Subaru Outback Forums banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
'05 Outback XT Wagon, Stage 2, etc etc etc
Joined
·
101 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
This has been driving me nuts for the past several months. It's most noticeable when going over speed bumps at an angle, or entering a raised driveway at an angle. When going straight in, it doesn't seem to knock as much. I can hear and feel it under my feet. Also knocks/clunks when going over uneven pavement.
Here are the things I've checked and are good:
Did the 3 - 9, 12 - 6 check on both wheels. Feels solid.
Checked the strut mounts, no play
Checked struts, no leaks
Checked tie rods, no play
Checked CV shafts, very little play, less than 1mm
Checked torque on all associated suspension bolts: ball joint, pinch bolt, LCA bolts, end links, sway bar mounts, etc.
No unusual noise when turning a tight radius turn
LCA's replaced in 2018 (Mevotech)
Sway bar bushings, Aug. 2019
Rallitek end Links, a month ago

This is baffling me. I've checked everything that I know how. Pushing, pulling, yanking on stuff to see if I can recreate the noise in the garage. I just had new brakes installed and asked the shop to see if they can take a quick look to see if they can find anything obvious. They suspected the sway bar bushings. I took a pry bar to it and it has very little play.
It feels like a body joint that has lost its cartilage, if that makes any sense.

'05 OBXT. 168K miles.
 

·
Registered
2008 OB 2.5XT
Joined
·
20 Posts
I had a very similar issue with an inconsistent clunk even after replacing worn suspension and steering components.

I ended up taking it to a shop and they put some dry lube on the sway bar bushings and the clunk went away.

Hopefully it’s as simple as that.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
'05 Outback XT Wagon, Stage 2, etc etc etc
Joined
·
101 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
When you unscrew the hub does it drop away easily. I can't get the hub off for some reason I have a good hit lots of times with an hammer and it stuck on what can I do.
Try using a slide hammer. I think auto parts stores might rent those for free. (?)
 

·
Registered
2005 3L LL Bean Outback
Joined
·
220 Posts
Have you checked the bolts on the cross member support plates? Tend to get loosened when working on the control arms and even the front sway bar.

487292
 

·
Registered
'05 Outback XT Wagon, Stage 2, etc etc etc
Joined
·
101 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I'll check those this weekend. Thank you!
 

·
Registered
'05 Outback XT Wagon, Stage 2, etc etc etc
Joined
·
101 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Bolts checked. All good. I've got some new sway bar bushings on the way that I hope will solve the issue. Bought them from suspension.com since they're the one of very few that sell universal bushings. The Moog ones didn't fit.
 

·
Registered
08 2.5 MT
Joined
·
44 Posts
Bolts checked. All good. I've got some new sway bar bushings on the way that I hope will solve the issue. Bought them from suspension.com since they're the one of very few that sell universal bushings. The Moog ones didn't fit.
I had the same issue after replacing my lca's ball joints and sway bar links.

Check to make sure that the front sway bar is seated symmetrically in the bushings/ is an equal distance from the sway bar link mounts on both LCA's

I had replaced a cv axle both LCA's, ball joints, and sway links only to back out of the driveway and hear what i can imagine is very similar to what you are experiencing
 

·
Registered
2008 Outback 3.0R L.L. Bean
Joined
·
48 Posts
I had a very similar clunk underneath the same circumstances that you’re describing.

For me it was the transmission mount. I checked it by going under the car, grabbed the drive shaft, and I was able to move it up and down with my own hands. The mount was completely toast.

Mrsubaru on YouTube actually pointed it out and that’s how I found the answer! Great person to follow on YouTube. He’s saved me a few times on figuring out what’s wrong with my car and how to fix it.

Luckily it’s a cheap part and an easy fix!

Btw, my front lca bushings and endlinks were toast after 1.5 years, but I also have wide tires with an increased offset. Plus, I drive in NYC everyday.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
08 2.5 MT
Joined
·
44 Posts
First off MrSubaru is a human prototype and I have benefitted so much from his videos. Just recently him and I were emailing back and forth after I reached out with a question about my car. This guy cares.
I've done a lot of preventative maintenance on this car and other than an alignment, i've been able to do all the work myself partially with the help of mrsubaru
Saving any readers a google search MrSubaru1387
 

