This small bearing on one of the gear shafts and the one on the other end have most definite wear. One on other end not as bad but still shot IMO.

    I am debating on replacing the differential/viscous coupling assembly as those are known to die but usually will give off clunking noises in turns when they do and mine was fine. ~$500 part though. Prior owner ran this car with non-matched front/rear tires (same size, but different brands and old/new wear). A no-no for these cars.

    Jeff in ND

  • #2
    That bearing is guaranteed to be a source of noise as bad is at is worn. Bud


    • #3
      I picked up 2 new bearings at the dealer parts counter yesterday.

      They have the same ID and OD but are definitely NOT the same bearings! New bearing on the left has a smaller cone and rollers and they made up the difference with a thicker race.

      The old ones were NSK brand and new ones are NTK brand.

      Given how old bearings wore out, makes me wonder how long these will last... Isn't bigger is better for bearings? I remember 40yrs ago on the farm when I was growing up, Dad and neighbor jointly owned a piece of equipment from new. It seemed to eat bearings pretty regularly. Eventually, the mfg issued a larger (wider) bearing to help improve the problem.

      Hopefully the Subaru engineers know more than I do!

      Jeff in ND


      • #4
        I would think metallurgy would be the deciding factor. A lot of replacement parts are made in China to unknown quality control specs...maybe good...maybe not. Subaru probably has multiple vendors for such parts and a Subaru dealer, if out of stock will call NAPA or another local parts house and use whatever is available.
        Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.


        • #5
          How many miles were on the car when you started to notice the noise/bearing wear? I see that the car was 13 years old, but it may have had 13K or 200K miles.
          Gary L.
          Wappinger, NY

          SDC member since 1968
          Studebaker enthusiast much longer


          • #6
            How many miles were on the car when you started to notice the noise/bearing wear?
            Probably somewhere around a indicated 160-165k. Actual mileage uncertain. A new cluster (with OD) was put in around 100k when prior owner bought it. But, I've noted that the OD does not match interstate mileposts and speedo is off too.

            I've a pretty sensitive ear for noises and I am sure many would not have noticed anything initially. Maybe still not noticed any noise if they kept their radio/stereo loud. I was pretty sure the main noise coming from the transfer case area but while working under the car with a stethoscope (car on 4 stands, in high gear and idling so everything was moving) there was also some noise from the carrier bearing on the driveshaft and the U joints had wear so I replaced the driveshaft (OEM shafts cannot be repaired) hoping that would take care if it. It DID help some but of course this has gotten worse over the past year and almost 10k miles.

            These bearings were in Subaru labeled boxes so not from the parts store, etc. I am somewhat concerned they had them in stock and the parts man seemed familiar with bearing replacement as points to a design weakness so they do this same repair in the dealer shop at least somewhat often.

            What I have come to find out over my almost 4yrs of ownership is Subaru's like other cars, have some weak points and one common one seems to be bearings. Wheel bearings are another problem. I replaced the front ones about a year into ownership as I could hear some faint whine from those. When removed they had some visible wear but not ground up yet.

            Jeff in ND