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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2006 Subaru Forester 2.5xt w/ 136K Miles.

(Video on the bottom)

I have been dishing out several hundred (thousand now) in repairs for this fun old car, and I'm not so sure what to make of this latest addition to the list of necessary repairs.

I'm experiencing noise coming from my right passenger side, near the wheel well. I originally thought it was my struts, so I got those replaced with KYB GR2/Excel G struts since the originals were at the end of their life. I got new Swift springs, as well as new Moog strut mounts.

I have taken it to 3 separate mechanics and they can't figure it out. Even my alignment guy doesn't see anything wrong. The noise seems to be getting worse as time goes on.



Some bullet points:

I believe the noise has been there since I got the car, but don't know for sure since I had a ton of noises that I've been tracking down.

I first noticed the noise after changing my sway bar endlinks, but again, the noise may have always been there. I replaced with OEM endlinks and the sound was there, so I changed to aftermarket... and the noise is there.

The noise seems louder in the morning when I first start my car, and may gradually become more tolerable.

One mechanic said that there is some play in the cv axle on the front.

Motor mounts and transmission mounts seem ok even though there is a lot of movement from my engine. Mechanic checked mounts and said they actually looked fine.

Sway bar bushings look fine, but I want to eventually replace.

There seems to be some slight car movement at higher speeds going from left to right, I do think this is due to the endlinks I have. I need to add more spacers. (long story probably not worth mentioning)

I could swear I hear some clunking also coming from rear passenger side, but it could just be my imagination. Rear axles were were replaced recently.

I can really only hear the sound while driving over small bumps, and not large road bumps.



If I had to choose, my money would be on the sway bar bushings or the axles.



My maintenance history:

03/23/19
Front wheel hub bearings changed to Timken
Front driver side ball joint changed

03/16/19
Motor Oil changed with synthetic 10w30 @ 134,100 Miles

03/09/19
Front sway bar endlinks changed with OEM endlinks
Inspected bushings - OK.

02/23/19
Lower radiator hose changed. Replaced fluid with OEM Subaru coolant + Additive. @ 134K Miles


03/09/19
Intercooler hoses changed with Silicon hosing.
Cleaned Intercooler and hoses

04/05/19
New used rear knuckles from 80K mile CA car
2x Big *** bolts later link for rear knuckles
new rear axles (2x)
4x SWIFT springs
4x KYB Excel G Shocks
2x rear lower control arms
1x Driver side ball joint
misc that I forget


04/27/19
Ball joint replacement (passenger)
Kartboy front endlinks

05/04/19
Kartboy endlinks spacer addition
Sounds start at 8 seconds. The high pitched clinking sound are my keys.

What do I do? :frown2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Car doesn't make more noise when turning. It seems to be worse under 30MPH though as I just realized.

I mentioned the control arm bushings to 1 mechanic and he said it looked fine. I'm also not hearing the same sound on some of the Youtube videos. I won't rule it out however.

One new noise I hear though is that while the wheel is turned all the way, left or right, I do hear a very faint ticking sound every few seconds while turning.
 

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Super Moderator
2001 Forester S, 4EAT
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Those ticking noises while turned definitely sounds like the CV joints are going.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
 

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2001 Forester S, 4EAT
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Could be the ball joint on the passenger side is going. Normally they are replaced in pairs, you state you only replaced the driver side one. If one is gone, the 2nd one is not that far behind. I had both replaced in pairs.

My journey with suspension issues include clunking sounds while driving over bumps on the passenger side only, this turned out to be the control arm bushings, both were replaced and no more clunking. Also replaced all 4 struts with KYB and new top hats. Front wheel bearings replaced as a pair. Front ball joints replaced as a pair. Still the stock sway bar, sway bar bushings. Also replaced the steering rack bushings, as the stock bushings are notorious for getting weak and allows to rack to slide slightly. Also had to get the driver side hub replaced due to crazy front end vibration, no it was not warped rotors, not out of balanced wheels.

You mention the car has a slight movement at high speeds? Can you elaborate, what do you mean?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Could be the ball joint on the passenger side is going. Normally they are replaced in pairs, you state you only replaced the driver side one. If one is gone, the 2nd one is not that far behind. I had both replaced in pairs.

My journey with suspension issues include clunking sounds while driving over bumps on the passenger side only, this turned out to be the control arm bushings, both were replaced and no more clunking. Also replaced all 4 struts with KYB and new top hats. Front wheel bearings replaced as a pair. Front ball joints replaced as a pair. Still the stock sway bar, sway bar bushings. Also replaced the steering rack bushings, as the stock bushings are notorious for getting weak and allows to rack to slide slightly. Also had to get the driver side hub replaced due to crazy front end vibration, no it was not warped rotors, not out of balanced wheels.

You mention the car has a slight movement at high speeds? Can you elaborate, what do you mean?
Oops, yeah maybe I wasn't too clear, but the ball joint was replaced on both sides, 1 week apart from one another.

Your story sounds a lot like mine - new KYBs and Top hats (Moog). Also replaced all 4 wheel bearings. Don't want to mess with front sway bar itself, but should replace bushings eventually.

I wasn't aware of the steering rack bushings...


As for the highway question- You know how it feels when it's very windy and you're traveling along the highway and your car sways a little bit back and forth? That's exactly how it feels at higher speeds (Above 60).
 

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2001 Forester S, 4EAT
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Oops, yeah maybe I wasn't too clear, but the ball joint was replaced on both sides, 1 week apart from one another.

Your story sounds a lot like mine - new KYBs and Top hats (Moog). Also replaced all 4 wheel bearings. Don't want to mess with front sway bar itself, but should replace bushings eventually.

