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Old 05-29-2003, 11:02 AM   #1
outback_97
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Question '95-'00 Legacy: Did you fix your clunk?

Any Legacy or Legacy Outback owners out there get TSB 04-09-01 done on their car? Basically, it is supposed to reduce or eliminate the "clunk" or rattle you can get when turning on uneven surfaces. The repair procedure involves installing a "Steering Universal Joint With Damper".

I did some searching and there were some old threads talking about the problem, but I never found anything about it getting fixed. It's not a safety issue, but it's very annoying.

Mine does it ALL the time on gravel roads and when you hit a crack or pothole while turning. A fellow nasioc'er was kind enough to send me some info on this, so after worrying forever about my steering or suspension sounding like it's broken, at least now I know what the cause is.

If anyone had this done, let me know if it helped, thanks.

Steve
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Last edited by outback_97; 06-26-2003 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 05-29-2003, 11:07 AM   #2
ws6fiero
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I'm also curious about how much it costs to get fixed. It's driving me nuts, too
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Old 05-29-2003, 02:11 PM   #3
KD7000
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Hmm, I have that clunk, too. I'd be interested to hear more as well, especially if this is something we can fix ourselves.

-Brian
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Old 05-29-2003, 02:17 PM   #4
monovich
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I'm not familiar with the clunk.

hmm.
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Old 05-29-2003, 02:18 PM   #5
biggreen96
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I never knew there was suposed to be a fix for that, I was going to try out the steering rack bushings. I would like to kow how much it is too.
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Old 05-29-2003, 06:43 PM   #6
outback_97
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FWIW:

Part #'s for the Steering U Joint w/ Dampers:

Legacy: P/N 34160AC030 (Shorter Length)
Outback: P/N 34160AC090 (Longer Length)

I checked an online parts vendor and these are about $90 for the Legacy and almost 3X that for Legacy OB.

Still wondering if anyone actually got this done... it sounds like there's a lot of people that didn't, though.

If you're not familiar with the clunk... you're lucky. Maybe mine always did it, but it seems to have gotten more noticeable since 70K-80K miles (I'm at 95K now).
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Old 05-29-2003, 10:59 PM   #7
lucien2
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I have a clunk that is driving me nuts, but it sounds like it is coming from the left rear, so I don't think it is the same clunk as your clunk....

Spare tire is secure, jack is secure. I am paranoid that it's my strut/spring assembly
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Old 05-29-2003, 11:09 PM   #8
ws6fiero
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Yep, that would be a different clunk.

I bought my car at 99k and I didn't notice "the clunk" at all, but now that I have 110k on it I am noticing it all the time. I'm really surprised nobody has gotten it fixed yet.

Not sure if its worth $90 and the effort, though.
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Old 05-29-2003, 11:56 PM   #9
Sobelizard109
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I've got the clunk too, specially when i go offroading to remote camping/biking locations. bother the heck outta me but i think for 90+ i can deal with it.
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Old 05-30-2003, 04:13 PM   #10
lucien2
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I think my clunk might be a bearing. What does a bad bearing sound like?
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Old 05-30-2003, 05:51 PM   #11
jkyes
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i am not sure if this is the same clunk or not, but i have had mine for a year now.. i can actually get a noise very similar to it by jacking up the rear end with the car in gear rocking the rear wheel front to back. i can actually get it to make the noise on straits if the bump is big.
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Old 05-30-2003, 07:06 PM   #12
lucien2
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Interesting, it must be the silver ones, then....
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Old 05-30-2003, 07:25 PM   #13
mvstype
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Quote:
Originally posted by lucien2
Interesting, it must be the silver ones, then....
I have the clunk and mine is booger colored.

MV
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Old 05-30-2003, 08:33 PM   #14
US2JDM
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I have the clunk on rough terrain, and I have an Impreza!
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Old 05-31-2003, 12:06 AM   #15
lucien2
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Quote:
Originally posted by mvstype


I have the clunk and mine is booger colored.

MV
are you talking front-end clunk or the rear end clunky grindy clunk? 'Coz if it's front end clunk it is part of the TSB. But if it is the rear end grindy clunk then yea, we're gonna have to add booger colored to the list.
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Old 05-31-2003, 12:34 AM   #16
ws6fiero
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Quote:
Originally posted by lucien2
I think my clunk might be a bearing. What does a bad bearing sound like?
A bad bearing would be more of a whine/hum type noise. I really don't know the legacy's rear suspension at all, but in general that sounds like something you'd get from a bad ball joint or toe link or a worn bushing, etc.
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Old 05-31-2003, 05:06 AM   #17
Subietonic
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Bearings deteriorate at different rates depending on their lubrication, stress/torque loads and use. You'll typically start to notice a bad bearing because it's making a noise that exceeds the normal ambient noise that you're used to in your car. If it's a wheel bearing or a pinion bearing, initially you'll notice that the noise goes away when you turn left or right (wheel bearing) or load/unload (on/off the accelerator) the drivetrain (pinion bearing). That's telling you that bearing is starting to go and needs to be repaired/replaced. Once they hit their death throes, you'll have constant noise (loud yowling noise, grating, clunking, etc.) from the bearing hub or the differential areas.

