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2014 Subaru Outback 2.5L Limited
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am a Jeep guy that bought his first Subaru, which is a 2014 Outback 2.5 with 70k miles.
So I am familiar with Jeep Forums, and I know that the questions I am about to ask have more than likely already been answered in another thread.
However, after looking, I have not found the exact answers I am looking for.

So here goes:
1. I have what sounds like a belt squeak. It never goes away. It is there at idle, and increases with throttle. The belt actually looks good (but that may not mean anything). I am thinking I either need a new belt, a new belt tensioner, or I need to grease a pulley? Any thoughts? I read somewhere online that this might have been a problem with many 13-14 Outbacks?

2. My suspension seems very stiff, especially at low speeds. It seems fine at highway speeds, as it seems to be tight like a sports car. But at slow speeds on bumps, it rides like a stiff truck suspension. Is this normal? Looking at the struts, they look like the original factory ones. Any recommendations for a smoother more comfortable ride?

Thanks in advance.
--Sam

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2018 Outback Premium 2.5
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257 Posts
Well at least you aren't overinflated. It would have been an easy fix though;)

I wonder if there are any bushings that might be worn, seems like factory struts should last longer than that.

As for the squeaking, I've had similar on my Jeep, easiest is remove belt and then spin everything by hand, you can usually feel a dry/failing bearing on a tensioner or idler pulley.

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Discussion Starter #6
Well at least you aren't overinflated. It would have been an easy fix though;)

I wonder if there are any bushings that might be worn, seems like factory struts should last longer than that.

As for the squeaking, I've had similar on my Jeep, easiest is remove belt and then spin everything by hand, you can usually feel a dry/failing bearing on a tensioner or idler pulley.

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Thanks for the tips! I will take a closer look at some things this weekend.
 

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2014 Subaru Outback 2.5L Limited
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Discussion Starter #7
Here are some pics of the front drivers suspension that I took tonight.

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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The belt may be stretched out and the tensioner is not holding it tight.

It could be the brand of.belt.

With 70k miles, the struts are not worn. The suspension on an Outback is built for on and off road, so it's stiffer than the Legacy sedan or wagon. The stiffness comes from the combination of spring and the strut

It also rides a bit stiffer than say a Grand Cherokee.

Not knowing what Jeep you had or how it was set up makes it difficult to imagine a comparison.
 

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2014 Subaru Outback 2.5L Limited
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Discussion Starter #9
The belt may be stretched out and the tensioner is not holding it tight.

It could be the brand of.belt.

With 70k miles, the struts are not worn. The suspension on an Outback is built for on and off road, so it's stiffer than the Legacy sedan or wagon. The stiffness comes from the combination of spring and the strut

It also rides a bit stiffer than say a Grand Cherokee.

Not knowing what Jeep you had or how it was set up makes it difficult to imagine a comparison.
cardoc, Thanks for your responses. I put a socket wrench on the tensioner, and it feels very easy to rotate. Not sure how easy it should be on these. I will try a new belt first, then move to the tensioner.

My two previous Jeeps were a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee & a 2017 Jeep Wrangler. The Wrangler rode more offroad and stiff-like. The Grand Cherokee was very cush. My new Subaru is much stiffer than even my Wrangler.

I'm not sure if there is a great aftermarket strut/spring that makes for a better/softer ride? In the Jeep world, I used to love Old Man Emu.
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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Emu is good for soft ride and off road capabilities that let the suspension flex.

You could go with Monroe or Gabriel. They suck just enough that the ride may soften up a bit. You'll also be changing them out more often than the KYB struts that are on the car. My estimates have been 3:1 ratio on the crap:KYB.

There's not much you can do with the springs. If you go with Legacy struts and springs, you lose 1-1.5" ground clearance, approximately.

You could play around with the tire pressure, lowering it a couple psi all around and test it out. Depending on the brand of tire, you can safely run lower pressure than the rating on the tire, or the pressure on the door panel. It's trial and error, or, just know that the car is built more rigid than a Jeep.
 

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2014 Subaru Outback 2.5L Limited
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Discussion Starter #11
Ok, So regarding the belt squeak here is what I did so far:
1. I bought a new Subaru brand belt tensioner (I did this because the belt looked fairly new and was a factory Subaru belt). The belt squeak sound went away for a bit, but soon returned. This cost me about $40 online through a Subaru Parts Warehouse.
2. Then I decided to try swapping the belt for a new one. I bought a Gates belt through O'Reilly Auto Parts for $32.99. I installed it tonight, and the belt squeak has went away. I will drive it all day tomorrow to make sure it stays gone. I knew right away this was probably going to work as this belt felt tighter to get back on (more difficult as I had to really crank on the belt tensioner to get it back).

As far as the suspension, I am still unhappy with the ride. It rides like an old 1980s pickup. I am looking for a softer more cushioned ride. Does anyone have any ideas to upgrade the struts/springs?
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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All Outbacks through the generations were built to be on and off road vehicles. The suspension is designed to accommodate both. Things you could try is different tire brand and/or air pressure. If you use a touring tire, the sidewalk of the tire will flex more and absorb more of the road shock. Same with reduced pressure. You don't want to go so low with air preasure that the tire looks flat. Sometimes a couple psi is all it takes.

I have Yokohama tires on my Impreza. When I take a long drive the air pressure is at 44. When I do a lot of city traffic, it's down to 33. The higher pressure in long drives helps with fuel economy. The lower with absorbing road shock from the city roads. My VDC runs 45 and 38. It has Z rated tires and low profile sidewall. It's also been lowered and tightened up more than factory. My Outback R is running 35 all the time with touring radials.

You just have to research tires. If you try to soften the suspension, you won't like the handling.
 
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