Subaru Forester Owners Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
2003 Forester X
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys, I've done a lot of searching on the first topic and found several posts but no real solutions. Basically, I have an 03 Forester X 5mt that I purchased last year with 108k. I'll be driving down the highway at a given speed (anywhere from 55-80) and it will just start getting a bad vibration - it feels like the front end is out of alignment. You can feel it in the steering wheel so I assume it's in the front end. It will be like that for a while and nothing -turning slowing/speeding up, braking, etc. - will make it stop. Eventually, it just quits and everything is smooth again. It's done this for the whole time I've owned the car. Since purchasing it, I've gotten an alignment, new tires, new front rotors, and rotated the wheels and seen no change. I'm left to assume it's most likely a bad wheel bearing or the like. I've also noticed lately that when turning hard right (loading the left front wheel), I often get a metal on metal squeal. Hopefully, this is enough information to get someone an idea of what's going on here.

The second part of my question may or may not be related. I was under the car checking out the front suspension and everything seems tight - ball joints, tie rods, etc. I did notice, however, that my front axles have lateral (in the direction of the shaft) play - you can move them about 1/8" toward the trans or hub. Both are the same. Both rear axles are tight. I also checked out my brother's 03 wrx and his front axles are tight as well. I've never had axles with any play in them, but even if there is, could it be causing this problem? I don't really want to spend a ton of money replacing stuff to hunt this mystery problem, because at this point it's more of an annoyance than anything.

Thanks all!
 

·
Registered
04 Forester X, MT
Joined
·
1,039 Posts
sounds like a bad wheel bearing.

I'm at 91,000 miles in my '04x 5MT and something doesn't "feel right" sometimes; a vibration in the steering wheel. multiple alignments (thankfully under service agreement so no $ every time). I already did rear wheel bearings and am planning to just go ahead and replace the front ones along with struts all-around. I had good tire wear but it suddenly seemed to get worse and I got new tires. I don't want to wear the new tires prematurely, so my concern is both with vibration and tire wear.

depending on exact construction of the axle joints it is not uncommon to have a little play in the axial direction (from wheel towards trans and back). you should not have detectable play in the rotational direction on the axles, but it is a little hard to tell this b/c the gears in the trans will have play.
 

·
Registered
2003 Forester X
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
No rotational play at all, but the lateral play is very noticeable. I've wondered if it's a bearing causing the vibration but I can't imagine over the last 10k it wouldn't have gotten worse. The squealing, however, sounds like it may be the start of a bearing. I haven't had the tell-tale "roar" of the bearing, but that could be something coming soon. Guess I'll have to dig up a bearing puller...
 

·
Premium Member
2014 Impreza Ltd CVT
Joined
·
3,319 Posts
Might be worth crawling under the car and checking the front universal joint of the driveshaft. A few other thread ....... may not exactly fit your symptoms, but worth looking into.

http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f89/vibration-chassis-26780/

http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f89/center-drive-shaft-failure-28377/

BTW .... I haven't been in Mt Top since the 80's ...... grew up in W-B ...... and many many neighbors worked for RCA when they were there .... along with Everhart-Fabre and Owens Corning. Back when 717 was the area code.
 

·
Registered
03 Forester Automatic
Joined
·
135 Posts
Hi guys, I've done a lot of searching on the first topic and found several posts but no real solutions. Basically, I have an 03 Forester X 5mt that I purchased last year with 108k. I'll be driving down the highway at a given speed (anywhere from 55-80) and it will just start getting a bad vibration - it feels like the front end is out of alignment. You can feel it in the steering wheel so I assume it's in the front end. It will be like that for a while and nothing -turning slowing/speeding up, braking, etc. - will make it stop. Eventually, it just quits and everything is smooth again. It's done this for the whole time I've owned the car. Since purchasing it, I've gotten an alignment, new tires, new front rotors, and rotated the wheels and seen no change. I'm left to assume it's most likely a bad wheel bearing or the like. I've also noticed lately that when turning hard right (loading the left front wheel), I often get a metal on metal squeal. Hopefully, this is enough information to get someone an idea of what's going on here.Thanks all!

