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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, so both my front rear control arm bushings (the weird liquid filled ones) are toast on my 2001 OB. I am going to replace but I am having some serious going back and forth on whether I should replace the entire control arm assembly or just the bushings. I live in Hawaii so shipping is $$$, which is why I would like to just do the bushings if I can. I've searched around and can't get a definitive answer on if the bushings have to be pressed in or not. I do not have access to a press, so obviously I would have to replace the whole arm if this is the case. Looking at various new control arms I have found that almost all of them are missing the rear bushing, which has led me to believe that it can be easily bought and installed separately. Is this right? I have attached a picture which the bushing in question is circled, as well as a picture and link to what I think are the bushings I can buy and then replace (relatively) easily. Insight is much appreciated. Thanks!
Whiteline W51710 Front Control Arm - Lower Inner Rear Bushing SUBARU | eBay
 

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I JUST did this repair, due to leaking fluid, over the last 2 days.

I elected to use the Prothane kit. Purchased it from Ebay (seller IlikeIke1 or similar?)



the big ones on the left and the washers are what you need for the rear bushings. came with lube. 2-piece so, after you drill out the rubber, twist and pull out the center with big vice grips, hacksaw the 2 bands, then the steel liner out of the mount, clean it up, lube evrything, the parts just mash together.

fit the mount back on, thread the mount bolts only 5-10 turns, then, torque the arm nut to 137 ftlbs, then run the bolts up to 'snug' only. Do that on both sides. Then, drop the car down onto its wheels, bounce it a coupla times. Without lifting it, torque the outer side botl to about 60-80 ftlbs. Then torque the inner one to 180ftlbs. then re-torque the outer one to 180. test drive, retorque to 180.

that's how i did it except, I used anti-seize on the bolts and I only have a 150ftlb T wrench. Hoping with the anti-seize and torquing 2 times, that I have enough clamping force. I may recheck/retorque after a few hundred miles.

anyway, it's a hassle to get the guts out of the aluminum mount. But, after that's done , it's easy to put the 2 part prothane parts in. If you have removed the entire control arm, i suppose you could replace the 'front' bushing. I didn't. I think the rear fluid-filled one fails early due to proximity with the exhaust.

The OEM part is $$$$ but, you only need to make note of it's alignment on the back of the arm. probably the easiest repair.

the poly bushings I used, are the cheapest repair, but they noticeably increase noise/harshness.

After what I just did, I would consider pressing out the old bushing, and pressing in a new, steel-sleeved bushing, probably the trickiest for a DIYer and maybe the least desirable overall value.

unless you are on the track racing, or absolutely MUST save every penny, get the OEM replacement mounts.

There are other threads about this issue; http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/110-gen-2-2000-2004/46575-what-behind-wheel.html
 

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Most urathene bushes are the split kind where once yo have to complete old bush out you can just lube and insert the new ones.

If you intend to do this yourself you should mark the mount and arm in relation to each other and tighten the nut with the bush aligned, this may require a lifting of the control arm to get it right. Then mount the the mount to the chassis.
 

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I JUST did this repair, due to leaking fluid, over the last 2 days.
I'll be replacing mine soon.

Did you notice any difference in the way the car drives or feels? I am wondering if re-alignment is needed.

.
 

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I'll be replacing mine soon.

Did you notice any difference in the way the car drives or feels? I am wondering if re-alignment is needed.

.
I do not plan to get an alignment but, think of it this way;

suppose your bushing was drastically compromised and you had an alignment done - then, a repair back to 'nominal' may upset w'ever parameter the previous alignment may have compensated for. Mine had leaked out some fluid, but still looked and felt - uh - 'substantial' - if that makes sense. It 'may' have allowed more movemnt than it should have, but everything seemed centered and intact.

Since I discovered the other axle has a split boot, I may spring for an alignment next April after that work. Certainly I'll watch tire wear and if the car pulls or feels odd, I'd suspect the alignment.

I drove it briefly, before re-torqueing the mount bolts, and any difference in handling must be subtle. But it did seem noisier. not clunks-bump, but a little more high-pitched noise. Could be I was just over-sensitive to that.

