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2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium (The Superoo), Graphite Gray Metallic, CVT, Yoko Geolandar G015 AT 225/65R-17
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A couple of weeks ago, my car got to take advantage of the CVT extended warranty coverage (torque converter lockup issues). While the car was in to get a new TC, they did their standard courtesy check. I was informed that the car needs new lower control arm bushings due to excessive wear.

I hadn't felt anything wrong with the steering. No steering wheel shake, no vagueness or wandering. No odd noises either when cornering. I've been trying to do research on this issue and how to replace the bushings myself. The dealership wants $500 to do it and that doesn't include the realignment after it's done. I haven't really found anything on here relevant to my model so I thought I would post up my own topic. So, questions...

1. How bad can the bushings get before needing replacement? I took a look last night and both sides have tears in the rubber. The interior is still connected to the outer ring of the bushing, but it is torn.

2. Does anyone have a good DIY guide to doing this? I have the Factory Service Manual, but their procedure uses specialized tools that I don't have. I was planning on making my own press out of a threaded rod. Anyone have any tips?

3. Is it worth it to stick with the factory bushings or are there better aftermarket offerings? I'm not interested in making my car faster. I just want it to last a long time and tolerate the occasional off pavement adventure.

This forum helped me tremendously when I was prepping to replace my timing belt. I'm hoping y'all come through again. Thanks!
 

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2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium (The Superoo), Graphite Gray Metallic, CVT, Yoko Geolandar G015 AT 225/65R-17
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Crickets? Nothing?

Well, maybe I'll make my own DIY guide when I'm done.


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I went ahead and ordered two OEM replacements this weekend. I figure the car is a little over 108K and the original bushings lasted that long. I was worried about going with poly bushings and making the car too harsh. I like the idea of the Mevotech LCA's but I couldn't justify it when I could get the OEM parts for $18 ea. If this next set goes bad quickly I'll probably go that route next time.

So, along with the bushings themselves, I picked up a Pitman Arm Puller from Harbor Freight to disconnect the ball joint. I don't think there's anything wrong with the ball joints so I plan to just take the castle nuts off and pop them off that way. The last thing I want to do is damage them with a pickle fork.

Once I have the LCA free, I plan to either make my own bushing press out of some all thread and sockets or take it to a machine shop and have them do it. Which ever route is cheaper I guess. I'm doing this on a shoestring budget. I've got to save my pennies for a new set of tires and an alignment!


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Well, I have a pair of bushings for the TB.

But I will just replace the entire lcas even though that means 360 in the TBs case.

If you can have new lcas with balljoints and all for 105 on AutoAnything and install them yourself, why just replace the rear bushings, new tools or shop trip and all?

105-120 is a pretty good deal for all you get.
How has the quality of mevotech been? I've seen them in aftermarket offerings for a while, and now see that they offer at least two quality lines. I would never consider their standard quality parts since they appeared to be an economy offering with a 1 year warranty. I'm all about getting an improved design that lasts longer than factory parts.
 

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If you can have new lcas with balljoints and all for 105 on AutoAnything and install them yourself, why just replace the rear bushings, new tools or shop trip and all?
i can totally see where you're coming from - nice sharp looking new part and easily swapped for cheap. i totally get it and would gladly help a friend installing one, good choice.

but for me, effectively the only parts that ever need replaced are the bushing and rarely the ball joint.

Subaru balljoints are robust, mevotech is most likely a downgrade like other aftermarkets.

if they have a grease fitting, that's a negative - i don't want to add grease fittings when it never had them and the rest of the vehicle doesn't.

the metal for the LCA is likely not as high quality, it likely won't matter for a control arm - but it's just not a benefit in my eyes.

buying tools for a job offsets repair costs and invests in future capabilities and repairs. parts loose value the instant they're installed, tools do not. In a DIY garage that can do major work - they didn't go buy all those tools at one time.

although i wouldn't personally buy that pitman arm puller - i've seen those break on subaru's, but i live in a rust prone area, do way more work than the average guy just working on their own vehicle, and 2010 is new so it likely won't matter in this case.

none of this is likely to matter - that's why both methods will suit most people, but i wouldn't call it clearly one sided.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I live in rust free central TX, it doesn't take much to break the bolts loose.

