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'05 OB 2.5i and '11 OB PZEV LTD
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All:

Got a problem that has become much worse recently. When anyone closes the front doors on my '05 OB, there has always been something of a hollow rattle but it had only been VERY brief. Well, now on the driver's door, that rattle has become a clatter that sounds REALLY bad when I go over bumps or rough spots in the road. Did some searching and found a troubling reference to "Doors: Rattles from front doors caused by failed spot weld in the door beam bracket. (2005-07)."

I mentioned this to my Subaru service person who got rather testy with me (I just got finished dealing with ghostwalking issues that I don't think I will EVER resolve with him .... so there may be no love to lose anymore). When my finances recover, I will follow the ghostwalking thread solutions.

Anyways, it seems to me that this could become something of a safety issue and wonder if this is something that Subaru has a TSB for. If so, I might be able to argue the case for help from Subaru to get this resolved without bankrupting me.

I pulled the driver's door panel off last night and confirmed that the door beam (looks like 2 lengths of tube steel attached together) has a very slight play against what I suspect may be the bracket it *should* be welded to (right near the door catch mechanism). Anybody have any inputs on what it is going to take to silence this? The clattering noise also comes from that general location and I at first thought it was a loosening window regulator (I checked that and it is quite tight).

Getting ready to take a richly deserved family vacation with the OB and really did not want to have to deal with this. Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated.

If there is a better forum section that this should be posted to, please let me know.

Thanks!
 

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You're in luck . . . well, sort of.

There was a TSB on what appears to be the same issue. (See attached.)

However, this is a Service Bulletin, not a recall. Consequently, the repair is covered by the original basic warranty only, unless the car has an optional extended warranty that covers more than the power train. Otherwise, the cost of the repair is on the owner.

It's not all that complicated a repair, and if you're handy with body work, it could be a DIY job.

There's two beams that run diagonally across the door. The two are held by a single bracket at the lower rear of the door. The bracket is spot welded to the inner sheet metal of the door. It's one or both of these spot welds that might have separated allowing the bracket to rattle against the door. The repair involves reattaching the bracket using rivets.

I suspect that even with one end of the bracket loose, it remains in place. In the event of a side collision it will still be supported by the sheet metal at the lower rear of the door.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Outstanding! Thanks for the TSB. That really makes things way clearer.

The only other thought I have is; Should I stuff some kind of foam between the door beam and the outer panel when drilling and leave there? It sounds like the bracket welds may have failed enough to cause the whole bracket to drift away as the rivet holes are being drilled. I'm thinking it's a remote possibility considering it looks like the factory shot some kind of vibration deadening mastic already. That could also hold the bracket tighter to the door frame when running the rivet into place.
 

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In the first picture on page 2 it looks as if the mastic was against the inside of the outer door panel (the part cut away), so there shouldn't be very much movement of the bracket when drilling from the other side, as long as the drill isn't being forced through. And once the first rivet is in, the other end won't likely move.

The TSB procedure doesn't require removing the inside door trim and seal underneath -- all the work is from the outside, so it would appear that any movement of the bracket is probably minimal. The trim would have to be removed in order to stuff something in behind the bracket to hold it in place. If you take that approach, don't leave it there -- it could retain moisture leading to corrosion.

Let us know how it works out, and if you have the opportunity, take pics along the way and post them. It would provide others with a practical guide.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Absolutely, I will post step-wise pictures of the work. BTW, The moment I pulled back the weatherstrip to look at the weld points ..... sure enough ..... they are both busted.

Having some trouble finding the anti-rust protection stuff though (I guess I will ask at the next auto parts store I wander into). I wonder if using oil-based enamel paint (Rustoleum, aluminum color) would work as well? I got just under a gallon left from building a trailer (Harbor Freight kit) enclosure for the family vacation this summer.
 

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I think the idea of the recommended "Nox Rust" is to protect the newly exposed areas after the drilling and then after the rivet is inserted. It is not a paint-like coating; instead it's a thin, protective film that remains fluid so it won't crack or flake off as paint might. The coating has to be thin enough not to interfere with the rivet going through the drilled hole, and yet able to maintain the protection on the exposed surfaces.

Any light rust-proofing liquid that leaves a thin protective coating would probably do the job. Most auto parts stores carry one or more lines.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Part ONE. Couldn't get all the pictures uploaded to one response.

Here it is. Total time to do this for one door is approximately 15 minutes. I asked at the auto parts stores (AutoZone, O'Riely, etc.) about the Nox Rust, or anything similar. None of them knew what I was asking about nor did they have anything like that in stock. If need be, I will simply drill out the rivets and re-do a little bit later with the Nox Rust. I'm just desperate to quiet the clatter from the loose beam bracket (which unnerves me as much as the thought of teaching my oldest to drive but I have a few more years for THAT one).

