Rear control arm bushing clearance - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums

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Old 11-13-2012, 02:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Rear control arm bushing clearance

Both of my front lower control arm rear bushings were split and leaking oil, so I purchased brand new parts from the dealer and worked on installing them over the weekend, using the procedure in the factory service manual.

The driver's side went on without a problem, and I was able to get the proper bushing clearance (1 mm at the front, 1.5 mm at the rear) after fiddling with it for a bit.

On the passenger side however, I can't get the proper bushing clearance. With the bushing slid all the way to the front, there is still 2mm clearance at the front, and the washer is up against the spacer at the rear.

I see no indications that the control arm suffered from an impact; everything looks straight.

I tightened everything in the order given in the FSM, with the front tires on ramps so I can fit under the car. The tires are "settled" into the ramps, so there shouldn't be any longitudinal load on the control arm.

Any advice?
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Currently in the middle of this job as well, would love to know!

Gonna have to search around for that FSM excerpt... hmmmm
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It's quoted almost verbatim on Autozone's repair guide, including the clearance specification diagram:
| Repair Guides | Front Suspension | Lower Control Arms | AutoZone.com
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:11 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Bump! Anyone have some insight on this?
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:40 AM   #5 (permalink)
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There could be some load with the car on ramps. Try putting the rear of the car up on jack stands to level it out. There could also be some pothole damage too small to see, as well. As small as the difference is, you may be as good as your going to get.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You are referring to the rear front control arm bushing?

Gravy. It works better if you are on a drive on lift. An alignment rack works because you have the benefit of the wheel plates that when the pins are removed, it helps to settle the suspension. After you swap the bushings onto the arms, all the spacers are in the proper place, do not tighten them, only snug the nut so you can still roll the assembly on the arm and leave the frame bolts loose enough for the assembly to move. Set the car down and jounce it a couple times to settle the suspension. Then torque the nut onto the arm and then mounting bolts to the frame. In this fashion, the bushing is set for the suspension without extra load. It also makes up for other worn parts that may be on the car. Also makes up for the settlement of the springs over time.

When you have it done, realign the car.

I've never measured it. Replace the parts, realign the car. There will always be a caster difference in the front wheels, but not enough that will cause a pull or effect steering. In fact, the caster angle is barely off from new. And the cars always handle properly when I've finished.

Don't overthink it. You are making it more difficult than is necessary.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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although I wasn't installing factory mounts, I pretty much did what cardoc described.

(I also learned that I wouldn't bother with changing them just because they lost their fluid. But that's a different rant. lol!)

have you inspected the inner bushing and balljoint? maybe bad on that side.
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:32 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I used an aftermarket control arm (Dorman) and my gaps are way off, but it tightens just fine.

I believe the torque spec is 137ft-lbs. If the torque is right, then it would make no sense to adjust anything in order to achieve a tighter gap between the bushing and the washers, because the torque would be incorrect then. (I think...)
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Old 11-30-2012, 01:50 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
I believe the torque spec is 137ft-lbs. If the torque is right, then it would make no sense to adjust anything in order to achieve a tighter gap between the bushing and the washers, because the torque would be incorrect then. (I think...)
Torquing that bushing does not affect the clearance. That nut is supposed to be torqued before setting the clearance. In fact, the FSM says to torque the rear bushing nut with the control arm off the car, though you can only do that if you have the angle marked so that the bushing ends up with no preload when at ride height.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cardoc View Post
Don't overthink it. You are making it more difficult than is necessary.
I am following the Subaru factory service manual.

I hope you don't feel like Subaru is overthinking their engineering and the way they build your car!
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Old 11-30-2012, 01:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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How can the gap be set at all? Tightening the bushing would theoretically push it against the control arm as far as it goes, right? I don't see how there is any adjustment on this bushing as far as where it sits on the control arm stud.

I'd like to do it right as well, even though I'm sure it isn't that critical. Something about shelling out $85 per bushing makes me want to get it right!
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