If you can have new lcas with balljoints and all for 105 on AutoAnything and install them yourself, why just replace the rear bushings, new tools or shop trip and all?
Like I said, shoestring budget. I'm basically trying to do this repair for as close to free as I can get. If it turns out that pressing the bushing in bumps the overall cost of the repair over the price of a whole new LCA, then I'll choose that. But, I'm thinking I can make my own ghetto press with mostly stuff I have on hand. We'll see. If anyone has a good design for a homemade press, let me know. I made my own crank pulley wrench for the timing belt swap, so I'm fine with ******* engineering.

If I had more funds available right now, I would seriously consider the whole LCA swap. I'd also go for swapping in some poly torsion bar bushings. But that upgrade will have to wait.
 

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i'd favor just a bushing swap as well in most cases like this as well, in my eyes the mevotech is a likely downgrade in long term reliability,

you already have it in mind, so i think you got this. it's a standard press out and in deal so google it and you won't need much time to find some suitable ideas and threads of how others have done it.
 

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If you want a trip down to San Antonio I have a hydraulic press you can use. Not sure it'll save you much over taking it to a shop though :)

as for an alignment afterwards, I can't see that you'd need one unless you had to remove the outer tie rods. if you do, just count the number of threads showing on the inner tie rod before you undo the outer, then put it back the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Assuming it was all in alignment before the bushings tore, that makes sense. Something is off right now though because it doesn't look like my tires are wearing evenly and my tire pressure is spot on. I figured I would get an alignment as a precaution, I don't want the new tires to wear prematurely. Am I being overly cautious about this?
 

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If your tires are wearing unevenly then yes you need an alignment.
 

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i'd favor just a bushing swap as well in most cases like this as well, in my eyes the mevotech is a likely downgrade in long term reliability,

you already have it in mind, so i think you got this. it's a standard press out and in deal so google it and you won't need much time to find some suitable ideas and threads of how others have done it.
Weak LCAs would be a concern to me considering where I go but how many people take an OB into 8-10" rocks?

Of the few options available, Mevotech is the only one that is not obviously an economy solution. RockAuto lists them as equivalent to OEM. The ball joint has 50,000 mile warranty (void if DIY installation but says something about expected quality). They claim to have re-engineered the bushing in question, which is a well-known weak part.


Assuming it was all in alignment before the bushings tore, that makes sense. Something is off right now though because it doesn't look like my tires are wearing evenly and my tire pressure is spot on. I figured I would get an alignment as a precaution, I don't want the new tires to wear prematurely. Am I being overly cautious about this?
Staying on top of alignment is always a great idea. Checks should be free. Also, some places offer 1 year warranty (so long as it does not look like you go offroad, no one gives me warranty!). Some even offer lifetime warranty.
 

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Weak LCAs would be a concern to me considering where I go .
I specifically said materials wouldn't matter - just that "new" shouldn't be considered a benefit either.

Of the few options available, Mevotech is the only one that is not obviously an economy solution. RockAuto lists them as equivalent to OEM. The ball joint has 50,000 mile warranty (void if DIY installation but says something about expected quality).
Good catch, the warranty voiding if installed DIY is fairly common.
i'd give them a whirl for the improved bushing - if it's actually improved.

Did you get the aluminum ones - those would be nice to avoid rust though with a used/older vehicle isn't likely to have time to get bad in most cases, but still looks nice.

companies are routinely throwing around OE/OEM and "improved" and attractive warranties, that's largely marketing, not materials science or engineering. I've seen MOOG ball joint failures - and they're considered reasonable quality and offer lifetime warranty so by the warranty logic they're "better". they can make one little change and call it an "improvement" even if the materials used are lesser. they can make them to "OE" spec's and dimensions and still be lacking in design, materials, assembly, and QC that can't be copied.

i've heard of mevotech failures, i've never seen an OEM failure. but for the price and aluminum and ease of replacement, maybe a bushing improvement, and with the thumbs up they've gotten here I would try them.
 

