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Broken front swaybar 99 OBW


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11 replies to this topic

#1 ron917

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 12:03 PM

Hi, all.

I have a '99 Outback wagon, 115K miles. Broke the front swaybar yesterday. A search on this and other forums leads me to believe that this is not uncommon. So, if anyone's keeping score, here's another one.

The break occured when turning left onto a road that goes steeply downhill. The breakover is fairly sharp, and there is a dip on the right for a drain. Heard a loud "bang", but didn't notice anything different until making a sharp right turn into a parking spot, and heard a scraping sound - the end link was rubbing against the wheel.

It broke on the driver's side, at the sharp bend near the bracket and bushing mounted to the frame rail. The broken ends are rusty, except for a small area at the edge. This leads me to believe that it was cracked for some time, and it finally let loose completely.

I removed the broken end. The car is still very drivable, but there is more body roll, of course. I wouldn't want to try any high-speed maneuvers until this is fixed.

Now, I need to decide whether to go with a factory swaybar, or upgrade both ends of the car. Who, if anyone, makes upgraded swaybars for the '99 Outback? Upgrades for WRXs seem easy to find, but very little seems to be available for the Outback.

Is it possible to replace the swaybar without dropping the exhaust? It looks like it might be doable with a lot of patience. Has anyone done it with the exhaust in place?

Thanks!

#2 michaelbteam

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 01:45 PM

I did the same thing on my 99 Outback, got a used one from the wrecking yard.

#3 cookie

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 03:10 PM

Check Whiteline to see if they have one. The outbacks are famous for breaking them.

#4 porcupine73

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 06:32 PM

Hi ron917; exact same thing happened in exact same place on my '00OBW with same scraping sounds afterwards, except mine happend on a hard right turn. I think consensus from other threads was poor steel in that area. I simply replaced it with an OE bar and new bushings. End links looked OK so I left those as were.

Didn't have to remove exhaust to put in new bar. Just removed jacking plate, inserted from one side, and rotated bar as I slipped it through. Was a little snug around some of the steering rack fluid pipes, but didn't take long to get it through. Whole job took about 2 hours.

#5 ron917

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 09:11 AM

Thanks for the info.

I decided to stick with original equipment. New swaybar and bushings are have been ordered, and should be hear next Wednesday.

-Ron

#6 ron917

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 09:54 AM

Finally got time to install the new front sway bar this weekend. The whole job took about 2 hours, as porcupine 73 said, includinging short breaks for beverages and a phone call. It was easy to do, only took about 30 seconds to thread the new bar into place. Looked harder than it really was.

There was a HUGE improvement in handling with the new bar. It was far greater than the difference when the old bar broke. This confirms my belief that the old bar was cracked, and therefore weakened, before it broke completely.

#7 cannonball

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 11:36 AM


There was a HUGE improvement in handling with the new bar. It was far greater than the difference when the old bar broke. This confirms my belief that the old bar was cracked, and therefore weakened, before it broke completely.


Same thing here. Big difference for me as well. I wonder if this is only related to the OB, and if it has to do with the fact that it has 2" more of suspension travel that puts the extra twist on the bar.

#8 porcupine73

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 11:40 AM

Interesting about the handling changes b/c when I replaced mine after it broke on my '00OBW I didn't really notice much difference with or without it so I wonder if maybe I need new endlinks or something.

#9 cookie

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 02:23 PM

porcupine,

What you would really notice is lean in the corners at high speed.

#10 mattri

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Posted 31 March 2009 - 10:35 PM

What years/ models was this common on? Thanks, Matt.

#11 johnceggleston

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Posted 31 March 2009 - 11:52 PM

What years/ models was this common on? Thanks, Matt.


95 leg 2.2 auto sedan

#12 porcupine73

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 08:16 AM

There was also what seems to be a bad batch on 2000 Outback wagons. There are a number of posts out on the boards for them about this breaking. It's not very hard to replace, even the new genuine bar is only about $100, and if it does break it doesn't leave you stranded so I wouldn't be overly worried about it.




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