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Please help to diagnose- asphalt/tar smell + Clunking


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117 replies to this topic

#26 john40iowa

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 01:02 AM

cool what year elco, my dad has a sweet 65.


my elco was a '68 and had 350 4brl with glass packs and factory air. What a fun car for 17 year old! Still I wouldn't trade my reliable Subaru for anything..

#27 KaraK

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 01:44 AM

my elco was a '68 and had 350 4brl with glass packs and factory air. What a fun car for 17 year old! Still I wouldn't trade my reliable Subaru for anything..


My first car was a "classic" Turquoise 1965 2 door Chevy Bel Aire, 6cyl. auto. -don't even know what engine it was...230-250-292???(coolest/oldest car on the high school lot!) parents bought it, cause they thought I couldn't handle the 1963 Ford Galaxy 351-3 on the tree, that was their "second car"- my Dad was just starting to teach me about cars, but he died the day I got my "temps" (probationary license) Maybe that's what got me started with the old GM stuff... I do love my Soob though...

#28 john40iowa

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 02:07 AM

My first car was a "classic" Turquoise 1965 2 door Chevy Bel Aire, 6cyl. auto. -don't even know what engine it was...230-250-292???(coolest/oldest car on the high school lot!) parents bought it, cause they thought I couldn't handle the 1963 Ford Galaxy 351-3 on the tree, that was their "second car"- my Dad was just starting to teach me about cars, but he died the day I got my "temps" (probationary license) Maybe that's what got me started with the old GM stuff... I do love my Soob though...


It is funny how some of us get our first cars. I drove it safely in the cornfield for months until I could get my temporary permit; then my parents got divorced and fought over who could me the el camino (cheville malibu edition) and get the credit for it. I believe my Mom long before me had the '65 or so Bel Aire (I think this model) but I know it was a rust free California car and convertable. That car I wish would have survived for me to preserve.. True story.

#29 KaraK

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 07:17 PM

Well, back to the Subaru...

Did a more careful "hands on" inspection of all boots...no cracks/grease.

Torqued the LF axle nut to 140 ft lbs- I don't think it moved- Although I kinda question the torque wrench I used, kinda looks like it's "been around the block" so to speak, more than once. Maybe I'll see about getting a different one to try.

Gonna take her out on the highway tomorow and see what happens...

#30 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 07:31 PM

Well, back to the Subaru...

Did a more careful "hands on" inspection of all boots...no cracks/grease.

Torqued the LF axle nut to 140 ft lbs- I don't think it moved- Although I kinda question the torque wrench I used, kinda looks like it's "been around the block" so to speak, more than once. Maybe I'll see about getting a different one to try.

Gonna take her out on the highway tomorow and see what happens...



In addition to your cars other fluids - it has been known for people to get plastic bags or other debris melted onto the exhaust. Anyway - hope you can narrow it down.

#31 johnceggleston

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 07:37 AM

i wouldn't worry about the axle nut. if it had been too loose it would have moved.

since the boots are good, it would seem you have two problems. the noise and the stink.

neither of these is unusual in a subaru. since the smell is being elusive i would concentrate on the clunk. then address the smell. besides, you may learn something about the odor in the process.

#32 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 08:24 AM

i wouldn't worry about the axle nut. if it had been too loose it would have moved.

since the boots are good, it would seem you have two problems. the noise and the stink.

neither of these is unusual in a subaru. since the smell is being elusive i would concentrate on the clunk. then address the smell. besides, you may learn something about the odor in the process.



Good post.

As for the clunk, is it 'felt' as well as heard?. Is it more likely to happen when moving over a bump or dip, or when maneuvering tightly but on flat ground?

Just throwing out some wild guesses here; torque bind, frozen U-joint, broken anti-sway bar, bad strut or strut mount.

#33 heartless

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 04:05 PM

ok lets see...you have already received some sound advice, but you asked, so here are my thoughts...

clunk/thunk -
very likely an axle on it's way out - while on an incline and turning, the axle joints are under a lot of stress and it is under these kinds of conditions where you will more than likely get your first warning signs of an axle going.

smell - even tho you were not able to physically see any grease on anything, it is very possible that a small amount of grease got squeezed out of the boot and burned off on the cat (and at highway speeds, things can get into places you wouldn't believe possible - like up under the heat shield...)
is it possible that the road was recently tarred??? (or any road you travel for that matter - fresh tar can be picked up from the road and later be burned off)
Would check the boots carefully for small cracks - especially in the valleys and especially on the right side - even a small crack can let enough grease leak out to cause that burning tar smell...

neither of the axle nut crimps being lined up in the notch - not quite sure what to make of that... :confused: somebody didn't do something right...
but - if a crimp was pretty close to the notch - i wouldnt worry too terribly much about it - it would have to back off a fair amount to really do damage to anything. as in: 1/4, or even 1/2 a turn, or less - dont worry about it - if it had backed off a couple of turns, then yeah, i would worry about bearings, but you said putting 140 ft lbs to it didnt move it (even if the wrench is off a little), so i doubt it is that far out.

when you say you can move the axle a little by hand - which way are you moving it??
it will have a small amount of play at the tranny side (less than 1/4 inch) moving in/out (tranny to wheel)

there really shouldn't be much play moving front to back - it will flex a little bit at the joints but should be fairly stiff - if it feels "sloppy" this way, then you will definitely want to think about a new axle, and reasonably soon...

do you get a clicking sound when making tight turns?? as in steering wheel all the way to the stop one direction or the other - clicking under those conditions is another sign of an axle going south. It may not happen all the time when it first starts, but eventually starts to happen more & more frequently, and under less stress, until finally it starts clicking while going straight :eek:...that is when it is considered to be in "dire need" of replacing.