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I specifically said materials wouldn't matter - just that "new" shouldn't be considered a benefit either.

Good catch, the warranty voiding if installed DIY is fairly common.
i'd give them a whirl for the improved bushing - if it's actually improved.

Did you get the aluminum ones - those would be nice to avoid rust though with a used/older vehicle isn't likely to have time to get bad in most cases, but still looks nice.

companies are routinely throwing around OE/OEM and "improved" and attractive warranties, that's largely marketing, not materials science or engineering. I've seen MOOG ball joint failures - and they're considered reasonable quality and offer lifetime warranty so by the warranty logic they're "better". they can make one little change and call it an "improvement" even if the materials used are lesser. they can make them to "OE" spec's and dimensions and still be lacking in design, materials, assembly, and QC that can't be copied.

i've heard of mevotech failures, i've never seen an OEM failure. but for the price and aluminum and ease of replacement, maybe a bushing improvement, and with the thumbs up they've gotten here I would try them.
Actually, I think that you have access to an aluminum Mevotech LCA but those of us with 2010+ do not.

My bushings are in no need of immediate replacement, so I will keep them as long as I can. When the time comes, I will re-evaluate my options.

The Tribeca does need the bushings replaced sooner rather than later but for the Tribeca there is no aftermarket LCA available. In addition, it is not lifted so going with the stock bushings on stock LCAs is just fine with me.

I have read that Mevotech quality has improved over the last few years. However, I agree with you that greasable ball joints are not a plus on a car with no other such parts.
 

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Actually, I think that you have access to an aluminum Mevotech LCA but those of us with 2010+ do not.
good to know, I wasn't referencing mine, I work on far more than just my daily drivers. maybe aluminum will roll out later?
 

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good to know, I wasn't referencing mine, I work on far more than just my daily drivers. maybe aluminum will roll out later?
Who knows? Since deciding to take the suspension work on both cars in my hands I have been looking around to get oriented in parts availability. It does not seem that aluminum is offered for any TB or 2010+ OB control arms. Even the adjustable rear lower control arms offered by SPC Performance and Whiteline are stamped steel. It could be that the Gen III aluminum front LCA exists because of the equivalent OEM Legacy Spec B part?

While we are on it, if I get said Spc rear lower control arms with camber adjustment, is it all I need to make rear camber adjustable?

Btw, unlike yourself, I have no knowledge of car work. I was replying to TeamSloan from precisely that perspective: the ease of replacing LCA vs a bushing.

Another thing I noticed is that aftermarket KYB struts do not seem to be yet available for 2013+ Outbacks. I do not need struts, but just something I noticed while looking around.

Generally, I stick to OEM parts unless made inadequate by lift or generally a known weakness (said bushings, sway bar end-links).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So, reading your posts brings up some other questions.

I do enjoy getting my outback dirty. My offloading opportunities here in TX are limited to compared to states with a greater percentage of public land, but when I can find it I enjoy getting off the beaten path. That said, would aftermarket bushings (Mevotech or poly of some other brand) be better for increased suspension movement and rougher roads? I'm wondering if the reason mine are torn is from flexing the suspension too much. I've three wheeled the car a few times going through ruts and up short ledges.

When checking my bushings, my sway bar end links looked fine. Are those a weak part?
 

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So, reading your posts brings up some other questions.

I do enjoy getting my outback dirty. My offloading opportunities here in TX are limited to compared to states with a greater percentage of public land, but when I can find it I enjoy getting off the beaten path. That said, would aftermarket bushings (Mevotech or poly of some other brand) be better for increased suspension movement and rougher roads? I'm wondering if the reason mine are torn is from flexing the suspension too much. I've three wheeled the car a few times going through ruts and up short ledges.

