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2005 XT Limited White and Grey
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Discussion Starter #1
2005 OXT 5sp - Auto
136500 miles

My OXT has turned into a rattle can up front and I am about to drive it into a wall. It is a noise that I cannot find and it drives me insane.

When driving on smooth roads the front suspension cycles and there are zero noises. Just the other day I hit a deep dip that bound up the front end pretty good and I heard nothing. But, if one of the front tires hits even a 1/2" dip or raise (think small and quick suspension movements) I get this knock that literally sounds like someone is knocking a socket on my wheel wells. I drive 100 miles a day and I am going nuts. FYI, I have replacement struts built onto existing springs and top hats up front - OEM.

What I have done/checked.

  • Removed and lubed sway bar mounts.
  • Inspected sway bar end links - look fine.
  • New A-Arms replaced about 18,000 miles ago - so those are good.
  • Checked top of strut rod in relation to the strut nut. I cannot either loosen or tighten these nuts. They will turn the spring when the wheels are in the air. So they are tight as can be.
  • Removed strut nuts and spun tophats to check bearings - they are ok.
  • Rotated both strut top hats and installed - wanted to see if there was something laterally being placed on the hats.
  • Checked every single major nut and bolt on the front end.
  • New OEM axles installed last weekend (separate issue).
  • Checked all body work and made sure nothing is rattling.
I cannot think of another thing to try!!! I cannot find this noise and it has me going insane. I just can't imagine what else it could be.

My only other option is to replace the front struts. Maybe Subaru messed something up when they assembled them back together?

Any thoughts would be GREATLY appreciated.

Thanks.
Jon
 

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2005 XT Limited White and Grey
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49 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Although I hate bumping, I have never hated a sound so much. Anyone at all?
 

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2010 2.5 CVT Premium
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896 Posts
Gen4s have issues with front brake caliper bolts getting worn and rattling. Dunno if older gens are afflicted.....
 

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Outback 2011 3.6R Premium
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887 Posts
I am fairly certain it will be your sway bar links as this is a very common problem and fits your description. The sway bar links can “look” OK but still be noisy.

Try firmly tapping the end of the sway bar links with your open hand or a soft hammer and if you hear a noise they are the problem.

Seagrass
 

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19 2.5i OB LTD w/SSD Strt Twr Brc + OEM 19mm RSB
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1,304 Posts
Wow - an unbounded problem.

Some ideas: windshield (don't laugh), or front cowl. In the 2019, I decided to install a front strut tower brace because I thought I wanted to limit front end torsional twisting.

Another thought is you have something loose in the engine compartment, like a coolant or windshield washer fluid bottle, radiator, fuse/relay box, air intake, air filter box, climate control damper.

Something is rattling in your glovebox. :devilish:

An engine mount, or perhaps under-body pan.

A moonroof.

I suppose I could come up with a list that might drive someone suffering from mild OCD over the edge. o_O

But seriously, how I might attempt to diagnose is have someone else drive, and see if there is a difference between driver or passenger seat... you better localize with the windows up/down from a different position.

Another idea, get a GoPro and mount it in various locations as you drive over the same road defects.
 

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2020 Outback Limited 2.5i
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10 Posts
Change your sway bar links. We had a similar noise in our 2008 and that took care of it. Well, that's my best guess anyway!
 

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2005 XT Limited White and Grey
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49 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I am fairly certain it will be your sway bar links as this is a very common problem and fits your description. The sway bar links can “look” OK but still be noisy.

Try firmly tapping the end of the sway bar links with your open hand or a soft hammer and if you hear a noise they are the problem.

Seagrass
Thank you and I will check that asap!
 

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2005 XT Limited White and Grey
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49 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Wow - an unbounded problem.

Some ideas: windshield (don't laugh), or front cowl. In the 2019, I decided to install a front strut tower brace because I thought I wanted to limit front end torsional twisting.

Another thought is you have something loose in the engine compartment, like a coolant or windshield washer fluid bottle, radiator, fuse/relay box, air intake, air filter box, climate control damper.

Something is rattling in your glovebox. :devilish:

An engine mount, or perhaps under-body pan.

A moonroof.

I suppose I could come up with a list that might drive someone suffering from mild OCD over the edge. o_O

But seriously, how I might attempt to diagnose is have someone else drive, and see if there is a difference between driver or passenger seat... you better localize with the windows up/down from a different position.

Another idea, get a GoPro and mount it in various locations as you drive over the same road defects.
My username is not a joke. I am going insane.....

Some good ideas. I already have multiple rattles in the dash (as with all my Subies) and I have checked actual "potential to rattle" items in the engine bay as well. This is most certainly mechanical and suspension related.

I am also focusing on the engine mounts as well.
 

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My username is not a joke. I am going insane.....

Some good ideas. I already have multiple rattles in the dash (as with all my Subies) and I have checked actual "potential to rattle" items in the engine bay as well. This is most certainly mechanical and suspension related.

I am also focusing on the engine mounts as well.
With my 2017 Outback, an undefinable, very annoying rattling noise started in the rear which turned out to be a collapsing KYB (factory) strut. Recently, I have another un-findable noise coming from the front and am assuming that it is probably the front struts beginning to malfunction. The noise sounds exactly what you are describing. When aftermarket struts become available from any company other than KYB, will change 'em all over.
 

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2005 XT Limited White and Grey
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49 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I just ordered these as well. Can't hurt. I will be floored if it was the end links. We shall see Sunday!

475444
 

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2005 XT Limited White and Grey
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Discussion Starter #13
With my 2017 Outback, an undefinable, very annoying rattling noise started in the rear which turned out to be a collapsing KYB (factory) strut. Recently, I have another un-findable noise coming from the front and am assuming that it is probably the front struts beginning to malfunction. The noise sounds exactly what you are describing. When aftermarket struts become available from any company other than KYB, will change 'em all over.
Never heard of KYB's being bad like that? Especially on a 2017?! You get a warranty on that I hope?
 

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Did not bother to shlep to the dealer, make an appointment, etc., etc. and negotiate whether this is a wearable part. I just installed new ones. It is not a tremendously difficult or costly job. As I usually keep my Subys until they drop (300000+), I also like to get used to the mechanics and repair procedures which inevitably repeat on parts that wear out regularly. This is my fourth Suby so am getting pretty efficient and tooled up to do my own mechanical fixin'. When it comes to the "Eyesight" and other electronic marvels in this car, it will become a new learning experience far above changing fluids or wheel bearings! The programming and computer controlled systems in modern cars is really complicated and pretty remarkable.
 

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2005 XT Limited White and Grey
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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
IT WAS THE END LINKS!!!!

I cannot believe I didn't investigate more intently before. Visual inspection is no good with end links apparently. What a lesson I learned.

I replaced them with the Moog units. I greased them accordingly and installed. The OEM ones were not that bad until I put them in a vise and I could make them knock in the vise. Think the ball in the cup knocking.

I was shocked.

Any way, sound is gone. One thing off the list that drives me insane with this car.

Thanks to all who recommended that the end links were bad.
 
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