Subaru Outback Forums banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
1st post in here as I just recently bought a 2005 Outback with 85,000 miles. When I drive slow, through my neighborhood, there is a 'clunking' noise coming from front end. At 45-70 mph there is no clunking. When I turn there is no clunking. It seems to occur when driving slowly on somewhat bumpy roads. After reading through many posts, many suggest the sway bar end links & bushings. Lifting the front end off the ground, I used a pry bar to see if I could get any movement in the end links. They seem firm. Bushings look good but I understand that could be deceiving. The top nut of the struts, in the engine compartment, were tight. The one thing that rattles, when I slide underneath, are the wheel well guards. It doesn't seem like those would make that 'clunking' type of noise. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. My 1st thought would be to change out bushings.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,358 Posts
Rod that holds up the hood?
Brake pads can rattle too, but that’s usually a lighter sound than a clunk.

Bushings in the middle that hold the front sway bar looked ok?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Rod that holds up the hood?
Brake pads can rattle too, but that’s usually a lighter sound than a clunk.

Bushings in the middle that hold the front sway bar looked ok?
bushings looked ok, but I've read that looks can be deceiving. Pads are find, clunk is lower down than rod. I'm not a mechanic, but end links seemed tight when I tried to move them with a pry bar.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
492 Posts
I had the same symptoms, particularly at low speed.

I had an alignment done after buying new tires and the technician couldn’t find any problem.

I replaced the sway bar bushings myself even though they didn’t appear that worn but it seemed to fix the problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
142 Posts
bushings looked ok, but I've read that looks can be deceiving. Pads are find, clunk is lower down than rod. I'm not a mechanic, but end links seemed tight when I tried to move them with a pry bar.
Bushings typically will appear ok, try and move the sway bar with a pry bar and you will see if the bushings have a lot of play. If they do then swap them out, they are cheap
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,358 Posts
the pictures here on the forum of ones that are worn out - you might not see it unless you remove the bushing to inspect both the outer and inner surfaces.

Found a video the other day with end link play - it takes very little to make noise. A related video showed a replacement of a spring perch rubber isolation mount - those are sometimes hard to diagnose.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,899 Posts
when you lift the car and the suspension hangs, there is tension on the links and you won't be able to move them

Sounds to me like end links.

As for bushings, the lower control arm rear bushing rip. With the wheel hanging you can see if the bushing is ripped or not. When the control arm bushings go it makes the car wander, pull when driving and sloppy steer off throttle because the wheel assembly is allowed to move back and forth. When this happens, it's easier to just change the whole arm and the arm will have both new bushings and a ball joint.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the responses! I'll first check the larger flat rear bushing on the lower control arm. Although, there is no wobble or pulling when driving. Then I'll lower car and re-check the end links for movement, with wheels on ground. If no movement again, I'll replace the sway bar bushings and see if that works. In case it is the end links, I can get either OEM or Moog for the same price ($80/pair). Any suggestions on which to buy?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Puzzled now. Control arm rear bushing is fine, not ripped. Looking at sway bar bushings again, they look fine. Putting car on ground and prying end links, they move, very little, as a unit. The individual joints don't move.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for that. Those are the same links my local Riebes Auto has for $80. Just not sure that's the issue. I can't get any movement out of the individual joint, as I've seen in several videos.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Does the clunking stop when you apply the brakes? When the rubber bushing on the caliper guide pins fails the caliper can clunk/rattle at low speeds on bumpy roads but will stop as soon as you touch the brakes, and by apply, I mean lightly so as not to load any of the suspension. You can also grab the caliper with both hands and firmly push up and down and recreate clunk to see if it matches your sound but simply applying the brake while the noise is occurring is easier. Check for play in the tie rod ends as well. End links are the most likely culprit but the brakes are also common and they are easy to check as are the TREs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
142 Posts
Puzzled now. Control arm rear bushing is fine, not ripped. Looking at sway bar bushings again, they look fine. Putting car on ground and prying end links, they move, very little, as a unit. The individual joints don't move.
I have had sway bar end links clunk before with no visible movement or play when using a pry bar.

They actually didn't even feel that loose when I moved the joint when they were off the car. Sure enough the clunk went away with brand new endlinks.

The give away for me on any car I've driven that had bad endlinks was a clunk when only one wheel went over a bump. Even at very slow speeds like in a parking lot and even when going over a "bump" as small as a crack in the asphalt.

As long as it was only one side going over it, I would get a clunk. If both sides went over the bump then I wouldn't hear a noise
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I ended up taking it in to Subaru. B Nelson, above, suggested it might be the caliper pins and that was what it was. This forum has great info, thanks for the help.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
About this Discussion
13 Replies
6 Participants
tommyncal
Subaru Outback Forums
Welcome to the Subaru Outback Owners Forum, we have tons of information about your Subaru Outback, from a Subaru Outback Wiki to customer reviews.
Full Forum Listing
Top