When checking my bushings, my sway bar end links looked fine. Are those a weak part?
According to my Subaru master techs, there are three components to keep an eye on: the top hat bearings, the endlinks, and the LCA rear bushing. They replace a ton of bushings so they are a known weakness on all cars, off-road or otherwise. When it comes to the endlinks, they say that offroad does put a lot of stress on them. I would not worry much without a lift though. I just replaced mine with RalliTek adjustable end links, setting them 0.5" longer than the stock ones. One of the stock endlinks was leaking something. Are they filled in with liquid? However, I think that Subaru did improve the endlinks on Gen IV from earlier models where they had some plastic so they should be fine for stock cars.

That said, you are at 100k. So you may want to decide if you will want to hunt for the right price of a variety of suspension parts and replace them all within a short period of time, say around the 120k maintenance, or if you want to be making piecemeal replacements.

Our Tribeca is at 140 and only now I am starting to replace bushings and endlinks. Struts still seem fine.

Personally, in order to keep my car as a dependable adventure vehicle, my plan is to replace everything preventively at about 120k or earlier if one big component requires it: struts (and thus also springs, OEM are good and cheap), control arms. I don't want to be doing something all the time and I do not expect my car's suspension components to last as long as on one that never does 4WD HC roads. Beyond that, I will also preventively replace starter and alternator in 4-5 years because not being able to start 20-30 miles from pavement is not an option.

That's my plan anyway. Hard to tell what tomorrow will bring though.
 
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S That said, would aftermarket bushings (Mevotech or poly of some other brand) be better for increased suspension movement and rougher roads? ?
No, not poly. The issue we face is that there is minimal aftermarket support for unpaved, non-rally Subarus. Most things one finds are performance oriented. What we need is soft but durable suspension components. All stiffness will give you is harshness.

So long as you are stock or have small spacers, the stock bushings should last a few years.

The only interesting bushing I have found is the Tomioka Racing one. It is rubber but supposedly harder and more durable. The problem is the price tag (120-130) coupled with the whole issue of having to either replace the bushings yourself (and possibly fail or even deform the LCA in the process) or having to bring the LCA to a shop for the bushing replacement (which is what I would do if I go the Tomioka route).

I installed Rallitek adjustable sway bar endlinks this weekend. I set them at 0.5" longer than stock. No noises so far, so that's good. My hope is that they will last. The stock ones were not all that twisted but these seem to fit the lifted car a bit better and the original ones had seen enough 4x4 conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well, If I end up pressing them myself I'll already have a DIY press for the next time in a couple of years. The OEM bushings were cheap.
I have no idea what a local machine shop will charge for pressing out/in bushings. If it's around $20, then I'll let them do it.

And for those out there wondering what I'll be using for my press, I picked up one of these this evening...

Great Neck 4WD axle spindle locknut wrench 25072 - Read 1 Reviews on Great Neck #25072

I'll use the bench grinder to remove the four tabs on the end and give the outside a small chamfered edge. Basically, you need a socket that matches the diameter of the bushing. In our case that means finding a 59-60mm socket!
After that, I need to find something even bigger around to brace the other end against the LCA. I might just go source some metal pipe if I can find something slightly bigger than 60.5mm ID.
 

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While researhing out of curiosity I found the Mevotech bushing available on ebay. Hmmm in the main ebay search page it says it fits outbacks and there are listings for outbacks.
Suspension Control Arm Bushing Front Lower Rear fits 10-16 Subaru Forester | eBay

This is probably the only weak spot of the suspension. Dealer labor here is 380 and local shop is 280. The part is cheap.

Mine have one biggish crack each due to my lift. But they should last a while longer.

When needed, I will replace with Mevotech lower arms. They have a supposedly improved bushing. The Mevotech arm is 50-60 each so 120sh both.not a hard diy job.

Much better than getting a poorly designed part unless covered by warranty.

EDIT: if you want to replace the bushing alone, your only option is Tomioka Racing. The others either won't be better than oem or will be poly, extremely stiff. The Mevotech bushing is supposed to be an improvement over stock but is not available separately from their lca.
 
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