How to Repair the Clunking Sound in Subaru Tribeca B9 SUV
A common problem in the Subaru Tribeca B9 SUV from 2005-07 models is a clunking type sound that develops over time. The noise is hear in the front of the car when going over any sort of bump. This differs from a bad U-joint, that will clunk whenever the car is moving.
In most cases it is the Sway Bar busings that are bad (even if they look fine) or Stabilizer links or bushings on the Strut Top. The parts run not more than $20 and your labor, or if you dealerize it, about $60 in labor and takes not more than 45 min. The part number for the bushings are: 20414XA01A, but may differ.
Ramps - To get the car in the air. You are going to want the suspension loaded (weight on the wheels) and not on jack stands. It will be a lot easier.
Eye Protection - Keep it out of your eyes.
Ratchet - To remove the bolts and nuts.
12mm Socket - To remove nuts and bolts. A deep one seems to be the proper length to work with and you will need one to get the nut off the stud.
Flat blade screwdriver - To undo the one push type fastener in each wheel well to drop the liner down to access the front bolt.
If you use jack stands the wheels will droop and could make removing the brackets that hold the bushings difficult, possibly even dangerous. One other safety item, do not attempt to remove the brackets unless car is on level ground. Don't put one wheel on the curb and the other on the road to get under the car and work on it. That will put torque on the sway bar and again you could get hurt removing the brackets.
The new bushings have a split in a different spot (face the split to the rear of the car when installing - green dot to the left) also the opening is smaller. The old ones will be rock hard and deformed. The new ones are much softer.
1. To get to the front bolt to the U clamp, remove one of the plastic molly type fasteners up in the wheel liner. The wheel liner drops down a few inches to make it easier to get to the front bolt. The fastener is easy to find, just look up close to the top of the wheel well and there is one fastener at about 11:00.
2. To remove, use a flat blade screwdriver to pop the center part out then you can use your fingers to pull the base out.
3. With the liner pulled down, take a sharpie or similar and put an arrow on the U clamp pointing forward. This is to help you remember which direction the clamp goes back on. When you have the clamp off you will see it matters.
4. Remove both the nut and bolt (12mm) and take the U clamp off. Once the clap is off, move the sway bar around a little to remove the old bushing off and then install the new one on.
5. Put the new bushing on so the split is facing the rear, there is a green dot on one side of the bushing. Point the green dot to the left side (drivers side for LHD) of the car.
6. Put the clamp back on the bushing. Do not have the clamp on all the way and get the front bolt threaded some before getting the rear on the stud. Verify the bolt in the front is threaded on enough so as not to cross thread it. It you put it on second it will be hard to get it started.
7. Tighten the bolt and nut torqued down
8. Push the liner back in place and put the fastener back in.
9. Now repeat for the other side.
If the noise remains, check the Sway Bar Mounts, which becomne loose, Stabilize Links, or Strut top bushing. You may have to visit the dealer for this.