Clunking noise



I have an intermittent soft to loud thumping noise upper right side of my car. I’ve had the axle replaced twice and also the bearings. It continues and multiple mechanics have not been able to tell me what’s wrong. Help!



More info, please.

“Upper right side?”

Upper as in right front fender, or upper as in roof?

Right side front or rear?

The axle is not in the upper part of the car. Which axle was replaced, and which bearings?

What year is your Outback, is it an automatic or a manual, and how many miles on the odometer?


Sorry, it’s right front passenger side.( didn’t you know my wheels are on my roof, ha ha) 2000 Subaru outback manual 120,000 miles.
both front axles were replaced and the right front passenger side bearings.
The sound occurs softly when driving straight and louder with both right and left turns but loudest when turning to the right. I can also feel the vibration of the clumking sometimes in my gear shift


Are any of these “multiple mechanics” Subie mechanics? Something that’s that consistent shouldn’t be hard to identify, or at least isolate. You didn’t mention the tranny and differential gear oil. Have those been checked? Not likely a cause if the noise is louder in turns, but the fact that you feel the vibration through the gearshift is a little weird. It sounds more like an axle problem, but you don’t usually feel those through the gearshift. Could it be that the mechanic(s) who replaced your axle(s) didn’t put Humpty back together again properly?


" Could it be that the mechanic(s) who replaced your axle(s) didn’t put Humpty back together again properly?"

That’s the first thing popped into my head, too.


the axle has been replaced twice by two different mechanics both from a “reputable tire” franchise. Also the Subaru dealership mechanics weren’t able to determine the source of the clunking.


A few comments for you here. First, some people will probably disagree with me on this, but (IMHO) NEVER go to a “reputable tire” franchise for mechanical repairs. Again, it’s just my opinion, but there it is. Find a regular mechanic that works primarily, if not solely, on Subarus (preferably not a dealer). I don’t know where you live, but here in Colorado, Subaru mechanics are all over the place.

I don’t know if this applies on such a new Subaru, but I used to have an '84, and I know if you didn’t CRANK down on that axle nut (when replacing, for example, axles and wheel bearings), you’d get a clickety-clackety noise, mostly when decelerating. Could that be it? On older cars (and perhaps other makes) you didn’t crank down when replacing bearings, because that would make the bearings bind up. I’d check with the dealer to find out how tight the axle nut is supposed to be and then check with the mechanics to see if that’s how tight they made it.

Third, was the SAME axle replaced twice? If so, why? Could it be that they just replaced a torn boot over a deteriorated CV joint and told you they replaced the whole axle? If the boot was torn and the CV joint was ruined due to the lubrication leaking out and they just replaced the boot, the bad CV joint could be causing you the problem. Maybe they didn’t put any more lube in the joint before they replaced the boot.

So many possibilities, I know. But I’d sure try to find out what it is. It sounds like it will become a major headache if you don’t find out what it is before something else goes wrong.