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Please help to diagnose- asphalt/tar smell + Clunking


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117 replies to this topic

#76 KaraK

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 07:10 PM

Check the level in the front diff - the stick on the other side from the transmission dipstick. It's short, down low, and often covered in 'muck'.


Front diff. fluid is at the same level as when I bought the car 14,000 miles ago, it is slightly over the full mark- just touching the "F" in full.

I do see a small amount of "seepage" where the right axle goes into the trans. But no leaks big enough to drip.

#77 KaraK

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 08:47 PM

hmmm....have you inspected the ball joints? If they are severely worn, folks report sounds and weird 'pulling'. But from what I've read, there's usually some odd 'drifting' or pulling when you brake too. But it may depend on how worn they are.

good luck


I don't have any drifting or pulling while braking (just a "warped rotor pulse")
As I think I mentioned before, I may have more than one issue going on-but I am leaning towards the motor mount(s) being the main problem at this point.

Mount(s) seem to make sense to (ignorant) me...
-The loud clunks I heard at the start of all this, was maybe the breakage of mount(s).
-More subtle(than initial clunks) tunk, tunking while under load.
-Pulling during acceleration, and during shifts.
-And (maybe didn't mention before) vibration at idle.

#78 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 12:13 AM

is the clunk noise only on a certain side?

I know it's a fair amount of hassle, but the axles are identical in the front. Switching sides to see if the noise follows an axle might tell you if a tripod joint is bad inside the boot or ?????

#79 KaraK

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 01:39 PM

You are convinced that this is the axle(s) hey?

To be honest I don't think that I would attempt that myself without supervision. Unfortunately, my normal "support group" is a bunch of "muscle car"/truck guys. They are, shall we say, less than enthusiastic about delving into "Outback territory".

I did convince one friend (who rebuilds trannys for a living) to take a quick look at it after work...so... I may have a better idea what's up, by tonight.

#80 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 01:46 PM

You are convinced that this is the axle(s) hey?

To be honest I don't think that I would attempt that myself without supervision. Unfortunately, my normal "support group" is a bunch of "muscle car"/truck guys. They are, shall we say, less than enthusiastic about delving into "Outback territory".

I did convince one friend (who rebuilds trannys for a living) to take a quick look at it after work...so... I may have a better idea what's up, by tonight.



I am by no means convinced of anything. Just trying to create some troubleshooting approaches to eliminate things. Clunking noises and some of your other symptoms can be cause by that Shudderless Freering joint/tripod joint w'ever they call it. Heck, just getting the front end up, grabbing the tire, first one side then the other, and rotating them frwrd./rev.-frwrd/rev, while looking at and listening to the axle joints MIGHT demonstrate some problem.

Did you wipe off that seepage on the diff? You should monitor that. Even a drop or 2 from there on the exhaust would stink. HEY, get a couple of drops off the diff's dipstick, drip them on something really hot (your exhaust or heat up a big washer or bolt w'ever) and see if it triggers a memory of the smell you first reported.

Edited by 1 Lucky Texan, 11 January 2012 - 01:53 PM.


#81 KaraK

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 02:04 PM

Thank you for your input Texan! I made notes of ideas posted, so I can pass it on to someone who knows more than me. Diagnosis is definately not my "forte", but I'm trying...

#82 Fairtax4me

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 01:06 AM

81 posts and still no answer!? So we're still dealing with noise AND the smell?
Ever think it could be a gremlin letting out little "toots" here and there while you're driving? :lol:

Lets see, cheap axles + clunking noise + pulling to right + nasty smell =
Cheap axle with a split boot flinging grease on exhaust system?

I have a spot on one of the rear axles on my wagon that looks like a mouse chewed a piece of the boot off. Every now and then it flings out a little half pea sized drip of axle grease. Been like that since I got it (9 months?) and there's little more than a few dozen little splatters here and there inside the wheel well. Just a drop here and there, not like a typical ripped boot that flings out a half pound of grease all over everything all at once.
Look a little closer at those axle boots. Sometimes splits in the end of the V sections can be harder to see.

#83 Rooster2

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 08:28 AM

81 posts and still no answer!? So we're still dealing with noise AND the smell?
Ever think it could be a gremlin letting out little "toots" here and there while you're driving? :lol:

Lets see, cheap axles + clunking noise + pulling to right + nasty smell =
Cheap axle with a split boot flinging grease on exhaust system?

