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Whining noise


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Hi, so here is the story:


When I am driving my 2008 Legacy 2.5i 5MT (almost 250kkm on odometer) I hear a whining noise. It starts to be audible at around 50-60km/h and get progresively louder as the speed goes up. It is like a wheel bearing noise but maybe little bit higher pitch.


It is speed related. No matter what RPM or what gear is shifted in the sound does not change. It also doesn't really change while accelerating or decelerating except for the level. It is always there just louder or quitter. Also the steering wheel was shaking a bit at 110km/h and shifting in the 5th gear was making the hissing sound - not sure how else to describe it. The gear goes in smooth but as soon as I move the stick right it starts hissing. When I finish the shift by moving it forward it gets quitter but it is still present.


First I suspected wheel bearing, I am familiar with that sound but this was little bit higher. Also while installing new summer tires I noticed that the axle nut on driver side was a bit loose so I though it's the driver side bearing. I've raised the car on 4 jacks and asked a friend to go all the way to 90km/h. The noise from driver side and passenger side was the same. I wasn't able to tell the difference. I've also noticed that the driver side wheel was shaking up and down while the car was "driven on jacks". It was also noticeable on the axle shaft. I checked the wheel play after but there was none on either side. Anyway, I've changed the driver's hub anyway as I had a SKF one on hand.

Result: all noises are the same but little less shaking in the steering wheel at high speed (BTW the shaking was there with the old tires as well). The old bearing (Timken) didn't have any play but it wasn't smooth, definitely contributed to the overall noise.


I've also changed the transmission oil to Motul Gear 300 75W-90. No change in noise levels. I've also change the read diff oil.


While the car was jacked I noticed that the rear bushings on the front LCAs are in bad shape and one of the front sway bar endlinks is shot. So I've changed the rear LCA bushings (energy suspension polyurethane) and sway bar bushings (again Energy suspension) + Moog links. All good but no change is sound. Maybe a bit less vibration at high speeds but that seems to be dependent on the road as well, doesn't happen every time.


So now I've read a ton of posts about diff problems - front and center. To me it still sounds like some bearing going bad.


Today on a parking lot I've tried to do slow circles in first gear on both sides with full lock on steering wheels. As far as I can tell no rattling on clunking. All I could hear was the tires crunching little rocks.


Here is what I am thinking:

- bad axle on drivers side? That could cause the vibrations but the whinning and hissing (while shifting in and in fifth gear) probably not

- axle carrier bearings? Do they ever go bad? I once had to replace the drivers side axle seal but I've counted the revolutions on the retainer and put it back exactly as it was.

- front diff? The sound is consistent when accelerating or decelerating and from what I've read it is typically audible only while accelerating

- center diff? Probably no because driving in circles on parking lot was smooth, no binding.

- some other bearings in the transmission? Who knows...


So I have 4 problems:

- slight irregular steering wheel shake at high speeds

- strange hissing sound when I move the stick from neutral to right or left but it only stays when I shift in fifth. Other gears seem uneffected

- some whining sound from the front of the car (not engine) likely from transmission itself

- fact that I live in Canada, have no garage and I am gone for the next 4 weeks on a trip. When I get back it might be too cold to work on a car outside.... Would it be same to drive it over winter lets say another 3000km?


Any feedback is appreciated, I am not sure what to try next or how to diagnose the root of the problem...



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