Question about 1991 Subaru Legacy

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Grinding noise passenger side front

Hey every one... i have a 91 subaru legacy L AWD. I have been having problems with a grinding sound on the front passenger side. i can feel it in the floor at all times the car is moving and seems to match the rotation of the wheels. also makes the spedometer go up and down bout an eigth of an inch. mechanic told me to try replacing ball joint... did and little effect its still there also replaced cv axle cut the noise in half but still there. is it a differential problem? any help would be much appreciated.

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  • Jonathan S
    Jonathan S Jun 01, 2010

    What your describing could be a diff issue but sounds more like a bad wheel bearing.A good way to diagnose where exactly the noise is coming from would be to lift the vehicle up on a hoist and listen with a stethoscope.If the noise sounds like its coming from the hub.A very good possibilty is the wheel bearing. The spedometer may be a different issue all together.

  • justin_grind Jun 01, 2010

    thanks i'll give that a try. what do you suggest if its not coming from the hub? is there a good way to diagnose a diff issue?

  • Jonathan S
    Jonathan S Jun 01, 2010

    You should be able to follow the noise with the stethoscope or a screwdriver to the the source with the vehicle in the air and in gear.Typically wherever the noise is the loudest is where the problem is. When I asked for clarification forgot to mention to run the vehicle in air and have some inside accelerating this will make the noise get louder and usually much easier to find. This method will work on the diff as well just follow the noise but I am thinking that it is probably a wheel bearing issue.

  • justin_grind Jun 01, 2010

    i jacked up the side with the noise and tried to move the tire side to side and there was no play... isn;t that how you check for a bad bearing?

  • justin_grind Jun 01, 2010

    i checked the bearing that way and nothing. so it makes me lean twords the fact that it may be diff related. wich i hope not thats a pricey fix. so you think it might hurt to run it on a lift being its awd? or no?

  • Jonathan S
    Jonathan S Jun 01, 2010

    Running in air should not cause any problems. The wheel bearing may not be loose at all and still be in poor condition. the grease prepacked inside the bearing can dry up and cause the bearing to rust up causing serious friction issues and the grinding noises. I agree with fobara on the different methods of checking wheel bearings but a bad bearing is not always loose.

  • justin_grind Jun 05, 2010

    problem solved it was a wheel bearing thanks guys much appreciated!

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Check wheel bearing.
Check backing brake plate , sometimes it's bended and touching brake rotor.
If wheel bearing is bad , you may have same effect with backing plate , brake rotor touch backing plate.

Posted on Jun 01, 2010

  • 6 more comments 
  • Greg Stefan Jun 01, 2010

    You stated when axle has been replaced , it cut noise in half , by doing axle you retorque the wheel bearing so may be that is the problem.
    Speedometer I think is the different issue (juming cable or gear).

  • Greg Stefan Jun 01, 2010

    jsmes1027 is right , lift up the car and run stetoscop test is good , but sience it's 4WD it may not run smooth with all four wheels.
    The other way to check bearing , but only when it's really bad : Lift up the tire you suspect , grab the wheel on top and the bottom and try to move it by pressing top in and pulling the bottom out and then opposit way few times, if there is a play , bearing is shot.

  • Greg Stefan Jun 01, 2010

    jsmes1027 is right , lift up the car and run stetoscop test is good , but sience it's 4WD it may not run smooth with all four wheels.
    The other way to check bearing , but only when it's really bad : Lift up the tire you suspect , grab the wheel on top and the bottom and try to move it by pressing top in and pulling the bottom out and then opposit way few times, if there is a play , bearing is shot.

  • Greg Stefan Jun 01, 2010

    jsmes1027 is right , lift up the car and run stetoscop test is good , but sience it's 4WD it may not run smooth with all four wheels.
    The other way to check bearing , but only when it's really bad : Lift up the tire you suspect , grab the wheel on top and the bottom and try to move it by pressing top in and pulling the bottom out and then opposit way few times, if there is a play , bearing is shot.

  • Greg Stefan Jun 01, 2010

    Lift up the car and run stetoscop test is good , but sience it's 4WD it may not run smooth with all four wheels.
    The other way to check bearing , but only when it's really bad : Lift up the tire you suspect , grab the wheel on top and the bottom and try to move it by pressing top in and pulling the bottom out and then opposit way few times, if there is a play , bearing is shot.

  • Greg Stefan Jun 01, 2010

    Lift up the car and run stetoscop test is good , but sience it's 4WD it may not run smooth with all four wheels.
    The other way to check bearing , but only when it's really bad : Lift up the tire you suspect , grab the wheel on top and the bottom and try to move it by pressing top in and pulling the bottom out and then opposit way few times, if there is a play , bearing is shot.

  • Greg Stefan Jun 01, 2010

    it will not hurt to run it on the lift , but sometimes 4WD not runing smooth on the lift because wheels are not sinchronised , and you may hear some other noises from both differentials.

  • Frank Magliocca Jul 07, 2014

    AXLE BEARING, IT'S A SUBARU!

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It's the wheel bearing mine done the same thing and I fixed it and it stopped

Posted on Mar 13, 2015

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