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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

Our 2002 Outback with 60k miles has been exhibiting a troublesome front-end vibration during braking for the past 10k miles or so.

I have replaced tires, front rotors and pads but the problem persists. Before replacing the rotors I checked them with a dial indicator and they seemed fine but I went ahead anyway and replaced them.

This problem is unrelated to the temperature of the rotors (that is, heat after use causing temporary warping). It is noticeable mostly at speeds over 40 MPH and of course, the harder you push the brake pedal, the more pronounced the vibration. You can feel it at lower speeds, but you have to look for it.

I am suspecting the lower control arm bushings. I know that on many BMW models, this is the classic failure mode, wherein replacing the thrust arm and control arm bushings completely cures shimmy and brake-related vibration.

Are these cars subject to a similar issue? Could this be strut-related in any way?

Thanks!
 

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I think you are on the right track with the LCA bushings. If they are wore/ripped they will cause the sensation you feel.

Peace,

Greg
 

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2000 Limited Wagon 5MT
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303 Posts
One of the oil filled control arm bushings recently popped on my girlfriend's '04 and the warped rotor feel followed shortly after. I'm suspecting they're related but I'm not going to mess with the brakes till after that bushing is replaced.
 

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2005 Outback Sedan 3.0R
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72 Posts
Thanks for making this thread. I've been having that vibration too yet the rotors checked out good. After reading your post I decided to check out the LCA rear bushings and sure enough both are ripped. The passenger side is ripped about half way around. The driver's side though is ripped about 3/4 of the way around. Very bad. I'm also hoping these might be the cause of the steering wheel shimmy that I can't get rid of.

I've got new front and rear LCA bushings on the way along with new ball joints, F/R struts, F/R struts mounts and FSB/RSB bushings.
 

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2002 outback ej25 manual trans
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52 Posts
If the control arm bushings are not the problem check the ball joints. with the mileage you have it is probably just the control arm bushings.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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18,105 Posts
possible steering rack bushings too I suppose.

Prothane (and others) make entire bushing kits.
 

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2002 Subaru Outback Limited - 2.5 L Boxer H4 - 5 Speed Manual
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341 Posts
THANK YOU! I've had this problem for a while now too, and as somebody else said earlier, a steering wheel shimmy. Tried all you tried with no avail. So, it is most likely the lower control arm bushings? Could somebody post a pic on where these are located so I may check too?
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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18,105 Posts


from; http://opposedforces.com/parts/legacy/us_b12/type_22/suspension_and_axle/front_suspension/


as you can see, there's lots of parts but, LCA bushings are number 26 and 15. Certainly a worn ball joint (22) is possible as well as other worn parts.

I'm actually gonna replace the rear bushings (14&15) on my wife's 03 OBW because they are liquid filled and I had the left one leak out. I'll inspect everything else. If the 26 bushing looks bad - I might buy and entire arm and a ball- joint.

that doesn't show the steering rack bushing but you can dig around at opposedforces
 

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2002 Subaru Outback Limited - 2.5 L Boxer H4 - 5 Speed Manual
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341 Posts
Thanks man. Now to see where this is at on the car itself hahaha. Are the bushings noticeable, or will I need to really get down there to find them?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hello again,

Thank you for the corroboration that my assumption may indeed be correct. If any of you do replace the bushings and find that the vibrations disappear, kindly let us know.

Also, a DIY would be great. I don't have a manual for the car (but have done lots of repairs on my cars over the years) so I feel confident in doing this myself. Even so, best to learn from someone who has done it.

What are the torque specs. on the arm bolts/nuts? It seems to me that the nuts in the illustration are single-use types and must be replaced. Am I correct?

Regards.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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I'm sure they'll be black - with grey road grime all over them.

when I remember - I take my car to the car wash before I work under it. Still get dirty - but seeing stuff is easier and it reduces the crap that falls in my face lol!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I've got new front and rear LCA bushings on the way along with new ball joints, F/R struts, F/R struts mounts and FSB/RSB bushings.
Hi,

I'm glad you found the culprit. May I ask where you have ordered the replacement parts from and whether they are OEM or aftermarket?

Thanks!
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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to be clear - my wife's car seem to drive smoothly. Ther may be an occasional clunk or odd 'loose' feeling but there's no shimmy. I just plan to replace the bad bushing along with some other maintenance.

here's links to some info;


http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/110-gen-2-2000-2004/46575-what-behind-wheel.html


Does anybody replace the OTHER control arm bushing? - Ultimate Subaru Message Board

Control arm bushing questions - Ultimate Subaru Message Board

Prothane Transverse Link (aka control arm ) Bushings - Ultimate Subaru Message Board
 

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Discussion Starter #14
to be clear - my wife's car seem to drive smoothly. Ther may be an occasional clunk or odd 'loose' feeling but there's no shimmy. I just plan to replace the bad bushing along with some other maintenance.

here's links to some info;


http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/110-gen-2-2000-2004/46575-what-behind-wheel.html


Does anybody replace the OTHER control arm bushing? - Ultimate Subaru Message Board

Control arm bushing questions - Ultimate Subaru Message Board

Prothane Transverse Link (aka control arm ) Bushings - Ultimate Subaru Message Board
Hi,

Many thanks for the very informative links. What did you conclude about the following:

Using STi bushings and mounts (it looks like the general recommendation was to stick with stock)

Replacing just the bushing with urethane and reusing the mount.

Making an alignment mark versus installing and bouncing.

The need for the 1.5 mm and 1.0 mm gaps.

Regards.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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haven't done it yet but, I already bought the prothane parts, will drill out the rubber and hacksaw or sawzall(might be able to borrow from work) or otherwise remove the liner from the mount (they should make the prothane kit a smaller diameter to fit inside the sleeve - oh well)

I'll 'snug' the parts, lift the front off the jacks, pull the jacks, drop the front onto my ramps (maybe halfway down them or onto a coupla pieces of stacked wood - just want a little xtra clearance to get back under the car) bounce the car a few times, torque to spec or max on my wrench and call it good enough.
 

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2005 Outback Sedan 3.0R
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Healey3000, I haven't found the culprit yet. Potential culprit? Definitely possible. And I'm hoping so with the amount of labor I'll be putting into it.

I ordered the parts from 3 different places:

justsuspension.com for the struts and rear mounts
subarupartsforyou.com for the front strut mounts and all of the bushings
rockauto.com for the Moog ball-joints

1 Lucky Texan, thanks for the tip on the steering rack bushings. I may have to get under there and get a good look at them. And maybe get someone to turn the steering wheel just a hair while I'm watching the rack.
 

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01 Outback LL Bean
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I have a slight shake when intially applying the brakes a steering wheel shimmy. My rear LCA's are original. I think I am going to replace them.

I sort of want to put poly ones in there since they are cheaper and will theoretically increase handling but I am worried about their lifespan. Any thoughts on this?
 

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Similar Problem

I have a similar problem on my 2011 outback 50k miles, what was the ultimate finding and how much should a repair cost. Thanks
 
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