If you have noticed a few odd drips on one side of your car, it could be some fluid from the fluid-filled, front LCA rear bushing. I feel you would have quite a bit of time before the bushing deteriorated enough to cause serious issues. I didn't know that though and elected to fix the problem. Of course, any missing rubber or serious looseness in the mount would require more immediate attention. I do have some regrets that I installed the prothane kit as it is noticeably harsher/noisier - but it was very cheap!( about $46/pair from ebay;
Prothane16-201 FRONT Control Arm Bushing Kit-Pair, the OEM parts from an online dealer were listed at $218/pair !) OEM mounts with new bushings would be the best option and , unless you are trying to tighten up your car for motorsports or are dirt poor, would be the best way to proceed. I think pressing an OEM style sleeved bushing into your mount would be the least desirable for a typical DIYer.
The following pics and procedure may be helpful for anyone working on this item, just pick the info you need for removal and replacement if you use OEM mounts. BE AWARE that there is some need to 'orient' an OEM mount. You would make note or scribe a line, etc. when removing the old mount so the new mount is 'angled/oriented' the same way. This is unnecessary with the Prothane kit as it can rotate completely.
I began with the non-leaking side, but here are a coupla pics of the cracked/dry side bushing, you should be able to see the splits;
I think they fail a little early due to being near the exhaust. My wife's car had only about 63K miles when this happened. But it sees 95% stop&go, secondary road driving as well.
Set the parking brake, block rear tires (loosen lugnuts on front wheels) and lift the entire front of the car onto some jacks. You may want an inch or 2 more clearance than for regular maintenance work. Remove the wheels (not strictly required but I found it very helpful)
Use a 22mm short socket and 1/2" breaker bar (or 22mm wrench) to loosen the nut on the back of the mount. (it installs with 137ftlbs. I reused mine but 'technically' it should be replaced)
If your tools don't fit, you can use a 19mm socket and partially remove (leave 6-10 threads) the mount bolts, then use some wood w'ever to pry the rear of the mount down to clear fitment of your socket. This will be done again on installation to fit the torque wrench. The used of the loosened bolts help prevent the mount from moving around too much when wrenching on the nut.
The mount bolts come off easily with an impact gun, but a breaker bar with a cheater pipe may be needed and the extra room under the car will be appreciated. (they install with 180ftlbs - more on that later)
I wire brushed them a little and used anti-seize when re-installing them.
remove the mount from the arm. For those of you installing an OEM mount, you may want to pay attention to parts orientation;
The OEM bushing insert is oriented a certain way, you can see arrows for the purpose molded in the rubber, doesn't matter for my Prothane parts;
I used a 1/4" drill bit to destroy as much of the rubber as possible. There are a couple of areas inside the mount where I GUESS the center sleeve is somehow pinned to the outer sleeve - perhaps to hold parts in position for vulcanizing/filling or other manufacturing reasons? But just drill and 'wallow' as much rubber out as possible. Then, i used some large vicegrips to rip the center out;
I used a jigsaw fitted with a metal cutting blade at first, then, after the 2 bands came out, I switched to a hacksaw. The sleeve shifted right out once it was cut through. It may be less than a millimeter thick. I used a little oil for cutting. Maybe a real sawzall would work? I tried to limit cutting into the aluminum. I cut towards the 'beefiest' part of the mount to (I hope) limit any chance of a crack forming in the future;
I wire brushed the inside, and 'faces' of the mount a little, mostly to de-burr where I cut into it. One side had a little rust stain.
The 2 Prothane pieces are different, the concave beveled piece goes against the arm, the flat piece will have the washer against it followed by the nut. Plenty of grease is included, I used one tube for each side, I lubed pretty much everything except where the nut sits against the washer;
I wiped the arm off, slipped the mount on, then, I put some anti-seize onto the mount bolts and threaded them partially (7-8 truns ?)into the car. Then, I spun the nut on as far as i could by hand. I then pried the arm down enough to get the torque wrench onto the nut. Torqued to 137ftlbs.
At this point, do the same procedure to the other side of the car. Double check the work, the position of the prothane parts, etc.
Then, I ran the mount bolts up as far as possible but I only wrenched them 'snug' (less than 10-15 ft lbs I'm sure). Now, replace the wheels, remove the jacks, lower the car. I bounced the car at each corner and at the front several times. This should shift the mount to a neutral position in its slotted mount holes. With the car on the ground, I slithered my fat gut under there, I torqued the outer bolts on both sides to 80ftlbs, to help hold the mount without shifting it too much. Then ,I torqued the inner bolts to 180 ft lbs. Then, I re-torqued the first, outer, bolts to full 180 ft lbs. (more on this in a moment)
I torqued my lug-nuts on both wheels, cleared my gear outta the way and drove the car around a little, I even purposely drove over some speed humps in a parking lot. One side at a time and then directly over. I went back home and re-torqued the bolts. I plan to torque them again in a few hundred miles.
the reason I used anti-seize and am torquing the bolts 3 times, is because my wrench only goes to 150ftlbs. I'm hoping that the anti-seize and multiple torquing sessions will get me close to the actual clamping pressure required. I can't recommend anyone do what i did, just explaining my approach. The manual clearly calls for 180ftlbs.
As said, any increase in handling 'crispness' is subtle, the xtra harshness is not. maybe the poly will get better with age but, i wish i had just saved my pennies for a while and installed OEM bushings. I would mind it less if this had been my WRX, but the Outback is my wife's car and she already noticed some new 'noise'. uh-oh