The clunking that you mention in the post seems to be a common anomaly across the Subaru line. All 3 Legacys, the wife's Forester and daughter's Impreza all do it to varying degrees. You notice it when you're making a turn across a raised joint where two streets come together, or you turn into a parking lot and the entry way is slightly higher than the road surface, or as some have mentioned, you're driving along bumpy road and you notice it when you hit a rock/bump while cornering. Almost always it involves turning and it feels like the steering column rattles.

I'm fairly sure that as the mileage builds up, the incidence and the severity of it increase. The most I've got on any of my cars is 56K and that's on one of the 98 GTs. I notice it more on this car but have thought it might also be a function of the 17" wheels/low profile tires.

Someone in another forum which I can't find right now, also suggested that it might be steering rack bushings as well. Does anyone have a copy of the TSB info and does it make mention of the steering rack too or just the "Steering column u-joint coupling"? BTW - 1st Subaru Parts check of the Legacy P/N above returns the following:

List $118.40
Price $88.80
Steering column - Coupling
COUPLING, Legacy, w/Outback - W/O SVX 1996 - 1999

and
List $118.40
Price $88.80
Steering column - Steering column assembly - U-joint coupling - W/outback sus W/outback sus 1996 - 1999

the Outback P/N returned a "No parts found"

Br, Dale
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Old 05-31-2003, 08:42 PM   #18
remarcable
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My car has had the clunk since about 4k miles. I've grown so used to it that it isn't a problem anymore.
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Old 06-02-2003, 02:17 PM   #19
outback_97
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Seems like the consensus is:

1) It's quite common
2) It's annoying to most people
3) Accepted by some as one of those wacky subie foibles
4) No one here has ever had this fixed, or even knows someone who has had it fixed per the TSB.

I already knew #1-#3, still hard to believe #4.

[rant]
What is irritating is that when I brought the car to the dealer complaining of an issue nearly verbatim to the description in the TSB, the dealer is clueless. At least say, "Here's the TSB, you're past warranty, but if you want to fix that it'll cost you X dollars. There's nothing wrong with your car which compromises your safety or performance."

Maybe that's too much to ask. Sucks when the consumer is so much more informed than the dealer, when the TSB's are easy for the dealers to get and a pain for consumers to get.
[/rant]

Guess I'll just learn to love my clunk.

Steve
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Old 06-02-2003, 05:44 PM   #20
Oquipah
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I've had that confounded clunk since day one (41,000K miles). It was discussed here or possibly at the USMB forum, without any conclusion.

How does one get the TSB for the fix?

outback_97-it sounds like you have the TSB...true? I'd be interested in a copy if possible.

I just called NHTSA regarding the TSB and they were no help.

Yes it's another Subaru quirk, but if it can be fixed then many people would be very happy.

Peace,
Oquipah
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Old 06-04-2003, 11:14 AM   #21
remarcable
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There used to be a personel web page out their titled "subaru noises" but I seem to have lost the link. It had a little more info about the various creaks rattles and squick squick noises.
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Old 06-04-2003, 11:54 AM   #22
outback_97
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Google search "subaru noises" yields:

http://resnet.uoregon.edu/~dwhite/pages/subnoises.html

I emailed the guy who made the page a while back, he has sold the car and has no more info.

Oquipah, PM'd you.
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Old 06-04-2003, 05:33 PM   #23
mvstype
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Quote:
Originally posted by lucien2


are you talking front-end clunk or the rear end clunky grindy clunk? 'Coz if it's front end clunk it is part of the TSB. But if it is the rear end grindy clunk then yea, we're gonna have to add booger colored to the list.
It would be the front.

TSB=???

MV
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Old 06-26-2003, 08:55 AM   #24
juancolorado
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Default I'm going to get that clunk!!

For all of you with the famous "clunk".

2000 Outback Wagon, 43k. I have had this "clunk" from day one. Bought the car new. The first time I had it in I was told it was "strut action" noise. Well, yesterday I went to the dealer with the TSB in hand (thanks Steve).

The boys went over it and said that they though it was the steering problem explained in the TSB. So, to make a long story short they ordered the parts and I am going to get it "fixed" (I hope) as soon as the parts come in.

I will let everyone know what the results are. I have lived with this noise for a loooooooooong time and hate it!!!! I hope this is the fix.

Later,

John
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Old 06-26-2003, 06:40 PM   #25
outback_97
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Note:

I changed the original post to reflect the fact that this applies to '00 Legacies as well.

It's interesting to note that the fix for '00 differs from the prior years, though.

Please keep us informed of the results, John, thank you.

Steve
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