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Virtual Wrench
Virtual Wrench, Subaru Mechanic
Category: Subaru
Satisfied Customers: 14620
Experience:  35 years Master Mechanic
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Subaru Outback 2.5I Limited: there! I have a 2004 Subaru

Customer Question

Hi there!
I have a 2004 Subaru Outback with 182,000 miles on the current engine which I have just had s 30,000 mile service on from my trusted mechanics at my Subaru dealership in Salt Lake City. Traveling last night at 65 mph on SR-40 West 120 miles out of SLC there was suddenly a, not too loud, but very noticeable high pitched noise, almost a whine, coming from the front end of the vehicle.
My wife and I pulled over and checked all engine belts (all new from 30,000 mile service 2 months ago). Checked engine oil (full, topped off 200 miles ago). Engine sounded fine idling or revved up.
The noise happens only when the vehicle is moving and continues even when I depress the clutch while moving.
The Subaru dealer replaced several CV Joints and several tie rods and this sort of thing about a year ago. The tires have about 20,000 miles on them and are 60,000 mile rated Big O Tires. 3 days ago I had a nail in one tire which Big O in SLC repaired and rotated the tires. The noise appeared after driving the vehicle 225 miles from time of repair, mostly highway miles.
Your thoughts on what I might be the most likely suspects?
If we terminated our camping trip and headed back the 150 miles back to SLC, what are the chances do you think that we could create serious problems for our (up til now) trusty Subaru?
Thank you!
Hob Calhoun
Stranded in Roosevelt, Utah on the Fourth of July
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Subaru
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 2 years ago.
Hello,and thank you for the very detailed info. I wish everyone was as through!
This has all the symptoms of a worn wheel bearing on one of the front wheel hubs. Especially being that it only makes the noise while moving. That would separate it from being an engine area issue, plus you said the engine sounded fine when reved.
The life expectancy of the front wheel bearings is about 150K so they have served their purpose and both should be replaced.
As far as it doing more damage by driving it home, i doubt it because it just started and isnt going to fall off or anything. If by chance it was to get real loud then i would have it looked at but with only 150 miles to get home, if it were me i would not hesitate at all.
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 2 years ago.
Did you have any further questions? If not please use the required rating for me to receive credit for working with you.
Happy 4th!