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11 OB 2.5i all options, 70K Miles, Ski (winter)/ (Summer) car, mountains 3-4 days a week in winter w/bllizzaks.
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Front end 2K11 Outback rattle

OMG, just went for a quick test run, ran over the road turtles to create the rattle, hit the brakes lightly and the noise STOPPED!

2K11 2.5 Outback with 77K miles.

Going to attack the (possibly sloppy) brake caliper pins and any other pad tension hardware that may be missing after my last brake job (40K miles front and rear pads/turned rotors.
More when I finish that task and whether or not it is successful.
 

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I seem to have eventually got somewhere with this. The rattle I'm experiencing while driving on slightly uneven roads goes if I lightly apply the brakes with my left foot while still applying throttle. The noise from the steering rack seems to only occur when rocking the steering wheel back and forth, and is a separate issue. I removed the caliper pins and pads and greased everything with silicone grease. I noticed that the top pin sleeve ( in the caliper) on my front left wheel had more clearance than the other side. This was shown up when moving the pins in and out, the front left was Alot easier with little resistance. This side is where the noise was coming from. The noise has now pretty much stopped with a liberal application of grease.
I have seen on this forum somewhere that a dealer had replaced the top pins with lower pins ( which have a little rubber bushings on them) and this cured the problem. My dealer here in UK don't sell the caliper sleeves, just pins or a complete new caliper. I don't want to pay for a new caliper as they are stupid money here (£300), so any opinions on using lower pins in the upper position? I can't see what harm it would do. I might even using thread tape or even insulation tape to build up the pin.
Hello, I have the same problem with an Outback 2010 2.0D. For years now I know the noise comes from the front brakes. Braking very slightly gives enough resistance to stop the noise. At the dealer they say that these parts (I don't know what parts exactly) were made by Subaru with to much tolerance.
The dealer puts copper grease (I don't know if that is the correct translation) on it and then the noise is gone for 2 a 3000 km.
I was wondering if you had found the solution to make this more permanent then with copper grease.
Thx,

Remi, Belgium.
 

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2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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@DoubleOutback caliper pins can rattle, but ususally on a stiffer suspension. This is anotherr reasin the STI got the dual piston calipers. I have BC coilovers on a car with 140K miles. Very stiff, like ridig a brick. I replaced the pins and is little better. If yours has done this from the beginning, I would think it has more to do with the steering rack (spring) , whatever that TSB is for.

I have a reman rack on my car and I suspect some of my clunks are from the rack, you might be the same.
 

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rattle front brakes

@ traildogck , thx for the feedback. With my car however the rattle comes definetely from the front brakes. If the dealer puts copper grease on them (on the caliper pens I believe) then the rattle is gone fur several thousands km's. When the rattle is there, I just have to brake very slightly and the rattle stops. It is sad, a +40000euro car rattles like it is a 5000euro car.
 

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2011 2.5 CVT with lpg
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Discussion Starter #45
Solved! Turned out to be the ball joints, even though there was no movement in them! Decided to change them anyway, as they were about the only things I hadn't changed! Rattle is now gone. Yippee!
 

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2016, Outback 2.0D SE Premium MT (UK spec)
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Hi 4eyes, another UK Outback owner here with a similar problem.

Bought my 2.0D OB in 2016 and it has had a rattle from the front suspension/steering from new.
Same symptoms as you - uneven surface, however mine also makes a single clunk when turning around tight corners at low speed then gently accelerating away - very frustrating. I can also replicate the sound whilst gently accelerating in a straight line if I rock the steering left to right +/-45 degrees quite quickly. More so than you would ever do while driving but it is useful for hearing the sound.

- First service (12000mls) and the dealer failed to replicate the problem.
- Second service (24000mls) I demonstrated the problem and they thought it was a top mount....... it wasn't!
- 30000mls they fitted electronic ears but couldn't find the source.
- Third service (36000mls) head office got involved and diagnosed a steering rack fault so it was replaced but the problem is still here!

Apparently there was a service fix for the steering rack which involved a stronger spring to be fitted behind the rack/pinion although they have since decided to just replace the rack with a new one with the fix in place.

I am now due to go back in January for them to look again. I would have hoped they changed the track rod ends when they did the rack but I will have a look to see if this is the case.
The brake pins is an interesting one and I will have a look at this when I change the pads in the new year.

I must admit this is really spoiling my enjoyment of this car and after 20 years driving Subarus I am seriously thinking about different manufacturers for my next purchase. The fact that the UK have decided to stop doing the diesel and everything will be fitted with CVT is probably the real reason why I have been looking elsewhere if I'm honest.
 

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2011 2.5 CVT with lpg
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Discussion Starter #47
Ball joints didn't quite fix the issue. I have definitely traced the noise to the pinion, where it meets the rack. If I put upward pressure on the pinion and get someone to wiggle the steering wheel, the noise goes away. I am going to tighten the backlash at some point, even though the special tool for it is not available here, even to dealers. Adjusting the rack is easy enough with a 17 mm triple star bit, but the locknut requires some gymnastics with an adjustable crows foot, fingers like ET and arms like legs!
 

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2016, Outback 2.0D SE Premium MT (UK spec)
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Tightening up the preload spring is what the new rack in mine was supposed to do albeit with a stiffer spring. Good luck with that it sounds fiddly.
Some racks only allow you to tighten down to a physical stop which preloads the spring to a known force. This may be why the service fix is a stiffer spring. If you are able to adjust the preload without a stop you may achieve the same effect but just be careful not to go too far and bottom out the spring or you may create too much load on the back of the rack and generate lumpy steering or a sticking rack.
Once upon a time the teeth in the centre of the rack used to be crowned to give them tighter mesh to the pinion and better straight ahead steering feel. Sometimes you also got varying teeth engagement as a result of variation in the tooth broaching process. As I said be careful not to bottom out the spring and make sure you allow it to take up any tolerances.

