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2009 outbackXT 5MT, 2007 Impreza 2.2MT, 1974 MGB
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Discussion Starter #1
So I picked up my '09OBXT (48500 mi, original owner, service records, very happy with the car!!)in June and drove it back from the southern US to Canada. I had Rallitek front and rear sways and endlinks and Rallitek WRX/sti steering rack bushings installed at Suberbru AllPro in Atlanta and everything was great. I've put about 14000mi on the vehicle and for the 1st 10000 it was solid as a rock. In the last month I've developed a clunk in the driver's side front end when cornering, especially turning to the right and going over bumps, Noticed it first taking exit ramps "at speed" and going over irregular pavement. Can feel it in the steering wheel.
Spoke to Subaru allpro and went thru the exercise with the sways and end links, even taking it off completely, and the clunk was still there. they are tight, and back on the car.

The local well respected custom shop that does a lot of WRX's replaced the control arm bushings; clunk still there. They say the shocks are good. They inspected the steering column coupling universal joint (as mentioned on this forum) and said it was tight, but said there was play in the rack itself, and convinced me to replace the rack.

We transferred over the polyurethane Rallitek bushings installed everything and clunk still present. They then removed those bushings, put back the rubber standard steering bushings and the noise is a little less pronounced, but still present.

I now have a new (remanufacturered NAPA) rack, new control arm bushings a tight sway bar, about $1200 less dollars and a clunk in the front end.

It's making me a bit mental. Any advice would be appreciated.
 

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'05 2.5i H4 4-Speed Auto w/Sportshift
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I replaced the front sway bar bushings with red hard-plastic bushings that were good for maybe 1,000 miles, then the noise in the front end on bumps returned.

I removed the junk hard plastic and put the OEM new rubber bushings on, problem solved.

I have also seen a shock absorber, brand new, that had about 1/2" play in it. The shaft was loose for 1/2". Every bump resulted in annoying bumping noises in the car for nearly 1,000 miles before I discovered it was the shock. I wouldn't put it past a strut to do the same thing.
 

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2009 outbackXT 5MT, 2007 Impreza 2.2MT, 1974 MGB
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I don't think it is a loose sway bushing because the noise/feel in the wheel is there even when the sway is taken off the car. I guess it could be a strut, but there is no play in either. Hate just to (continue) to randomly replace suspension parts.
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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14,362 Posts
My '06 XT is on a lift today to solve a clunk coming from the front right.

I also have the rallitek swaybars. I don't think they are the problem. I'm having the front struts replaced today as the old ones are pretty shot.

The clunk I get can't be felt in the wheel, but is easily audible at all speeds.

I'll let you know how it goes in case it helps you with yours.
 

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Car: 2008 Tribeca, 2010 LGT, Sold: 2005 XT Limited
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What about the bushing in the top hat of the strut? That is often implicated in clucking sounds....
 

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2009 outbackXT 5MT, 2007 Impreza 2.2MT, 1974 MGB
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
well that is something the tech mentioned before he found the play in the rack and said I needed a new rack. Now with new rack I still have the clunk, so it is certainly still in contention. Would it have me feeling it in the wheel and only on hard corners, esp to the right? This is what convinced him (and me) that it was a rack issue in the first place.

I really appreciate this brainstorming, BTW.
 

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So I picked up my '09OBXT (48500 mi, original owner, service records, very happy with the car!!)in June and drove it back from the southern US to Canada. I had Rallitek front and rear sways and endlinks and Rallitek WRX/sti steering rack bushings installed at Suberbru AllPro in Atlanta and everything was great. I've put about 14000mi on the vehicle and for the 1st 10000 it was solid as a rock. In the last month I've developed a clunk in the driver's side front end when cornering, especially turning to the right and going over bumps, Noticed it first taking exit ramps "at speed" and going over irregular pavement. Can feel it in the steering wheel.
Spoke to Subaru allpro and went thru the exercise with the sways and end links, even taking it off completely, and the clunk was still there. they are tight, and back on the car.

The local well respected custom shop that does a lot of WRX's replaced the control arm bushings; clunk still there. They say the shocks are good. They inspected the steering column coupling universal joint (as mentioned on this forum) and said it was tight, but said there was play in the rack itself, and convinced me to replace the rack.

We transferred over the polyurethane Rallitek bushings installed everything and clunk still present. They then removed those bushings, put back the rubber standard steering bushings and the noise is a little less pronounced, but still present.

I now have a new (remanufacturered NAPA) rack, new control arm bushings a tight sway bar, about $1200 less dollars and a clunk in the front end.

