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Right rear wheel bearings require whole rear quarter replacement?

My 2003 Subaru Forester has 114K miles, and lives in northern Maine where there is lots of salt use on the roads. I was told that the right rear wheel bearing and hub need to be replaced, but that because of corrosion it would be very difficult to replace just those parts. I was told that it was better (about the same price) to order a whole “right rear quarter” from NY that only had 57K miles on it. I was told that the right rear quarter includes the hub, struts, joint, etc. Is this reasonable? Won’t I be at risk for having the same problem again soon because of the known problems with the right rear wheel bearings on Subarus of this age?

I wouldn’t.
First of all, the rest of the vehicle has been subjected to the same environment and conditions as the RR quarter. Chances are that even if successful this would be a temporary fix only. You have three other quarters of the car that would all be questionable for the long term.

Secondly, getting the new corner of the car perfect when replacing an entire quarter ain’t all that easy. Especially if the shop doesn’t have a chassis alignment table. That’s a big table with alignment technology and huge chains and hydraulics to force the body into alignment. Without such a table, Every cut releases pent-up stresses in the metal (called residual stresses). Every weld warps the metal.I fail to see how the shop could get everything properly aligned.

And the price? What’d they quote you?

My advice? try another shop. I suspect you’re getting bad advice. And if you proceed with it, I suspect the costs will mount enough to bring you to tears.

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The OP isn’t referring to a rear quarter panel. They’re referring to the RR suspension.


I’m in Minnesota.

And we have corrosion on parts/assemblies all the time that we deal with.

If these guys are afraid to replace components on a rusty assembly, find a another shop.

I just did a brake job on an Accord with trapped rotors.


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You’re probably right. What threw me was the recommendation to use a boneyard “quarter”. I’ve never heard of a shop recommending boneyard replacement parts of suspension components. DIYers yes, but not a reputable shop.

Separate bearing and hub vs unitized hub? Sounds like every honda ever made. You remove the knuckle and press out the bearing, which usually ruins the hub. But the hub is $20 online since they sell so many

I don’t know where you get your information from?

But once you press the bearing out of the steering knuckle, it allows access to the bolts that secure the brake rotor to the hub from behind.

All I did was replace the brake rotor.


If they are unable to press out the bearing without damaging the bearing housing (rear knuckle) a new rear bearing housing is $200. They may be trying to avoid having a lift occupied while waiting for the part.

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Thank you!

Thanks for the information. :slight_smile:

The thing the wheel attaches to, the hub, sort of floats in mid-air. Not actually of course, we are not the Jetson’s yet, but it is only attached to the body of the car with springs (in the strut) and movable arm like gadgets. Remove that stuff and the hub drops to the ground. There’s a pre-tensioned spring like rod that connects the right to the left side too. That’s how the rear wheels are held up on my Corolla anyway. So it certainly seems possible to replace all that stuff on one wheel rather than just the hub alone. If I had confidence (from prior experience) with the shop’s advice, I’d probably go along with their recommendation. I’d do a visual inspection of the situation myself first of course to make sure I concur that the stuff is just too rusty to try to deal with.

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The hub doesn’t drop to the ground so easily. The hub is pressed into the wheel bearing, the wheel bearing is pressed into the bearing housing or “knuckle”.

The silver colored circle in the middle is the back side of the hub, the black section next is the wheel bearing seals, the odd shaped rusty cast iron part is the bearing housing or knuckle.

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Yes, it is the knuckle or bearing housing, the entire ass’y in the photo above, that the springs and arms mentioned in my post above are attached to. That’s what would fall to the ground if the springs and arms holding it up were removed of course. Technically, the hub is part of that ass’y. On my Corolla the spring (part of the strut ass’y) bolt directly to those two holes at the 1 o’clock position in the photo. One of the arms goes to hole with that rubber bushing at 9 o’clock. When in position on the car those two holes at 1 o’clock in the photo are actually vertically oriented to line up with the strut, not horizontal as shown in the photo.

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This repair is a no brainer.

Find a shop that has a Hub Tamer

Here’s my set.


Since you were the first one to mention a bolt, it made me remember that the guy at the shop told me that there was a very large bolt that was seized in place. He made a motion like it was a foot long. If I knew more about cars I probably would have remembered exactly what he said better than I do. :confused:

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This sounds like the situation with tilt wheels many years ago. The shade tree shops opted to replace entire steering columns rather than deal with the rat trap mechanism . But those early Taurus shift linkages could make a junk yard column look like a good deal even for someone who thought they were a pro.

More and more it seems that shops should narrow the scope of the makes they deal with. I found that was worthwhile long ago. But the shade trees take whatever shows up at the door and look for the bolts that fit the wrenches they have I guess.

I’m impressed with the condition of those tools @Tester. Obviously they have seen some use but they are clean and appear to be in ‘as new’ condition. Are those tools used by everyone in your shop?

I would have to go 180 miles to find someone that works on Subarus. Any Subaru mechanics want to relocate to far northern Maine? Lots of people own Subarus but there are no dealers or mechanics who specialize in them for 180 miles. Housing prices are reasonable and outdoor activities abound.