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Tue May 28, 2019, 09:16 AM

Car mechanic type people, help! What do you think?

2003 Subaru Outback Sedan: Sounds and feels like a flat tire on the left side but no flat. Kind of feels like it starts on the front and works its way back. It is worse when I first accelerate, the car shimmies. There is also a weird noise coming from under the hood but only when I'm driving it, not when it idles. I'm afraid to drive it to the mechanic and will prob. have it towed when I find one that is close to me and opened.

Thanks!

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Arrow 34 replies Author Time Post
Reply Car mechanic type people, help! What do you think? (Original post)
Laffy Kat May 2019 OP
Turbineguy May 2019 #1
Laffy Kat May 2019 #2
Turbineguy May 2019 #6
zipplewrath May 2019 #3
Laffy Kat May 2019 #7
Laffy Kat May 2019 #8
zipplewrath May 2019 #12
Laffy Kat May 2019 #14
magicarpet Jun 2019 #27
Lochloosa May 2019 #15
House of Roberts May 2019 #4
Laffy Kat May 2019 #5
marked50 May 2019 #9
Laffy Kat May 2019 #13
ProudLib72 Jun 2019 #30
ExciteBike66 May 2019 #10
Laffy Kat May 2019 #11
MicaelS May 2019 #21
kacekwl May 2019 #16
Laffy Kat May 2019 #17
kacekwl May 2019 #18
Mopar151 May 2019 #19
Laffy Kat May 2019 #20
MicaelS May 2019 #22
Laffy Kat May 2019 #23
Laffy Kat Jun 2019 #24
MicaelS Jun 2019 #25
kimbutgar Jun 2019 #26
Laffy Kat Jun 2019 #31
Kali Jun 2019 #29
Laffy Kat Jun 2019 #33
Kali Jun 2019 #34
demosincebirth Jun 2019 #28
Laffy Kat Jun 2019 #32

Response to Laffy Kat (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 09:17 AM

1. Constant velocity joint?

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Response to Turbineguy (Reply #1)

Tue May 28, 2019, 09:19 AM

2. Is that expensive? nt

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Response to Laffy Kat (Reply #2)

Tue May 28, 2019, 09:24 AM

6. I'd get a proper analysis first

according to the internet it's more than $1500. But it might be covered under the longer powertrain warranty?

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Response to Laffy Kat (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 09:20 AM

3. Many possibilities

Everything from an imbalanced tire to suspension problems. Although considering it's a Outback, one wonders about power train problems being a AWD kinda thing.

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Response to zipplewrath (Reply #3)

Tue May 28, 2019, 09:24 AM

7. I thought about the power train, too. I must have heard that from somewhere before.

Sounds pricey.

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Response to zipplewrath (Reply #3)

Tue May 28, 2019, 09:25 AM

8. I did get that tire plugged recently. It was flat a couple of weeks ago. nt

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Response to Laffy Kat (Reply #8)

Tue May 28, 2019, 09:28 AM

12. Was it rebalanced?

If it was some cheap place, their dynamic balancing machine (if they had one) may have been faulty (they need recalibrating regularly). Truth is, even a major tire dealer can make a mistake. I'd get all the tires rebalanced before I spent much money doing anything else.

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Response to zipplewrath (Reply #12)

Tue May 28, 2019, 09:29 AM

14. I'm embarrassed to say I don't know.

It was a tire place but they did it for free. Yikes.

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Response to Laffy Kat (Reply #14)

Wed Jun 5, 2019, 07:15 PM

27. Check the lug nuts under the hub cap,.. the lug nuts may have worked lose or not tightened properly.

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Response to zipplewrath (Reply #12)

Tue May 28, 2019, 09:31 AM

15. I second this recommendation. Start with the easy stuff first.

kind of like electrical stuff. "Is it plugged in?"

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Response to Laffy Kat (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 09:21 AM

4. Do both front wheels point the same?

If not, then a steering link could be damaged. That would also make you feel it holding the steering wheel as it rolls.

It also could be bad suspension on that side, or failing wheel bearings.

Good luck!

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Response to House of Roberts (Reply #4)

Tue May 28, 2019, 09:23 AM

5. Thanks, this helps.

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Response to Laffy Kat (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 09:26 AM

9. Pretty hard to tell without actually experiencing what you describe but I can

comment on something I am familiar with on my 1999 Forester, that is sort of similar. It has to do with the viscous couplers that Subaru uses on their AWD. I believe there are 4- one for each wheel and there are attached to the transmission. They are sort of like a differential. On mine the front one(s) went out at around 100K miles. It thumps when you turn the wheels at a low speed, like when pulling into a parking space. First I thought I had a flat. It makes no noise at normal speeds but only at low speeds on turns. The car shakes. Doesn't appear on acceleration though and doesn't "work its way back".