IMAG0150 - Shows that the clips/plastic rivets that hold the weatherstrip to the door are easily removed by fingertip.
IMAG0151 - Shows the failed spot welds.
IMAG0152 - Center-punching of the failed spot weld. Note how far the the door bracket deflects in. Although the TSB that was sent earlier instructed that the drill depth be set at 1/4", it's clear to see that it's more like 1/2" (one-half inch).
IMAG0153 - Center punching of the lower spot weld, again note how much deflection there is for the spot weld to even be center-punched (let alone drilled out). I used one of those spring loaded punches that you can get from Harbor Freight for less than $3 (US).
IMAG0155 - Drilling out of the spot weld with the drill stop set to 1/2".
IMAG0156 - The drilled out top spot weld.
IMAG0157 - Applying (liberally) some Rustoleum (oil-based enamel) to the inside of the drilled out hole using a small pointed paint brush.
IMAG0158 - Also applied some of the Rustoleum to the rivet.
IMAG0159 - Top rivet is done. For reference, drilling out the failed spot weld with a 3/16" drill and then inserting a 3/16" aluminum rivet is a very tight fit. It goes in but with a little bit of persuasion/wiggling (if you are struggling a lot with this, then something is wrong but it doesn't just slide right on in either). I saw when the rivet was ready to pull enough to break off the excess pin when paint wells up around the rivet.
IMAG0160 - The lower rivet done.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Part TWO.

IMAG0161 - Pushing the weatherstrip clips/plastic rivets back into their respective places.
IMAG162A - Pulling back the weatherstrip to show the finished work. :29:
 

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So, if I get a rattle there, I should be able to pull back the weatherstripping and see if the spot weld has failed?
 

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Not sure. In Cameraman's case the cracked welds are clear. But in the TSB photos the welds don't show cracks, and there's no mention of cracks being a sign of the failure. I would imagine the bracket could separate from the door panel in behind without any visible external sign.
 

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I have been frustrated by this rattle for a while now. It is so low in the door, it almost sounds like exhaust or heat shield. Finally I found the TSB, and I checked an my welds were both busted.

Some people were wondering how they would tell if they are busted. You can put your finger on the weld and then hit the door. If they are busted you will feel them vibrate in sync with the rattle.

Thanks everyone who contributed to the thread. The fix was easy, and the rattle is gone.
 

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Thank you!

Just wanted to express my appreciation for the information on the door spot weld failure. Using the photos and TSB pdf that was referenced, I was able to fix the welds on both doors. I now know where to look first when I have a problem or question.
 

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Great thread. I just picked up a 2005 and have been picking away at the rattles. I was just about to pull the door apart to investigate when I found this thread. Went out to check and yup, cracks at the spot weld. Wondering why the TSB calls for aluminum rivets, though. Seems like you would want to use steel.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I think the reason is a couple-fold
  1. Aluminum rivets are more commonly found, easier to install and do a slightly better job of filling the thru hole with less effort.
  2. Steel has a bad habit of rusting and corroding.
 

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FWIW, similar problem has been documented for Tribeca. Different design (probably more in line with 4th gen.), but the same idea. People were removing door trim to access the end of the reinforcement bar, but maybe there is a simpler way. There's no TSB. Driver's door rattling noise - SB9T.com
 

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Great thread. I just picked up a 2005 and have been picking away at the rattles. I was just about to pull the door apart to investigate when I found this thread. Went out to check and yup, cracks at the spot weld. Wondering why the TSB calls for aluminum rivets, though. Seems like you would want to use steel.
I find the timing of you bumping this article almost uncanny. I had noticed that my new OB was experiencing what I would call a hollow rattle in the driver's door that the other three doors didn't exhibit. I saw on the door window what looked like something was causing the bracket to rub the window.



I had been planning on tearing into the door this weekend to try and find the source of the noise. I figured it was something loose like a bolt had come undone from a bracket. But I saw this thread and it sounded exactly like what mine was sounding like. So I decided to check on mine and this is what I found:




So I have the same problem and it's certainly visible weld breaks. This thread has saved me considerable time already and I won't have to take apart my door, at least for this issue. :29:
 

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I think the reason is a couple-fold
  1. Aluminum rivets are more commonly found, easier to install and do a slightly better job of filling the thru hole with less effort.
  2. Steel has a bad habit of rusting and corroding.
So, two years on, is the rivet repair still holding up well?
 

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Just performed this repair today. Wasn't too difficult, nor did it take too long.
Now my door sounds solid when I close it. No more rattle or hollow sound.

Helps that I have a Harbor Freight retail store just down the road. Was able to get a riveter, rivets and drill stops for less than $15. Although the drill stop didn't work so well. I thought I got it tight on the drill bit, but it still slipped. Although no damage done.

Only did the driver's door, since it was in the worst shape. Passenger door needs it as well, but it hasn't separated. I'll get to it either tomorrow or next week.





Forgot to take a picture after I painted them, but you get the idea.
 

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Thank you guys for the great info. I finally picked up an 07 Outback yesterday and noticed the driver side window rattling. I was ready to tear down the panel and look for loose bolts/brackets but now I won't have too.
 
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