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Thank you for posting this. Here is my experience with my 2018 Outback 3.6R Limited. Noticed rattling sound about 8 months after purchase, and could not figure it out. Took it to the dealer and said they could not recreate the problem. Drove it for another few months and was sure it was coming from somewhere near the driver side wheel. Took it in a second time said they could not recreate the problem. I asked to drive with a tech, and within a few seconds he said it was the steering rack. Mine could not accept the spring kit because it was manufactured before a certain date, so they just replaced the steering rack entirely. Completely solved the problem for about 7 months. Now the noise is coming back. It is not as bad as it was but I fear it will get worse and is frustrating to have on a brand new car. I'm going to make another appointment and see what they say. Perhaps there is a new stronger spring? Or I'll just have to put a new spring in every year? Not the end of the world, but annoying.
same story as mine. the second go around they had one of the subaru field service techs come look at it and he said yep, the steering rack needs to be replaced. a couple days later they called and said my car was ready, all it needed was the spring.
 

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Got my car back after taking it in when noise returned after full steering rack replacement. Drove on some bumpy roads and seems good for now. The Tech notes were 'Increased spring tension on steering rack guide'. Will see if she holds up.
 

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Got my car back after taking it in when noise returned after full steering rack replacement. Drove on some bumpy roads and seems good for now. The Tech notes were 'Increased spring tension on steering rack guide'. Will see if she holds up.
sounds like they performed the procedure to adjust the lash.
 

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2019 white 2.5 Outback premium
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taking our '19 in for the final rack replacement steps, next Tuesday.
3rd trip to service. they had to do 2 "steps" before they would agree to replace whole rack.
kind of a waste of our time if they know the racks are failing.

hopefully this will eliminate the rattle

to me it started off sounding like tie rods.
 

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Our 2016 has started this front end rattle too, and it has become more pronounced in the cold weather. It is definitely the steering rack, as moving the steering back and forth while stationary yields the sound.

I was thinking of trying to just replace the spring, but is there a specific date range that that fix is applicable too? Is there a VIN number or serial number on the rack that comes in to play here? From reading the posts here, it seems that some cars get a rack replacement immediately. I would imagine paying for a steering rack out of pocket will be big dollars, so I'd like to avoid that, as our car only has the powertrain warranty left on it. This rattling is very annoying an unacceptable for a car that is so new with so few miles.
 

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2018 Dark Blue Pearl Outback 3.6R Premier
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I would imagine paying for a steering rack out of pocket will be big dollars, so I'd like to avoid that, as our car only has the powertrain warranty left on it. This rattling is very annoying an unacceptable for a car that is so new with so few miles.
I assume your 2016 warranty is the same as my 2018. It is actually called "Major Component" warranty not Powertrain. The steering rack is covered under "Major Component". So your dealer should be able to fix this under warranty.
 

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2016 Outback Premium 2.5 CVT w/EyeSight+SRVD
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It is actually called "Major Component" warranty not Powertrain.
It may be different in Canada, but the 2016 Legacy/Outback Warranty & Maintenance Guide for U.S. vehicles, page 5, calls it the "Powertrain Limited Warranty," and the steering rack is not included in the list of covered components.
 

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2018 Dark Blue Pearl Outback 3.6R Premier
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2015 OB with 63k. Had the clunk, brought it in... they recommend rack & pinion replacement for $2400. Looked on here to see the situation and found this thread... 208 posts later (read the first bunch and the last bunch and it seems many people with same issue)... Has there been a service bulletin? Has there been any correction to the R & P so that I can have confidence it won't happen again? Seems like this has been going on for years... Thanks!

I bought my first car for $2400.... geez.
 

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Looked on here to see the situation and found this thread... 208 posts later (read the first bunch and the last bunch and it seems many people with same issue)... Has there been a service bulletin?
it's mentioned more than a few times in this very thread. It's also been attached a few times in a few posts here as well. Should be easy enough to read the posts you skipped and find a copy.
 

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It may be different in Canada, but the 2016 Legacy/Outback Warranty & Maintenance Guide for U.S. vehicles, page 5, calls it the "Powertrain Limited Warranty," and the steering rack is not included in the list of covered components.
That is interesting - it is different in Canada then. Steering components are covered. https://subaru.ca/WebPage.aspx?WebSiteID=282&WebPageID=5257
Thank you for the information! Turns out it is not powertrain warranty as I assumed but major component. The steering rack listed on that list for a 2016 Canadian car. So, I am much happier this repair will be covered under warranty.
 

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2017 2.5i Outback Limited w/ES
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Our 2016 has started this front end rattle too, and it has become more pronounced in the cold weather. It is definitely the steering rack, as moving the steering back and forth while stationary yields the sound.

I was thinking of trying to just replace the spring, but is there a specific date range that that fix is applicable too? Is there a VIN number or serial number on the rack that comes in to play here? From reading the posts here, it seems that some cars get a rack replacement immediately. I would imagine paying for a steering rack out of pocket will be big dollars, so I'd like to avoid that, as our car only has the powertrain warranty left on it. This rattling is very annoying an unacceptable for a car that is so new with so few miles.
Cold for sure makes it worse on mine too. Had it a few times last winter, almost never over Summer and now back.
 