I have a spot on one of the rear axles on my wagon that looks like a mouse chewed a piece of the boot off. Every now and then it flings out a little half pea sized drip of axle grease. Been like that since I got it (9 months?) and there's little more than a few dozen little splatters here and there inside the wheel well. Just a drop here and there, not like a typical ripped boot that flings out a half pound of grease all over everything all at once.
Look a little closer at those axle boots. Sometimes splits in the end of the V sections can be harder to see.


Wrap your chewed up boot with Seran Wrap food film. The film clings to itself, and does a good job of keeping grease inside the boot.

#84 KaraK

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 05:13 AM

81 posts and still no answer!? So we're still dealing with noise AND the smell?


No, There is no longer a smell. I think someone (Texan?) was right that the smell was maybe something I ran over. Just happened to be the same day clunking started.

Yeah, it's been a long time... I am still afraid to drive my car.

My trusted (non-Soob) tranny-rebuilding friend checked stubs and axles, and says my issue is suspension related. I felt really good about that, till the next time I drove the car, and I now have a CEL. Yes, probably completely unrelated to clunk/thunking... I hope to have an aquaintance with an OBD2 scanner check it soon to find out W-T-Heck this is all about.

#85 KaraK

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 11:13 PM

Will be starting with both inner tie rods later this week. (Is Moog OK?)

Apparently, LF wheel bearing is bad too. Gonna wait on that for now.

CEL= O2 sensor. Can someone please tell me the location of "Bank1 sensor1"?

Is it left or right?
pre-cat, or post cat?

Sensor brands to buy/not buy? Less expensive places to purchase O2 sensors? My fave parts store shows both pre and post cat. sensors right around $200.

Any info much appreciated.

Thanks -K [01 Outback LLBean 3.0 Auto]

#86 TheLoyale

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 11:27 PM

Moog is fine, but over priced. I bet you are spending $40 for a Rod end and $10 for the boot. Beck/Arnley is cheeper, still fine quality. Go to Carquest.

O2 Sensor 1. is Pre Cat, O2 sensor 2. will be post cat. Save your self some money and headache, Go to carquest to order these. You will be looking at about $120 if not less.

Or order everything from Rockauto which will be cheapest and choose your own part.
http://www.rockauto....ramecatalog.php

#87 TheLoyale

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 11:30 PM

Better yet, to save you more money and the hassle of alignment. Push/Pull on the wheel as if you were trying to turn it (Left/Right). If you have no play in the wheel, you do not need Inner Rods, let alone outer rods.

#88 KaraK

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 12:28 AM

Wow- TheLoyale!!!! It is really good to hear from you!!! :)

I am quite confident that I need at least the R inner tie rod, as a very good, long time, trusted (non soob) friend said so, and another (non-soob) mechanic verified it- the second, "non soob mechanic" says I need the L inner too. He is not quite as trusted as my friend, but...(paying for alignment anyway) [wasn't planning on doing outers]
The Moog inners I am looking at, will be around $42-maybe less, if I ask them nice. With a lifetime, no ?'s asked, warranty. (Or so I'm told)

I haven't had much luck with Carquest, but I would be willing to try their 02 sensors if it'll save me $80. Is there a brand to stay away from?
Thank you so much for the info. RE: sensor1 being pre cat. How do I know if it's L or R?

It is very good to hear from you again, TheLoyale, I hope you are well.

#89 TheLoyale

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 02:24 AM

http://www.subaruout...r-location.html

Edited by TheLoyale, 31 January 2012 - 02:35 AM.


#90 brus brother

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 07:36 AM

Bank 1 is passenger side.

#91 heartless

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 08:07 AM

if the wheel bearing is indeed bad, i would be replacing that FIRST! no fun to be stranded somewhere because your wheel wont turn anymore (seized bearing), or worse...
(had that happen with our pickup! and it happended very fast, too)

I would also be comfortable using the Beck/Arnley part for the inner tie rod - decent quality at a decent price - yeah Moog is good, but inner Tierod ends dont fail that often...just my 2 cents there...

and yeah, check around for pricing on the O2 - Carquest stuff is usually pretty decent. but also check at Advance Auto, Oreilly's and others to get the best price possible.
I used a Bosch OEM style replacement on my '90 Lego - but I only have the one and mine isnt all that fussy about things...the newer ones with multiple sensors will be much fussier.

#92 KaraK

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 10:16 PM

Thanks for the help ya'll!

