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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

About this time last year (Sept 2016) I replaced the struts on my 2008 LLBean OBW wagon with KYB GR-2 / Excel-G after the original OEM's were worn out. I did so per some recommendations on the infamous Ghost Walking thread here in the forums.

While I noticed a slight improvement in the suspension last year, it seems like barely a year into using them I'm back to where I was before with totally bad struts. Is this because my struts are too 'soft'?

The issues in particular are that when I drive across any imperfections in the roadway (rumble strips to just minor potholes (< 1" deep), or WV backroads that are gravel or have shifts in pavement, I feel like I'm being rattled and shaken quite a bit. The comparison was stark when I had a loaner 2017 Forrester when my OBW went in for the airbag recall fix. That Forrester drove across the same road with pillow soft dampening effects on those same road imperfections that I would normally get rattled with regularly in my OBW.

Do I need a more firmer/stiffer strut? Did the KYB's actually go bad less than a year after installation? Is this a spring issue?

Lastly, yesterday evening I parked beside my mom's 2010 OBW and pushed down on the front/back bumpers to see how much of a 'bounce' there was compared to mine. Her's required a bit more force to push down and it's rise back was a slow and steady rise with no 'bounce' effect. When doing the same on mine, far less effort was required to push down, and rose back quicker with a slightly more 'bounce' effect.

Thoughts? I just know the ride is getting rougher less than a year after those struts were installed and something just doesn't feel right.

Bradley
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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maybe your tire pressure is too high?
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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the "bounce" effect was a way for old timers at monroe / midas/ etc. to sell suspension parts whether the car needed them or not.

2 different generations of cars there. ...the later one being set up better from the factory,.. with more and better stuff.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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If you have read up on the Gen3 rear suspension. You need to look at your rear forward lateral links. I would expect they are worn out and often the effect of these links being blown feels like bad struts.

Some other bushings are worn out in the car.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
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while people are reading this, although unrelated to the issue at hand

I noticed for Sept 2017 KYB has a $100 rebate going. (link was on the rebates page on Rock Auto).
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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that's a LOT of rebate!

struts for my WRX were only about $66 each I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Just to answer everyone in order here:
@1 Lucky Texan: They shouldn't be. I always run tire pressure at no more than 1lb over, but try to be within a +/- 0.5lb range.
@eagleeye: Definitely right on two different generations of vehicles having entirely different setups. I wasn't using that as an absolute, just a comparison for explanation purposes here.
@traildogck I actually replaced the bushings for the rear lateral links after they were confirmed to having been bad. I can't find the order for the part #/mfg, but I did replace those. Does the whole lateral link bar need replacing??
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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Just to answer everyone in order here:
@1 Lucky Texan: They shouldn't be. I always run tire pressure at no more than 1lb over, but try to be within a +/- 0.5lb range.
@eagleeye: Definitely right on two different generations of vehicles having entirely different setups. I wasn't using that as an absolute, just a comparison for explanation purposes here.
@traildogck I actually replaced the bushings for the rear lateral links after they were confirmed to having been bad. I can't find the order for the part #/mfg, but I did replace those. Does the whole lateral link bar need replacing??
The bushing in the rear forward lateral link cannot be replaced. Only the link with the bushings complete. Either an OEM, or aftermarket OEM replacement like Dorman or Mevotec. Or there are adjustable performance upgrades from Megan Racing or WhiteLine. Both have superior bushing quality to the OEM style.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@traildogck Thanks for that info! I didn't realize that couldn't be replaced. I know last year I did replace the struts and several bushings that were worn out.

As for the rear forward lateral link, this is going to show my ignorance so I apologize in advance. But is that replacement bar on the rear wheels, front, or all? Do you have a link to any one of the manufacturers replacement parts you listed above?

I drove the car home from work after posting this earlier today and the more I put thought into the current situation, it's as if the car doesn't feel 'solid' in the suspension when it comes to crossing those bumps and road imperfections without getting a rattling feeling. I'd definitely like to get this fixed before winter and get a more solid feel, more soft feel going across those road imperfections.
 