Maybe if I had also replaced the other bushing there's be noticeably tighter steering.

honestly, if it has 'only' cracked a little and leaked fluid, I think you could drive for months longer before you REALLY needed to do something about the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
1 Lucky texan....thanks for the write up. My bushings right now are not as bad as they can be....still leaking fluid, but no cracks and only some minor clunking on bigger bumps. But still, I want to do this sooner than later. That is good to hear about the replacement. Sounds like you just have to fight the old one out and then it's smooth sailing haha. The aluminum mount you talk about I assume is the piece I circled in the picture. Did that come off relatively easily, or did you have to drill the bushing out with it still attached? Were you able to do all this with the control arm on the car? I am going to borrow an impact wrench from my buddy to make the process a bit easier, but if I can avoid taking off the entire assembly I'd be happy.
 

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1 Lucky texan....thanks for the write up. My bushings right now are not as bad as they can be....still leaking fluid, but no cracks and only some minor clunking on bigger bumps. But still, I want to do this sooner than later. That is good to hear about the replacement. Sounds like you just have to fight the old one out and then it's smooth sailing haha. The aluminum mount you talk about I assume is the piece I circled in the picture. Did that come off relatively easily, or did you have to drill the bushing out with it still attached? Were you able to do all this with the control arm on the car? I am going to borrow an impact wrench from my buddy to make the process a bit easier, but if I can avoid taking off the entire assembly I'd be happy.
I had reasons to drive my wife's Outback more today.

There is a significant increase in 'harshness'. To the point I wish I had put OEM mounts back on.

I think the Prothane parts are best suited to 2 types of people, motorsports/track guys, and folks that absolutely must save as much money as possible. Perhaps more research would have found poly replacements that are softer/lower durometer. But, based on my recent experience, the prothane parts are definitely going to increase NVH. Smooth highway driving is not bad, but expansion joints in concrete roads and rough asphalt is quite a bit harsher sounding. basically, all secondary roads are 'rougher' sounding.

I may still put to gether a write up with pics. But i couldn't recommend it for the 'average' person.

I used my Lowes brand electric impact gun to remove the mount bolts, then, I used a length of wood to pry the arm down enough to get a shorty socket and 1/2" breaker bar on the nut. That took some effort to bust loose.
 

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I had reasons to drive my wife's Outback more today.

There is a significant increase in 'harshness'. To the point I wish I had put OEM mounts back on.

I think the Prothane parts are best suited to 2 types of people, motorsports/track guys, and folks that absolutely must save as much money as possible. Perhaps more research would have found poly replacements that are softer/lower durometer. But, based on my recent experience, the prothane parts are definitely going to increase NVH. Smooth highway driving is not bad, but expansion joints in concrete roads and rough asphalt is quite a bit harsher sounding. basically, all secondary roads are 'rougher' sounding.

I may still put to gether a write up with pics. But i couldn't recommend it for the 'average' person.

I used my Lowes brand electric impact gun to remove the mount bolts, then, I used a length of wood to pry the arm down enough to get a shorty socket and 1/2" breaker bar on the nut. That took some effort to bust loose.
I'm glad you gave some input to these bushings, as I didn't feel like I could be objective about the noise they add. I sound deadened the crap out of my car and the ONLY difference I noticed was on certain types of concrete at less than 15mph. My car is seriously beyond quiet compared to other Subaru's and I'm probably a terrible candidate to give advice on poly bushings or even Subaru Group-N bushings.

Sorry they didn't work out for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Great write up! Thanks for all the info and pictures. Makes me feel a bit better about taking this on....I guess I'll research a few bushings to figure out what I want and then go from there
 

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~~~~ After what I just did, I would consider pressing out the old bushing, and pressing in a new, steel-sleeved bushing, probably the trickiest for a DIYer and maybe the least desirable overall value.

unless you are on the track racing, or absolutely MUST save every penny, get the OEM replacement mounts. ~~~~
OEM that's what I just did. Yes, they were about 80 each from ebay but little or no work to install. Scribe a line for replacement positioning and it's a simple un-bolt, exchange the mount w/bushing, torque to finish.

