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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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276 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This has been an huge learning experience.

Symptoms - Rear End noise on bumpy roads, over large holes and when the rear end drops low.

UPPER Control Arm: Driver side came out only after I cut the inner bolt off with a sawzall. Inner bushing was 100% shot. The bushing rubber was rotted and the steel insert could move freely. One of the bushings was cut out and the other was pressed out on a 12 ton press. I am waiting for poly bushings from Whiteline. Passenger side is still on the car. I will have to cut out the inner bolt. The inner bushing is also 100% shot. The rubber is totally rotted away. I will have to get new bolts for the upper mount.

LOWER Control Arm - FRONT: Driver Side came out easily. These are the control arms shaped line a bone. I did not swap bushings on these and simply put in a new one from AutoZone. No issues other than I had to twist this control arm to get in installed. Passenger side came out a little tougher. The upper bolt had to be cut out with a cutting disk on my grinder. I will need to get another bolt.

LOWER Control Arm - REAR: Driver Side and Passenger Side were a nightmare to get out. The outer bolts came out easily on both side and the associated bushings were still solid. That is a blessing because I was worried about removing these. The inner bushings were both futile efforts. I had to use a sawzall in combination with a cutting wheel to get them out. Inner bushings were 100% shot on both. The bushing rubber was rotted and the steel insert could move freely. The bolts were seized inside the steel collar that passed through the bushings. Good news is the bushings easily pressed out and the new bushings went in even easier. I am ordering two new Cam Bolts.

TRAILING Arm Bushings: I inspected these and found they were both shot. I am probably gonna have to burn them out. That is a project for later this week I hope. I have Whiteline poly bushings for the trailing arms.

OBSERVATIONS:

1) You are crazy if you try to do this with the Ball Joint Removal Tool. I own this tool with all associated attachments and spent over two hours trying to get it to work. These 12 yr old bushings were not budging. The ball joint tool "C" arm kept twisting out of place. I was about to toss it through a window.

2) I HIGHLY RECOMMEND getting the 12 Ton Press from Harbor Freight. I was $99 after my 20% coupon. I got it home today, assembled it (I recommend using a air ratchet....it will get the job done in half the time). I had my first bushing out of the driver side Upper Control Arm in 15 minutes. I took me another 15 minutes to get the lower rear control arm bushings out and even less time installing the new bushings. Most of my time was spent finding the right size sockets and other tools to remove/replace the bushings.

3) Tools needed that are not normally listed for theses jobs: Sawzall with metal cutting and wood cutting blades. The wood blades seem to cut rubber very well. I would advise getting both short and long blades. These are really cheap at Harbor Freight. Grinder with a Cutting Wheel will make quick business for removing seized bolts that can be reached. It isn't always easy to reach the higher bolts with the grinder (Sawzall for those bolts). Make sure to use eye protection and wear a long heavy sleeved shirt so protect your arms from hot sparks. Extra Tall Jack Stands and a Jack that has at least 20" of lift. This will make your life easier under the car. Make sure to chock the front wheels. Medium Grit sand paper makes cleaning the bore of the control arms much easier. Wirewheel drill attachment to clean the bolt threads. Good Anti-Seize compound to coat the bolt shafts and threads. Good mechanics gloves with rubber backing to protect the top of your hands. My gloves probably save me from stitches 5 times today.

More to follow once I have time to work on the car some more.

PHOTO MISTAKE - #4 is the Lower Rear (NOT UPPER REAR)
 

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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Trailing Arm Bushing Removal #1

Tackled the driver side Trailing Arm. I managed to get the front disconnected from the frame but the bolt was seized and my impact wrench could not get the nut off. I started to sawzall the bolt but gave up when it started to rain.


I tried to put the trailing arm mount back on the car but one of the two front bolts started to cross thread. Grrrrrr. I removed the bolt again and decided to leave the bracket off. The bolt turned out to be a 14M with 1.50mm thread pitch. I ordered a tap and die from Amazon to hopefully fix the threads. I will use the die to clean the threads on two of the bolts that are rusted.


While I waited for the rain to stop I went to Lowe's to get some new Sawzall blades. I got sucked in and picked up the DeWalt 20V 1/2" Impact Wrench for $279.


I tried to remove the bushing after the rain stopped. After wedging the trailing arm and forcing it down I was able to get the DeWalt Impact Wrench on the nut. This impact wrench advertises it delivers 1,200ft lbs of removal torque. Once I got a solid placement the wrench spun the corroded nut off like it was a clean/new nut. This DeWalt is amazing.


