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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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276 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My earlier post discussed a clunk that occurs in the front end of my 2005 Outback. I have replaced the lower control arms, ball joints, tie rods, sway bar end links and sway bar bushings. The sound still exists after all of those repairs. The struts are rather new and the top bearing does not appear to be worn.

I got a fresh set of eyes to look at the problem. It was suggested that the pinch bolt for the ball joint is not tight enough. That actually makes sense. I went ahead and looked at the bolt and removed it. It came out rather easy and when it did I saw metal in the threads suggesting the hole was stripped on the steering knuckle. When I try to reinstall a longer Bolt It confirmed that the hole was stripped.

Question, if I went ahead and got a 60 mm bolt would it be safe to secure it on the other end with a nut and lock washer? I really do not see the need to replace the steering knuckle since this is the only worn part. Has anybody done this? Does anybody suggest it would not be safe?

Thank you
 

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2005 Outback R LL Bean 3.0 H6 w/ 5 speed sport shift
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601 Posts
Go to a hardware store and get a hardened bolt, nut and washers just small enough to fit completely through the opening. install it and I used some Lock tight to insure it doesn't loosen. It will be fine! Be sure to really torque it down!

Same thing happened to me, now, no more clunking or popping - I like it!!!!
 

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516 Posts
Nice find. With a good bolt, loctite, and good torque i wouldn’t hesitate. Make sure the protruding nut can’t contact anything when the wheel turns lock to lock and/or when the suspension compresses.
 

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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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276 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
SOLVED!!

The M10 - 1.25 - 40mm OEM bolt stripped the hole in the steering knuckle. My original plan was to get a identical Bolt but 60mm. That turns out to be a special order Bolt. I checked all stores including Fastenal but nobody had it. I found a M10 - 1.50 - 60mm hardened bolt at Ace Hardware. I got home and used the appropriate tap to partially thread the ball joint pinch bolt hole to the 1.50 thread pitch on the 60 mm bolt. That turned out to be rather easy. The bolt fit like magic and it lightly threaded itself into the hole. I did not attempt to tighten the new bolt down but instead put on the appropriate hardened nut with a washer and lock washer. I took my impact gun And tightened it as much as I could on the highest setting. I put the car back on the ground and it completely quieted the noise. There is now zero noise in the front or rear end. Since I ordered the new rear bushings I will still put them in because the old bushings are rather worn. I attached three photographs. Two of them show the new nut and bolt installed and the third shows the new Nut and Bolt versus the original equipment Bolt.
 

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2001 VDC Wagon - White pearl - 302,000 km
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466 Posts
Nylock nut or regular with a lock washer?
Do not use a lock washer!
Install a grade 8 bolt with a matching high strength nut and don't use any type of washer.
Your best results will come from drilling through the threads with a drill bit that just slips through the hole on the one side of the split joint. This way you will not need to install a bolt that is thinner than the bolt that Subaru engineers designed for the clamp load on the ball joint stud. The OEM may have a larger shank diameter, than its major thread diameter. The shank diameter matches the groove in the ball joint stud, which helps to prevent movement of the ball joint in the spindle hole.
Leave the impact gun in the tool box when you go to "tighten" any bolt or nut on your car.
You should be using a torque wrench especially on the pinch bolt to achieve the desired clamp force.
By using the impact on the bolt, on the highest setting, you may have stretched the bolt beyond its yield.
Don't be surprised if the noise comes back again.
 

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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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276 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Interesting.

The bolt is the same dimensions at the OEM except it is longer overall and the threads are 1.50 instead of 1.25. The diameter should not be an issue with the size of the knuckle hole and the groove in the ball joint the bolt slides through. I may check the OEM bolt diameter vs the new bolt diameter with a micrometer just for giggles.

The surface on the back side where the bolt protrudes is flat. I also used a flat washer. While the bolt probably stretched, it was my understanding that the "stretching" helped keep it from backing off. The forces from the knuckle, which are to open, are countered by the bolts forces in the opposite direction.

I had used a torque wrench when I installed the original bolt and it was obviously stripped so it did not hold 100%. The larger thread pitch would change the torque rating. Without some research I would not know the new torque spec. I would also assume the torque setting would change with the use of a backing bolt...I could be wrong. Education here would be good. Regardless, the sound is GONE. I have a few extra of the bolts incase I ever need to grind or cut off the bolt/nut.

