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06 Outback 2.5i
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Suspension parts help - Control arms, bushings, lateral links, axles, struts, oh my!

06 OB 2.5i with 148k. I've owned the car about 2 months. First thing I did was replaced the rear struts with Gen 2 KYB's- they were completely shot and the car would sway uncontrollably side to side after hitting any significant bump at angle - very dangerous!

Had some time tonight to inspect my suspension components. I want to replace the front shocks next, and will need an alignment after that, so I figure I should take care of any other items that need to be replaced that require an alignment.

1. Axles. Non-OEM axles are bad, right? And green=OEM, right? I noticed the front driver side axle is not green. Also, when I grabbed the middle of the axle, I noticed there was significantly more side to side (wheel to transmission) play on the driver side axle vs the green (oem?) passenger axle. Only symptom I've noticed - some clanking when making an aggressive left turns.

2. Ball joints. Both boots are cracked. I didn't notice any play with my pry bar. Replace? Any particular brand - or stick with OEM?

3. Control arm bushings. Both the fronts and rears looked cracked a little. Replace or leave them?

4. Front sway bar end links. Boots were cracked, replace or run it?

5. Lateral links. I didn't notice any play, but it looked like they were tearing away from the inner sleeve. Replace? Is it worth using the megan racing ones? Any downsides to using the megan racing ones - NVH, squeaks, other headaches? This is a daily driver, not a race car :)

6. Struts. In the suspension FAQ, the traditional recommendation was Gen2 in the rear and Gen3 in the front. Is that still the case? or should I get Gen2 all around? Want stiff and controlled, but not harsh. Again, a daily driver, not a race car.
 

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Meh.
I has wagons.
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Can't run Gen 2 stuff in the front. Only the rear.

Axles, green is OEM. Blue is FWE an OEM rebuilder. Black/grey/silver are hard to determine who made them, such a common color.

I tend to replace suspension bits once they get noisey or start messing with handling/tire wear. That said, I typically have to farm out such work as I can't do it at my place so I tend to bundle jobs together instead of replacing piecemeal.
 
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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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re-grease/boot an OEM axle from a junkyard - car-part.com ,LKQ , OR, a new axle from FEQ might be OK.

biggest risk is typical rebuilts from parts stores. Next risk is new Chinese-made, best but priciest is new OEM.

some folks are slapping in loaded control arms from Mevotech but, if you can't see through the bushings(well, an area meant to be solid) or make them clunk, I'd be tempted to leave them in. Up to 15mm surface cracks look bad, but Subaru says they are acceptable. Lots of choices for endlinks, I have Kartboy on the front of my WRX.
 

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🖤💔💙 3 Beautiful OBXTs
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The rear forward lateral links are toast. The way the center lobe is starting to tear out. That is affecting handling and will make it difficult for the car to hold a proper alignment. I am a big fan of the Megan Racing arms here. Gaining an extra adjustmant for the toe/camber is a key reason. The Whiteline arms are great also. They only sell the 4 link set WL.

I am less concerned about the front rear, LCA bushing. The hole you are looking at is meant to be there. The small amount of tearting at the ends and the tearing away from the sleeve is what you want to watch for. The LCA bushing is a tossup for replacement at this time. I am a big fan of the loaded arms. It is getting exceeding difficult to find someone willing to press that bushing in.

CV has been covered.

Gen2 stuff will work everywhere as far a struts go.

Replace those body side sway bar bushing with either OEM or Prothane
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Copy that in the axles. I'll look into getting an OEM one for the driver side. I think I saw a recommendation for MWE rebuilt axles too. Are they still around?

Any downsides on the Megan racing lateral links? I once had Whiteland LCA bushings on my old legacy and they were way too harsh for my liking. Felt every tiny bump.

Body side swap bushings - is that the same as the end link? I can change sway bar parts without an alignment, correct?
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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sway bar will not effect alignment.

if you're careful and just doing a strut swap, you can keep alignment very close.

there are DIY ways to do alignment also.
 

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Meh.
I has wagons.
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sway bar will not effect alignment.

if you're careful and just doing a strut swap, you can keep alignment very close.

there are DIY ways to do alignment also.
I hit the strut lower and knuckle with a shot of spray paint before removal. It makes it super easy to line back up when done...The outline on the knuckle is your go-to-line.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ordering gen 2 front struts & megan racing MRS-SU-0520 rear lateral links.

Still trying to figure out a source for the front axle... New OEM is expensive - $400 retail!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So I ordered the Gen 2 KYB struts from Shocks.com, for ~$77 a pop.

When I was shopping around, I noticed Amazon Warehouse (where Amazon sells all their returned items) had KYB 334448 in Used condition for $25. Since it's a such a pain to do struts (deal with the springs, get an alignment, etc), I decided I'd rather not gamble on the quality of the part, so I decide to order brand new parts instead.

What shows up today - two boxes, the KYB 33447 from Amazon (which is fine, I don't mind them dropshipping this), and the 334448 from Amazon Warehouse, with a damaged and repackaged box. :3::3: If I wanted to take a gamble on getting a quality part, I would have purchased it myself and saved $50.

Very unhappy with Shocks.com. :28:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Finally getting around to this project. Starting with the rear wheels and installing the king springs overload springs and the Megan racing lateral links.

Does anyone know what the top hat alignment should be? After switching springs my alignment marks don't work any more. I think it might be that the two top mount studs should be perpendicular to the lower bolt, but not sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yup, I got the top strut studs pretty much perpendicular to the lower bolt hole and the lower bolt slid right in.

Next problem. Old axle won't pull out. Only thing holding it together is the CV boot... Trying briefly using a pry bar against the transmission, but scared of breaking something...

EDIT. Nevermind, it pried right out with a longer pry bar and moderate force. This old axle is literally hanging on by the inner CV boot. Glad I'm replacing it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
All done. Car's waiting for an alignment now. The front and rear felt much firmer with the "push down" test.

Pro tip - Autozone rents a spring compressor that works well for the front struts for the Gen 2/3 springs. Powerbuilt #641429T
 

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