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Thank you for the information! Turns out it is not powertrain warranty as I assumed but major component. The steering rack listed on that list for a 2016 Canadian car. So, I am much happier this repair will be covered under warranty.
Just to update my experience, I brought the car to Subaru and mentioned the bulletin. The service manager, pulled me into his office and lectured me about how TSBs are not for customers, despite me telling him I worked in the industry and was aware of there purpose. He then told me that the repair wouldn't be covered under warranty, unless the entire rack was replaced. He said the spring repair is not part of the major component warranty. I told him it made no sense that the rack was covered by warranty but a part within the rack was not. I told him if that was the case, I can replace the spring myself. I was not impressed with the customer service, but this is the only Subaru dealer that is local to me..

The tech looked at the car and confirmed the rattle was in the rack, just as I thought. The tech said the lash adjustment is a waste of time and said to go to the spring replacement. After some further discussion and reading on his part, he corrected himself and said it would be covered by warranty now. So he ordered the spring kit and I will have to bring the car back in the new year and see if this fixes the rattle.

The Service manager also made mention of shortblocks on Outbacks often being replaced under warranty too. Anyone heard of this? I don't want to have an engine failure in my future.
 

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2017 Outback Premium 2.5 with Eyesight. 19mm Rear Sway Bar. Steering Dampener Lock Down. HID upgrade from retrofit source.
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Since there are no Subaru dealerships in South Korea, I ordered the spring kit to address a front end rattle I thought was coming from the steering rack. My rack fell before they issued what they called their countermeasure, the new spring. After install today, the noise in the front end is gone. Appreciate all of the information on this forum. If you are going to replace the spring yourself, make sure you order the tool. I thought I would pull a fast one and order a set of star wrenches for the price of the tool listed in the TSB. I missed the "Tamper Proof" part of the tool, and none of the wrenches I ordered would fit the tension spring cover. I probably could have easily completed it with a vicegrip, but I didn't want to mark up the new spring cover, and I didn't want to overtighten it, so I just ordered the correct tool for the job. It's a small thing that didn't affect the service life of the steering rack, but I appreciate that the noise is gone.

EDIT: Looks like had I read further back in this thread, I would have found an acceptable tool for the job from Amazon as well. Oh well... Job complete and I'm satisfied.
 

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2018 Outback 3.6R Limited /w EyeSight
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I think it is worth a shot replacing it. $20 for the spring kit on ebay plus another $5.50 for the special but if you don't have it. Once the car is jacked up, the job is pretty simple. I found it easiest to jack up at the front point of the car, put stands on the left and right pinch welds for support and slide under the front. You might need to have basic abdominal strength as I sort of had to do a slight sit up to get my head high enough to look over the under body cover to see with EPS assembly. To find it locate the assembly, your head will be directly to the left of the CVT, and you will be looking above the cover towards to front of the car.

Once you locate it, it is as simple and unscrewing the screw, taking out the spring, put in the new one, and put the new screw back in after putting some ATF on the o-ring of it. I found it helpful to use tweezers to remove and replace the spring so that I minimized the possibility of dirt getting into the assembly from my fingers.

If you removed the entire undercover, it will be a little easier to get to, but I did not and didn't have much of an issue reaching, especially if you get the long bit from amazon that was posted earlier in the thread. Spring Kit that I used, and the proper bit that was recommended by another person earlier in the thread:
Thanks for this info! I replaced spring on my 2018 3.6R and noise is completely gone! I've had this noise since 5k miles (14k now) and it's been driving me crazy. 2 visits to 2 different dealerships and of course they couldn't hear it. So I didn't want to waste more time and did it myself. Super easy fix that took maybe 10 minutes including getting car on rhino ramps. No need to remove plastic undercover.
 

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2018 Subaru Outback 3.6R Touring
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Going for my FIFTH appointment regarding this same noise issue on the 28th. Rack has been replaced once already and noise continues. Dealership keeps experimenting with tightening things and not RE-replacing the rack. They've even tried to say there was some piece of plastic from the factory stuck near the rear tire on the PASSENGER side to make me go away and be quiet lol! This time, they are going to replace something to do with the strut plate or something and "see what happens"??.. I would hate to think that they are just milking it until my warranty runs out :cautious:
 

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2018 Dark Blue Pearl Outback 3.6R Premier
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Dealership keeps experimenting with tightening things and not RE-replacing the rack.
On my car (in which the noise was solved by following the TSB), if I while stopped, turned the steering wheel quickly left and right, it would make the noise. Perhaps that could help troubleshoot whether it is the steering rack or another cause?
 

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2018 3.6R Touring
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Wife took the Outback in for service last week with the TSB in hand. They said "yep, we know about that," and it seems to be fixed. For now. I hope.
 
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