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If you want stiffer, get the 2nd generation struts instead. That version of the car was heavier and had the struts tuned for it. KYB part number 341276. They bolt up perfectly on a 3rd generation car, and give you firmer damping.

Well worth checking the bushings- even with good struts the car won't feel good when those bushings are blown out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
@rasterman I went back and checked my invoice from Rock auto and it looks like I have the Gen3 replacements which I've recently read are a bit softer. But I do agree checking the bushings on those first before I start purchasing anything.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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@traildogck Thanks for that info! I didn't realize that couldn't be replaced. I know last year I did replace the struts and several bushings that were worn out.

As for the rear forward lateral link, this is going to show my ignorance so I apologize in advance. But is that replacement bar on the rear wheels, front, or all? Do you have a link to any one of the manufacturers replacement parts you listed above?
Here is the link for best $ I found for the Megan Racing links.

https://frsport.com/Rear-Front-Late...KydGpOJoWwsQSbIbpJ13pxoOxs8t7gfYaArvcEALw_wcB

These have a hard rubber (similar to Subaru Group N) pillow ball bushing. It's far superior to the oem style. They also sell the rear link so you can do all 4 links if you want. Especially if the stock cam adjustment bolt is frozen in the rear arm.

Then here is the Whiteline 4 link set. They don't sell pairs. The WL have a poly bushing, but are constructed a little better than the MR. Just as far as adjustment and long term durability.

https://www.rallysportdirect.com/fi...uwUT0kIbbe5BNabrgEyqcVu0RN0TaAZkaAvPGEALw_wcB

The WL are nice but expensive. I have the MR 4 link on the 2006 and the WL 4 link on the 2005. See the attached pics for sourcing the oem replacements off of CarId. The best deal I have found on those.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Here is the link for best $ I found for the Megan Racing links.

https://frsport.com/Rear-Front-Late...KydGpOJoWwsQSbIbpJ13pxoOxs8t7gfYaArvcEALw_wcB

These have a hard rubber (similar to Subaru Group N) pillow ball bushing. It's far superior to the oem style. They also sell the rear link so you can do all 4 links if you want. Especially if the stock cam adjustment bolt is frozen in the rear arm.

Then here is the Whiteline 4 link set. They don't sell pairs. The WL have a poly bushing, but are constructed a little better than the MR. Just as far as adjustment and long term durability.

https://www.rallysportdirect.com/fi...uwUT0kIbbe5BNabrgEyqcVu0RN0TaAZkaAvPGEALw_wcB

The WL are nice but expensive. I have the MR 4 link on the 2006 and the WL 4 link on the 2005. See the attached pics for sourcing the oem replacements off of CarId. The best deal I have found on those.

@traildogck Thanks so much for the links and the diagram! I'll look into getting those done. I did some digging to see what all I had done last year and what I had replaced was: KYB Gen3 struts all around, rotors/pads all around, a replacement tie-rod, and Front Control Arm - Inner Rear Bushings but that was it bushing wise. I think I was looking into these MR racing arms, but never pulled the trigger due to cost at the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
@traildogck Just a quick question. I assume, based on everything I've read, those MeganRacing rear-forward and rearward lateral links are just for the rear suspension only? Does the front have lateral links as well? This leads into my second question.

On Friday I took my car into a garage during my lunch break to have them put it on the lift and see if they could see anything wrong. I simply told them the same thing I mentioned here in the original post. It was on the lift for about 25 min and came back saying the only thing that needed fixing was the front stabilizer links (2 x 41.99 + tax + shop fee = 157.49).

My question is, is the front stabilizer links = swaybar = lateral links for the front? I admit this is my mechanical ignorance showing through here. Whether the stabilizer links are the same or not as lateral links for the front, what would I need replacing and is there a recommended part(s) for that? At this point I'm planning on replacing the rear lateral links and whatever the front needs.

Thanks for all the helpful information on here!
 

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Nope, front and rear are two very different types of suspension that use some similar-looking parts.

The front is a macpherson-type strut. The only part that could be somewhat accurately described as a "lateral link" is the lower control arm, but it's already happy being known as a lower control arm.

