Subaru Outback Forums banner
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
'05 OBXT, Stage 2, etc etc etc
Joined
·
191 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
'05 OBXT, AT, 181K miles. For a while I've noticed when going over bumpy roads or RR tracks, the front suspension feels like what I can only compare to knees without cartilage. I've checked the LCA bushings, had them replaced about 4 years ago (Mevotech), Rallitek sway bar links have grease, ball joints and tie rods are relatively new and all have grease. Sway bar bushings also look good and greased. Front struts replaced in 2018 w/ KYB.
This morning I noticed a leak in the driver's side engine mount. It's dark black and a heavier consistency than motor oil. I checked the oil and it's brownish black. I'm wondering if the engine mount (s) failing is the cause of the 'no cartilage' feel. See photo for details where I see the leak. Passenger side looks ok, but they're both the originals with 181K miles on them. Your thoughts?

Thank you!
 

Attachments

·
Super Moderator
2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
Joined
·
10,064 Posts
This morning I noticed a leak in the driver's side engine mount. It's dark black and a heavier consistency than motor oil. I checked the oil and it's brownish black. I'm wondering if the engine mount (s) failing is the cause of the 'no cartilage' feel.
Yes, that is likely the cause of it, and yes, they are fluid filled, and when they leak, they are done. I would replace both of them.
 

·
Registered
2006 Outback 2.5i manual
Joined
·
624 Posts
AFAIK the damper in the motor mounts is solid rubber. If there is leaking in this area it's from something else. It would be very rare for these to have problems. Looking at your picture they seem fine.

Is the suspension making any noise? I'm having trouble deciphering what you mean about describing the suspension acting like worn cartilage and I work in healthcare.

It may not hurt to check your rear suspension as well. That's where most of your bushings are and if you haven't replaced any of them chances are they are very worn out/torn. After replacing mine it made a nice difference, but it was a LOT of work.
 

·
Registered
'05 OBXT, Stage 2, etc etc etc
Joined
·
191 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
AFAIK the damper in the motor mounts is solid rubber. If there is leaking in this area it's from something else. It would be very rare for these to have problems. Looking at your picture they seem fine.

Is the suspension making any noise? I'm having trouble deciphering what you mean about describing the suspension acting like worn cartilage and I work in healthcare.

It may not hurt to check your rear suspension as well. That's where most of your bushings are and if you haven't replaced any of them chances are they are very worn out/torn. After replacing mine it made a nice difference, but it was a LOT of work.
It kinda feels like bone-on-bone when going over rough road or RR tracks. I can feel it in the steering, and under my feet. It's audible too, with some rattles and slight clunks. Rear bushings were replaced by a shop a few years ago. I provided the OEM bushings and they use their press to replace them for me. I think the rear suspension is in good shape. Replaced the rear struts last year.
 

·
Registered
2006 Outback 2.5i manual
Joined
·
624 Posts
It kinda feels like bone-on-bone when going over rough road or RR tracks. I can feel it in the steering, and under my feet. It's audible too, with some rattles and slight clunks. Rear bushings were replaced by a shop a few years ago. I provided the OEM bushings and they use their press to replace them for me. I think the rear suspension is in good shape. Replaced the rear struts last year.
Ah okay, I gotcha.

I'm wondering how your inner and outer tie rods look? One way to check is to raise the front of the vehicle on jackstands, then try to wiggle the each front wheel (you gotta put a lot of effort into it). If you feel any clunking then one or more of those tie rods or balljoints need to be replaced.

Are the wheel bearings still original? When you had the struts replaced, did you also have the strut mounts replaced?
I would also double check the bolt and nut torque on all the suspension (and brake) components. Also, when you installed new front LCA's did you torque them down after the car was on the ground at its normal ride height? Same with the rear? If not, your new bushings will tear and wear out very fast. Check for signs of wear on all the bushings, even though they are relatively new.

