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2010 Subaru Outback Loud Drumming Noise

My 2010 Outback (7,000 miles) suddenly started making this low pitched, loud, repetitive drumming sound that got so deafening it hurt my ears with the pressure it caused. This was only after a short distance and I stopped to avoid potential damage. It makes no noise when you turn it on, only when moving, and there are no problem alert lights on the dash that go on. The steering wheel does no vibrate. Muffler was ruled out by a service station and I had it towed to dealer where they found a front bushing missing (although the sound, to me, did not seem like it was coming from the front but maybe the back or enveloping the whole car, hard to isolate). After dealer replaced the bushing they found the loud noise was still there and they’re still trying to figure out what it is. It’s been a week and I’m looking for any suggestions as to what this could be. Thanks for any help!

I’ve ridden in a few cars that make a loud “harmonic” noise when a particular window is openned when the moonroof is open. Perhaps one of the windows in one of the back doors is not sealing fully.

I wondered about that, too, with the window, because a back window was open at the time this first happened, but when I noticed that, the window was then shut but the noise persisted. I’ll ask service to double check all windows and moonroof again, to make sure all are shut and sealing fully. The noise is louder than any similar kind of thing I’ve experienced with other cars, but the pressure in the ears is much the same though more intense in this case. Thanks for the suggestion! it’s worth the double checking.

One (remote) possibility if no one has thought to turn the radio/cd player/etc off is that it is an oscillation in the sound system triggered by vibration when the car is moving. Modern sound systems are so good that it can be hard to localize strange sounds if they do occur unless/until you turn the system off and realize that the sounds are coming from the sound system, not the exhaust pipe, tires, or suspension.

Without hearing it is near impossible to diagnose. Like throwing darts in the dark.

Good luck, hopefully the dealer figures it out before the Subaru engineers are brought in.

Thanks! I’ve passed this on, too. Any ideas are welcome at this point and it’s worth ruling out the simple stuff, that’s for sure!

I know you’re right about throwing darts in the dark! But, honestly, that’s pretty much what the service guys at the dealership, who can hear it, are doing at this point. Had I known it would go this far, I’d have recorded the sound. For what it’s worth, it is a low, repetitive, rather rapid, bassy drumming sound, more like a bass drum with padded mallet than a snare drum with a bare stick, for example. The sound is not sharp or screechy. It’s low, bassy. And it is a steady, repetitive rhythm. It started all at once first time I drove the car one day a week ago, beginning with going up a gradual hill right outside where it had been parked. At first, it was just a subtle drumming but quickly got louder and louder, ultimately causing pressure in the ears like when a car window is open just enough to cause weird pressure but much worse. I’m sure I never went over 40 mph and less than a mile before stopping because of the severity. Service guy said same thing when he drove it, “I didn’t dare drive it too far, the noise was so loud.” It only happens when moving, not idling, no vibration in steering, no warning lights… and, apparently, it’s not related to the missing bushing they found, which they replaced… but noise persisted. So, any darks in the dark continue to be welcome and appreciated because not solutions have been found yet. Day 8. Thanks everybody!