Subaru Legacy Spec B drivers side clunking noise

Hey all,

I have a 2008 Subaru Legacy Spec B. It is a great car, and I am very happy with it. However, it is making this noise and no one can figure out what it is. I have taken it to the dealership three times and the never hear the noise, and they can’t find anything wrong.

The noise occurs mostly in parking lots at parking lot speeds. When I got over rough pavement or speed bumps, I get a clunking noise in the front drivers side wheel well. It sounds as if something is broken or loose at the top of the strut, right at the top of the strut tower. I do not hear the noise on smooth roads or at highway speeds. I can get it to happen in certain parking lots, but the dealer would not go to those places.

Recently I started to get another noise out of the same area. When I back down my driveway (slight down hill grade) and I get towards the bottom, I turn the steering wheel clockwise almost all the way so that I back to the right and can pull out to the left. When I get to the bottom at full turn, I hear a loud clunk and I can feel the car shift around a bit. I can repeat this over and over by pulling back in and then backing out again. It only does it when I back up to the right, not to the left. Today, It did it again but I was on a flat surface, which I had not noticed before. I backed to the right, turned the wheels fully to the right, and it clunks. It also clunked two more times when I shifted into first and started to pull forward out of the turn, almost like it was hanging up on something.

The dealer looked at the car three times. The last time they replaced the stabilizer bar links and bushings, but it made no difference. They say everything is tight and looks normal with no leaks. I am thinking it is either a front axle or front strut that is bad, but they can’t confirm. The struts are really expensive on this car ($500 each), so I don’t want to replace them on a whim.

Important details: This is a 6 speed manual car. Turbo 2.5L boxer 4. AWD, with 68K miles. Issue was first noticed about August 2011, seems to be getting worse recently.

Any one have any thoughts on what this could be. I love this car, as it is a monster in the snow, which will be flying soon, and I really don’t want to be driving with something broken.

Thanks so much for your time and for any thoughts or suggestions.

Dan K
Madison, WI

This is a tough one. But there are some clues, the first being the problem having begun at full turn.

I’m going to suggest an inner CV joint. When you turn the wheels, the distance between the outer CV joint and the differential output shaft actually becomes greater. The inner CV joint allows ths to happen. Part 5 in the attached drawing slides out inside of part 3, on the three bearings parts 6. With wear, those parts can create a path in the inner portion of part 3, and pulling the other parts further out when turning can cause clunking.

That can be a really tough problem to verify on the rack. But it’s my wild guess.

Would this cause the vertical motion noise too? I took the car over to the road that the dealer says they drive down to listen for noises. I drove at 10 mph and the noise was quite obviously there. I also did it as 15, 20 30 and 40 mph. I could still hear it, but it was being drowned out by other noises at that point. I also took it over a speed bump at an angle and got the vertical noise. I can only seem to recreate the turned wheels noise at the bottom of my drive way. I tried every slope I could find near the dealer.

My 2009 spec B started making the same noise. Did you solve the problem?


You revived a 6 month old thread

I doubt OP is reading this anymore

For best results with your own problem, I suggest starting your own thread