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Discussion Starter #1
Investigated a bit of vertical play in the steering wheel and found this. Looks like the white bushing should be sitting in the firewall but it feels like that's going to be pretty tough to do. Anyone got any tips?

 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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There is supposed to be a bushing at the firewall; this part. It's likely you have RHD however so I would check locally for parts.

Has the car ever been in an accident or had parts replaced on the steering column?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I don't know the crash history unfortunately, I've only had the car a few weeks. Yep RHD, but guessing it would be the same. Is that bushing you linked supposed to fit over the white nylon looking part? Do you know if it fits from the engine bay or interior side? Hmm I just found the following photos of a forester and newer outback, looks like it pushes through from the engine side and does fit over the white bushing.

495461

495462
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Just got under the steering wheel and took a look from the interior side, can't see that black bushing anywhere so I assume it's come off somehow...

Would it be easier to get a new one on by disconnecting the column from the interior or engine bay?

495465
 

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I just found the following photos of a forester and newer outback, looks like it pushes through from the engine side and does fit over the white bushing.
......
Just got under the steering wheel and took a look from the interior side, can't see that black bushing anywhere so I assume it's come off somehow...
......
Would it be easier to get a new one on by disconnecting the column from the interior or engine bay?
My source was an exploded parts drawing for a LHD 2010, and yes, it illustrates it coming at it from the engine side. It's item 2 in this drawing, and your RHD would probably look like this only mirror image:

495479


So you'll have to get the universal apart at the top where it attaches to the shaft, which we can hope can be done without a lot of other disassembly.

And BTW - parts like this don't just "come off somehow" on their own - that's why you didn't find it when you looked around. The column was disassembled for some reason and then put back together without this part. We could speculate why this was done, but if this were my car, I'd go looking around for other evidence of a wreck rebuild. What you discovered here certainly isn't good from a safety standpoint.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
My source was an exploded parts drawing for a LHD 2010, and yes, it illustrates it coming at it from the engine side. It's item 2 in this drawing, and your RHD would probably look like this only mirror image:

So you'll have to get the universal apart at the top where it attaches to the shaft, which we can hope can be done without a lot of other disassembly.

And BTW - parts like this don't just "come off somehow" on their own - that's why you didn't find it when you looked around. The column was disassembled for some reason and then put back together without this part. We could speculate why this was done, but if this were my car, I'd go looking around for other evidence of a wreck rebuild. What you discovered here certainly isn't good from a safety standpoint.
I ordered a replacement bushing (same as that diagram) a while back and while waiting for it tackled some of the other things the car needed fixed (dpf, intake manifold, boost hoses etc), and removed the universal which was a pita. The bushing turned up today and the darnedest thing happened, while walking to get the mail I noticed a bit of rubber beside my driveway and lo and behold it was the old bushing! What are the odds of that... I don't know what happened to it to make it fall off, but it looks like it was cut or torn pretty bad (possibly went through a lawnmower without noticing). Bottom line I guess is that it did fall off by itself, so fingers crossed there's nothing to worry about regarding crash damage. If I had to guess I would say that given the cars history of 300,000kms being used as a rural vet wagon it probably went over its fair share of gravel roads, farm tracks, paddocks etc and possibly that rough terrain was enough to wear through the bushing.

Hopefully the replacement goes smoothly, although I somehow doubt it given what others (including a subie tech) have told me.

20201117_210905.jpg 20201117_210855.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Finally had the time to work on the car again, pretty successful for the most part. For anyone who is needing to do this in the future hopefully this helps.

After a bit of trial and error I found that the best way to get the black bushing in was to:
  • Disconnect the 2 steering column bolts under the wheel.
  • Pull the column into the interior as far as I could while leaving all the other harnesses etc connected.
  • Push the black bushing into the hole and seat it (takes a bit of effort).
  • Then push the column through from the interior side so that the white plastic fitting seats nicely in the rubber bushing.

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Rubber bushing seated.

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Column seated in bushing.

side.jpg under.jpg
View from side and underneath showing the column bolts that need to be removed.

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Final seating.

Bushing Part Number: 34361AG010.
 
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