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Sway / stabilizer bar failures -Outback-


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15 replies to this topic

#1 vtphoto

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Posted 20 January 2004 - 01:11 AM

Hi folks,

I recently had a sudden failure of the front sway bar on my 2000 Subaru Outback (41,500 miles, out of warranty).

After posting on alt.autos.subaru, it was suggested I search this group, and found a whole thread with about 3 cases of sway bar failure, one with photos... all sounding like it broke in a similar manner in the same spot.

Here's a photograph of my busted sway bar:
Sway / stabilizer bar failures -Outback-
Hi folks,

I recently had a sudden failure of the front sway bar on my 2000 Subaru Outback (41,500 miles, out of warranty).

After posting on alt.autos.subaru, it was suggested I search this group, and found a whole thread with about 3 cases of sway bar failure, one with photos... all sounding like it broke in a similar manner in the same spot.

Here's a photograph of my busted sway bar:
Posted Image
http://www.vtphoto.c...bar_broken2.jpg

If anyone on this board has had similar problems, please email me privately (mike@vtphoto.com), or through this thread. Send photos if you have them, or let me know if the problem was similar. What is most striking is the similarity in the cases I've seen, and the clean break in the bar that results. I'd like to approach the dealership armed with proof supporting a potential design flaw.

Also, if anyone here has had this problem occur out of warranty, but was able to get the repairs taken care of, let me know how you went about that. It seems like this could be a design flaw, but I doubt a dealership will agree very easily. This isn't a good time for a $150+ repair, especially on something that simply should not break.

Thanks!
-Mike

#2 torxxx

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Posted 20 January 2004 - 02:11 AM

I'd do what GD said to do on your previous post.
Take the whole sway bar off.

And look around at JYs for a used one.


A lot of guys (including me) with the 80s and 90s wagons just take the front stabilzer off. my car handles a lot better with out it.
Tested it up to 97 mph and it didnt seem to hinder the driveability at all

#3 calebz

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Posted 20 January 2004 - 09:51 AM

Its there for a reason. Torxxx, Your car, GDs car and 90% of the cars on the old gen board are front wheel drive most of the time. comparing your handling characteristics, or GD's EA81 characteristics to and AWD outback smacks of stupidity. Let the guy hear from some outback owners that may share his problem.. I think you are missing the point of his post.

#4 torxxx

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Posted 20 January 2004 - 09:55 PM

Actually no, my car is about 90% 4wd..
The only time I use just front wheel drive is the occasional reverse sh!tty out of a parking spot........

But yea AWD might handle different without it..
But I say try it

#5 wrxsubaru

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Posted 20 January 2004 - 11:45 PM

.

Originally posted by calebz
Its there for a reason. Torxxx, Your car, GDs car and 90% of the cars on the old gen board are front wheel drive most of the time. comparing your handling characteristics, or GD's EA81 characteristics to and AWD outback smacks of stupidity. Let the guy hear from some outback owners that may share his problem.. I think you are missing the point of his post.



Its not like the sway bar is doing anything now any way:rolleyes:.

#6 torxxx

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 05:15 PM

hehe
Safety wise, if your going to drive that OB with the busted sway bar, you might as well take it all the way off.. your going to end up ripping stuff off the bottom of your car if that thing gets hung up anywhere

#7 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 07:27 PM

I think there may be enough trend here to report this to NHTSA, at least they will collate the info and perhaps contact Subaru. Seems like it could be interpreted as a safety related failure, in the sense that a chunk of steel rod could become a hazard flopping around under the car.

#8 vtphoto

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 07:43 PM

The sway bar pieces don't seem to be in any imminent danger of causing further damage, but I cam definitely having them replaced. They must be there for a reason, and it seems like the car doesn't quite hold the turns at fast speeds quite so well. It would also seem to me that without it, you're putting more strain on the shocks and struts.

I brought it to the local Subaru dealership yesterday afternoon, along with printouts from previous threads on this board, and photos, etc, also complaints on the NHTSB site. The service manager was very polite (as was I) and said he had seen the same thing twice and would try calling the district rep the next day.

He called back this afternoon, and Subaru is willing to pay for the part at $125.00, but I'll have to foot the bill for labor, which I've been told would be an estimated $35.

This is a surprisingly fair compromise!

I'll also post a complaint on the NHTSB site, just to add another one. While I'm getting a free part, others may not, and perhaps this should be a future recall.

-Mike

#9 torxxx

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 07:45 PM

Right on.. Glad to hear they are willing to pay for a new part.

#10 K9Leader

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Posted 22 January 2004 - 11:45 AM

Mike:

Great work on getting Subaru to pay for the sway bar!

I suspect that the labor will turn out to be more than $35 -- they have to drop the exhaust to get the old bar out and the new one in, so it is more like an hour to hour-and-a-half job, so somewhere in the $85 - 125 range.

K9Leader, Newark DE

#11 cookie

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Posted 22 January 2004 - 01:57 PM

part of a modern suspension.
It controls body lean in corners and can have a huge effect on high speed handling.
At low speeds and off road you would not notice much.
Most folks would agree it really is a safety item.

#12 torxxx

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Posted 22 January 2004 - 04:40 PM

ok.. then they are a safety Item on a newer subaru.
the older ones, they dont really seem to have difference on or off.

I've had my car up to 100 mph with it off and the body rolls a little more in corners, but thats it.
Gained 3/4 inch of suspension travel in the front with it off.. Less wheel chatter over washboard bumps.

Its not like you can take a wagon into a corner at 65 on the roads up here anyways.

#13 cookie

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Posted 22 January 2004 - 04:54 PM

is standard stuff you fit for off road. Jeeps need all the help they can get on road, if they are lifted they really need it.
Off road you pull a couple of pins and get the droop you need to get good traction.

#14 remarcable

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Posted 22 January 2004 - 07:13 PM

I was the one who posted photos in the old thread and had the same thing happen to my 99 outback.

My experience is in that thread and you can save the images there and use them at your discretion. I think I may still have the old broken part of the bar somewhere if you need it for a lawsuit or anything.

I went to Dale Teague www.boxer4racing.com and he found me a front sway bar from a junked legacy outback for around $60 I think.

I replaced the front swaybar without removing the exhaust, and it was a pain in the rump roast. Worse than those 50,000 piece 3d puzzles.

It only took me about an hour to do it, even with my troubles getting the bar in place.

You might want to look into getting an aftermarket swaybar in an upgraded size for better handling and turn-in performance. Get the urethane bushing and heavy duty endlinks/mounts for an even better (but slightly harsher) ride.

I did not go to a Subaru Dealer because I despise the local one and would rather deal with it myself even if it means paying out of pocket. The outback has also seem some rough terrain and I'm sure I'd get the 'abuse' riot act read to me at the dealer.

#15 Alan Phillips

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Posted 22 January 2004 - 10:58 PM

I just replaced my sway bar. Drove on it for a year and then CV went out on the opposite side from the break. Not sure if related and noticed little or no driving problems ie excessive sway. It is easy to replace on 2000 Outback without removing exhaust manifolds. Turn it like a cork screw and with a little elbow grease to slip past the power steering hoses, your in it to win it.

#16 vtphoto

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Posted 23 January 2004 - 12:57 PM

Just got back from the dealership and the total cost was, as promised, $35.00 for labor. That would be a half hour of labor, but I was waiting for a bit over an hour. Props to Crawford Subaru's Service Manager for getting the part "good willed" and coming through with the labor quote.

Thanks to the folks on this board an alt.autos.subaru as well.

-Mike




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