If all of the above checks out, and you've visualized all the bushings and they look intact, then my only other guess would be the steering rack itself. Sometimes they can get a little clunky on really sharp bumps. Supposedly they have some bushings on the inside of the rack that wear out and cause said symptoms. But I would only consider that after I've verified that EVERYTHING else is 100% okay, two or three times over.
 

·
Registered
'05 OBXT, Stage 2, etc etc etc
Joined
·
191 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ah okay, I gotcha.

I'm wondering how your inner and outer tie rods look? One way to check is to raise the front of the vehicle on jackstands, then try to wiggle the each front wheel (you gotta put a lot of effort into it). If you feel any clunking then one or more of those tie rods or balljoints need to be replaced.

Are the wheel bearings still original? When you had the struts replaced, did you also have the strut mounts replaced?
I would also double check the bolt and nut torque on all the suspension (and brake) components. Also, when you installed new front LCA's did you torque them down after the car was on the ground at its normal ride height? Same with the rear? If not, your new bushings will tear and wear out very fast. Check for signs of wear on all the bushings, even though they are relatively new.

If all of the above checks out, and you've visualized all the bushings and they look intact, then my only other guess would be the steering rack itself. Sometimes they can get a little clunky on really sharp bumps. Supposedly they have some bushings on the inside of the rack that wear out and cause said symptoms. But I would only consider that after I've verified that EVERYTHING else is 100% okay, two or three times over.
I had a new Subaru steering rack installed last year, which included new tie rods. Sorry, forgot to include that in my original post. The front struts were a kit from KYB which included the springs. Do those normally come with new strut mounts included? Front wheel bearings are not the original, replaced in 2017. I was under the car over the weekend and did another visual check. All the rubber bushings and joints look ok, nothing obvious except the engine mount seepage on the driver's side. The front LCA's were installed at a shop. I did take my own torque wrench to it to check the bolts and they're at spec.
I'm pretty sure the rear is ok. I watched the mechanic lower the car to the ground and then crawl under it again, assuming he was torqueing the bolts down. I'll do a visual check this weekend on the rear, but I'm 99% sure this is coming from the front. I'll also do another push/pull test on the wheels this weekend, but the last time I checked, last summer, it felt solid.
This is not affecting the drivability of the car just yet, but just an annoyance I've been dealing with a while and I'd like to figure it out. I am curious about the strut mounts though. Hmm....
Thanks for your help!
 

·
Registered
'05 OBXT, Stage 2, etc etc etc
Joined
·
191 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ah okay, I gotcha.

I'm wondering how your inner and outer tie rods look? One way to check is to raise the front of the vehicle on jackstands, then try to wiggle the each front wheel (you gotta put a lot of effort into it). If you feel any clunking then one or more of those tie rods or balljoints need to be replaced.

Are the wheel bearings still original? When you had the struts replaced, did you also have the strut mounts replaced?
I would also double check the bolt and nut torque on all the suspension (and brake) components. Also, when you installed new front LCA's did you torque them down after the car was on the ground at its normal ride height? Same with the rear? If not, your new bushings will tear and wear out very fast. Check for signs of wear on all the bushings, even though they are relatively new.

If all of the above checks out, and you've visualized all the bushings and they look intact, then my only other guess would be the steering rack itself. Sometimes they can get a little clunky on really sharp bumps. Supposedly they have some bushings on the inside of the rack that wear out and cause said symptoms. But I would only consider that after I've verified that EVERYTHING else is 100% okay, two or three times over.
Here's an interesting follow up. I checked my service record spreadsheet, and it looks like I had the KYB Excel-G struts installed, kept the factory springs, but I don't think this included the strut mounts. This is what I had installed in Feb. 2017:
Rectangle Font Circle Magenta Number


Could this be the strut mounts causing this issue?
 

·
Registered
2005 Outback Wagon 3.0 L.L. Bean
Joined
·
1,669 Posts
Sounds like ball joints, which you say are kinda new. I'm sticking with it. My first set of mevotech blues lasted only 1 year.
 