If everything is checking out ok on the axles & their boots - no tears, no excessive play, no obvious issues, then it is time to be looking elsewhere.

There are other things to look at as far as clunks go - pretty much anything suspension related can produce a clunk - bad struts/strut mounts, or even a loose nut on a strut can produce a clunk...
a bad tirerod end (usually outer) can produce a clunk under stress...
bad ball joints can make clunking noises, too...
worn out bushings/sway bar links can produce clunking noises under certain conditions...all things to look at.

Wish i was closer, i could help you narrow it down more. :o

#34 CNY_Dave

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 09:20 AM

On my 2003 3.0 during 'spirited' driving, some grease sneaks under the small boot clamp.

On mine the first boot to go (still driving on it) is the left-outer, I'm up a bit over 170k miles now.


Dave

#35 vasy

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 11:05 AM

On my 2003 3.0 during 'spirited' driving, some grease sneaks under the small boot clamp.

On mine the first boot to go (still driving on it) is the left-outer, I'm up a bit over 170k miles now.


Dave


Just fyi for anyone concerned about the life span of factory-installed 96 axle boots. I bought my 96 OBW new so I know its history. The first to tear open is the left-outer @ 131,200 miles. I replaced it with one from NWE. Works fine. 4000 miles later, I rebooted the axle on the right side even though both boots are still good. I figured it wouldn't be long before boot failure. Hopefully I don't need to worry about the axle for a long time, if ever, on this car. When reinstalling the axle, I noticed that the roll pin comes in 2 different length. The original pin I removed is about 1/4 inch longer than the new one I bought from Subaru dealer. The shorter one fits rebuilt NWE axle perfectly but a little too short for my factory axle.

#36 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 11:22 AM

Just fyi for anyone concerned about the life span of factory-installed 96 axle boots. I bought my 96 OBW new so I know its history. The first to tear open is the left-outer @ 131,200 miles. I replaced it with one from NWE. Works fine. 4000 miles later, I rebooted the axle on the right side even though both boots are still good. I figured it wouldn't be long before boot failure. Hopefully I don't need to worry about the axle for a long time, if ever, on this car. When reinstalling the axle, I noticed that the roll pin comes in 2 different length. The original pin I removed is about 1/4 inch longer than the new one I bought from Subaru dealer. The shorter one fits rebuilt NWE axle perfectly but a little too short for my factory axle.



If it's rebuilt, doesn't that mean the DOJ 'can' is Subaru?

#37 KaraK

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 01:53 AM

In addition to your cars other fluids - it has been known for people to get plastic bags or other debris melted onto the exhaust. Anyway - hope you can narrow it down.



Yeah, OK, I was kinda embarassed to post this... but you may be right on this one- I have not smelled this smell on the last couple of test drives... maybe something was run over, and got stuck up under there... Haha- judging by the appearance of the car when I got it back, lots of stuff had been run over- in "the other 1/2's" care -Haha-

I spent some time under the car... and Yes, it has some leaks...
-a valve cover
-"seems like" the tranny pan
-something "i don't know what it is" (steering related???)

Anyway the smell has not returned thus far, checked all fluids, (except, rear diff.) Everything seems OK, so I'm not gonna freak on that anymore, for now.

#38 KaraK

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 02:40 AM

Thank You all for your input!

At this point, I'm thinking my axle(s) may be in the "early stages" of junk...
Someone re-used an axle nut or two...

But... Kinda leaning more to the suspension issues...

Recent Clunk/thunks happened while turning, on incline/declines.
But, I'm also hearing noises on just bumpy surfaces, going straight. (Not these hard core thunk/clunks though) The roughest ground I normally drive on is my own driveway- but that's a "relatively short" distance. So I wasn't obsessing...

I went to an estate/barn sale a couple of weeks ago- and had to drive on a mowed farm field- There were some weird clunky/thunk noises going on then.

What should I be looking for to diagnose suspension issues?
Are there specific tests I can perform? Tolerances to be aware of?


Thanks again to all for your input!! :)

#39 Rooster2

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 05:43 AM

Thank You all for your input!

At this point, I'm thinking my axle(s) may be in the "early stages" of junk...
Someone re-used an axle nut or two...

But... Kinda leaning more to the suspension issues...