I next grabbed my propane torch and started to heat the bushing. I spent about 10 minutes setting it on fire and putting it out. I placed an old cookie pan between the trailing arm and the undercarriage for a heat shield and to prevent any direct fire damage. Once the rubber was soft (the bushing was too thick to try and burn the whole thing out) I was able to push on the center and the entire bushing separated from the outer steel shell. I next used my sawzall to cut out the steel shell. DONE!


Whiteline poly bushings going in. This was MUCH easier with the new DeWalt Impact Wrench! Passenger side next!
 

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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Trailing Arm Bushing Removal Part II

I managed to get the passenger side Trailing Arm link off with a few more issues than the driver side.

The bushing did not want to give it up and fought me the whole way. The torch, sawzall and my drill did the trick finally.

I was able to spare the Bushing thru-bolt with the help of my new BEST FRIEND the DeWalt Impact Wrench (Model DCF899B). Spun the rusted nut right off the bolt. IF I had this earlier during this project I would have save at least $50 in new bolts.

It took about 5 minutes to install the new Whiteline Bushings then I went about reinstalling the trailing arm. I am still waiting for Subaru to deliver the bolts I need for the control arms.

INSTALL Trailing Arm with New Bushing:

Advice: If you are doing the entire rear end, install the trailing arm LAST or at least place all the control arms in place FIRST!!!! You will need the control arms in place to help line up the bolt holes for the trailing arm mounting plate. I tried to install the trailing arm mounting plate with all control arms disconnected. There was no realistic way to get the mounting plate to line up. The strut kept fighting me during the install.

You could disconnect the strut first then install the trailing arm mounting plate but I figured "why take an extra step."

Once you have the control arms installed (I temporarily put mine into place but did not tighten them) you will need a small floor jack to help lift and support the end weight of the arm. You can possibly do it yourself, without the jack, but it is a little heavy. I jacked the trailing arm upward and used prybars to maneuver it into place. I would definitely recommend starting the mounting plate bolts by hand and screw them in using a hand ratchet. This is recommended so you don't possibly strip the threads on the mounting bolt or the nut welded into the body at the mounting location (I stripped one nut on the driver side after I tried to rush it - Lesson Learned). I did the two forward bolts first and next had to use a prybar to move the mounting plate hole until it lined up with the hole in the body. Once I had the bolts hand tight I torqued them into place.

Easy Breezy....

My new bolts should arrive tomorrow and I should have time on Friday to start putting it all back together.
 

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Master Caster
🖤💔💙 3 Beautiful OBXTs
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This is the 1st trailing arm bushing replacement I have seen. Rarely, if seldom attempted.

Nice work...I have looked at mine and said....

Nah....
 

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2005 18psi supercharged U5 Outback w/207k+ miles
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I bought one of those electric impacts, I got the Milwaulkee version. I'm convinced there is nothing on a car that it can't remove, given good access to the bolt or nut

Were you able to get the inner upper link bolts off with the impact? I ended up having to cut those bolts off. Couldn't really access them.

My local hardware store has these JIS 10.9 bolts and they sure are expensive.

I am sort of tempted to just buy a whole bunch of sizes and lengths from McMaster and keep them sitting around.
 

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2003 OBW 2.5L 4EAT
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860 Posts
This is the 1st trailing arm bushing replacement I have seen. Rarely, if seldom attempted.

Nice work...I have looked at mine and said....

Nah....
This is how trailing arm bushing replacement is done at my local dealership, but they have a modified wheel bearing press tool, to fit on the car & to install the oem bushings. Saves time on flat rate pay.
 

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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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276 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Bolts were actually kinda cheap through a Subaru Dealer online. I posted a photo of the parts list. I got them thru SubaruPartsDeal.com They are the cheapest I have found and they seem to be an authorized Subaru dealer so all OEM stuff.

Unfortunately got the impact wrench AFTER I cut out 6 bolts. I am sure I could have removed most of those safely and fully intact. That would have saved me about $50. The impact wrench save me over an hour of cutting out the trailing arm bolts. The cost is WELL worth the headaches it prevented.

The best part about the electric Impact Wrench is I can keep it in my car as powerful tool incase I need it on the road.
 

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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Without removing the entire trailing arm there was no way to get a suitable press on the arm. The torch method took me 20 minutes for the passenger side and 15 minutes for the driver side.
 

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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Fixing Threads on Trailing Arm Mount

My Tap came in today. (14M - 1.5mm thread pitch) It took about 8 minutes to fix the crossed threads on the damaged mounting nut for the trailing arm mount. Worked like a champ and the bolt went in like it was brand new.


I also ordered a Die to clean the bolts. The Die worked quick and removed a ton of gunk from the threads. Made a huge difference when I went to screw the bolts into the hole!


It is coming together. I should have the control arms installed very soon!!


