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96 legacy outback becoming basket case - help!


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14 replies to this topic

#1 nathana

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Posted 10 February 2005 - 07:45 AM

Vehicle: 1996 Subaru Legacy Outback wagon. 2.2L, 5speed, 172+k miles

Back story: The vehicle was my mom's, cared for by my dad, and was in good shape when I got it from them a few years ago. Since then the O2 sensors have been replaced, and other regular maintenance with no major mishaps. About 2 months ago while checking it over with my dad, we found the left front CV boot was torn and the brake pad there was wearing slightly tilted. At the same time, we did a clutch cable adjustment, since the clutch was begining to slip. Last week I got a flat, then my donut blew out 100 yards later (this is me screaming) but I got both fixxed and have not noticed any issues with the plugged tire. It's obvious now that I need a new clutch, and so I was commuting from work to home with my wife discussing this possibility (both the idea of paying to have it done and trying to convince my dad to help me do it with his lift and excellent workshop - he's 500 miles away, but it'd be a good excuse for a visit anyway and I figured I could limp the car there if nothing else).

So as we discussed our options (paying to repair clutch, repairing it myself, or selling the car) and if I were a superstitious person I'd think the car got annoyed. In the middle of the chat, a loud thumping started from the left front. I tested it in every way I could. I pulled over and drove slowly, checked the tires, and the tires seem fine, no noise at very slow speeds.

Here's what I found:
- when accellerating, thumping stops
- when making engine work to go up hill (similar to accellerating, but no speed increase) thumping stops
- curving or turning to the left will make the thumping loud and will make it occur at even lower speeds than required to hear it when going straight
- during braking, thumping stops
- thumping occurs with or without clutch pedal depressed.

The noise is most noticeable above 30 mph, coasting in gear or out of it, and especially pronounced on left-hand curves. It's pretty loud, and I can feel the vibration of it through the floor, but next to nothing through the steering wheel and no noticeable pulling to either side. I may be crazy, but I have this sense that there's something metal rubbing on metal in the thumping (but again, I could be totally crazy and that may not be the case).

So now it's temporarily docked until I can figure this out and get it fixed. Then I've got to make the decision on the clutch (the vehicle is otherwise in pretty good shape, with normal older-vehicle issues).

This weekend I plan to pull the wheel off, check the brakes, and inspect the previously torn CV boot again. I may have more information then, but I'm also not entirely certain what to be looking for.

Any ideas what my new thumping noise is?

#2 Dr. RX

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Posted 10 February 2005 - 07:57 AM

Well I don't see where you said that you replaced the axle after you noticed the torn boot. My guess would be the axle is on it last leg, you need to get it replaced.

#3 nathana

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Posted 10 February 2005 - 08:37 AM

When we found the torn boot, we were also immediately aware of the clutch starting to fail. We kind of decided to cross our fingers and see what developed (both repairs being fairly expensive if not done by us, and my dad's shop being 500 miles away).

So far my list of ideas/things to figure out how to check are:

[font="]Wheel bearings – cv joint – front axle – brake pad debris chunk


Checking the brake pads isn't really a problem, but the other three I am going to have to learn how to evaluate, since I know nothing about any of them.
[/font]

#4 grossgary

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Posted 10 February 2005 - 09:19 AM

the cv joint could be in bad shape. turn the wheel by hand back and forth and see if you can notice any play in the cv axle shaft. friend had similar problems you're talking about on his jeep cherokee just last week. noise finally got really loud and he crawled under there this weekend. the cv axle just pulled right out of the joint! wasn't even connected anymore. he had had problems with that axle before. his was particularly loud and created vibrations around turns, which sounds similar to yours. i guess being AWD the car was still able to drive *fairly normal*, minus the noise and vibrations even with a broken axle.

bad ujoint in your driveshaft can cause the symptoms you are referring to as well. driveshaft is very easy to remove and check the ujoints. you can check them on the car if you know what yo'ure doing, but if you've never done it before best to just pull it off seeing how easy it is to do.

#5 Cougar

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Posted 10 February 2005 - 11:10 AM

I also would stongly suspect the CV joint causing this problem. If that isn't it then I would guess the problem is between it and the wheel. I don't think you will have much trouble finding it as I think it will be pretty obvious once you jack up the wheel. Don't forget to block the vehicle up so you are not depending on the jack to hold the vehicle up.

I'm sure your dad would love a visit from you but going that far to make repairs and taking so much of your time to go back-n-forth seems like a lot to me. With a car having that many miles it seems problems like this will pop up now and then. I guess you really need to decide how much you want to put into the car and if you want to make payments for something that won't be much trouble for awhile. The timing belts may be due for a change at 180k miles.