Looked like a lot of work to cut the old bushings out. Access to a press would help immensely; then it's just as simple as your great write-up!

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/99-do-yourself-illustrated-guides/48910-lower-control-arm-rear-bushing-transverse-link-replaced-prothane-03-outback.html

We made it to April... Have they settled in or has the "poly will get better with age" been noticeable?

My drivers side had a slight leak without any drips in my parking space. I replaced both sides just to keep it even. No noticeable difference in ride or noise.

Thanks for the write-up and all the info and pics!!!
.
 

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having been in the business for a long time, and also being from hawaii, i can tell you that all the dealers i have bought from charge a lot for freight because they use ups and fedex. usps priority mail is way cheaper, and faster. also, parts.com will sell you the genuine part for the best price. that is the autonation group, and if they have a subie dealer in hawaii, they will sell you the part for dealer cost +20%, and ship it from the closest dealer, which might be one in hawaii. so, even if you do have to pay mainland freight, you will get the part really fast. when i worked at one of the local bmw dealers here, NOTHING was sold at cost+20, but because the dealer was part of the autonation group, online sales HAD to go out at the c+20, which really pissed off the parts manager. remember our cars are getting older, so most likely a dealer wont stock the part, they will have to get it from a regional warehouse. i am right now having this issue with the rear upper contol arm links, they are special order status, so it takes an additional 5+ days, PLUS extra freight. i am surprised this is not a common part.
 

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OEM that's what I just did. Yes, they were about 80 each from ebay but little or no work to install. Scribe a line for replacement positioning and it's a simple un-bolt, exchange the mount w/bushing, torque to finish.

Looked like a lot of work to cut the old bushings out. Access to a press would help immensely; then it's just as simple as your great write-up!

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/99-do-yourself-illustrated-guides/48910-lower-control-arm-rear-bushing-transverse-link-replaced-prothane-03-outback.html

We made it to April... Have they settled in or has the "poly will get better with age" been noticeable?

My drivers side had a slight leak without any drips in my parking space. I replaced both sides just to keep it even. No noticeable difference in ride or noise.

Thanks for the write-up and all the info and pics!!!
.
Well, they are still very 'sharp' on any road transitions. I'd say 'harshness' increased a lot, noise or vibration, not so much. But, there is a noticeable difference on -um - take-off I forgot to mention that. Seems the power to accelerate from a stop is more immediate?

Wish i had got OEM though. maybe I'll make that a project for next October. too much other car stuff going on with dealing with an intermittent miss on my WRX and getting the Outback in shape for a road trip. This on top of not having as much access to the Outback because nmy wife constantly needs it to help her Mom recover from surgery. getting into a time crunch! lol!
 

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Looking to replace both front lower control arms (01 VDC they have the fluid filled bushings that are leaking).
Would an aftermarket control arm and bushings work? (Ex. Beck/Arnley)


If the inner bushings on the arms are OK, just replace the rear 'transverse links'.

Recently, some aftermarkets made by Febest have shown up on Amazon, maybe elsewhere, and at least one regular 'guru' here has used them successfully. check here;http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/81-wheels-tires-brakes-suspension/102698-02-outback-transverse-link-bushing-rear.html#post1083841
 

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Febest parts are down to $20 at amazon now, search for; Febest - Subaru Rear Arm Bushing Left Front Arm - Oem: 20201-Ac110

and; Febest - Subaru Rear Arm Bushing Right Front Arm - Oem: 20201-Ac100



fyi
 

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1 Lucky Texan, I am looking at replacing my rear transverse links soon and will likely go with the Febest product on Amazon. Did you notice a big difference when you replaced yours?
 

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1 Lucky Texan, I am looking at replacing my rear transverse links soon and will likely go with the Febest product on Amazon. Did you notice a big difference when you replaced yours?
I didn't. not sure what you mean by "big difference" though. It's a new bushing so it'll remove any symptoms you have of a completely blown out bushing if that's what you mean. It's just a bushing, not much to it, one big rubber cylinder.
 
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