·
Registered
2009 Subaru Outback 2.5i
Joined
·
248 Posts
If the front arms you installed were the aluminum ones from Mevotech, and you installed the balljoints that came with them, i'd check and replace the balljoints. The Mevotech balljoints that come with the arms are complete crap. I installed Mevotech arms on my '09 a couple years ago now, and started hearing some clunking from the front end after a few months of them being on. When I checked everything with the car on a lift, everything felt tight...couldn't identify the source of the clunk. No notable play from the balljoints, although to be honest I didn't check them really closely since I had replaced them and the arms relatively recently. It progressively got worse, until eventually I could actually feel the play in the lower balljoints when shaking the front wheels from side to side and up and down. Ended up replacing them, probably a little over a year after I had originally done the control arms...and they were bad. The blue rubber boots were completely intact, and visually they looked great (no leaking grease, etc) but pull back the boot and they were terrible. Whole joint under the boot was dry, rusty and corroded with no sign of any grease. Looked as if they did not come greased at all, and these joints don't have any kind of zerk fittings so there was no way to grease them at time of install.
Long story short...check and triple check your front balljoints. The MevoTech ones that come with the arms are complete junk.
 

·
Registered
'05 Outback XT Wagon, Stage 2, etc etc etc
Joined
·
101 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
If the front arms you installed were the aluminum ones from Mevotech, and you installed the balljoints that came with them, i'd check and replace the balljoints. The Mevotech balljoints that come with the arms are complete crap. I installed Mevotech arms on my '09 a couple years ago now, and started hearing some clunking from the front end after a few months of them being on. When I checked everything with the car on a lift, everything felt tight...couldn't identify the source of the clunk. No notable play from the balljoints, although to be honest I didn't check them really closely since I had replaced them and the arms relatively recently. It progressively got worse, until eventually I could actually feel the play in the lower balljoints when shaking the front wheels from side to side and up and down. Ended up replacing them, probably a little over a year after I had originally done the control arms...and they were bad. The blue rubber boots were completely intact, and visually they looked great (no leaking grease, etc) but pull back the boot and they were terrible. Whole joint under the boot was dry, rusty and corroded with no sign of any grease. Looked as if they did not come greased at all, and these joints don't have any kind of zerk fittings so there was no way to grease them at time of install.
Long story short...check and triple check your front balljoints. The MevoTech ones that come with the arms are complete junk.
Most interesting indeed. I checked the boots earlier this year and they didn't seem full so I got one of those needle attachments for my grease gun and filled them up. I took a pry bar to them and everything feels solid. I would think that if there's a clunk happening there, I would see some play, but I don't see or feel any, unless the amount of force required is a lot more than I can provide to the pry bar. I suppose that's a possibility. I'll definitely check them out closer though. Thanks for the tip!
 

·
Registered
2008 Outback Base, 2.5, automatic in Granny Gold
Joined
·
79 Posts
I had a similar clunk to what you described. I really noticed it when turning on an incline, like in a small parking garage. I have a 2" lift with mevotech arms and all new suspension parts. I was sure it had to do with the endlinks or sway bar bushings and messed with that a lot which is a pain when it's lifted and the energy suspension formula 5 grease I was using on the bushings is nasty to deal with. It ended up being the mevotech ball joints for me. There was no looseness or play that I could tell. I ending up using the sankei 555 ball joints that you can get at NAPA because those were the best quality I could find immediately when I was doing it. Haven't found the right tool to easily take off the mevotech sleeves so that is always a struggle for me. I would suggest the stock subaru ball joints if you are doing it because I've heard they are pretty stout and haven't heard of any prematurely failing.

I've heard others say that tightening down the ball joint a tad more have helped. That is an easy and free test.
 

·
Registered
2009 Subaru Outback 2.5i
Joined
·
248 Posts
Most interesting indeed. I checked the boots earlier this year and they didn't seem full so I got one of those needle attachments for my grease gun and filled them up. I took a pry bar to them and everything feels solid. I would think that if there's a clunk happening there, I would see some play, but I don't see or feel any, unless the amount of force required is a lot more than I can provide to the pry bar. I suppose that's a possibility. I'll definitely check them out closer though. Thanks for the tip!
When mine first started making noise, I felt no play at the balljoints either. Didn't think they were the culprit, but couldn't pinpoint the problem. Was only making a knocking noise over small, sharp bumps and not all the time. Eventually mine turned into a clunk felt under certain turning conditions, where the balljoint would allow lateral movement. It was at this point that I could actually feel a notable amount of play in the balljoints.

