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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Guys,
I’ve got a 2013 Outback and have noticed that on uneven ground or parked on small hills it causes my tailgate to open abnormally and actually won’t shut at all. Is this normal for a 4th Gen Subaru? Is there anything to add to stiffen this up? Any 5th Gen Outbacks experience this also?
 

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2013 3.6R Limited
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Quite a few of us have replaced the stock 15mm rear sway bar with the much-more-robust 20mm rear sway bar. I do not know if that will address your specific tailgate issue, but it certainly improves the handling characteristics of the vehicle (especially at highway speeds).
 
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2013 3.6R Limited
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No tailgate issue here.
 

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2010 Outback 3.6R 2014 Legacy 2.5i 2003 Legacy L special edition (retired to backup)
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has the car ever been in a rear end accident? 2010 here and after 11.5 years and 152K rear hatch closes without issue no matter where I am parked. I would inspect the underside of the car for any damange and makes sure that the rear differential carrier is properly bolted to the unit body.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
interesting that yours don’t do that. There are a few members I found claimed that it’s normal for a gen 4 since it is a Unibody frame and Subarus are prone to twist on uneven grounds. Thanks for your input.
 

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I noticed that on mine, too. I was parked on rough, uneven ground, opened the tailgate, and couldn’t get it to latch shut. I moved it a few feet and everything was fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Just curious if You did anything aftermarket to help it or are you just live with it? Mine also shuts when I move to level ground but in the back country there are areas that are not so flat.

I noticed that on mine, too. I was parked on rough, uneven ground, opened the tailgate, and couldn’t get it to latch shut. I moved it a few feet and everything was fine.
 

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Not unusal. The suspension doesn't allow much articulation despite the cush ride. Additonal stiffening of the suspension would probably make it worse.
I wonder if opening a rear door would make any difference. The theory being to allow the body to flex along the entire length rather than concentrated at the hatch opening.
 

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Just curious if You did anything aftermarket to help it or are you just live with it? Mine also shuts when I move to level ground but in the back country there are areas that are not so flat.
I did add a stiffer rear sway bar, but I don’t think that makes any difference. This only happened once, and I keep it in mind whenever I open the tailgate if I’m parked anywhere other than level ground. The whole body twists. Someone with a later model can test this by parking with one wheel on a curb. Check the tailgate clearances on all sides before and after.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I did add a stiffer rear sway bar, but I don’t think that makes any difference. This only happened once, and I keep it in mind whenever I open the tailgate if I’m parked anywhere other than level ground. The whole body twists. Someone with a later model can test this by parking with one wheel on a curb. Check the tailgate clearances on all sides before and after.
So you put a stiffer sway bar and you still get the tailgate issue? Thanks flor letting me know because I was going to try that.
 

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A stiffer rear sway bar could potentially make the problem worse. A sway bar prevents suspension flex, but your problem is chassis flex not suspension flex. The less the suspension flexes the more twisting force is transmitted to the chassis.

I second the idea of doing a careful inspection of the underside of the car to make sure that there's no evidence of crash damage to the unibody, and if there's no evidence of damage, just attribute this to normal torsional flex when on very uneven surfaces.

If you have trouble with the hatch unless the car is on an absolutely flat surface, that's a whole different issue and probably indicative of something very bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
A stiffer rear sway bar could potentially make the problem worse. A sway bar prevents suspension flex, but your problem is chassis flex not suspension flex. The less the suspension flexes the more twisting force is transmitted to the chassis.

I second the idea of doing a careful inspection of the underside of the car to make sure that there's no evidence of crash damage to the unibody, and if there's no evidence of damage, just attribute this to normal torsional flex when on very uneven surfaces.

If you have trouble with the hatch unless the car is on an absolutely flat surface, that's a whole different issue and probably indicative of something very bad.
Thanks for the info. I did buy it used but there were no accidents according to CarFax. When I park on flat. There are no issues with opening and closing Tailgate. I usually have issues if the rear tires are off camber By more than 3”.
 

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Thanks for the info. I did buy it used but there were no accidents according to CarFax. When I park on flat. There are no issues with opening and closing Tailgate. I usually have issues if the rear tires are off camber By more than 3”.
So it sounds like if one rear wheel is on a speed bump while the other 3 are on flat ground, you have enough chassis flex to affect the rear hatch. To me that's not a worry, but if you are able, just inspect the underside of the car anyways to make sure there's no structural compromise.
 

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I can’t remember if the first time I saw this was before or after the new sway bar. I’m glad I installed it though, it does help the ride and handling and was easy to do.

I still am curious to hear from anyone else: park with one wheel on a curb and see what happens. Maybe it’s a ‘13 thing and the frame was stiffened in later years.

And I am the original owner, no accidents or other structural damage.
 

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Being a 2013 I don't expect there to be any rust of this nature but just for your viewing pleasure - 10 years older 2003 Subaru Forester that looks perfect on top:

 

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Discussion Starter #18
I can’t remember if the first time I saw this was before or after the new sway bar. I’m glad I installed it though, it does help the ride and handling and was easy to do.

I still am curious to hear from anyone else: park with one wheel on a curb and see what happens. Maybe it’s a ‘13 thing and the frame was stiffened in later years.

And I am the original owner, no accidents or other structural damage.
Have you tried parking one wheel on curb and see if your tailgate is affected with the stiffer sway bar? I tried it yesterday and Definately misalighned my tailgate. But I have the stock sway bars.
 

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Have you tried parking one wheel on curb and see if your tailgate is affected with the stiffer sway bar? I tried it yesterday and Definately misalighned my tailgate. But I have the stock sway bars.
I have not. I will try that sometime either today or tomorrow and let you know. The rear sway bar isn't that much stiffer that the original, but it makes a noticeable difference in ride quality. I would recommend it.

I did document what I did with notes and photos, somewhere on this forum. If you want, I'll see if I can find those posts. The stiffer sway bar is the same one that came stock in the Legacy, I think it's 19mm and the one that came stock in the OB is 17(?). It isn't much but it makes a difference.

When you parked on the curb to test this, what wheel did you put up on the curb? I want to recreate the same test you did. I can take some pix, too.

One thing I did a long time ago was to add a trailer hitch. That may or may not do anything to the body stiffness.
 
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