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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My Outback's 2000 rear end pulls (more like a jerking motion) to the right when I drive right rear wheel over a bump or a manhole. The faster I go the more violent the movement is. Its a strange motion as the car's back end slides, drifts, pulls or whatever you may call it to the right.

If I drive left side over a bump or manhole the rear end pulls to the right as well.

If the bump is a hump across the road and both sides of the car hit it at the same time, the ride is fine. Also fine when driving over even road.

Any ideas? it must be suspension, but which part?
 

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2005 OBW 2.5L, 1989 Subaru Justy, RIP Blu
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How many miles?

Have you looked under the car to see if anything is broken?
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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How many miles?

Have you looked under the car to see if anything is broken?
+1

Strut or spring. I had a bad spring that was making the rear end jump to the side, increasingly worse with speed. When spring was removed there was no noticeable issue with the spring...so i guess it was just degraded or weak or bent or something I couldn't notice. 200,000 miles on mine.

It was *much* worse with a load in the vehicle. By myself it wasn't bad, with a bunch of weight in the back it was much worse.

I would replace the rear struts and springs. KYB GR2's EXCEL are the common struts to use and reasonably priced and for a bit stiffer rear/performance/slight lift in the rear Baja springs are used. Or use OBW for stock performance.
 

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'05 2.5i H4 4-Speed Auto w/Sportshift
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Check each of the struts, top mount and bottoms, in some way. As others also mentioned, check other suspension parts on both the front and rear of the car. Also check front and rear sway bars, their bushings and their links at all four ends (of both front and back bars).
 

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are there any other details you can share? symptoms, noises, vibrations, prior maintenance, mileage, any previous suspension work, all suspension is original?

tires unlikely but easy check.

sway bars unlikely as broken links or swaybars removed cause no drivability issues.

steering rack unlikely as front would have issues, noises or steering would be delayed and less responsive up front, not rear.

bushings/control arms unlikely as he doesn't mention abnormal tire wire or noise.

not trying to steer away from those, just narrow down and mitigate his concerns if he doesn't find anything, issues like this are often tricky as when looked at statically nothing reveals itself. hopefully he's lucky and there is something obvious, but it wouldn't surprise me if he jacked the car up and found nothing.
 

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'05 2.5i H4 4-Speed Auto w/Sportshift
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are there any other details you can share? symptoms, noises, vibrations, prior maintenance, mileage, any previous suspension work, all suspension is original?

tires unlikely but easy check.

sway bars unlikely as broken links or swaybars removed cause no drivability issues.

steering rack unlikely as front would have issues, noises or steering would be delayed and less responsive up front, not rear.

bushings/control arms unlikely as he doesn't mention abnormal tire wire or noise.

not trying to steer away from those, just narrow down and mitigate his concerns if he doesn't find anything, issues like this are often tricky as when looked at statically nothing reveals itself. hopefully he's lucky and there is something obvious, but it wouldn't surprise me if he jacked the car up and found nothing.
Common sense tells me that a bent sway bar would, in fact be a possible problem linked with the OP's symptoms.
 

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Sorry you heard it that way, "emphatic" wasn't intended, I said "unlikely", not "without doubt". I favor statistical and logical approaches which will surely be annoying, I annoy myself sometimes. LOL Your list is extremely helpful to discuss further and use the forum to create an ongoing dialogue, that's where forums shine. Collective discussion has enormous leverage over one mechanic. Just what forums are good at since they are severely disadvantaged without being able to see or drive the car.

I gave reasons for each. I'm not an armchair quarterback, I'm speaking from experience. I'm not here to pick responses apart, get personal, etc, there's other forums that are better for that. LOL. I'm here to lay out experiences and statistical approaches, that's it. And that is constantly evolving as i learn and encounter new issues/models. I want to learn, not be right. I have owned like 50 Subaru's and worked on dozens more over the past 2 decades, have multiple projects at any given time, etc, so there's some experience behind the comments. Don't take that as a peeing contest, again, I'm just saying I'm not an armchair quarterback here to stir things up. My posts are straight forward and I don't attack or belittle.

I think the guy needs to tell us if he's attempting to fix or taking it somewhere. Sometimes it's helpful to narrow down probabilities verses possibilities, depending on his skill set and how he's proceeding.