I had a similar clunk to what you described. I really noticed it when turning on an incline, like in a small parking garage. I have a 2" lift with mevotech arms and all new suspension parts. I was sure it had to do with the endlinks or sway bar bushings and messed with that a lot which is a pain when it's lifted and the energy suspension formula 5 grease I was using on the bushings is nasty to deal with. It ended up being the mevotech ball joints for me. There was no looseness or play that I could tell.
Another person with MevoTech arms and a similar issue that ended up being the MevoTech balljoints. More proof that the MevoTech balljoints that come with the arms are crap. To anyone looking to install MevoTech arms on their car, the arms are good, but i'd highly suggest tossing the balljoints that come with them in the trash and installing some better quality balljoints BEFORE you install the arms. Otherwise, you'll likely end up replacing them again WAY too soon...
 

·
Registered
'05 Outback XT Wagon, Stage 2, etc etc etc
Joined
·
101 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
When mine first started making noise, I felt no play at the balljoints either. Didn't think they were the culprit, but couldn't pinpoint the problem. Was only making a knocking noise over small, sharp bumps and not all the time. Eventually mine turned into a clunk felt under certain turning conditions, where the balljoint would allow lateral movement. It was at this point that I could actually feel a notable amount of play in the balljoints.



Another person with MevoTech arms and a similar issue that ended up being the MevoTech balljoints. More proof that the MevoTech balljoints that come with the arms are crap. To anyone looking to install MevoTech arms on their car, the arms are good, but i'd highly suggest tossing the balljoints that come with them in the trash and installing some better quality balljoints BEFORE you install the arms. Otherwise, you'll likely end up replacing them again WAY too soon...
Ok, so if that turns out to be the case, is the ball joint fitting in the lower control arm a 'universal' fitting where I can put a different branded ball joint in there? If it comes to that, I'll probably just go back to a genuine Subaru ball joint.
 

·
Registered
'05 Outback XT Wagon, Stage 2, etc etc etc
Joined
·
101 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
I had a similar clunk to what you described. I really noticed it when turning on an incline, like in a small parking garage. I have a 2" lift with mevotech arms and all new suspension parts. I was sure it had to do with the endlinks or sway bar bushings and messed with that a lot which is a pain when it's lifted and the energy suspension formula 5 grease I was using on the bushings is nasty to deal with. It ended up being the mevotech ball joints for me. There was no looseness or play that I could tell. I ending up using the sankei 555 ball joints that you can get at NAPA because those were the best quality I could find immediately when I was doing it. Haven't found the right tool to easily take off the mevotech sleeves so that is always a struggle for me. I would suggest the stock subaru ball joints if you are doing it because I've heard they are pretty stout and haven't heard of any prematurely failing.

I've heard others say that tightening down the ball joint a tad more have helped. That is an easy and free test.
Hmm...I tried tightening the castle nut when I was checking the torque. Since the cotter pin didn't line up quite right and all the info. I read said to never loosen it to get it to line up, I tightened slightly but the clunk noise still persists.
I'm going to check the ball joints closer this weekend to see if I can definitive result. Thanks for the input!
 

·
Registered
2009 Subaru Outback 2.5i
Joined
·
248 Posts
Ok, so if that turns out to be the case, is the ball joint fitting in the lower control arm a 'universal' fitting where I can put a different branded ball joint in there? If it comes to that, I'll probably just go back to a genuine Subaru ball joint.
Yes...the conical hole in the control arms where the balljoint fits is standardized so you can install any balljoint for the Outback, including Genuine Subaru ones. Just note that the conical seat in the arm is actually a separate piece pressed into the arm and that it is possible to pop the seat out of the arm if you're not careful. I use a balljoint separator like this and it works well:
487496

Just gotta make sure it is supporting the seat while you add tension to the balljoint to pop it out while leaving the seat in the arm.
 

·
Registered
'05 Outback XT Wagon, Stage 2, etc etc etc
Joined
·
101 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Yes...the conical hole in the control arms where the balljoint fits is standardized so you can install any balljoint for the Outback, including Genuine Subaru ones. Just note that the conical seat in the arm is actually a separate piece pressed into the arm and that it is possible to pop the seat out of the arm if you're not careful. I use a balljoint separator like this and it works well:
View attachment 487496
Just gotta make sure it is supporting the seat while you add tension to the balljoint to pop it out while leaving the seat in the arm.
Thank you! You've been very helpful!!
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top