I now have EXACTLY the same thing going on with my 03 Forester AT. This started about two years ago as a steady vibration at highway speeds. After new tires, a four-wheel alignment at a Subaru dealer and a replaced front axel I thought the problem was solved. On an 800 mile trip to the beach there was no vibration but on the way back the intermittent crap started. It is exactly as you described, same speed range and just goes away for a while. Now when it is doing one of its intermittent vibrations it’s more intense than when it was constant. I have a friend that is a Subaru mechanic; we’ve had it on a rack and can find no reason for it. His suggestion is when and if it gets bad enough there will be no doubt what’s causing the vibration. In the meantime everything under the car looks solid and there’s seems no chance for some catastrophic failure. So instead of throwing more money at it and hoping to get lucky I’m adopting a wait and see attitude. If you find out what’s happening before I do PLEASE POST.
 

·
Registered
2003 Forester X
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I now have EXACTLY the same thing going on with my 03 Forester AT. This started about two years ago as a steady vibration at highway speeds. After new tires, a four-wheel alignment at a Subaru dealer and a replaced front axel I thought the problem was solved. On an 800 mile trip to the beach there was no vibration but on the way back the intermittent crap started. It is exactly as you described, same speed range and just goes away for a while. Now when it is doing one of its intermittent vibrations it’s more intense than when it was constant. I have a friend that is a Subaru mechanic; we’ve had it on a rack and can find no reason for it. His suggestion is when and if it gets bad enough there will be no doubt what’s causing the vibration. In the meantime everything under the car looks solid and there’s seems no chance for some catastrophic failure. So instead of throwing more money at it and hoping to get lucky I’m adopting a wait and see attitude. If you find out what’s happening before I do PLEASE POST.
Maybe it's cause they're both blue :icon_rolleyes: Well good to know that the axle doesn't seem to be the issue - I can leave that alone for now. I'm tempted to stick with "wait and see", but the screeching when turning hard right is new in the last couple weeks. I think I'll probably replace the drivers side front wheel bearing and see what happens. Let me know if your car develops any new symptoms or you find any issues. I'll definitely post when I try anything or find anything.
 

·
Registered
2003 Forester X
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Might be worth crawling under the car and checking the front universal joint of the driveshaft. A few other thread ....... may not exactly fit your symptoms, but worth looking into.

BTW .... I haven't been in Mt Top since the 80's ...... grew up in W-B ...... and many many neighbors worked for RCA when they were there .... along with Everhart-Fabre and Owens Corning. Back when 717 was the area code.
I moved up here about 3 years ago to work for Fairchild Semiconductor, which long ago was the RCA plant. The area has grown quite a bit and it's really nice. Some parts of it are a bit over the top (search for the Ice Lakes and their $600k houses), but I like it here. Too bad most of the business in the industrial park disagrees with me - it's become a ghost town. Now Mt. Top is mostly commuters that work elsewhere.
 

·
Registered
2003 Forester X
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Hi Folks,
Just wanted to post an update. Not sure if the problem is completely resolved, but I haven't had it in the last couple months (although I haven't done as much highway driving since then, but enough I probably would have had a recurrence). Here's the story:

My squealing sound was bad brake pads- they were almost completely worn out when I pulled off the driver's side front wheel. Not sure how, as I had it inspected in May, but they may not have pulled that wheel (they only check 1 front and 1 back brake in PA)- we'll get to that in a minute. So I ordered new Hawk pads and new rotors for the front and went to install them. That's when things get funny.
Took care of the driver's side pads without much issue. Still a bit confused as to how the pads passed inspection, as they were completely shot and I didn't drive THAT much in 3 months (maybe 3k miles). Go to do the passenger side, and stop in my tracks - the pads look brand new. Not like 3/4 life, BRAND NEW. Looks like they were dragging on the rotor just enough to clean off the surface rust, but probably not doing any real braking. weird. So I replace the pads and rotor and figured since I had help I'd bleed the front brakes. Drivers side front went well, no bubbles, fluid was fairly nice looking to begin with. Passenger side front had HUGE amounts of air. Not even sure how that much got into the system, but I let a LOT of air out. I've actually been planning to check again to make sure they're still good, but it doesn't leak any fluid anywhere so I don't know how air would get in there unless someone did a brake job very poorly in the past.
Anyway, since doing the brakes and bleeding the system, I haven't noticed the vibration. I'm going to keep an eye on it for a couple more months to be sure, but I think it's gone. Not sure if the culprit was the crappy pad dragging/hanging up on the drivers side or maybe the lack of fluid in the line on the passenger side allowing the pads to chatter, but I think (hope) it's really gone.

carbonyl, I'd recommend checking your front pads and bleeding the brakes as a start. Let me know how you make out.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top