Got it! 02 sensor: bank1=R/pass.side sensor1=pre-cat (upstream)

So... spent the day researching parts/prices.Think I'm gonna go with...

-02 sensor: Denso-OEstyle $99.87 Rockauto.com
-inner tie rods: Moog-problem solver $66.10 (for 2) Rockauto.com

Wondering about wheel bearings though...Rockauto has several varieties, with different specifications/dimentions listed.
Called 6 parts stores, and none of them said "oh, there are different sizes"
Got prices ranging from $32.99-$84.75 (+seals, of course)

Search here resulted in little specific info, other than "Rockauto is confusing in some of it's listings" (bearings)

Is there a brand of wheel bearing ya'll recommend? (Will probably purchase them locally)

#93 TheLoyale

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 10:59 PM

In order to replace the wheel bearings on an EJ body car, you need to press the new bearing into the hub. Which means, you need to unbolt the strut, balljoint, axle and tierod from the hub to remove it. You will need at least a 12ton press for the bearing. Old bearing will be hard to remove, but will pop with enough force. I have done these on a '95, yours would be the same.

In most cases, if you are gonna send 100 for a bearing, its quicker and easier and priced the same to replace the entire hub with another from a Junkyard. That is what I always do. A used good hub from a Salvage yard will be about $120.

Any Outback/Baja hub will work, from late 2000-03.

#94 Fairtax4me

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 12:43 AM

RE: sensor1 being pre cat. How do I know if it's L or R?


Bank 1 always refers to the side that cylinder 1 is on. Cylinder 1 is the first cylinder (towards the front of the car) on the right hand side (from inside the car).

#95 KaraK

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 02:19 PM

So, Brus Bro was correct.

Bank 1 always refers to the side that cylinder 1 is on. Cylinder 1 is the first cylinder (towards the front of the car) on the right hand side (from inside the car).


Out of curiosity, is this true for all Subaru engines? 2.2-2.5-3.0-3.6?

(mines 3.0)

#96 KaraK

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 02:53 PM

In order to replace the wheel bearings on an EJ body car, you need to press the new bearing into the hub. Which means, you need to unbolt the strut, balljoint, axle and tierod from the hub to remove it. You will need at least a 12ton press for the bearing. Old bearing will be hard to remove, but will pop with enough force. I have done these on a '95, yours would be the same.

In most cases, if you are gonna send 100 for a bearing, its quicker and easier and priced the same to replace the entire hub with another from a Junkyard. That is what I always do. A used good hub from a Salvage yard will be about $120.

Any Outback/Baja hub will work, from late 2000-03.


Yeah, if I go with a new bearing I will probably have an aquaintance with a shop do it. ($$ yikes! $$)

When you say "used hub" do you mean the whole "housing"? (#2+#3 in the following illustration?) If so, I might attempt that (w/supervision)

http://opposedforces...illustration_1/

I believe it was Heartless who told me I will probably require an alignment after such procedure. Do others find this to be true?

#97 TheLoyale

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 03:18 PM

Yes, the entire hub assembly. It will be quicker and easier.

You will need an Alignment if you f******* with the inner rods, but if you remove the old one, and get it close, you can adjust it as needed until it does not pull. I aligned my own rods.

Check out B&M for a Hub.
http://www.bandmauto.com/

#98 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 03:23 PM

Yes, the entire hub assembly. It will be quicker and easier.

You will need an Alignment if you f******* with the inner rods, but if you remove the old one, and get it close, you can adjust it as needed until it does not pull. I aligned my own rods.

Check out B&M for a Hub.
http://www.bandmauto.com/



As for the camber, just scribe across the cam bolt flange and the strut at the 12 O clock position. It'll be close when you reinstall if you realign them.

Also, you can find DIY instructions for 'home' alignments. Haven't done it, but looks promising.

Edited by 1 Lucky Texan, 02 February 2012 - 03:26 PM.


#99 TheLoyale

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 03:30 PM

The top most 17mm bolt where the strut meets the knuckle, is the Camber bolt (Has a lobe on the shank)

If you loose position of the camber bolt, just put it in, then turn it until the wheel camber is just a little Negative, once you set the vehicle back on the ground, the tire should be sitting flush/flat with the pavement, and you will be good to go.

Easy stuff here...

#100 KaraK

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 04:17 PM

I did an online search on B+M, they show no front hubs for my car. :(




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