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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Unfortunately, as the title says, my five week old Outback Wilderness has developed a strange rattle in the rear. This is one of my all time biggest irks when it comes to a vehicle. I can tolerate a lot, but am extra sensitive to annoying sounds. A strange random rattle coming out of the blue on a vehicle that nearly forty grand is troublesome. Seems to be originating from the area around the passenger side tail light/ rear hatch. It just started yesterday. I had initially thought it was maybe just some debris stuck on the underside of the bumper, but I'm now many hours in and I haven't been able to narrow it down or resolve it.

It's going into the dealership tomorrow, but I don't have high hopes they'll be able to find or resolve it.

Has anyone here encountered something like this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Check the lap belt for the center passenger… in the owner’s manual there are directions on how to stow the buckle there at the roof on the inside. It’s likely just flopping around.
I have noticed that can be a nuisance if not stowed properly, but in this case, I have already confirmed it's not the issue. I had someone else drive my car while I laid in the back and listened. The noise is coming from the corner of the rear hatch. It's nothing below the vehicle that I can identify. Nothing in the spare tire well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Little metal cargo hooks are stowed so they don’t rattle? Did you do the test with the rear cargo cover removed?

Might try pulling the little panel on the inside on that side and see if there are any wires in the rear gate cord that are making the noise by bumping against the inside of the gate or the inside trim of the gate.
All the cargo strap hooks are stowed. I removed the rear cargo cover completely to rule that out. I did actually remove the little panel on the rear hatch and I used a bit of electrical tape to secure the wires found there. No luck. The weird thing is, nothing changed, as far as the state of the objects inside the vehicle, between the previous days when the problem did not exist. The only thing that stands out is the fact that the car got filthy on the trails over the rainy weekend and got a good pressure wash bath on Sunday. So I initially just assumed there was debris leftover someplace on or under the car. I've been under the vehicle and inside the wheel wells cleaning to be sure and there's nothing left that could be rattling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
By the way when you say you've been unable to narrow it down, then someone makes a suggestion and you say "I checked that" then it's a contradiction. If you've ruled things out, it's best to say what you've already done so that people don't have to drop the common things that you've already ruled out.
Yeah, I can see what you mean. Sorry. Makes it seem kind of obnoxious.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
When I took my rear bumper off I found small pebbles lodged in the bracket holding the radar sensors for the blind spot monitor.
Removing the bumper was my last resort. Hoping the dealer will do it tomorrow. If they don't, I will.

I set my phone in the back and recorded a clip while I drove. Not quite sure how to post it here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Have you checked the license tag on the back, or if you have a tag frame, make sure that’s secure? I had a rattle on an earlier outback and ended up using all 4 screws with some nylon spacers to secure the tag. That made some weird noises.
You're definitely coming out with some great ideas. From the sounds of it, you could write an entire thread on potential rattle causing issues. In my case, I use a silicon license plate frame to prevent rattles. I think the final verdict is A. maybe the bumper needs to be removed to free some unseen and currently unreachable debris or B. the rear hatch is rattling. Maybe it is slightly out of alignment or something along those lines.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YZFM2FQ?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
And Toyotas.

And Fords.

And Dodges.

AND Hondas......
This is true. Even my last Cadillac sedan had odd little noises. This noise on my Outback was just so sudden and pretty loud, set it above the threshold of simply just a vehicle quirk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Okay, so here’s what the dealer had to say:

I wanted to update you and let you know that I had my shop foreman and my manager both look over your vehicle. They were able to pinpoint the noise to be coming from the rear hatch. They cleaned the rear hatch and added some silicone along the seal to help. They found that it was the rubber seal being dry and hitting into a plastic piece. We are doing the oil change now and then we should be good to go.

Hopefully that resolves the problem, I’m skeptical though. Picking it up in an hour or so. Here’s the loaner they gave me.

Wheel Automotive parking light Car Tire Land vehicle
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Yeah
How can the dealership return the car to you like that? From your audio it’s a clear sound…it’s either there or it isn’t…is this a concern for wilderness build quality?
Yeah, seriously. It’s obviously still making the noise. Most techs roll their eyes at the complaint of a noise or rattle. I picked the vehicle up after the service department had closed so I’ll have to call back and make another appointment. I’m heading home to pull out the tail lights, take off the rear bumper and investigate further.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
I was just reading a post on reddit about a rattle and the cause was an acorn that fell into the roof rack!
Really? That’s so random. Totally possible though. I’ve narrowed my issue down to either the hatch or the combination of the hatch and the surrounding trim. I left the hatch open and sat in back while someone drove and I didn’t hear it. Closed the hatch. Noise came back. Removed the passenger side tail light. Stuffed a rag between the bumper and the body where it meets under the tail light. Still the noise persists.
Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive design Automotive exterior Trunk
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Is there any instruction out there explaining how to remove the black panel on the rear hatch (interior) just under the rear hatch window? Problem isn’t in the rear bumper or below the car or in the rear compartment. Seems to exist inside the rear hatch. Or it’s the combination of the rear hatch rubbing or pressing against something when it’s closed
 

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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
Okay so I ‘may’ have solved the problem. It seems like it’s actually not a rattle, but instead more of a creak between the hatch and the body component that encounters the hatch. I lubed up the suspected points with White Lithium Grease. Brief tests seem to have positive results. I’m sick of fussing with it for today so I’ll let it sit and see how it sounds on my morning drive.
Hood Automotive tire Automotive design Grey Automotive exterior

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
So that seems to have been the cause of that particular problem and the grease seems to be keeping the problem under control. I haven’t heard that noise at all yet today.

The unfortunate part is, when I picked up the vehicle from the service department yesterday, I noticed what sounded like a coin rattling around the front passenger seat. I figured a tech dropped a washer or a screw or some loose change while working in the car, no biggie. I’ve found random things in the past. The thing is, Once I finally went searching for said object, I couldn’t find anything. I did find a cable that seemed out of place under the front passenger seat. Kinda just flopping towards the front. I’m wondering if they were doing something under there?? It got its 6k service done while it was there, but I can’t think of any reason they’d need to mess with the underside of that seat.
 
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