I commented on broken sway bars or end links, which are common, I didn't mention bent sway bars because I have never seen or heard of it on Subarus. A quick google search indicates no high volume hits on bent sway bars, so that seems unlikely.

He surely needs to look, we are all at a severe disadvantage since we can drive, see, or touch the car. And who knows how accurate his symptoms description, interpretation, word choices, what we hear, what he types...there's lots of room for misinformation.
 

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awesome. toast, cheers. in person these conversations look much different with more than letters and problem/solving task mode flipped on. apologies for that, definitely lacks conversational appeal which would be more effective and fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all the replies this is specific to #6 by grossgary

are there any other details you can share? symptoms, noises, vibrations, prior maintenance, mileage, any previous suspension work, all suspension is original?

110K, and I just replaced ball joints and wheel bearings (front only, rear bearings are fine), also replaced, sway bar link and bushings. There are no vibrations or noise when driving on flat payment and even when i hit to bump there is no noise.
All suspension parts except for those I just mentioned are original.
The only symptom is that weird sideways jerk. In fat I was paying attention today and it jerks to the side on which I hit the bump.

tires unlikely but easy check.

Tire pressure is fine and there is no abnormal ware issues.

sway bars unlikely as broken links or swaybars removed cause no drivability issues.

steering rack unlikely as front would have issues, noises or steering would be delayed and less responsive up front, not rear.

bushings/control arms unlikely as he doesn't mention abnormal tire wire or noise.

I went for an alignment and the guy told me to replace Lower Control Arm Bushing Inner on the left side. I got the part today from the dealer for $12, and I plan to replace both sides, but seems that I won't be able to do this on my own so have to go to the shop.

not trying to steer away from those, just narrow down and mitigate his concerns if he doesn't find anything, issues like this are often tricky as when looked at statically nothing reveals itself. hopefully he's lucky and there is something obvious, but it wouldn't surprise me if he jacked the car up and found nothing.

Yeah I jacked the car and found nothing broken or alarming, but it I pull the lower control arm on the Inner side it does move a little, when I apply force. It does bounce around or anything, but I can feel and see it move few mils.

I loaded 4 bags of cement into the trunk few months ago, while working on the house, but I made sure it was spread out evenly.


Thanks all
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
One more note, the car does not "jump" up, just jerks to the side and it happens at any speed. I can start to feel it even at 20mph, of course it gets worse with speed.
 

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Yeah I jacked the car and found nothing broken or alarming, but it I pull the lower control arm on the Inner side it does move a little, when I apply force.
that is for the front correct?

they sell complete control arms for $68 - $100 on rockauto.com if you wanted to avoid the mechanic and get it all done at once.

if you bought the arm, you can come close to those rock auto prices buying from Advance Auto Parts online and using a discount code (usually can get 20% off easily particularly around holidays like this). might even be able to choose one that comes with a ball joint since you will likely have to pay the mechanic labor and ball joint replacement as well. watch the lower priced units, they might not have bushings in them.


I loaded 4 bags of cement into the trunk few months ago, while working on the house, but I made sure it was spread out evenly. [/COLOR
OBW of this same generation i worked on earlier this year exhibited this side ways jumping motion on bumps after a 400 mile road trip involving 4 friends and lots of heavy gear pushing over 1,000 pounds total (including people). turned out to be a rear spring. spring had no noticeable issues at all, i thought it would be cracked or notably weak, but it wasn't and replacing it fixed it. that side also sagged lowed than the other when loaded with all that weight and only exhibited symptoms above about 40 mph, so maybe slightly different symptoms than yours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
that is for the front correct?

No it was for the rear. Front is fine.

OBW of this same generation i worked on earlier this year exhibited this side ways jumping motion on bumps after a 400 mile road trip involving 4 friends and lots of heavy gear pushing over 1,000 pounds total (including people). turned out to be a rear spring. spring had no noticeable issues at all, i thought it would be cracked or notably weak, but it wasn't and replacing it fixed it. that side also sagged lowed than the other when loaded with all that weight and only exhibited symptoms above about 40 mph, so maybe slightly different symptoms than yours.
Hmm, that might be it, since each bag of concrete was very heavy, I could hardly lift it. It must have been at least 500-600lb total. The car was sitting low, but it went to normal after that. I do remember however, that afterwards the car was saging more on one side when driving over bumps. But it went back to "normal" after few weeks.