I will keep an eye on it and check it after a few hundred miles.
 

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2005 Outback R LL Bean 3.0 H6 w/ 5 speed sport shift
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Everyone has an opinion of how to complete a job, I can say from experience that this technique has proven it's self over time. Your fix appears to be fine and I'd recommend that you keep an eye on it for a while just to ensure it doesn't need snugging up a bit. I do agree that using the impact may not be the best idea.

Of course, this is just my opinion!
 

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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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276 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Maybe I'll back the nut off and try impact setting 2 and see if it holds. I'd weld it if I thought I could keep the sound away (JK). Car Rides great now. Little floating but the front end is solid and quiet. Rear bushings next. Btw... Loc Tite was definitely used too!
 

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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, the clunk sound returned. The bolts are still intact and have not backed off. I need to try and re torque the bolts and see if that stops the issue. I may be buying a new steering knuckle this spring.
 

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2005 OBXT Ltd Obsidian Black 5MT
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I too have a clunk coming from the front end. I've replaced almost everything and all the bushings are new. It has been suggested that it might be the brake calipers on mine.

It seems to only clunk when I'm turning into something like my driveway where it's uneven at an angle. I thought it was the steering rack, but I've pulled it and replaced the bushings and yet it persists. My ball joint is new and the pinch was good and tight the first time.

I haven't had a chance to inspect the calipers for movement that would cause a clunk, but otherwise they're tight.
 

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Master Caster
🖤💔💙 3 Beautiful OBXTs
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I too have a clunk coming from the front end. I've replaced almost everything and all the bushings are new. It has been suggested that it might be the brake calipers on mine.

It seems to only clunk when I'm turning into something like my driveway where it's uneven at an angle. I thought it was the steering rack, but I've pulled it and replaced the bushings and yet it persists. My ball joint is new and the pinch was good and tight the first time.

I haven't had a chance to inspect the calipers for movement that would cause a clunk, but otherwise they're tight.
I have new lock pins for the front I am going to inspect mine and either install new lock pin sleeves on the existing lock pins or the new pins. Cherry had very cheap pads and rotors when I bought her. I wonder if the slider pins are even installed correctly. With the lock pin on the bottom. Or if the sleeve is there. I can easy rattle my calipers by hand...

It's annoying as sh*t with the BC coilovers.
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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I too have a clunk coming from the front end. I've replaced almost everything and all the bushings are new. It has been suggested that it might be the brake calipers on mine.

It seems to only clunk when I'm turning into something like my driveway where it's uneven at an angle. I thought it was the steering rack, but I've pulled it and replaced the bushings and yet it persists. My ball joint is new and the pinch was good and tight the first time.

I haven't had a chance to inspect the calipers for movement that would cause a clunk, but otherwise they're tight.
Maybe the sway bar is touching something, but only when it is transferring a load?
 

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2005 Outback Wagon 3.0 L.L. Bean
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1,265 Posts
Strut mounts is a possibility. Mine klunk.
I've replaced same F/E parts as you except for struts
 

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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I too have a clunk coming from the front end. I've replaced almost everything and all the bushings are new. It has been suggested that it might be the brake calipers on mine.

It seems to only clunk when I'm turning into something like my driveway where it's uneven at an angle. I thought it was the steering rack, but I've pulled it and replaced the bushings and yet it persists. My ball joint is new and the pinch was good and tight the first time.

I haven't had a chance to inspect the calipers for movement that would cause a clunk, but otherwise they're tight.
Maybe the sway bar is touching something, but only when it is transferring a load?
DONT ask me how this happened but I crawled under the car and found at the passenger side sway bar mount had one of the mounting bolts Stripped Away. The rubber bushing was missing and the steel Mount itself was bent down. I have ordered a new bushing and have drilled out the mounting hole so I can use a larger bolt to reinstall it. I hope that was the cause of the sound.
 

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Master Caster
🖤💔💙 3 Beautiful OBXTs
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DONT ask me how this happened but I crawled under the car and found at the passenger side sway bar mount had one of the mounting bolts Stripped Away. The rubber bushing was missing and the steel Mount itself was bent down. I have ordered a new bushing and have drilled out the mounting hole so I can use a larger bolt to reinstall it. I hope that was the cause of the sound.
It's NOT helping.
 
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