Lower Control Arm rear bushing / transverse link replaced with Prothane on 03 Outback - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums

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Old 10-09-2012, 08:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Lower Control Arm rear bushing / transverse link replaced with Prothane on 03 Outback

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
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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These bushings are the primary location where the traction/braking force from the front wheels is transferred to the body. Proper dampening is important there if driving comfort is a priority.
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Old 10-13-2012, 01:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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nice write up . any part # on that kit?
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Old 10-13-2012, 02:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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nice write up . any part # on that kit?
thanx

got mine on ebay;
Prothane16-201 FRONT Control Arm Bushing Kit-Pair
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I had an opportunity to re-torque the mount bolts (again, my wrench only goes to 150 ftlbs as mentioned above) being under the car for a half-axle swap.

The inboard bolts seemed tight, the outboard ones did seem to move a little so, I'd encourage everyone to plan on re-torquing the mount bolts after a little driving.
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Old 10-27-2012, 09:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Nice writeup.

An alternateive replacement part is: Whiteline KCA375
http://www.whiteline.com.au/search_2...yes&sort=Front Control Arm
Which will increase the front caster angle by 0.5° to improve handling response. They offset the position of the bolt just a bit to achieve the caster change. They are also polyurethane and quite a bit stiffer than OEM.

Subaru offers an "STI/Rally/Group-N" version of the OEM bushing without the oil in the middle. This bushing is stiffer than the 2003-2004 OEM spec and cheaper as well. It is intended for the WRX/STI cars but I understand they fit the 2000-2004 Outback too. I think the part number is "RST-2027R" http://www.rallispec.com/prod_chart_stibush3.htm
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Old 10-28-2012, 10:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by phatvw View Post
Nice writeup.

An alternateive replacement part is: Whiteline KCA375
Whiteline Suspension Bushings Control Arm
Which will increase the front caster angle by 0.5° to improve handling response. They offset the position of the bolt just a bit to achieve the caster change. They are also polyurethane and quite a bit stiffer than OEM.

Subaru offers an "STI/Rally/Group-N" version of the OEM bushing without the oil in the middle. This bushing is stiffer than the 2003-2004 OEM spec and cheaper as well. It is intended for the WRX/STI cars but I understand they fit the 2000-2004 Outback too. I think the part number is "RST-2027R" RalliSpec - Bushing Chart GC8
Not clear about the whiteline, but the Group-N will require a press. I have read that its NVH is between stock and poly.

I can't detect much difference on a smooth highway (I suspect 'noisy' tires would even noisier though), it's just any 'sharp' transitions, like, say, a concrete road with uneven expansion joints, or similar transitions, that really send noise into the car.
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
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1 Lucky Texan,

Living in Ohio, i find that lots of my Subaru's under carriage bits are rusty. That includes the thick bolts that stick through the fluid filled bushings. I want to replace my bushings, but I know that damaging the bolts in the process is a real possibility. Are the bolts part of the lower control arm? It looks that way to me on part schematics. I certainly don't want to buy lower control arms as well...

Can you clarify this for me, please?
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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1 Lucky Texan,

Living in Ohio, i find that lots of my Subaru's under carriage bits are rusty. That includes the thick bolts that stick through the fluid filled bushings. I want to replace my bushings, but I know that damaging the bolts in the process is a real possibility. Are the bolts part of the lower control arm? It looks that way to me on part schematics. I certainly don't want to buy lower control arms as well...

Can you clarify this for me, please?
the nut is connecting the end of the LCA to the bushing.

the bolts hold the bushing/mount to the car. The mount has oval/slotted holes in it. And if you are replacing with OEM, pay attention to the 'angle of rotation' the stock mount hangs at when loose from the car, but still tight on the arm. Sorry I don't have better info on that aspect of it, but it isn't a requirement with the bushings I used.
I can't speak with rust belt experience, but given the torque involved on those bolts, you will want to use a penetrating fluid for a few days probably before hitting them with an impact wrench.

If for any reason you feel the bolts are questionable, they should be replaced. And, actually, the FSM I believe calls for a new nut on the back of the lca. You might consider just going ahead and buying those parts if rust is severe. As mentioned above by avk - they are responsible for actually transferring thrust and braking forces from the wheel to the body of the car.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by 1 Lucky Texan View Post
the nut is connecting the end of the LCA to the bushing.

the bolts hold the bushing/mount to the car. The mount has oval/slotted holes in it. And if you are replacing with OEM, pay attention to the 'angle of rotation' the stock mount hangs at when loose from the car, but still tight on the arm. Sorry I don't have better info on that aspect of it, but it isn't a requirement with the bushings I used.
I can't speak with rust belt experience, but given the torque involved on those bolts, you will want to use a penetrating fluid for a few days probably before hitting them with an impact wrench.

If for any reason you feel the bolts are questionable, they should be replaced. And, actually, the FSM I believe calls for a new nut on the back of the lca. You might consider just going ahead and buying those parts if rust is severe. As mentioned above by avk - they are responsible for actually transferring thrust and braking forces from the wheel to the body of the car.
Your third picture shows the lower control arm bolt (22mm) and the bushing. What I am saying is that all my hardware on the bushing (the nut, the metal plate, and the lower control arm bushing bolt) is in bad shape, I mean rusty. Me mechanic is worried the once he hits it with impact wrench, stuff is going to break. So, I am really worried about ruining the thread on the 22mm lower control arm bolt and having to buy one or two lower control arms in addition to the bushings....
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