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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a 2000 Outback that has a minor knock if I move the bottom of the steering knuckle in and out. I replaced the balljoint last year, and I just pulled the knuckle yesterday and replaced the bearing, which had WAY to much backlash. That's fixed the wiggle at breaking when at highway speeds, but I'm a bit concerned about the knuckle movement near the balljoint.

I pulled and yanked on the balljoint when I had the kuckle out, and it seems good. Is it possible that the (midgrade) Mevotech balljoint just isn't fitted correctly so it's moving in the control arm, or is it more likely the control arm hole is a bit out of round? It's not apparent via visual inspection that it's not circular.

Thanks for the input.
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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If the balljoint taper is not fitting snugly into the control arm or knuckle tapered hole, the balljoint can break with no warning, I would carefully investigate as to what is moving.

If you pull the balljoint boot back a bit from where it goes into the control arm or knuckle you should see it touching all the way around right where the ball joint goes into the tapered hole, no gaps all the way around, and no gap all the way around even if it's even.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
yikes!

Breaking without warning would be seriously un-fun. I'll jack it back up tonight and take a look. I wish I had taken a few more photos of the job so I could check more easily. My dang driveway is gravel and sliding the 3 ton Harbor Freight jack around on it is seriously a pita.

If I end up replacing the control arm, should I go ahead and do the balljoint again too? I'm loathe to mess with the pinch bolt as the last time I replaced the ball joint that bolt head sheared off and I had to VERY CAREFULLY drill it out. Which I managed to do, and as I did it in reverse, it ended up unscrewing the bolt and preserving the pinch head threads. Lucky break there, although I guess I could've done the thru bolt with a washer and nut trick. I did wire wheel out the kuckle and coat the whole thing with a ton of anti size, so maybe it'll behave better this time...
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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If the tapered stud is unmarred and straight I would guess it is fine, but if the hole is ovaled the stud could theoretically be fatigued. How much has it been driven in this condition?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
There was no marring on the tapered stud that I recall, I'm almost wondering if teh Mevotech balljoint was simply poorly manufactured. It doesn't have a step down like the Moog problem solver that I bought to replace it, in case it is bad.

And I've been driving on the balljoint for 18 months now. The play has definitely increased though, since it was installed. I just ordered an arm and balljoint from Rockauto, and once my father in laws stuck caliper is fixed (on my jackstands and awaiting the part) I'll take a whack at replacing the arm and ball. I'd be REALLY nice to have no play in my front end.

Now all I need is a shop to brake the **** jam nut loose on the tie rod so I can replace the inner and outer. Propane, PB blaster, and 24" wrenches weren't cutting it.
 

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Kroil is better than PB Blaster (and PB is pretty good), ATF thinned with a solvent (acetone is good) works quite well as well.

Another old trick is to heat and then melt candle wax into the threads/nut.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
So I replaced the whole shebang and the driver's front is solid again. I think the balljoint was the main culprit, as there didn't appear to be much wear through the LCA, but there was some worn metal (lack of black paint, and some rub marks) at the very top of the bore through the LCA. I'm just VERY glad to feel secure driving the car around.

In total I replaced:

Balljoint
LCA (included new front bushing)
Transverse bushing (rear LCA $115 at teh subie dealer. yowza)
Inner and Outer tie-rods

I'm about to do only the balljoint and tie rods on the passenger front, as it has a minor version of the wiggles. I should probably replace those LCA bushings, as they have 12 years of wear on them, but the old one LOOKED allright on the drivers side, till I pulled down on it and tore it. FAIL.

One newbie issue I did have... I tightened up the rear LCA bolts with the suspension in the air, and was getting a bolt/washer pop sound when the front wheel traveled deep into the wheel well. I put the car back on jackstands, loosened the rear bushing, and used my cheapo 2ton jack to raise suspension up, then retightened to spec. No more pop. But ****. my 1/2' torque wrench only goes to 150, and the frame bolts on the transverse bushing are 184ft lbs. holy crap!

I had no trouble getting the balljoint out of the pinch joint on the knuckle. Wire wheeling out the rust, and a liberal coating of antiseize made it a piece of cake this time around. And my cheapo balljoint remover tool from Harbor freight worked great again, on removing it from the LCA. As long as you grease the heck out of the moving parts on the removal tool, it works great, and doesnt' break.
 

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2000 Outback Limited, Dual Range 5 Speed
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Glad you fixed it but sounds to me like the ball joint was not tighten enough to lock onto the lca and was then able to turn inside the lca, this would have caused your symptoms. Generally I try to get the taper of the joint to grab onto the receiving taper by applying pressure to the part from behind before I try to tighten the nut.
 
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