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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
During routine inspection, I noticed that if pushed and pulled at the center part of the rear stabilizer bar, there was a very faint click that I traced to the left link upper joint (at the stabilizer bar). I found a very small axial (i.e., in and out) movement. All the others seemed fine. Not wanting to face a possible failure of the link in mid-winter, I decided to replace both left and right. (These are originals, 150,000 km/93,000 miles, almost 11 years. Fronts were replaced in April 2013.)

While waiting for the parts to arrive (Subaru link p/n 20470AE00C and four new flange bolts) I soaked the rusted parts with penetrating oil. After a couple of days, I tried to move the nuts using a 14 mm box wrench. I was able to get three moving by hand; the fourth (lower right) needed a few hammer taps to break the bonds.

With the nuts freed, more penetrating oil, and a lot of wire brushing, I found I could back them off a few turns, but then they'd hang up. I had some old M10 nuts, so used one to help "chase" the exposed threads up to the existing nuts. (Going to get a set of metric thread chasers!) Took a bit of time, advancing, then backing off and cleaning, and then advancing again, but it worked. All four original nuts were movable but needed the hex fitting on the other side (at the joint) of three of the studs to be held with another 14 mm open wrench, otherwise the threaded shaft would turn.

The fourth shaft (left link, lower joint) didn't turn on its own -- turned out it was seized in the hole in the mount on the suspension arm, and in the socket itself. Rather than try to pound it out, I turned the backing nut out, away from the joint (again after liberal application of penetrating oil). This pulled the shaft out of the mount. With it out, I cleaned the opening in the mount so that the new shaft would go through easily. Here's the two links (the left link seals have been removed, but all four were intact):



There isn't lot of room to work in that area of the suspension, especially with the car on the ground and the wheels in place. If the wheel is off, the lower nut on the link could be worked with a ratchet and socket, but with the wheel in place there wasn't enough room. I used the box wrench. The location of the upper joints, which attach to the stabilizer bar, is also not conducive to ratcheting. There's little room to swing a ratchet or, in my case, a wrench, so it took a lot of ~60 degree rotations to back the nuts off all the way.

Installation was much easier (of course); spin the new nuts on, tighten, done.

On later inspection, the joints in the old right link seemed to be okay -- no looseness, and they moved around fairly easily, although not as easy as the new ones. However, the upper joint of the left link, as was noted at the beginning, has some axial movement that turned out to be about 0.15 mm (0.006 in), and rotated easily, almost loosely in spots. Here's a view of the upper joint. The ball and socket appear fairly clean. There was still (dark) grease evident:



The lower joint (the seized one) was also seized in the socket. On removal of the seal, we see a collection of rusty looking powder and perhaps dried grease.



Obviously the rubber seals are not perfect where the shaft comes through, and moisture can get through, causing corrosion. In the left side link case, I suspect that the lower joint became seized, and its inflexibility put stress on the upper joint causing it to wear. Although the right side link joints seemed to be in better condition, the lower joint was stiffer, and I could see a build up of the same reddish deposit under the seal. Glad I found the clicking joint now. I think it was past time to change both . . .
 

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2009, Outback, EJ253, PZEV
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19 Posts
Rear Sway Bar Link cost?

How much did you pay for the replacement links? Subaru, or aftermarket?
 

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2009, Outback, EJ253, PZEV
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19 Posts
Thanks. I priced them yesterday form Subaru and Carquest.

Carquest selling cheaper ones and Moog.

Subaru: $41.77 Cad

Moog form Carquest: Ca. $58 Cad. Guaranteed for life.

Subaru parts guy said they usually go around 80'000 kms. They look like the same right weight cheap stuff I had on my CRV, so will go with the guaranteed for life parts.

I need to do inner tie rod end and that was $71.60 from Subaru and a little cheaper for guaranteed for life Moog from Carquest.

Will go with Carquest again I guess. Car is going into Subaru in a couple days for tires, so will probably have them put all the stuff on.
 

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2005 OBXT Limited, VF37, STI intake, 5MT
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Man, you had way more patience than I do/did for sway bar end links. If they don't cooperate with the impact, few quick turns of the wrench, out comes the sawzall and cut them things. In the rust belt, these usually don't cooperate AT ALL.
 
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