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Subaru Transaxle Mount

2002 Subaru Outback 4cyl auto trans 166.8K miles

Hearing a “clunk” lately when switching into reverse in the AM after starting the car. The transmission seems to drive completely normal otherwise. So I checked the trans fluid and it’s fine. Then I started looking at mounts. Upper engine mount has about 1mm of play, lower mounts don’t budge. Then I went to the transaxle mount and found that there seemed to be almost 2cm of space (can easily fit my fingers in there) between the stopper and the transaxle crossmember (picture attached). When I have someone put the car in reverse while I am underneath (obviously we have the brake / parking brake engaged so I don’t get run over) I see this stopper move upward and can see the entire drive shaft move upwards also. Not just a few mm, but on the order of centimeters. Unfortunately when I had someone helping me it was later in the day and I could not get the clunk to occur to see if I can hear where it comes from.

Is this space and movement in the stopper and drivetrain normal?

If it’s not normal, could this cause the clunk to happen?

It it’s not normal, should I have it repaired on this vehicle? Is it hurting anything / worth it long term?

If it’s normal, any other advice on sorting out the clunk? It does it about 75% of the time I shift into reverse, but seems less likely when the car is warm.

update: I replaced the trans mount and the upper torque mount on the engine. This has eliminated a lot of drivetrain vibration… however the noise persists.

Still makes a clack sound when shifting into reverse, and only in the am when the car is not warm. Otherwise, the car drives perfectly fine.

Anyone have any further advice?

Are there any other mounts on this drive train that could be bad?