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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've noticed a knocking sound from the front when driving over rough road or when turning the steering wheel when stationary. I asked at a local garage and they said it was likely an issue with the steering rack, but I'm not sure as it is also noticeable when driving in a straight line over rough road. My first thought was tie rod ends or control arm, do you think it could be steering rack issues?

The car has 50k miles on the clock.
 

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2001 Forester S, 4EAT
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I had similar sound only when going over bumps. Turned to be control arm bushings.

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2014 2.0 XT Touring
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front lower control arm bushings... my $0.02 is to replace the whole LCA (or if you do it yourself... replace every bushing... even the small one that is tough to get out... otherwise you will just have to replace the whole LCA in a few months again... speaking from experience)

might as well do the tie rod ends, sway bar bushings, etc. - whatever else you can inspect and replace while you are down there. no sense in putting on new LCAs and bolting the rusty, weak tie rod ends back on lol
 

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2015 Forester Xt
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I would have a shop or yourself get under there to find out. Wouldn't go by a shops opinion without even looking at it. Personally at 80k miles I had the same issues with clunking and vibrations on bumps and highway speeds and it is the front lca. I went under the car and the rubber on the bushing had tears. Check out some of the threads on here, people have recommended replacing the stock lca with a 2015+ wrx sti lca because it has a better design and quality.
 

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2013 Forester 2.5XT Auto
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^I have the 2015+ STI front LCAs on my '13 2.5xt and couldn't be happier. Definitely recommend them over the stock forester design. Original bushings had a bunch of cracks/tears in them at 90k on mine and made clunking noise as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
front lower control arm bushings... my $0.02 is to replace the whole LCA (or if you do it yourself... replace every bushing... even the small one that is tough to get out... otherwise you will just have to replace the whole LCA in a few months again... speaking from experience)

might as well do the tie rod ends, sway bar bushings, etc. - whatever else you can inspect and replace while you are down there. no sense in putting on new LCAs and bolting the rusty, weak tie rod ends back on lol
Thanks, I'll get it on the ramps this weekend and take a look.
 

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SeasonedStalker
2017 XT Touring in CBS HT CVT
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I was able to determine a similar problem on mine at 45,000 miles was the lower control arm bushings by jacking the vehicle up and allowing the tire to droop. Then by having an friend pushing/pulling on the tire at 3 and 9 as well as 12 and 6 while I looked to see what part had movement that shouldn't. I upgraded to the STI lca's and could not be happier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I had the car at the garage this morning. The ball joints felt okay. The stabiliser link had a bit of play but the car was on the lift so not sure if that is normal. The tie rod ends felt okay. The garage seems to think it is the steering rack, I'm now looking at the bushings for the steering rack. Does anyone know how many are needed if I was to have them all replaced? Also, should I replace the inner & outer tie rods while it is being worked on?

Could the suspension bushing also cause this kind of issue?
 

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2015 Forester Xt
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Did you notice any tears on the control arm bushings? Could you describe the sound more? Is it more of a knocking or is it more of a consistent popping. Do you get vibrations in your steering wheel on highway speeds?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The bushings on the control arm all looked fine. Track rod end a also looked and felt okay.

The sound on rough road is more of a knocking sound. It isn't noticeable unless the road is particularly rough. When stationary and turning the wheel to full lock you can hear a single knock when turning on either direction. Sound comes from the front, hard to tell which side but seems more prominent on the right. Absolutely no issues with steering, no vibration or other anomalies.
 

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Im not sure how far you want to go investigating this. But if you have someone else in the car turning the steering wheel lock to lock and you under the car, you would be able to feel or see the knock. Or another possibility is taking the car to another shop to get another opinion. A steering rack replacement can get expensive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I eventually found a Subaru service place near where I am, it was in a Suzuki garage so never thought to look. Anyway, they did a much more detailed inspection and concluded the steering rack bushings need to be replaced. The noise seems to have gotten worse, or maybe I just notice it more now. I'm hoping it is just the steering rack bushings and nothing more serious.
 

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2015 Forester Xt
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That's good news. I didn't believe it was the whole rack, sounded like a money grab. I just never heard of the rack bushings going bad thats why i was exploring other factors, sorry. Let us know how it turns out!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I took it to another garage today for a second opinion. they also suggested changing the rack :LOL:! That said 2 garages have said there is a sway bar bushing that needs replacing, so I'm hoping to change that first and see what it is like. My issue with it being a steering rack issue is that there is no symptom that the steering rack is failing. The noise sounds more like a bad bushing or ball joint. The only thing with the problem being the sway bar bushing is that I'm not sure if that would be the cause of the knocking when turning the wheel when stationary.
 

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2015 Forester Xt
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Sway bar bushing would not make a knock when turning the steering wheel since it's not connected to any of those components like the tie rod. It would make a knock over rough/pothole roads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
After doing some reading on this topic it does look like this was a common issue with the EPS on early SJ foresters. This was the service notice: https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/tsbs/2019/MC-10154409-9999.pdf

I'm wondering if the backlash could be adjusted before replacing the whole EPS. I've also heard that there are kits available to repair the EPS although I can't seem to find any.
 

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2020 Touring as of 8/28/2020!
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While you're having it serviced have them look at your rear springs. Warranty recall on them so might as well have them checked if it's going to be on a lift anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
While you're having it serviced have them look at your rear springs. Warranty recall on them so might as well have them checked if it's going to be on a lift anyway.
Thanks for the tip. They did check the rear springs and no issues were found.
 
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