Recent Clunk/thunks happened while turning, on incline/declines.
But, I'm also hearing noises on just bumpy surfaces, going straight. (Not these hard core thunk/clunks though) The roughest ground I normally drive on is my own driveway- but that's a "relatively short" distance. So I wasn't obsessing...

I went to an estate/barn sale a couple of weeks ago- and had to drive on a mowed farm field- There were some weird clunky/thunk noises going on then.

What should I be looking for to diagnose suspension issues?
Are there specific tests I can perform? Tolerances to be aware of?


Thanks again to all for your input!! :)


I would be inclined to think it is a loose or bad "top hat."
This is the rubber covered bearing that is located at the top of the strut shock absorber. Suggest you spray the top of each shock absorber with some spray silicone white grease. It helped quiet down my wife's car with this problem.

#40 heartless

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 09:29 AM

What should I be looking for to diagnose suspension issues?
Are there specific tests I can perform? Tolerances to be aware of?


start by visually inspecting everything - look for torn boots on ball joints & outer tierod ends, look for oil on strut shafts

with car jacked up and tire on - grab the tire at 3 & 9 o'clock positions and try to wiggle it back & forth - it will probably try to turn normally - If you feel any sloppiness, there is an issue, more than likely with tierod ends.

then do the above at the 12/6 o'clock positions - any sloppiness would indicate problems with ball joint.

If at all possible, get someone else to do the tire wiggling while you watch the suspect areas - it is sometimes easier to pinpoint things this way.

just an added thought - sloppiness with the above checks can also indicate bearing problems - BUT - those are usually accompanied with some pretty serious growling/howling by the time you can feel it by wiggling the tire. ;)

any oil/oiliness on the strut shaft indicates a blown seal on that strut and it will need to be replaced (usually best to do these in pairs for best ride/handling)
Not real sure how to check the tophat itself, short of taking the strut off the car - but mine are 20 years old & I dont have any problems there...:o

#41 KaraK

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 10:45 PM

Thank You! Sorry it took me so long to get back- having all sorts of issues...:banghead: Ain't life grand!

#42 KaraK

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 04:29 PM

Ahhggghh, O happy day :-\ Got some new/worse symptoms to post.

I haven't had any more of the hard-core loud, thunk/clunks lately, but...

As of this AM. driving straight forward, at highway speeds. Not sure if it's more of a sound, or a feeling....

But, she's doing a steady tunk, tunk, tunk, tunk, tunk, tunk...... almost like a pulsing feeling. It seems to diminish when I take my foot off of the gas pedal. Give it a little gas, and it comes right back... tunk, tunk, tunk, tunk, tunk......When I veered to the right, onto an exit ramp, it got worse.

I don't really notice it at slower speeds, on the "rougher" country roads. But on the smooth highway at 60mph(ish). Very,very pronounced.

I'd really appreciate any insight ya'll could give me on this. Thanks-K

#43 Olnick

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 04:48 PM

Is the "tunk, tunk, tunk" sound consistant with engine speed (RPMs) or wheel rotation speed?

#44 KaraK

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 05:06 PM

Hmmmm, that is a good question- that I don't know how to answer... I think I'm gonna go with wheel rotation speed- cause it was a steady rhythmic sound. It did not go faster when I stepped on the gas- just got more pronounced/noticable.

#45 Olnick

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 06:11 PM

Aha, good question! Does the sound go faster as the car goes faster? That would indicate something with wheels/axles.

Does the sound slow a bit as you go through each gear--as the RPMs drop a bit with each change? That would indicate engine.

Or at least that's how I picture it! Good luck.

#46 KaraK

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 06:34 PM

Thanks Olnick- I need all the luck I can get at this point!

Doesn't seem "engine-ish" to me but... I've been wrong, plenty of times before...

#47 heartless

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 09:22 PM

oh dear, and the plot thickens... ;)

ok, how far from a paved road are you?? end of your drive?
how much traffic? if it isnt too busy, go for a short drive, drive slowly & have your window open, see if you can hear anything like this noise at slow speeds.

then gradually pick up speed, listening carefully...try to determine when the noise becomes noticeable, and if it is wheel speed related, or engine speed related (you can manually shift to keep the revs up a little to see if it is engine speed related)

does it become more pronounced when braking??
you said it got worse when getting off an exit?

man, stuff like this is soo hard to diagnose over the internet...

I am done with school on the 13th... :o if you dont have it figured out by then, maybe i could make a little road trip of my own...

#48 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 08:18 AM

definitely worth checking for stuck calipers, e-brake dragging.

#49 johnceggleston

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 08:53 AM

Give it a little gas, and it comes right back... tunk, tunk, tunk, tunk, tunk......When I veered to the right, onto an exit ramp, it got worse.


left front wheel bearing. veering the right puts more load on the left front. if this were not part of the problem i would have guessed bad tire.

so i'll take wheel bearing for 200$ alec.

#50 CNY_Dave

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 09:52 AM

Was a whining noise, but I had a bad sube front wheel bearing do the exact opposite- noise disappeared when the bearing was loaded more- left front was bad, noise went away when turning right.

Tricksy buggers they can be...

Dave




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