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Discussion Starter #1
So I am missing a bolt that holds a metal strap (or bracket or whatever you want to call it) which supports the propeller shaft. The bolt dropped from the driver side of the bracket/strap and now this piece is hanging and bangs up against the heat shield.

It seems like this is an easy fix. Screw in a new bolt. However, I'm not sure what bolt to get. I tried looking up the part on opposedforces.com and I think I need part 1 from this diagram. But I'm not sure. I would love to fix this myself because it seems easy enough but I am hesitant to pay $11 in shipping for a $1.25 part. I'm sure as **** not going to take it to a mechanic just to have them screw in a bolt for me.





I live in the middle of nowhere (kind of) and do not have any other way to get around until this is fixed. I've been driving it short distances to and from my bus stop (10 miles). How bad is it for me to keep driving with this strap loose? I'm hoping to take care of it this weekend if I can buy the bolt locally.

Thanks in advance for any advice/suggestions.
 

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Have you tried a wrecking yard, pull one yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Good thought! I don't know why that hasn't crossed my mind. What are your thoughts about my driving the vehicle until then?
 

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How bad is it for me to keep driving with this strap loose?
If the strap is hanging down, I presume the bearing itself isn't being supported. Because the propeller shaft has U-joints at the far ends and either a U-joint or CV joint in the middle at the bearing, it seems to me it can flex in the middle and start walloping around. That could cause a lot more damage.

If the bearing is being supported and can't move, such that the whole prop shaft is kept in alignment, then it should be okay, but I wouldn't push it because there will be extra stress on the other bold. Raises the question of what happened to the missing bolt. Did it get loose and fall out; did it rust out; did it break? Could the same happen to the other?

Just a few ideas . . .
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your thoughts...that is what I was afraid of. I'm going to take a second look tonight after I get home from work.

The bolt fell out. It was a steady progression over the past 4 months. After I realized what happened, all the sounds I heard prior to that event, made sense. I actually heard the bolt and washer hit the heat shield as they fell off while I was driving. The area doesn't look rusted, but since I don't have the bolt, I don't know what condition it is in.

Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just took a second look.

It appears there is only one bolt (just like in the diagram) that keeps it in place.
So my propeller shaft is just bouncing around while I drive. I guess no more driving until I get it fixed!
 

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What year,engine, transmission is it? Although the opposedforces diagram appears to show only one bolt, the service manuals I have for several years show two. Attached is a typical diagram.

Perhaps there were some with only one; thus the question.
 

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All center bearing carriers should have two bolts for redundancy and proper support, if someone told me their car had one bolt holding it on from factory, I'd be thinking how dodgy. I'm sure there should be two but it looks like from the parts diagram there were different bolts depending on the year and trans type.

Yeah I wouldn't drive it, if I really had to I'd try to find a way to support it, if it really is loose tighten the other bolt and support the other side, and be very gentle on acceleration a gear changes if it's a manual.
 

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i wouldn't drive it. the strain and inordinate torsion and rotation of those driveline parts isn't ideal. i'm not sure it would be an issue but it seems like it could be and not worth the chance and i'm willing to do some crazy things...i'm currently driving around on 3 out of 5 rear lug studs in place...

it's going to be a standard 1.25 pitch metric threaded bolt, you just need to know the diameter. you have lots of options:

#1 remove the other bolt and go match it up at a hardware store
#2 carefully drive the vehicle to a hardware store and remove the one remaining bolt in the parking lot and take it in with you
#3 go to the hardware store and buy a variety of common Subaru sizes - M8, M9, M10, M11, all 1.25 pitch - and it's guaranteed to be one of those sizes. return what you don't use. annoying yes - but so is driving the car in it's current state...
#4 start pulling other bolts off the car that look similar in thread pitch until you find one that's the same. subaru bolts of that size are all 1.25 pitch so you just need to find one the right diameter, of which there are many if you can find one that isn't necessary as a temporary solution. i would only be concerned about my note below...a new bolt might not fit in that hole as easily as you think.
#5 if you have a tap and die set you just run the remaining bolt through them until you find the size that fits the bolt then you know what size it is.

honestly i'd be running a tap through the empty hole first - if the bolt was there and now is not there's a good chance that it had some slop when only a thread or two or three were engaged and caused it to hog up the threads.

to confirm you could try to remove the other bolt and install it in the empty hole - if it's not lining up or tight at all then the threads are likely hosed. or look up in the hole with a flashlight - may show you somethign as well.

i would run a tap through those threads to clean them up and then install a new bolt.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
First, you all were correct. It was a strap, with two bolts and BOTH bolts are missing. The center carrier bearing was pretty much resting on the heatshield. Glad I stopped driving it when I did.

I took Timberwolf's advice and headed to my closest salvage yard. Unfortunately, they pull all the drive shafts and engines so no bolts were to be had there.

I then logged into the forums and saw the last message that grossgary left. This was EXACTLY what I needed. But guess what? Both Home Depot AND my local hardware store only carried even number bolts. So I came back with varying lengths of the 8M and 10M. Guess what size I need? 9M. 8 was too small and 10 was too large.

I talked to the parts counter at the local dealership and I purchased the parts from them. But they won't come in until Wednesday. I'll look into running a tap through the empty holes first.

Thank you all again for your thoughts and feedback. Hopefully I'll get this resolved Wednesday night.
 

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Good news.

Leaves me puzzled, though; this is the first time I've read, or heard, of carrier bearing support bolts coming out on their own, and there are a lot of cars and trucks that use carrier bearings held up in the same way. I'm wondering if he propeller shaft area was worked on some time earlier and the bolts were never tightened properly?

Hopefully there isn't a problem with the part (threads) the bolts go into.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I am concerned about what caused the bolts to come loose as well. My subaru outback is a 2002 and I bought it used this spring. I still haven't received the service history on the car and the dealership mentioned that they were going to replace the clutch as part of their fix up before selling it to me. However, I doubt that ever happened. If they did end up replacing the clutch, would they have had to remove those bolts? It seems unlikely, but just a thought.
 

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Yes, the transmission has to come down to replace the clutch, and the propeller shaft has to be removed first to enable this. So it is possible that if the clutch was replaced, the bolts were started by hand when re-installing the shaft but never tightened.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
UPDATE:

Picked up the two new bolts from the dealer tonight and with the help of my friend, fastened down the strap for the center carrier bearings. Had to remove the heat shield in order to get full access and room to move, but had the whole procedure done in about 20 minutes.

Drove the car down the street just to make sure everything was tight and holding in place and discovered that the gear shift worked better than when I drove it off the lot and there were no extraneous noises coming from under the center console.

Prior to this problem, whenever I started up in 1st gear there would be a ratcheting noise coming from under the center console for about 2 seconds and then it would go away. No more noise.

So (knock on wood) I think I resolved this issue and it appears that I didn't do any immediate damage to the bearings when I was driving it after the bolts fell out.

Thank you all again for your suggestions and recommendations!
 

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Your welcome good to see someone posting a final response to their post, some people get the problem fixed i assume and don't with a conclusion.
 
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