Subaru Forester Rear Wheel Bearing

Our Subaru Forester (2015) started making a growling noise towards the rear of the vehicle.  I jacked up the rear of the vehicle and turned both rear tires, one side made a growling noise.  Oddly enough there was no play or other signs indicating a problem.  I replaced both rear wheel bearings since they both have ~90k miles.  

This is just a brief outline, I recommend reading the FSM for this job.

Special Instructions

The service manual specifies a couple of special instructions that I will outline here. 

  • There is a magnetic encoder built into the rear of the hub, be careful with this, keep anything magnetic away from it. 
  • The FSM recommends installing the brakes before torquing the axle nut. Apply brake pressure when torquing the rear axle nut down.  Do not load the bearing with the vehicle's weight before torquing the axle nut.  The FSM doesn't specify but the axle nut must help set preload on the bearings so this step is very important.  
  • Don't forget to stake the axle nut when you are done torquing it down.  
Wheel Bearing Encoder Ring
The brown in the picture is the encoder ring. Keep anything magnetized away from it.
Axle Nut Protect Threads
Use the old axle nut to protect the CV shaft's threads during removal.
Parts Needed:
  • Wheel Bearing: BCA part #: WE61771
  • Rear Axle Nut: Subaru part #: 902170049
BCA 512518 Bearing
The BCA brand bearing is marked NTN Japan, this appears to be the same as the factory bearings
New Wheel Bearing vs Old
New wheel bearing on left vs old wheel bearing on right. Notice the black paint on the center bore and one of the studs. Further confirms the likelihood this is the same as the OEM Subaru part.
Torque Specs from the FSM:
Wheel Hub bolts (4)47.9 ft-lb
Brake Caliper Hanger bolts48.7 ft-lb
ABS Wheel Speed Sensor5.5 ft-lb
Axle Nut140.1 ft-lb*

*See note above on torquing axle nut.