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2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i
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17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey all, I'm back with a new nagging problem I'm dealing with. You might remember me as the guy with the Control Arm or Bushing thread from the other week, which is resolved by the way. Local vendor had both lower right/left arms, aluminum frame, for just at $100. They're being installed this Friday and will post pictures of the "surgery".

Anyway, I've got one more issue I'm trying to diagnose before I throw even more money at the wall. I'm fairly sure I've got the problem hammered down but want to consult community opinion before I jump the gun.

As mentioned in previous posts, I have the RalliTEK Overload raised springs for my entire vehicle (see here for rear examples: RalliTEK 1.375" Rear Raised Overload Springs & Rear Spacer Kit - Outback 2005-2009 | RalliTEK.com). When I travel over a slight bump in the road (a common occurrence on these roads a few hundred times a day), I'm noticing a vibrating noise coming from what sounds like the rear driver-side tire well. Sometimes, depending on severity, this is accompanied by a strong jerking of the rear end, almost as if the back of the car "hops" a few inches to the right.

Now, in the past, I have torn the hat mounts off of both my rear struts. I know what this noise sounds like quite well, as the spring is basically clunking around inside the body. Also, when this has happened, when I jump up and down on the rear of the car I can hear the noise and know the hats need replaced (yet again :|).

This new issue, as far as I can tell, is NOT the hats giving out. Its a shudder; a vibration and bouncing noise, for lack of a better description. And again, it has never been accompanied with a "jump" to the side when it was the hats before.

My baby has just rolled over 90k miles this very week, and I've been doing all kinds of replacements and maintenance to get her back in top fighting form. As much as I hate to admit it, my working theory is that its time to replace the rear struts entirely with the KYB Excel-G variants so many folks on these forms have switched to (see here: More Information for KYB 341443)

Am I correct? If not, what other possibilities am I looking at? And how would I go about diagnosing them before my appointment this Friday to install the new control arms? Ideally, I'd like to solve the problem BEFORE I have everything installed since I don't want to spring for an alignment twice.

Thank you again for your collective time and effort in replying. Looking forward to see if we can solve this issue the same way we did the control arms a week ago.
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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18,345 Posts
It isn't clear if you've already inspected stuff back there but, i think you should carefully inspect the sway bar - it might be broken, or it's mount broken.
 

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2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i
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17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It isn't clear if you've already inspected stuff back there but, i think you should carefully inspect the sway bar - it might be broken, or it's mount broken.
You are absolutely right, didn't include my diagnostic procedure. Believe it or not, I was HOPING it was sway bar related or bushing related on the sway bar. But as you can see in the attached photos, both ends and the bar itself show no signs of damage.

Furthermore, if the issue WAS the sway bar, as far as I understand it that doesn't explain the "jumping" effect of the back end. It wouldn't have a direct driving consequence like that, I would think.
 

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85 Posts
More than likely the struts are worn out or 1 could be weaker than the other, typical of the stock struts and that suspension setup. My 05 OBXT exhibited that same behavior with worn out rear struts, doing the sidestep over bumps. I replaced mine, in fact all 4 with 00-04 MY outback struts as they have a higher damping rate. Took the slop and sidestep right out of the suspension.

Also rear camber adjusters installed and set mine to 1.25 degrees negative camber. I installed additional camber bolts in the front struts to get about 1.25 degrees negative camber up front. Transformed the car completely, and tires wore fine after 4 wheel align with those camber specs.
 

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516 Posts
Check your trailing arm bushing on the left side. And all other bushings. My car is lifted with the same pieces and being out of alignment until i replaced the lateral links caused some interesting handling.

My money is there's some trashed rubber somewhere. Struts wouldn't likely cause a dramatic shift like that.

Also, check your tire pressure. Dumb stuff can cause dumb stuff. . .
 

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2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i
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17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Check your trailing arm bushing on the left side. And all other bushings. My car is lifted with the same pieces and being out of alignment until i replaced the lateral links caused some interesting handling.

My money is there's some trashed rubber somewhere. Struts wouldn't likely cause a dramatic shift like that.

See the attached photos. After closer examination, I couldn't find evidence of the lateral arm on that side of the vehicle having damage either the the pins or the bushings, but I DID find something that seems a bit off. I've circled the area in question (poorly in MS Paint) to show what I'm talking about.

Normally I'm pretty handy with a diagram but I can't for the life of me identify what arm or bushing that is supposed to be. That said, its the only one showing some measure of wear-n-tear. If its not that, I'd imagine it HAS to be the strut on this side, right?
 

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