The stabilizer links (aka end links) go between the anti-sway bar and the knuckles. They really only exist as a separate piece to facilitate ease of replacement.

Probably the simplest way to explain it is that a macpherson strut has one hinge at the bottom, where a multilink (as in the outback rear) has hinges top and bottom. Wikipedia has good pictures and even some animations.

All Outback front suspensions are very robust and rarely need much beyond end links and strut cartridges.

3rd generation Outback suspensions are the opposite- lots of bushings to dry out, and the geometry is marginal to begin with. Add the effects of age and wear and they can feel downright scary at speed.
 

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Master Caster
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What @rasterman said....sway bar end link. $44 each is a rip off tho...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Nope, front and rear are two very different types of suspension that use some similar-looking parts.

The front is a macpherson-type strut. The only part that could be somewhat accurately described as a "lateral link" is the lower control arm, but it's already happy being known as a lower control arm.

The stabilizer links (aka end links) go between the anti-sway bar and the knuckles. They really only exist as a separate piece to facilitate ease of replacement.

Probably the simplest way to explain it is that a macpherson strut has one hinge at the bottom, where a multilink (as in the outback rear) has hinges top and bottom. Wikipedia has good pictures and even some animations.

All Outback front suspensions are very robust and rarely need much beyond end links and strut cartridges.

3rd generation Outback suspensions are the opposite- lots of bushings to dry out, and the geometry is marginal to begin with. Add the effects of age and wear and they can feel downright scary at speed.

@rasterman Thanks so much for the clarification of terminology and making that much easier to understand! I knew about the lower front control arms, I didn't realize the front vs rear suspension was that different and thought maybe there was a lateral link that was also in the front.

I went back and looked at my repair orders from last year and literally this week a year ago I replaced the lower inner rear bushings of the lower control arm with WhiteLine bushings (part #W53353), but did not replace the lower front bushings. I suspect that would be advisable to do as well? Any other bushings to be aware of in this hunt to repair the suspension?

One last question for now, that a friend (Subaru mechanic - not sure his depth of expertise tho) mentioned to me is that when replacing struts, it's advisable to replace springs as well because the springs can develop micro-cracks during the removal and re-installation process that affect the integrity of the spring. True or false? I hadn't ever heard that and wanted to run that past everyone here. I'm not apt for replacing the springs (not in the near future anyway).

Thanks again guys for the wonderful advice and help. This makes owning a Subaru more enjoyable as I learn more about these vehicles!
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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The inner front lower control arm bushing does not typically wear out. On my own cars, I have replaced it once out of 3 where I have doen the rear. It doesn't take the same stress as the rear. It would need to have been inspected when the arm is off the car. Unless it's really bad.

Sway bar body side mounts are about all that is left up front, except for lower ball joints.

The information regarding the spring swap is pretty much BS, IMPO. Front struts are hard to do and many don't like to. Unless he is trying to up-sell you on loaded units to bolt right in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The inner front lower control arm bushing does not typically wear out. On my own cars, I have replaced it once out of 3 where I have doen the rear. It doesn't take the same stress as the rear. It would need to have been inspected when the arm is off the car. Unless it's really bad.

Sway bar body side mounts are about all that is left up front, except for lower ball joints.

The information regarding the spring swap is pretty much BS, IMPO. Front struts are hard to do and many don't like to. Unless he is trying to up-sell you on loaded units to bolt right in.

Thanks for that info. The size of the rear vs front bushings for the lower control arm match up to what you said with the rear bushings taking the greatest stress. I'll not worry with those now. I replaced those last year after my trusty garage did come back to me saying those were really shot at the time, which is when i did new struts all around. I'll plan on getting the sway bar and rearcontrol arms replaced and see how much different the ride is.

As for the springs... that friend wasn't at a shop I went too. Just talked to him in passing so there was no financial interest (my assumption) on his part. That's why i wanted to ask in case he was just ignorant in that info or was on to something. You all answered that.
 

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It's true that a coil spring gets a lot of extra load placed on it during installation & removal, but I couldn't tell you whether or not the extra compression is enough to damage anything metallurgically. I've never worried about it; I've re-used springs many times and never broken one ever.
 
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