·
Registered
'05 OBXT, Stage 2, etc etc etc
Joined
·
191 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sounds like ball joints, which you say are kinda new. I'm sticking with it. My first set of mevotech blues lasted only 1 year.
I'll do the 12/6, 3/9, push/pull test again to check. If it's the ball joint(s), I should be able to feel it doing the 12/6 test, correct? I'll ask my wife to do a visual check for play as well.
 

·
Registered
2005 Outback Wagon 3.0 L.L. Bean
Joined
·
1,669 Posts
Ball joints ate easy to miss since they are loaded
 

·
Premium Member
'03 outback limited, '01 Outback Limited, '01 Legacy L wagon, '96 Legacy Brighton wagon
Joined
·
3,173 Posts
Jack the car up and have a friend turn the steering wheel while you listen and feel what the various joints are doing.
 

·
Registered
2006 Outback 2.5i manual
Joined
·
624 Posts
Sounds like ball joints, which you say are kinda new. I'm sticking with it. My first set of mevotech blues lasted only 1 year.
Agreed. Since virtually everything have been replaced, I'd do a really thorough check on those balljoints. You have to really try to shake the wheel HARD. Do a 9/3 shake while it's on the ground first, then do it again plus the rest when it's up in the air. This goes without saying, but please be careful and make sure you've got some really nice jack stands on there while doing it, and to not be under the car in any way.


Here's an interesting follow up. I checked my service record spreadsheet, and it looks like I had the KYB Excel-G struts installed, kept the factory springs, but I don't think this included the strut mounts. This is what I had installed in Feb. 2017:
View attachment 542453

Could this be the strut mounts causing this issue?
There is a possibility that the mounts are causing the noise, as there is a bearing and rubber bushing material in there - but they'd have to be pretty messed up and loose to be doing so. You might be able to see if the piston has slop where it attaches to the mount, but you would probably have to remove the entire strut/spring/mount assembly to do so. But, maybe it wouldn't hurt to pull the front wheels off and at least try to shake the springs and strut pistons to start off with...
 

·
Registered
'05 OBXT, Stage 2, etc etc etc
Joined
·
191 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Agreed. Since virtually everything have been replaced, I'd do a really thorough check on those balljoints. You have to really try to shake the wheel HARD. Do a 9/3 shake while it's on the ground first, then do it again plus the rest when it's up in the air. This goes without saying, but please be careful and make sure you've got some really nice jack stands on there while doing it, and to not be under the car in any way.




There is a possibility that the mounts are causing the noise, as there is a bearing and rubber bushing material in there - but they'd have to be pretty messed up and loose to be doing so. You might be able to see if the piston has slop where it attaches to the mount, but you would probably have to remove the entire strut/spring/mount assembly to do so. But, maybe it wouldn't hurt to pull the front wheels off and at least try to shake the springs and strut pistons to start off with...
Thanks everyone! I'll check it all out this weekend and report back. I have a good set of jack stands and I keep the hydraulic one underneath for support as well. As an additional note, Mevotech tech support says I can replace the ball joint with a Subaru one if it comes to that. It doesn't have to be their brand.
 

·
Registered
2009 3.0R Outback
Joined
·
1,023 Posts
Are they the aluminum Mevotech arms? If they are, there will be a steel tappered bushing that's stuck to the ball joints when you remove them from the arms. You will need to transfer them over to the new ball joints.
 

·
Registered
'05 OBXT, Stage 2, etc etc etc
Joined
·
191 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Are they the aluminum Mevotech arms? If they are, there will be a steel tappered bushing that's stuck to the ball joints when you remove them from the arms. You will need to transfer them over to the new ball joints.
Yes they are. Thanks for the tip!
 

·
Registered
'05 OBXT, Stage 2, etc etc etc
Joined
·
191 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have two brand new Mevotech arms sitting here that I plan to install. I'm going to swap out the ball joints with Sankei 555 since I already have them. You can have the Mevotech's if you want them for the cost of shipping. I'm just going to toss them otherwise.
Very nice of you! I won't know if I'll need them until I can get some time to spend in the garage, which is usually not until the weekend. I'll get back to you on that. I appreciate it!
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top