I would suggest you contact a mechanic in your area familiar with Subaru's that can give you advice. Good luck.

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Response to marked50 (Reply #9)

Tue May 28, 2019, 09:28 AM

13. Gosh, that does sound like it. It has 150K miles.

I wondered about CV joint on the front left. Thanks.

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Response to Laffy Kat (Reply #13)

Wed Jun 5, 2019, 08:31 PM

30. I found a few videos about it on youtube

You should check them out and see if the noise is similar. Here's one to get you started.



The viscous coupler is part of the center differential. Basically, it's what feeds drivetrain energy to your rear wheels when it is needed.

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Response to Laffy Kat (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 09:26 AM

10. First thing, check that the wheel is on tight

Lug nuts on wheels on the left side can loosen due to the direction of rotation of the wheel (don't ask how I know!). I would check that the lug nuts are tight.

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Response to ExciteBike66 (Reply #10)

Tue May 28, 2019, 09:27 AM

11. Thanks, I got that tired plugged after a flat a couple of three weeks ago.

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Response to Laffy Kat (Reply #11)

Tue May 28, 2019, 03:28 PM

21. Check that tire right away.

It make have developed a "knot" (bulge) on part of the tread, probably at the point where the flat was fixed. Jack the car up, and rotate the wheel by hand, while running the other hand over the tread. You should be able to feel it and see it.

I had a car that would literally shake itself sideways when pulling away from a stop. Once up to speed the shake disappeared. Turned out I had a bulge under the tread.

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Response to Laffy Kat (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 10:25 AM

16. Separated tire. My guess.

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Response to kacekwl (Reply #16)

Tue May 28, 2019, 10:53 AM

17. Wouldn't I be able to see that? Thanks. nt

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Response to Laffy Kat (Reply #17)

Tue May 28, 2019, 11:41 AM

18. Normally no .

Unless you raise it up on a lift.

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Response to Laffy Kat (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 12:07 PM

19. Id bet that the L/F wheelbearing

Is now recyclable scrap! You are safest to have it towed, it's already damaging itself .
If you are garage shopping, an independent shop who specializes in Subarus is a pretty good start. They will have done this job already, and should be able to give you a fair price estimate.

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Response to Mopar151 (Reply #19)

Tue May 28, 2019, 03:14 PM

20. Thanks. I had it towed to a shop..

And they are looking at it tomorrow.

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Response to Laffy Kat (Reply #20)

Tue May 28, 2019, 03:29 PM

22. Post back and let us know. n/t

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Response to MicaelS (Reply #22)

Tue May 28, 2019, 04:15 PM

23. I will. nt

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Response to MicaelS (Reply #22)

Wed Jun 5, 2019, 04:55 PM

24. So turns out the U-joint failed and they had to replace the driveshaft.

It was $535. Honestly, I thought it was going to be worse than that. It's driving fine now, although they noted the brakes are 50% worn, but not an issue at this time. Guess that'll be next. I'm determined to hold on to this car for another 18 months and then keep it for one of my boys.

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Response to Laffy Kat (Reply #24)

Wed Jun 5, 2019, 05:17 PM

25. Thanks for the update. n/t

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Response to Laffy Kat (Reply #24)

Wed Jun 5, 2019, 05:58 PM

26. My 2003 Pontiac vibe with 125,000 had the same problem

You got off cheap with $535.

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Response to kimbutgar (Reply #26)

Wed Jun 5, 2019, 09:32 PM

31. Several people told me I got a good deal.

The place I went to has a wonderful reputation honest work at less cost.

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Response to Laffy Kat (Reply #24)

Wed Jun 5, 2019, 08:17 PM

29. they had to replace the whole driveshaft?

I have ruined a fair amount of u joints and dropped driveshafts out on the road before and didn't have to replace them, just the u joint. do Subarus have some problem with driveline malfunction?

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Response to Kali (Reply #29)

Wed Jun 5, 2019, 09:34 PM

33. Yes, they replaced the whole thing.

The mechanic told me it was about to "fall out" and I thought he was kidding. Do they really just fall out on the road?

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Response to Laffy Kat (Reply #33)

Wed Jun 5, 2019, 10:12 PM

34. yeah they sure can

best to hope the rear drops first so you don't do a pogo stick hop down the road

worst time for me was in a 15 passenger van on a mountain pass in Mexico with 13 Germans coming back from a trip. great story now, horrible frightening night then!

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Response to Laffy Kat (Original post)

Wed Jun 5, 2019, 07:15 PM

28. Motor mounts?

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Response to demosincebirth (Reply #28)

Wed Jun 5, 2019, 09:33 PM

32. Maybe that, too. It still has a slight rattle they weren't able to locate.

Doesn't seem to be hurting anything yet.

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