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Chicago 12-07-2012 10:22 AM

Strut Mounts?
Hey guys. I've been working on my suspension for some time now and replacing parts based on the advice of others on the forum. I'm still having some trouble with ride quality/steering, and nobody can seem to diagnose the problem. I've even taken my Legacy into Subaru, and they said they couldn't find anything. Here's what I've replaced or upgraded:
Whiteline LCA Bushings (front)
Rallitek Endlinks (front)
Ball Joints
Struts (Front and Rear)
These replacements have improved the quality somewhat, but it's still driving horribly. When I replaced the struts, I left the stock mounts and springs. I brought the front struts into a local mechanic friend just to make sure everything was installed correctly since a friend and I did the strut work ourselves. He made a comment about the mounts spinning too freely. There's almost no resistence. It's like spinning a skateboard wheel. I know they should obviously move because the wheel has to turn. Everything seemed to check out besides that, and there does not seem to be play in the mounts, but then again, it's me putting force on them, not thousands of pounds of the car when driving. He said he has never seen mounts spin like that, but I don't think he has worked on Subarus that much. Do you think this is the source of my problem? The ride is rough, and the steering has been loose compared to when I got the car at 18,000 miles (now has 60,000). There doesn't seem to be signs of bad tie rods or bearings (no popping or whirring noise). I took a video of the mount spinning before I put the struts back in. Here is a YouTube link to the video so you can get an idea of what I'm talking about. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!

BarManBean 12-07-2012 10:27 AM

Do you have the conical washer installed correctly in between the strut and the strut mount? How many miles on the mounts?

Also, when you say you replaced the LCA bushings, did you replace both of them or just one? What part numbers did you put in?

Max Capacity 12-07-2012 12:08 PM

I have new, in the bag OEM top mounts in the wagon. I'll check them this evening and see if they spin.

Gave me a few hours. I'm headed to VT after work.

BarManBean 12-07-2012 12:12 PM

Yeah, I have brand new ones mounted up on konis and can check with I get home as well.

Chicago 12-07-2012 04:43 PM

I assume they are the original mounts since I bought the car with only 18,000 miles on it, so there would be about 61,000 miles on them. To be honest, I don't remember if there was a washer. We did so much work that day that everything kind of blurs together, but I don't seem to remember there being a washer. Although, my friend did more of the work than I did since he is the car guy. Would the washer be included with the mounts if I were to purchase new ones?
As far as the LCA bushings go, I put in Whiteline Front Inner Rear Bushings (W53353).
I had purchased the Inner Fronts as well, but the stock ones seemed fine since they don't have the torque on them like the rears do. Also, it would have been nearly impossible to press them in and out with the tools and press we had. I had not planned on replacing the ball joints, but once everything was apart they seemed worn, so I picked up some Moog balljoints from a local auto parts store since we had everything apart already.
The strangest part about all of this is that every time I get new parts installed, the car rides great for a week or two, then it gradually degrades back to where I started. This happened after I got new tires in the summer, when I installed the LCA bushings along with the balljoints and endlinks, and once again when i put the struts in. So on 3 separate occasions, the car drove great for a short period of time. A local mechanic had me convinced that I had a bad tire. I didn't want to believe him, but then I got new tires a couple months later and it was like a new car. Only for a couple weeks though. Even before I had started replacing all these parts, and before the ride/steering got really bad, the problem was intermittent as well. Its lasted for about a year now. It would drive great for a few days/week/weeks, then for a few days it would feel like the car was falling apart. Then one day it would be fine again. That's why it was hard to diagnose because it wasn't always present. It was like something would get "stuck" and then pop back into position. Well, eventually it got to the point where it was just bad all the time. This is my 4th car now, and I've never had any sort of problem like this, and it's just been frustrating as hell that I can't figure it out.

Chicago 12-07-2012 04:48 PM

I'm a fairly aggressive driver (well, at least before these problems). I absolutely loved the handling on the Legacy when I bought it, which is why I upgraded the parts instead of putting in OEM. I would be ecstatic if I could get it back to the way it used to drive, but at this point, I would just be happy to drive to work and not feel like a pothole or big gust of wind is going to put me into the median on the highway. With winter coming, I'm scared of what it's going to be like in the snow too.