I wasn't aware of the steering rack bushings...


As for the highway question- You know how it feels when it's very windy and you're traveling along the highway and your car sways a little bit back and forth? That's exactly how it feels at higher speeds (Above 60).
That swaying back and forth could be anything from bad tires, wrong tire pressure. Worn out outer tie rod ends, etc....anything attached to the steering rack. If it truly is a cross wind, don't forget, your are driving essentially a tall square brick down the road.

Symptoms of the worn out steering rack bushing:
  1. Unable to maintain front toe alignment.
  2. Steering wheel points in different directions to maintain driving straight down the road.
  3. Looseness felt in steering wheel before car responds to direction changes.

I still have factory rear wheel bearings, factory rear CV axles. factory front and rear sway bar end links, bushings, etc....

I had changed the struts all the way around because they were leaking. After changing them the suspension did tighten up, ie more sensitive to inputs and less rolling. I can't remember the motivation behind changing the ball joints, may have been noise or a mechanic said they were worn out. Outer tie-rod ends I changed out because I could visually see torn boots. Front wheel bearings were changed out due to the weird front end vibration. This front end vibration drove me nuts, I could feel it lightly a low speeds but got worse as the speeds went up, and when you pressed on the brakes, everything shook even more.

The steering rack bushing as I said are a known issue of the factory bushing. And had been reported to me by several alignment shops that it was not holding toe alignment. I also noticed the steering wheel would change directions after doing sharp left and sharp right turns, ie turns to lock, as this would shift the steering rack either left or right. The shifting would then in turn cause the alignment to shift.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That swaying back and forth could be anything from bad tires, wrong tire pressure. Worn out outer tie rod ends, etc....anything attached to the steering rack. If it truly is a cross wind, don't forget, your are driving essentially a tall square brick down the road.

Symptoms of the worn out steering rack bushing:
  1. Unable to maintain front toe alignment.
  2. Steering wheel points in different directions to maintain driving straight down the road.
  3. Looseness felt in steering wheel before car responds to direction changes.

I still have factory rear wheel bearings, factory rear CV axles. factory front and rear sway bar end links, bushings, etc....

I had changed the struts all the way around because they were leaking. After changing them the suspension did tighten up, ie more sensitive to inputs and less rolling. I can't remember the motivation behind changing the ball joints, may have been noise or a mechanic said they were worn out. Outer tie-rod ends I changed out because I could visually see torn boots. Front wheel bearings were changed out due to the weird front end vibration. This front end vibration drove me nuts, I could feel it lightly a low speeds but got worse as the speeds went up, and when you pressed on the brakes, everything shook even more.

The steering rack bushing as I said are a known issue of the factory bushing. And had been reported to me by several alignment shops that it was not holding toe alignment. I also noticed the steering wheel would change directions after doing sharp left and sharp right turns, ie turns to lock, as this would shift the steering rack either left or right. The shifting would then in turn cause the alignment to shift.
I did go back to the alignment shop after slightly over a month of driving and nothing changed. Based on what you mentioned, I'd rule that out for now. Thank you. I'll keep an eye out for that steering behavior.

Outer tie rods are a little rough looking, but should be OK still.

Man... I think I'll do axles for sure, change the sway bar bushings, and triple check the lower control arm bushings while down there.
 

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2001 Forester S, 4EAT
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Jack up the front end. Take a pry bar to to the control arm to see if there is any looseness.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
OK since last I posted I have replaced:

Lower control arms
Sway bar bushings
Both Axles
Engine mounts (both were good still)
Transmission mount
Tie rod ends

and the sound STILL occurs!

What else should I do?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
did it start RIGHT after you installed the moog top hats?
The car had so many sounds to it, so I was chasing down a bunch of them. It's definitely possible, but I don't think so. If anything, it made the sound louder... or more noticeable. Bear in mind that the left is perfectly fine.

My mechanic said today that it's possible that the rear differential is in need of repairs, but how likely would the rear diff affect the front sound-wise?
 

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2018 X3 M40i / 2016 X3 xDrive35i
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Not likely at all. There have been some recent discussions where folks with aftermarket tops hats have indicated early or near immediate issues with them specifically clunking on bumps from the bearings having excessive play.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Not likely at all. There have been some recent discussions where folks with aftermarket tops hats have indicated early or near immediate issues with them specifically clunking on bumps from the bearings having excessive play.

Nice. Any idea which top hats work well? I've see. The Moog combo before... Maybe the kyb top hats?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
No solution yet for the sound I'm experiencing. I have changed even more parts out, and the sound is still there.

Changed:
Lower control arms
Tie rod ends
Front axles
Transmission mount
Motor moutns
Upgraded to Group N strut mounts (love them btw)
Changed KYB strut

Sound still remains. It really sounds like the sway bar endlinks, but they've been changed out multiple times. I doubt it.

At this point, I think it might be a rattle from the downpipe/turbo heat shield. We shall see I guess.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Alright this can be closed out, and I hope it helps someone else-

It turns out that the inner fender liner is clunking around because of a few missing fasteners. 😂

I bought some new liners just in case and will be replacing them soon.
 

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OMG!!!! All that work and THAT's what it turned out to be! Wow...

I'm glad you figured it out!

You should be good for front end maintenance for a few years now...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
OMG!!!! All that work and THAT's what it turned out to be! Wow...

I'm glad you figured it out!

You should be good for front end maintenance for a few years now...
Yeah man o_O. Unfortunately I'm now getting an intermittent p0302 misfire code. I changed plugs and coils... Separate thread incoming. hahaha
 
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