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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Looking for some advice on where to start for diagnosing a rough ride on my 2016. When I first got the car it felt super smooth on all types of roads, even the ones where they’re doing construction here in San Francisco. Now, it seems like I can overly feel EVERY single crack or bump in the road, no matter how big or small. Only on the smoothest newly paved roads is my Outback driving fine. To start, I do believe I need a new passenger side CV axle. It’s beginning to click when making turns, but I don’t believe this would be the cause of the pronounced bumps, or am I wrong? Front tires are a bit worn on the outside edge from having a bad alignment done previously, but the alignment has been fixed and my geolander g015’s are at 32psi. I did install the 2” readylift lift kit about a year ago, and also replaced the driver side cv axle and ball joint about 6 months ago.

I know it’s a very vague problem that could be a lot of things, but where would you guys start for diagnosing this? Has anyone had a similar problem with their ride? Particularly after lifting? Car was initially driving smoothly after the lift, the rough ride has only began to get worse over the last couple of months. Planning on getting the OB on jack stands this weekend to do a thorough inspection and just looking for some advice on where to start. Any help is appreciated!

Edit: The clicking sound when making hard right turns is NOT the cv axle shaft. Anyone have ideas on what else could be causing this?
 

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Worn strut? Check all the suspension hardwares and make sure everything is installed and torque down properly. Maybe the lift is too much for the cv axle to handle and cause premature wear?
 

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2019 Outback 3.6R Touring
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Worn strut? Check all the suspension hardwares and make sure everything is installed and torque down properly. Maybe the lift is too much for the cv axle to handle and cause premature wear?
I agree with the later part of this...

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Discussion Starter #4
Worn strut? Check all the suspension hardwares and make sure everything is installed and torque down properly. Maybe the lift is too much for the cv axle to handle and cause premature wear?
I’ll definitely check out the struts, and make sure everything’s still intact and torqued properly. That’s definitely possible about the lift, but I’m pretty certain I messed up the original cv axle when I installed it. I let the control arm drop to low, and for sure on the driver side I overextended it. Not sure about the passenger side though. Gonna look into this. Hoping it’s nothing to bad. Thanks for the reply!
 

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2012 Outback Ltd 3.6r
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Keep in mind that the Geolander G015s are heavier than the stock tires, making more un-sprung weight, which will increase harshness slightly. If you also changed rims, were they heavier than the stock rims? Tires also get harder as the rubber ages, so an old tire generally doesn't ride as well as a new tire, and AT tires will ride a little worse than say an all-season in general.

The lift also changes the control arm angles a bit, which can affect ride, making it feel like the springs are firmer than they are. - If the increase in harshness occurred immediately after the lift, the lift might be suspect. (Are we sure the lift plates were torqued down, and sitting flush on the strut hats?)

Were the factory springs used with the lift, or did you happen to install RalliTek or King (yellow) springs as part of the lift? - Both of those are firmer than stock, the Rallitek maybe 15%, and the King more around 30%. - They can really influence the ride.

Most rubber components can harden over time, the strut hats, insulators, body bushings, and influence ride as they age. Not sure what was or wasn't replaced when the lift was installed. We know it's a '16, but how many miles?

The $50 question I have is it the feel or the sound when driving over objects, cracks, etc? - Sometimes sound makes you think it feels harder than it is, but the increased sound fools you body's interpretation of whats happening.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Keep in mind that the Geolander G015s are heavier than the stock tires, making more un-sprung weight, which will increase harshness slightly. If you also changed rims, were they heavier than the stock rims? Tires also get harder as the rubber ages, so an old tire generally doesn't ride as well as a new tire, and AT tires will ride a little worse than say an all-season in general.

The lift also changes the control arm angles a bit, which can affect ride, making it feel like the springs are firmer than they are. - If the increase in harshness occurred immediately after the lift, the lift might be suspect. (Are we sure the lift plates were torqued down, and sitting flush on the strut hats?)

Were the factory springs used with the lift, or did you happen to install RalliTek or King (yellow) springs as part of the lift? - Both of those are firmer than stock, the Rallitek maybe 15%, and the King more around 30%. - They can really influence the ride.

Most rubber components can harden over time, the strut hats, insulators, body bushings, and influence ride as they age. Not sure what was or wasn't replaced when the lift was installed. We know it's a '16, but how many miles?

The $50 question I have is it the feel or the sound when driving over objects, cracks, etc? - Sometimes sound makes you think it feels harder than it is, but the increased sound fools you body's interpretation of whats happening.
Thanks for the thorough reply. The ride felt completely fine after installing the lift. It’s only been in the last couple months I’ve noticed it getting worse. The tires and wheels I put on also way before the lift and the ride felt great originally with them as well. When I installed the lift spacers they were sitting flush and mounted down properly on the top of the struts so I don’t see that being an issue. They’re still completely torqued down to the car when checking beneath the hood. No other aftermarket suspension parts besides the spacer kit. I’ve put a ton of miles on this OB already so I’m sure some parts are very worn already. Just about to hit 90K.

Regarding the feel and the sound, it’s honestly probably both. I very well could be overanalyzing and exaggerating the problem, but I do know it’s not as smooth as before. When I first got the car I distinctly remember thinking how smooth it felt driving on the roads in my neighborhood, as my car before those felt horrible. Now on those same roads which I drive everyday it feels like ****, definitely not how it used to feel. One new development though is the clicking noise when turning is not the CV axle shaft. I fully inspected it and it’s fine. No tears in the boot or anything, and I got a second opinion from a local mechanic. Maybe this clicking/popping noise when turning has something to do with the rough ride? Any ideas on where to start looking?
 
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