#6 lmdew

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Posted 10 February 2005 - 09:06 PM

I have front hubs and 1/2 shafts from 96 Legacy that should work for you. Both sides or one. If you want to sell the car, let me know. Larry
Lmdew@hotmail.com

1/2 shafts $10+shipping
Front Hubs 25+shipping.

#7 nathana

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 07:22 AM

Hopefully I can pull it apart on Sunday or Monday and get to the bottom of this problem. I'm sure I'll be back once I isolate it.

#8 nathana

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 07:17 AM

Unfortunately I have no update yet. My only free day to work on it was yesterday and it was pouring down rain and forty-something degrees. Not the best weather for working on a car exposed on a gravel driveway. Now I'm on hold until this coming weekend.

#9 Dr. RX

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 09:24 AM

Unfortunately I have no update yet. My only free day to work on it was yesterday and it was pouring down rain and forty-something degrees. Not the best weather for working on a car exposed on a gravel driveway. Now I'm on hold until this coming weekend.

Gee about the only difference in your work place and mine is that mine is asphalt, and it is usually less then fourty when the car decides it needs some work in the winter (they usually run fine during the summer).

#10 nathana

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 07:43 AM

Boy! Embarassment of all embarassments... turns out 3 lugs came loose and merely needed tightening. If that won't leave your cheeks red, I don't know what will. I hadn't checked that since I had just changed the tire and done it myself. Unfortunately it seems the cruddy little tire iron in the under-floor kit doesn't give enough leverage. The torque on the other two was much too low, even though I had gorilla'd them all on with as much strength as I could put into that 12" iron.:lol:

I still have a torn CV boot, however, and am intersted in finding out the pros/cons of using the split boot to replace it. I'll create another thread for that.

#11 Dr. RX

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 08:07 AM

Boy! Embarassment of all embarassments... turns out 3 lugs came loose and merely needed tightening. If that won't leave your cheeks red, I don't know what will. I hadn't checked that since I had just changed the tire and done it myself. Unfortunately it seems the cruddy little tire iron in the under-floor kit doesn't give enough leverage. The torque on the other two was much too low, even though I had gorilla'd them all on with as much strength as I could put into that 12" iron.:lol:

I still have a torn CV boot, however, and am intersted in finding out the pros/cons of using the split boot to replace it. I'll create another thread for that.

Well, now that you have some time, you should set things up to get the axle replaced. The split boot is a temperary fix at best, why waste money on it, when you'll have to replace the axle soon anyhow.

#12 nathana

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 08:31 AM

That sounds like a plan. Weather will be getting very nice soon, much more fun.

Any pointers on where to dig up the info/instructions on how to do this? Inexpensive places to get good parts? Cost estimate? Tools?

#13 Gnuman

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 01:54 PM

There is a pinch bolt that holds the top of the balljoint to the knuckle. take that out and pry (gently) the slot open with a screwdriver. There is a "roll pin" that holds the half-shaft to the transmission. The rest is pretty normal (start off by breaking loose the big nut on the outside, and removing the wheel, then pull the top of the balljoint out as mentioned. This will give you enough room to pull the hub off of the outside of the halfshaft, then you turn the axel until you have a clear shot at the roll pin with a drift punch. Knock this out and pry off the half-shaft (you will only need to get it started, it comes off easily after that) Replacement is the reverse of removal. Line up the holes on the inner joint and the splines and secure with the roll pin, pop the outer joint into the hub, replace the ball joint into the knuckle, torque everything to spec and you are good to go. . .)

I'd say an hour or two by yourself.

#14 Dr. RX

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 02:15 PM

There is a pinch bolt that holds the top of the balljoint to the knuckle. take that out and pry (gently) the slot open with a screwdriver. There is a "roll pin" that holds the half-shaft to the transmission. The rest is pretty normal (start off by breaking loose the big nut on the outside, and removing the wheel, then pull the top of the balljoint out as mentioned. This will give you enough room to pull the hub off of the outside of the halfshaft, then you turn the axel until you have a clear shot at the roll pin with a drift punch. Knock this out and pry off the half-shaft (you will only need to get it started, it comes off easily after that) Replacement is the reverse of removal. Line up the holes on the inner joint and the splines and secure with the roll pin, pop the outer joint into the hub, replace the ball joint into the knuckle, torque everything to spec and you are good to go. . .)

I'd say an hour or two by yourself.

I do pretty much the same except for the first part. There are two bolts holding the strut to the knuckle. If you have one with an adjustment bolt (it should be the top one), mark the location of the bolt, I use a small chisel. Then remove the top bolt and loosen the bottom one, this will allow enough movement to remove the axle from the tranny first, then the knuckle.

#15 nathana

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 02:29 PM

http://www.ultimates...1985#post251985

I got my haynes and posted about prepping to do the job.




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