It's making me a bit mental. Any advice would be appreciated.
Power steering hose clunk? I recall some of the Gen 3 OB's had a floppy power steering hose that would bang against body work when loaded up with pressure.
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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My clunk turned out to be the front swaybar. one of the body-side mounts had loosened up a tiny bit- but just enough to make a racket.
 

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2009 outbackXT 5MT, 2007 Impreza 2.2MT, 1974 MGB
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Discussion Starter #10
Well my clunk is present even when the sways are off the car, so it's not the sway bar or the links. Today I notice a subtle clunk when "goosing" it at low speed in 2nd. I hear/feel it when accelerating and decelerating. I took it to the tech and he feels/hears it too and tells me now that we should replace the assembly at the top of the drivers side strut; that there is not just a bushing to replace to do the job. OEM part, around $116, 1 hour labour. I've replaced everything else, figure I'll go for broke and do it.
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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Thanks Rasterman. What struts are you doing?
Sorry didn't see this til now. I have KYBs on all 4 corners. Rears are the old model for the 00-04 cars, for extra bounce control. Stock ride height but it corners like something inches lower.

My mechanic uses a set of wireless microphones magnetically attached to suspect areas to find and assassinate chassis clunks. From what I understand, that is pretty standard. What does yours do?
 

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front end noise

Watching this with great interest as I have the same clunk, typically when perfroming tight parking turn to left at low speed. Hear/feel clunk from right front corner. Passenger hears/feels it much more pronounced.

Getting new shoes on Monday so perhaps I can go in armed with some things for them to investigate.
 

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2009 outbackXT 5MT, 2007 Impreza 2.2MT, 1974 MGB
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I'm replacing the driver's side upper strut mount on Monday and hope++++ that will be the answer....
 

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2008 Outback 2.5i AT
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202 Posts
I'm replacing the driver's side upper strut mount on Monday and hope++++ that will be the answer....
good luck with the upper strut mount. I have been shasing similar noise in front end (driver's side) for almost a year. However, found bad sway bar link and replaced with cartboy. fixed most of it but still have unresolved noise from up there. I agree that you have ruled this out.

Other thing to check is the stearing arm bushings and the cv axle for excesive play.
 

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So far so good. Got the new tires (Cooper CS4) and the shop reported the inner CV boot was torn and "making a mess." I authorized replacement.

EMPI! Didn't know they made half-shaft assemblies. Mechanic said "Chinese" but backed by EMPI so we'll see. Cheap at $127 installed (but I was getting tires)!

Long way from VW go-fast goodies.

Anyhoo... I'll post again if the sound re-emerges, otherwise consider it fixed for me.
 

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2009 outbackXT 5MT, 2007 Impreza 2.2MT, 1974 MGB
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
So went to the garage Monday and spent 2 hours to find out that the dealership had ordered the wrong upper strut support!! The existing support looked very solid, with minimal play at the bearing, and looked so much like a new part that the front desk guy was trying to put it into the box to send it back to the dealership before the tech corrected him. They put everything back together awaiting the correct part to get in ( "a few days") and are not going to charge me for the labour even though it was the Subaru dealership parts dept that screwed up. Interestingly, the thump was significantly diminished for 2 days of driving, but has now reappeared!!! Don't know what to make of this at all. Could it be the shock itself? They seem stiff and the tech thinks they are fine. Aughhhhhhh.....
 

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2009 outbackXT 5MT, 2007 Impreza 2.2MT, 1974 MGB
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Discussion Starter #18
Clunk update!

Turned out to be a front engine mount. $37.50 wrecker replacement solved the problem. In the process I've acquired '04 KYBs in the rear, '05 KYBs in the front with new tophats. Also a rebuilt steering rack. Already had Whiteline sways front and back. Car drives/handles great!! Poorer, but happy. Thanks for all the great advice. Oh, I also did new Michelin Xi3s on Tourin winter rims so now waiting patiently for New Brunswick winter.
 

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2004 Outback 2.5 manual (now sold), 2007 Outback 2.5 Manual
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"Power steering hose clunk? I recall some of the Gen 3 OB's had a floppy power steering hose that would bang against body work when loaded up with pressure."

Interesting little nugget, this. I have been chasing a front end clunk for weeks now, and armed with this info, went out and poked around under the bonnet. Sure enough, I noticed that a rubber power steering hose was banging against the ABS pump pipework, making a very noticeable clang. Secured this rubber pipe so that it could touch nothing in the area, and ....silence has returned. I could not be happier.
 

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Car: 2008 Tribeca, 2010 LGT, Sold: 2005 XT Limited
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Wow, great find! That would be hard to diagnose!
 
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