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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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Discussion Starter #1
2005 Outback 2.5 with 190K miles

CLUNK on both front sides. It happens whenever a front wheel hits a moderate hole (deep manhole cover or pothole) or whenever I go over a moderate bump.

I Replaced: Both LCA's (Moog)
Both Ball Joints (Moog)
Both Sway Bar Links (Moog)

After the repairs the sound was still present but was now Louder! It DOES NOT happen if I go over a bump with both wheels at the same time (like driving into a driveway with a moderate rise). It DOES HAPPEN if I go over the same bump at an angle so one wheel hits it first.

Does this sound like a swaybar bushing issue?

The struts make no sound and appear to be solid.

I installed the LCA's under load to mimic the vehicle's normal ride height.

After I heard the sound was louder, I loosened the sway bar mount brackets (I did not remove the brackets) and the sound did not change.

Any thoughts?
 

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2006 Outback 2.5i Auto
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417 Posts
Sounds like the swaybar bushes to me. They're very cheap, so do them anyway, if you haven't.
 

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2008 Outback XT
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6 Posts
Search Youtube for a video that shows how to diagnose the swaybar ends/links, I know I saw one on there when I had the same clunk but on the rear of mine. My rear struts were bad so I replaced them first and the clunk remained but was not as loud. Then I replaced the rear sway bar links, they were less than $50 bucks and easy to switch out. Quiet as a kitten now.
 

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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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276 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
UPDATE - - NEED MORE HELP

I put the new sway bar bushings on. They were OEM Subaru bushings. I test drove the vehicle and the problem still exists.

If the car goes over a bump with both wheels at the same time there is no sound. If the car goes over a bump with either the driver side or passenger side wheel first there is a definite movement within the suspension with an Associated sound.

As previously stated in this thread I have replaced the lower control arms, ball joints, sway bar end links and the sway bar bushings. I have not replaced the tie rods, struts, CV axles for wheel bearings.

Hi do not believe it is the CV axles because they do not click when I make sharp turns. I do not believe it is the tie rods because I do not have any play when I move the steering wheel back and forth. I guess it could be the struts but why would they make sound only when one tire goes over a bump and not when both tires go over a bump.

Also, the sound does not happen if I am going backwards. If I go over a bump backwards with one or both tires there is no sound. That confuses me.

Any suggestions?
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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16,144 Posts
Well you may still have this going on...


I developed a shim to help this if the bushing is still loose in the strap. I can send you a set if your oem bushing is like mine.
 

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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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276 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
The bushing is snug and tight in the strap. If that shim will help I would be more than happy to take a pair off of your hands. I am thinking of Putting my GoPro somehow under the vehicle to see what is happening. Maybe it will also capture the sound so we know what's going on.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
Joined
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16,144 Posts
The shim isn't going to help if the bushing isn't loose. I challenge you to make sure. Disconnect the links on both side and flog the bar...see if they are indeed tight. I suggest that you don't get the noise in reverse due to where the installation split in the new bushing is oriented. Try flipping them...

Another source of your noise could be in the bearing for the front top hat. I would suggest the noise is not bad in reverse due to the caster on the front struts. The caster angle opposes impacts going forward. However, it drags lightly over impacts in reverse.
 

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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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276 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I will check the top hat today. I don't doubt it could be that but it feels as if it is coming from the undercarriage behind the front wheel assembly. I tried to swap the Swaybar bushing so the bushing cut was reversed.... No luck. I am going to check the new ball joints again to make sure I got them properly torqued. I am running out of options.

Any specific procedure to check the tophat bearing??
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
Joined
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16,144 Posts
I will check the top hat today. I don't doubt it could be that but it feels as if it is coming from the undercarriage behind the front wheel assembly. I tried to swap the Swaybar bushing so the bushing cut was reversed.... No luck. I am going to check the new ball joints again to make sure I got them properly torqued. I am running out of options.

Any specific procedure to check the tophat bearing??
Really, the only way is take it off and check for movement. The bearing is pre-loaded with the spring compression. You need to see if there is play in the bearing. You can't do that with the spring pre-load. And here's the other thing...a rattling top hat...connects to the steering knuckle. Which is connected to the LCA. The LCA connects to the car right under your feet.

Literally any movement or rattling and of any of the suspension components can manifest itself as a clunk below the foot-well. Sometimes if it is felt in the steering wheel, that can help direct toward a ball-joint or tie-rod.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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16,144 Posts
Are you sure that the springs are seated properly and not moving around in the perch?

I also see that you have not replaced wheel bearings. This could also be the source of the noise. A bearing would have to be quite toast to clunk. I expect that you would have other wheel bearing symptoms if that were the case.
 

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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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276 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I can't tell if the tophat is bad. Looks almost new where the bolt/nut are on both side. Pics attached.

Wheel bearing seem fine. Zero noise and the car will coast a mile if let it with absolutely not bearing sounds. Plus, I'd think the bearings would make noise at all bumps, not just when one tire his a bump. Spring perches seem fine. I have car lifted now. Struts were supposed to have been replete recently. I know that doesn't mean replaces correctly.

It still bugs me that the CLUNK only happens if one wheel hits a bump but not if. Both wheels go. Over at same time.
 

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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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276 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I got under the car and found the Ball Joints are torqued correctly. I loosened and retorqued the LCA mounting bolts. I checked the strut mounting bolts and they are fine. I checked the torque for the center strut mounting nut and it is solid.

I did that and the noise persists.

I replace the tie rod, which appeared to be OEM, with MOOG Tie Rods. I drove it and the sound CHANGED but still persists.

QUESTION: What are the chances this sound is from the REAR.

IF the car goes over a bump with both wheels the REAR will simply pivot on the rear wheel bearings so the rear suspension won't articulate. IF the car goes over a bump with only one front wheel the body will twist causing the rear to articulate, even a small amount.

I checked the rear control arms and other items. The Swaybar is solid and has new ends and bushings. The rest of the suspension looks OLD....probably original. Lots of cracks and worn parts.

Ideas??
 

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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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276 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Just ordered most of the new bushings for the rear suspension including the TRAILING ARM bushings. Hoping it is not a huge bear to get them out and back in.
 
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