I will be interested to hear if it cures the problem.
 

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2011 2.5 CVT with lpg
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Discussion Starter #49
I will report back when I get a chance to try tightening it. I'm going to try a quarter or eighth turn at a time, and check if the rattle improves. If I can adjust it myself, I may remove and regrease the spring and pad etc, or replace with the stiffer spring if one is available.
 

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2011 2.5 CVT with lpg
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Discussion Starter #50
Update. Finally managed to tighten the rack adjuster, with modified 38 mm spanners and a17mm bolt head (that's a whole different thread!). This fixed the rattle when moving the steering wheel, but unfortunately the rattle over uneven roads has got worse. Car failed it's annual UK mot test on Friday due to too much play in the rack itself. I can grab the passenger inner tie rod and move the rack in the housing. Booked in with dealer for new rack. Ouch, but at least it'll be sorted.
 

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Update. Finally managed to tighten the rack adjuster, with modified 38 mm spanners and a17mm bolt head (that's a whole different thread!). This fixed the rattle when moving the steering wheel, but unfortunately the rattle over uneven roads has got worse. Car failed it's annual UK mot test on Friday due to too much play in the rack itself. I can grab the passenger inner tie rod and move the rack in the housing. Booked in with dealer for new rack. Ouch, but at least it'll be sorted.
If you could post up what you had to do to tighten up the rack adjuster, that'd be super useful (or some pics of the modified tools). Mine also clonks from somewhere inside the rack and it's blooming annoying!

I also have some play in the steering somewhere - I think it's the passenger side inner tie rod, but I've not got as far as replacing it yet, but I'll probably need to before the next MOT...

Dare I ask how much a new rack is? :eek:
 

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2011 2.5 CVT with lpg
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Discussion Starter #52
A new rack is around £1500, fitted, including vat. Adjusting the rack nut is fairly straightforward. The locknut is an odd size, at about 39mm, and you need an offset ring spanner to get on it, a socket can't. 39mm spanners don't seem to exist. I ground down a 38mm. You also need the same in an open end spanner, straight,with some of the jaw on one side cut off to hold the lock nut while you tighten the inner adjuster. This is a 17mm 12 point bit, which there isn't clearance for, I used a low profile socket, upside down, that had a 17mm hex on top.Stay with me! I then used a shortened and ground down Allen key to turn this. You also need to remove the anti roll (sway) bar bushes so you can move the bar forwards and backwards to give you better access. Will try and take photos of tools.
 

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2011 2.5 CVT with lpg
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Discussion Starter #53
Photos. I would add that I had to use a pry bar to get a good purchase on the shallow lock nut with the ring spanner. There is a metal bar above the anti roll bar that you can brace against. Tightening this only stopped the noise when you move the steering wheel quickly between 10 and 2 oclock. It didn't fix the rattle over rough roads.
 

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Thanks - that's really helpful!

I don't have a rattle over rough roads (yet!) but I do have the back and forth clonk... I had a call from Subaru yesterday about a recall for the electronic parking brake, so I'll probably get them to have a look at it while it's in, and dig out the TSB details. They also need to look at the drone that I've got (that's not wheel bearings) which I've posted about elsewhere on here..

Does the 2.5 have electric power steering? Not sure if the racks are the same between the 3.6 and the 2.5..
 

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2011 2.5 CVT with lpg
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Discussion Starter #55
My 2011 2.5 is electric power steering, I think all EU/UK vehicles have had it for a while, with US vehicles of that age were hydraulic.
 

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Discussion Starter #56
Steering rack has now been replaced, and finally the rattling has stopped. I will be trying to dismantle the old rack to see if I can identify the problem. Will post photos if I can.
 

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I had one of the inner track rods replaced as there was a slight amount of slack in it, and now 90% of the clonk on steering back and forth has gone. It will still do it if you really try (sawing the steering wheel at stop) but in normal driving / parking etc it's not noticeable.

Have another slight issue in that at motorway speeds the steering feels a bit notchy - it's hard to turn the wheel smoothly, it feels like you take a lot of effort to get it to start to move. Not sure if it's just a trait of the car, or if there's a tight joint or strut top bearing somewhere - another thing to add to the list!
 

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@;
When I started reading this posting I was wondering if anyone would mention the hood as being a possible source. Our 2011 developed a rattle after about a year of ownership and I was absolutely convinced it was in the front suspension. After a few weeks of poking around we identified the source as the hood and a quick adjustment fixed it and it's never returned.
How did you do the adjustment? Do you have any pics? I may have the same rattle in my 13 outback
 

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Hood Adjustment Rattle Fix

The adjustment is quite easy. When the hood is raised you will see two black threaded hard rubber pieces (about 0.850 inches in diameter), one on either side of the hood. These fit a little more outboard and a little further aft than two similar sized but solid rubber pieces. If you suspect your hood is the source of the rattle it's very easy to turn the black threaded hard rubber pieces by hand to get them to protrude a bit more. Turn counter-clockwise to get some added length. Our rattle went away for good after this simple adjustment.
 

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The adjustment is quite easy. When the hood is raised you will see two black threaded hard rubber pieces (about 0.850 inches in diameter), one on either side of the hood. These fit a little more outboard and a little further aft than two similar sized but solid rubber pieces. If you suspect your hood is the source of the rattle it's very easy to turn the black threaded hard rubber pieces by hand to get them to protrude a bit more. Turn counter-clockwise to get some added length. Our rattle went away for good after this simple adjustment.
I did that and it fixed it!!! Thanks so much, I have been trying to figure this out for weeks.
 
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