I think I will replace the lower arm bushings at the shop and do the spring strut job my self. I doubt I can replace the bushings my self since it appears that they require to be pressed-into the arm.
 

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Over the years, I have had various vehicles that would have the rear go to the right on me whenever I hit washboard or a lot of bumps. Since these were not my vehicles but were work trucks and other such vehicles, I didn't care to have the problem fixed. I did, however, learn to steer into the swerve so as to not spin out of control, say, on wet or icy pavement!
 

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Just a few things.

The springs support the weight of the vehicle while the struts hold the wheel assembly planted to the road. Worn struts make the springs work harder.

Is your steering wheel "cocked" to the right? If it is, the rear of you OB is steering right already.

Hitting a bump or hole at the speeds over 20 mph will cause a wheel hop, however small, and when the tire regains its friction on the road surface, it will direct the car in the direction the wheel's steering angle is at. I would be inclined to believe the struts are worn and the alignment is out of spec. The right rear or left rear wheel has a steering angle set to the right and the extra force of the tire patch on the pavement on the rebound overtakes the force of the opposing tire and steers the rear of the car in that direction. If the struts are bad enough, the "hop" will continue until the wheel assembly settles, continuing the "pull".

This also falls in with Saint's trucks. The rear axles are never square with the frame and as the springs settle, the front wheel alignment is altered, changing the handling characteristics of the vehicle and combined with poor shocks, the rear, having the least amount of weight, pulls the truck to one side on bunps. New shocks and a thrust line alignment fixes the problem.

110k miles: Could use a set of struts. Springs are iffy, but a new set will help with weight support and alter the ride some. After replacing the struts, do an alignment. All the wheels need to have the toe in set at 0.0. Depending on your daily driving or whether the car carries a lot of weight in the rear regular, front camber works good at -0.5 with everyday driving, upto -1.0 set unloaded if you carry a lot of weight. (the wheel will camber out with weight in the rear)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hi Cardoc,

This makes a lot of sense, my steering wheel is in fact already cooked to the right. Thanks!

I will do the struts, the bushings and alignment and report later on the results.

Has anyone replaced the lower control arm bushings by them selves? Looks like a difficult job. Struts I will do my self.

Thanks all for the contributions and help.
 

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If you are referring to the front bushings in the front arm it is easiest with a press. If its the rear bushing, gravy. There may be a shop in your area that does front end repair that will change the bushing out for you if you take them the part and arm for a small fee. Take it out, drop it off, go back to do the rest of the work on the car and pick up the arms after.

The upper bolt on the strut to spindle is an eccentric bolt for camber adjustment. Be sure it goes back in the upper hole so the tech won't have to swap it when you get the alignment. When you get the alignment, make sure the tech adjust the camber on the front properly, not just do toe-in.
 

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Has anyone replaced the lower control arm bushings by them selves? Looks like a difficult job.
if you're like me and don't take your car to a shop (or don't want to), you have a few options:

1. remove the part and have a shop do the pressing.

2. buy a used part to swap with yours. then you can install the bushing with no down time. hardly anyone buys used control arms so you could easily get one with good bushings for like $25. that's worth no down time to me and saving the time of running/finding/waiting for a shop to do the pressing, i can throw the stuff in the trunk and do it when it's convenient rather than make a special trip.

the used parts forum on here or USMB are great resources or find the lowest price junk yard here: Car-Part.com--Used Auto Parts Market. i order via phone so i can have it shipped - part arrives on door step, install, done. saves so much time - i can order on the phone while i'm busy doing something else, not wait in auto parts store lines, not worry about finding a shop...
 

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Found this just to add to the conversation, how multilink works

Dissecting the Rear Multilink. - Subaru Legacy Forums
I was referring to the front camber angle change with a load in the rear. Rear down, Front up, front camber goes positive. That's why I suggest more negative camber in the front if you tow a boat, haul a lot of weight or have that roof rack mounted tent and supplies up top and all the gear in the rear.

The multilink on these cars are great. Hands down.
 
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