Low pitch, pulsing vibration noise on left turns


#1

Hello All-

2014 Subaru Crosstrek XV CPO purchased December 2015.

Last month I slid out on a heavy snow day (no snow tires, I know!) on a left turn and the front passenger wheel struck the curb forcefully enough for the wheel to be angled outwards about 15-20 degrees when steering wheel was straight. Lower control arm was wrecked, had it replaced and alignment done by the local subaru pro. He noted that the caster was now 0.5 degree off, which he noted to be “within specifications”. He said it’s not a big deal, but if I wanted it fixed, I could have the frame pulled at a frame shop to correct.

I’m just happy to be driving my rig again, but I notice a somewhat low-pitch, pulsating, vibration-like noise whenever I make a left turn at a certain angle. It seems to resonate when I hit a “sweet spot” of speed/turn.

I made a video to share online to see if anyone would recognize what exactly is going on here. To hear the sound, you may need headphones or speakers with a low frequency response. I can’t hear it on my iphone or laptop built in speakers:

Anyone have experience with something like this or know whats going on? Is it “not a big deal” as the mechanic said or is this something I need repaired asap? Thank you guys so much for any insight!


#2

Can’t open your video but by your description it’s a classic right side wheel bearing failure.


#3

Another idea – a guess really – is the steering rack was damaged in the snow incident. That would be consistent with the direction you are and were turning.


#4

A wheel bearing is my guess also. If that’s what it is, fix it quickly, as you don’t want it failing on you while you’re driving.


#5

Some manufacturers have issued bulletins stating that if an impact has damaged a wheel or suspension component the wheel bearing at that location must be replaced. Wheel bearings can’t be visually inspected so the alternative to replacing them on these guide lines is to wait for a noise to develop, that leads to unhappy customers.


#6

The OP can count this as one more person who believes that a wheel bearing is the source of the problem.

A close friend of mine had a similar mishap a couple of winters ago, and he hit a curb with the passenger side front wheel of his Rav-4. The obvious damage was a nicked alloy wheel and a bent lower control arm. What didn’t become obvious for a few weeks was a damaged right front wheel bearing.

Because nobody can predict when a wheel bearing will suddenly seize-up, it is impossible to say how urgent this repair might be. However, the OP should bear in mind that when the bearing seizes, it will have the same effect as if the brake on that one wheel was suddenly jammed on full-force. If that happens at highway speeds, it could easily lead to loss of control.