Front end grinding after replacing struts 1999 Subaru Outback


#1

I recently replaced the struts and strut mounts (front and back) on my 1999 Subaru Outback (all wheel drive). Immediately after this was done, the car began making a grinding noise that comes from the front end when I either am coming to a stop (grinding begins happening at 5mph or so) or turning left (happens at any speed). However, if I am traveling along and, upon approaching a stop sign or left corner in the road, shift the car into neutral (it is an automatic transmission) the grinding does not occur. As a note to help solve my issue, when I replaced the passenger-side strut I did not mark the position of the bolt that is responsible for adjusting the caliber. I did, however, do this for the drivers side.

I really have no clue what is going on here but would greatly appreciate any help. I replaced the struts because the rear tires were wearing badly on the inside and I was told by a mechanic that the struts were bad (which they were). However, in an effort to save money I am unsure of how to proceed. If I go ahead and have the tires replaced and get a four-wheel alignment and it doesn’t solve the issue, I will likely have to mess with the front end (or someone will anyway) which will then require another alignment.

If anyone has a suggestion for me I would greatly appreciate it.


#2

You need remove the tires and take a look at everything you touched. More than likely you will find something touching a rotating surface is now ground down and shiny. Check axles, brake rotors, brake shields, tires…


#3

Why didn’t you mark the camber bolt on pass side?


#4

The upper strut bushings may have been reused when they probably should have been replaced. They will make noise when turning or the front end dips while stopping.


#5

Oops, you said the strut mounts were replaced. Sorry, I missed that.


#6

You might check the brake rotor shield and make sure it’s not touching the rotor. It’s very easy to bend them while doing front end work and the slightest brush against the rotor can cause all kinds of racket and it can worsen while cornering due to slight variances in rotor movement.


#7

I’ve had a bent shield (my bad) cause such a noise.

You might try (with the car in neutral) jacking up each corner of the car and hand spinning the wheel while a friend slowly applies the brakes. The source might become obvious.

Even though the engine will be off, use good safety sense. The rotational inertia will transfer to the opposite wheel, rotating it backwards, so elevate that side too to let the wheel spin free and prevent the energy from getting to terra firma. Chocks, the parking brake (while doing the front wheels, and good jackstands on a level, solid surface are essential. And never get any part of your body thicker than the undercarriage clearance under the vehicle while doing this. Just be safe.