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2005 Subaru Outback LL Bean Edition
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Discussion Starter #1
Car: '05 H6 with 173k miles purchased last summer. 3k miles added since.

Repairs done so far: All four wheel bearings, brake rotor and pads @ indy mechanic.

Issues: Clunky suspension, rear passenger side brake rotor or pads needs replacement (car driven a few miles with the parking brake engaged :frown2:)

The dealership suggested we replace all bushings and the driver's side front lower control arm. I took the car to a mechanic for a second opinion and was told I need:

a) Engine mounts (left and right)
b) All 4 sway bar links and bushings
c) Front lower ball joint
d) Control arm bushing

I was hoping to get some input on whether or not this is something that I can tackle by myself. Are engine mounts too difficult for a complete newbie? I've done some 'googling' and 'youtubing' and it looks it could done with a jack and some wooden blocks.

I have zero experience with car repairs (haven't even changed my own oil) and do not even have tools but with the 180k maintenance coming up, I do have a desire to learn and start doing my own repairs.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks for reading.
 

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I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
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12,304 Posts
Presuming MINIMAL rust:

A- Dunno, haven't done it.
B- pretty easy , just a few bolts. Suggest copious usage of PB Blaster a few days before hand.
C, D- Suggect getting Mevotech replacements. Ball joints included. Easier than having a bearing pressed in if you don't have a shop press.

There are threads on the forum here on B, C, D.
 
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2009 OB 2.5i 4EAT
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The biggest issue you will run into is rust. On the east coast, "remove and replace" is nothing easy. As @AWDFTW treatment with penetrant is a must, but be prepared to cut stuff out. Echo on the Mevotech arm replacements, getting bushings pressed is expensive enough that the loaded arms are fairly economical... plus "remove and replace" gets easier when you know you can rough up stuff because it's not going back in.

But again... that rust is going to multiply difficult 10x. I just took a stab at my swaybar links and they are completely fused, and the nuts have eroded and thus prone to rounding. Maybe try and loosen up some stuff, and if you can free it up then go ahead and order the parts and do the work. If you can't get stuff loosened, the car is still operable and can be taken to a shop.


I'm curious why they recommended new motor mounts. As far as I understand, shouldn't be too difficult.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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you may be able to find some youtube videos of some of those repairs - or some simiolar enough to determine if you want to try them yourself.

if you have no experience, you may also be sinking some bucks into tools and equipment - money that might be used towards paying a good shop to handle this for you.


but, it's all DIY-possible. Some folks have friends/relatives that wrench on cars - feeding them some pizza and beers while they supervise you is a good way to learn.
 

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2005 OBXT Ltd Obsidian Black 5MT
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Agreed with AWDFTW on the Mevotech control arms. Using them made it way easier to replace than trying to press out those bushings. Plus they're lighter.

I'm not sure if there are aftermarket engine mounts for the H6 or not. Otherwise, the ones from the dealer should suffice. I don't know if you'd be able to lift the engine from the bottom on the transmission like the H4 or not. Those would probably be the hardest to replace without removing the entire engine. I'm sure it can be done, but probably not a fun job.

If you've never wrenched before, then I'd take your time and make sure that you A) understand the repair you're undertaking and the risks and 2) having the right tools can make the difference between being successful and pissed off with broken things, and iii) take pics of everything so you can put it back together.

These generation of Subarus are fairly easy to work on. Most of the things can be repaired with nothing more than a good set of Metric sockets and wrenches. 6,7,8,10,12,14,15 MM will be the most common. But there are a few specialty things depending on where you are. Suspension isn't one of those, though. If you have a Harbor Freight nearby, they will soon become your new best friends.

I've personally replaced pretty much every single suspension related component on mine myself, and it wasn't terrible, but an angle grinder helped cut off a few rusted bolts. And mine really isn't that rusty.
 

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2008 Outback 2.5
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I replaced the lower control arms in my 08 Base with 130k miles on them with complete Mevotechs. They were pretty easy to replace, but I am comfortable with replacing brake pads and drums, shocks and more recently the timing belt. If you watch a few Youtube videos for each job and download a factory service manual, you can understand what needs to be done. A decent set of tools including metric socket wrenches, a breaker bar and torque wrenches are necessary. An electric impact wrench is super handy but not required. I strongly recommend a corded name brand one like Milwaukee or Porter Cable (not a battery powered Harbor Freight one). Harbor Freight tools are good for light casual mechanics although you simply have to accept that sometimes they simply fall apart. I had that happen to a 3/8" torque wrench in the middle of a job. The good thing is they replace them without hassle, the bad thing is you can be dead in the water until you can replace it.

If you live in a rust free area like me in CA, the parts come apart like they were brand new. If you live in the rust belt, watch more Youtube videos on loosening rusted fasteners with a penetrant, impact wrench and breaker bar. Nothing is more frustrating than to shear off a rusted bolt head because you didn't use the right technique.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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1. Do the sway bar link bushings first - they're easy and can't leave you stranded if you screw up or can't finish it, you can even leave them disconnected, it's no big deal. Use that as a "test" to see how bad the rust is and how well you like sourcing parts, time, tools, etc.

2. get 6 point sockets/wrenches and store 12pt sockets somewhere out of the way you won't access unless necessary. 12 points round off rusty and stuck fasteners, they're not a good option in the rust belt.

3. assess your time and reliance on the vehicle. if you absolutely can't have down time then prepare appropriately.

a. the main thing you want to do if you attempt the control arm is to make sure the ball joint will come out of the knuckle. rust/corrosion is a variable you can not predict or know ahead of time. so if downtime is important - first things first make sure that ball joint comes out of the knuckle. focus on that first - make sure it starts to move before you progress anywhere else. if it doesn't move or appears problematic, then just put the minimal parts back in and wheel on and you're not stuck.

Your list is totally DIY, though they're not ideal first-timer choices for no experience and no tools simply due to rust/corrosion. there's no way to know if suspension parts will be easy or send you to the whiskey bottle. otherwise it's not a big deal, that stuff isn't hard.

4. have goggles or be prepared for dirt and scale to fall in your face.
 

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are you sure the engine mounts need replaced? I've seen a couple H6 engine mounts fail so i'm certainly not doubting it, but i wouldn't be surprised if they're fine either.

In some ways, they're simple as their isnt all that much to it, but it requires lifting/supporting many hundreds of pounds so it's just a matter if you feel comfortable doing that.
 

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2005 Subaru Outback LL Bean Edition
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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you guys for the feedback! Rust is definitely an issue since the car has spent its entire life in New England. When the brake rotors/pads were replaced, the mechanic have to shear off a bolt that was rusted (I think).

In terms of preparation, I've downloaded the manual and have been watching videos on youtube and reading up on DYI on this site. But replacing the engine mounts seem a bit daunting so I might leave that to the professionals...
 

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I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
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With that much rust...I'd expect to need to farm out most of the job.
 

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2008 Outback 2.5
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966 Posts
Yeah, the lower control arms are going to be a load of fun to replace. If you want to replace them yourself, you will definitely need an impact wrench probably for the axle nut, ball joint pinch bolt and probably for the rear bushing bolt.

My LCA had pretty worn out rear bushings but the arm itself looked almost new with the exception of a small amount of rust on the ball joint but the Mevotechs will handle road salts better if I ever use it in that environment.

 

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2005 Outback Wagon 3.0 L.L. Bean
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