More to follow!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
SHE IS DONE... I THINK

I managed to get all the new bolts in. Wasn't easy but I got it done. Driver side Trailing Arm mount was a battle for some reason. Torqued all bolts down and lowered her to the ground. I lowered the car onto Jack stands positioned under the shock mounts. It seemed to allow the rear to compress as if the tires were on and she was on the ground. No creaks, groans or sounds. Took her for a drive and it was a NIGHT AND DAY difference. I need to get her aligned but it seems she is much better.

No extra parts or missing items so all is good. Few pics of the final install.

Differential Bushings are next. Photo of the original bushings attached. The rubber is totally bad.
 

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2001 5 Speed Manual 2.5L??? H4 Outback
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SHE IS DONE... I THINK

I managed to get all the new bolts in. Wasn't easy but I got it done. Driver side Trailing Arm mount was a battle for some reason. Torqued all bolts down and lowered her to the ground. I lowered the car onto Jack stands positioned under the shock mounts. It seemed to allow the rear to compress as if the tires were on and she was on the ground. No creaks, groans or sounds. Took her for a drive and it was a NIGHT AND DAY difference. I need to get her aligned but it seems she is much better.

No extra parts or missing items so all is good. Few pics of the final install.

Differential Bushings are next. Photo of the original bushings attached. The rubber is totally bad.
I really appreciate you posting this thread. I'm going to do the trailing arm and rear control arm bushings on my 01 by the end of the year and I think I'm just going to do exactly what you did.

Just an FYI, whiteline makes a positive power differential bushing stiffener that you can put in your diff bushings as a stop-gap fix. That's what I did to my diff bushings and it's made a night and day difference.
 

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2020 Outback XT Touring
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I just did my rear upper control arm bushings as part of a 1" lift install. My inner bushings were completely blown out as well. Car has 201K on it. My car has been in Colorado its whole life so its never seen the salt you folks in the east do during the winters. Some penetrating oil and a cheater bar on the 1/2" drive busted them loose without drama.

I installed new OEM inner bushings and some eccentric camber units in the outers. The bushings offered little resistance to the 20 Ton press. A 1" Craftsman 1/2" drive socket was the perfect press tool as all my truck stuff was way too big.

While I did not remove the other suspension arms I could not see any evidence of failure in the other bushings.

All and all, I did not think this job was that bad. But again way less corrosion, and I'm more accustomed to working on my truck than the Subaru. 20 year old bushings coming out of my Land Cruiser control arms sounded like a gun going off. These were like butter.
 

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2001 5 Speed Manual 2.5L??? H4 Outback
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I just did my rear upper control arm bushings as part of a 1" lift install. My inner bushings were completely blown out as well. Car has 201K on it. My car has been in Colorado its whole life so its never seen the salt you folks in the east do during the winters. Some penetrating oil and a cheater bar on the 1/4" drive busted them loose without drama.

I installed new OEM inner bushings and some eccentric camber units in the outers. The bushings offered little resistance to the 20 Ton press. A 1" Craftsman 1/4" drive socket was the perfect press tool as all my truck stuff was way too big.

While I did not remove the other suspension arms I could not see any evidence of failure in the other bushings.

All and all, I did not think this job was that bad. But again way less corrosion, and I'm more accustomed to working on my truck than the Subaru. 20 year old bushings coming out of my Land Cruiser control arms sounded like a gun going off. These were like butter.
1/4" drive 1" socket?:confused: :confused: :confused:
 

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2001 5 Speed Manual 2.5L??? H4 Outback
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opps typo. Craftsman 1/2" drive, 1" socket. I'll fix it above. It had the same 34mm outer diameter as the bushings and worked well as a press tool.
Cool. Good to know for when I get around to it on my car. Also, CDOT does put salt brine on the roads as of November(ish) 2016
 

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2006 Legacy Outback 2.5i Limited 5MT
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Checked out all your threads on the Gen 3 bushing replacements. Nice write-ups on all this stuff! Thanks :grin2:
 

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Great work! But shouldn't you torque down the control arms from ride height? If I read you correctly, you torqued everything down when the car was in the air, right? Quite the recipe if you want your rubber bushings to fail quickly.
 

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2009, Outback, EJ253, PZEV
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Had mine done today at Subaru. Looked at them and said thanks, can we align it now.

They said, no, need another $600 + dollars for Rear lateral links. Looking for upgrade options. Godspeed any good?

Honestly if the whole suspension is such crap from stock, does anybody offer a reasonably priced upgrade kit fo the whole thing? I don't want to race it, just not replace it in 30'000 miles.

Need #7 both sides and all assorted bushings and bolts.

All seized in place, sigh.
 

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