Max Capacity 12-07-2012 05:09 PM

I tryed to spin the bearing through the bag, it feels pretty tight, I could not spin it.

BarManBean 12-07-2012 06:59 PM


Originally Posted by Max Capacity (Post 4191709)
I tryed to spin the bearing through the bag, it feels pretty tight, I could not spin it.

Not a very good "real world" test there :lol::lol::lol:

Here's a better test--brand new top hats installed with konis and epic springs. It's worth mentioning that the top nuts technically aren't torqued to spec as I'll do that on the car, but they are definitely tight:

They spin VERY easily and are dead silent.

Couple of questions for you. Are you using a torque wrench to make sure that you are tightening everything correctly? Given that repairs seem to work for a bit is it possibly you aren't getting everything completely tight and stuff is loosening up on you? Also, have you gotten an alignment by a good shop that knows what they are doing?

BarManBean 12-07-2012 07:01 PM

Also, just watched your video again and my strut mounts don't make that noise. Take yours off and see if there is a heavy duty conical washer under there (I'm sure you know, but make sure to compress the springs first, obviously--don't kill yourself).

Chicago 12-08-2012 08:32 AM

When we replaced most of the parts, we were using an air wrench. Everything seemed as tight as it could get, but no, we didn't use a torque wrench.
The one thing that I have not done is get an alignment. I know it is an important factor, but I feel like it's too big of a problem to just be that. I didn't want to get an alignment until I knew everything was fixed as to avoid having to do it multiple times. It's interesting that you mentioned your mounts are quiet. There is definitely a small humming coming from the bearing when i spin it. Like I said earlier, it's like a skateboard or rollerblade wheel. That's what it reminds me of. I'm starting to think that maybe I should just bite the bullet and pick up some new mounts. This way I can make sure the washer is in place correctly, and since I installed new struts, I have a feeling the old mounts will go before the new struts, so I would be doing this down the road anyways. Do you guys know anywhere to get the mounts besides directly from Subaru? When I originally got the struts, I looked online for the mounts as well. It seems like the rear ones are readily available, but nobody sells aftermarket front mounts. I talked to two dealerships, and they wanted $69 and $89 for them. Funny that there was a difference between the two locations. Seems pricey.

BarManBean 12-08-2012 08:42 AM

The general consensus is that after market strut mounts for our cars are no good. I looked into it and the cost savings really didn't add up for me to take the risk.

Contact Fred Beans Parts or Mike at Infamous Performance & Tuning (username "m sprank" on the forum here). They will run you ~$200 for all four corners, fronts and rears should cost the same amount.

Max Capacity 12-08-2012 11:33 AM

With a new rear nut, bolt and washer, I spent about $217. for the 4 mounts.

Ok I just openedthe bag to one of the front mounts. The bearing spins when you stick your finger in it. Very smooth but well not spin by its self.

JMLegacy 12-09-2012 06:09 AM

I don't know how much this helps, but i've owned a car where i used an aftermarket strut mount on it and boy let me tell you, worse nightmare. Every bump i went over i hear "kucum, kucum" When my REAL meachanic checked it out he showed me the play in the strut mount and ordered me to get the genuine one. I replaced with the genuine one and also my control arm bushings.

I could now drive my car through the worse of roads on 50 series tires and dont feel a thing that i shouldn't be feeling!
(2003 honda civic)
Get the original parts and you will be pleased.

Chicago 12-13-2012 02:51 PM

Thanks for the help guys. I have another question. Before I get into replacing the mounts, do the stock springs go bad often? The car has gotten really bad the last few days. It's drifting or floating all over the place. I looked at the spring with the car loaded, and it looks like the top of the spring is so compressed that the 2nd coil from the top is almost overlapping the top coil. This may be how it is, but it doesn't seem normal to me.

Chicago 12-13-2012 02:58 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Here is a pic. It's hard to judge depth from the picture, but the right side of the spring (2nd coil from top) is basically adjacent to the top of the coil.

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