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Hello all. It appears my front struts + top mounts are past their prime with 157K miles. Is this a shade tree mechanic job, or should it be left to the professionals?

Are any other parts needs, or just the struts + top mounts? Are instructions available online for such an endeavor? Any special tools needed that might not already be in my garage?

Thanks for any wisdom you may be able to share.

gbooks
 

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Just did all 4 myself. Harbor freight spring compressors. Set of pass through sockets. Otherwise nothing special. I did strip a rear endlink that I needed to replace. I also took the advise of others and got the top hats Subaru brand off ebay for about $100 for the set.

Tom
 

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I would rent the strut spring compressor from autozone or discount, its way better than the harbor freight one and you get your money back when you return it.
 

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Not too bad if you have basic knowledge

Replaced front struts today along with cv axles. Wasn't too bad with the required tools. I too have the cheapo coil spring tool and although it gets the job done, I would recommend a better tool for the job. I replaced factory struts with KYB from advance auto parts. Only thing I noticed is strut spring didn't tighten as much as factory. Will test drive tomorrow and post if there are any issues........
 

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I rented the ones from autozone when I did my outback. The Harbor freight ones are exactly the same in form and function.

What do you mean "The strut spring didn't tighten as much as factory?" I can't understand that... The nut needs to go all the way down to the shoulder. to hold the top hat. The spring should be compressed when installing the top hat. I'm sure you know that...
 

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Strut Nut

I meant to type "strut nut", guess I was tired and had spring on the brain. I am referring to the nut that secures strut to top hat. The factory nut was showing "6" threads and the kyb only tightened to "4-5" showing. I installed exactly as it was when removed including the washer between plate and hat. Without the washer, the bearing won't be able to work properly. Vehicle just rolled over 75K. Drove it today with no issues/noises. Will continue to monitor and post any updates.

I do have to say that out of the 31 vehicles I have owned and worked on, compressing the coil springs on this car was a huge pain and took some brute strength compared to others I have replaced. Worth the $ saved though based off of what I have read on this forum.

Used a 19mm socket/vise grip combo with an allen key in the strut.:tup:
 

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Yeah, okay, a press is going to be a lot easier than the manual spring compressors! The outback was much much harder than the Tribeca to compress. You have to put the compressors at just the right clocking to get it to compress enough to get the tophat off. I had to loosen and retighten about 5 times before I got it right, that was hard!

If you want to do it the easy way, just bring the struts to a local shop and ask them to switch them over for you. It's usually not too much.

As long as the nut seated against the shoulder with the springs completely compressed, you got it tight.
 

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Everything is tight and installed correctly, shouldn't have any issues. I am more worried about the aftermarket cv axles I installed based on other posts I have read. I installed new seals. The cv axles were less work than the struts but I figured I might as well do it all at once. After removal, i noticed a tear in the passenger side boot. Going to hang on to the factory parts in case I have issues with the aftermarkets.
 

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Clunking noise over bumps

Since performing this maintenance, I have noticed a clunking noise when going over bumps/dips.

Drove over 1000 miles during the holidays with no safety issues but still want to get to the bottom of this noise.

I rechecked all nuts/bolts for tightness with no issues. Drove again and still have the noise. Going to remove struts tomorrow and inspect them.

Anyone have any experience of this?
 

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Strut Mounts

Make sure the stabilizer bar bushings are OK, replace them with OEM.
Thanks for the advice. Everything looks and move as it should. no leaks on anything or tears in the bushings/joints. I didn't replace the strut mount and suspect this is the culprit since it was making noise prior to strut replacement.

Won't be too bad since I know the tricks for removal/install.

Taking it in for four new tires and alignment Tuesday, will have them check it out.:tup:
 

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Everything looks and move as it should. no leaks on anything or tears in the bushings/joints.:
I've had replaced everything in front suspension, except stabilizer bushings and struts and still had knocking noise going over bumps/dips. Then I decided to replace stabilizer bushings and that was right call, no more knocking noise.
 

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I've had replaced everything in front suspension, except stabilizer bushings and struts and still had knocking noise going over bumps/dips. Then I decided to replace stabilizer bushings and that was right call, no more knocking noise.
I didn't inspect them but will check them out once I have the tire service/alignment Tuesday.

Thanks for the pictures, they really helped.
 

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Hard to inspect stabilizer bushing. THey seem to look good, but still clunked for me.

Although top hat seems like a logical solution for you.
 

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Had to postpone tires and alignment until Saturday but I ordered the bushings to replace on Thursday when they arrive. Cheaper route than the strut mounts. Will post update on Friday.
 

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Thanks lutek34!

I've had replaced everything in front suspension, except stabilizer bushings and struts and still had knocking noise going over bumps/dips. Then I decided to replace stabilizer bushings and that was right call, no more knocking noise.
MOOG bushings arrived today and installed. NO MORE NOISE plus a smoother ride.

Definitely worth the $10 and 30 minutes of time!!!!!:tup::D
 
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