Gen 3 – New noise after front end work, CV axle replace, troubleshooting exact problem area



I spent some time researching this problem and looking under car, but trying to find likely source of new sound.

Car: Subaru Outback 2008 2.5 4EAT. 145K miles.
Repair done: new OEM ball joints, MOOG front sway bar bushings, both CV axles (I pulled OEM axles from pick-a-part. Those boots were intact but inner boots had dry and cracking rubber so I deep cleaned and rebooted with OEM boots. I kept all spline & bearing orientation the same. Double checked all C-clips engaged, etc.). A month prior to this, I did ATF, front and rear differential fluid change. The new sound only start after the above parts replacement. Alignment done after repair.

Problem: New sound, like a metal “tink, TINK..tink, tink” with driving, best heard at low speed. Happens when turning both directions and going straight. This youtube link: Subaru Outback ’08 new noise post-CV axle swap was taken in parking garage, as I turned right, left and moved straight. No other noise heard or vibrations felt. Can’t tell if just left, right or both sides. Upon the first test drive post-repair, the engine vibration in drive felt a little rough (in steering wheel) and after 20 yards, it stopped. Front differential fluid still “full” and did not have to top up. On installation of both axles, I felt the distinct “pop” of engaging the retention clip. Photos show the spacing of inner axle cup in relation to front differential, which seem to match spacing of old axles. I lifted and rotated front wheels and cannot replicate sound. Opposite wheel rotates in opposite direction when I do. Car drives smoother after repairs, no shimmy in steering wheel, especially felt when turning and going into straighaway and accelerating.

Thoughts as to cause: When doing drive side axle, I locked in ball joint to knuckle, inserted inner CV joint, and then inserted outer CV shaft into hub, requiring me to really bend the outer joint to line it up (while upper strut camber bolt was out). Did I possibly do damage to the joint? (The passenger side CV axle was full installed before dropping knuckle into ball joint, and went much smoother.) Is there a change the inner axle retention C-clip can get knocked off and be loose inside the differential? Maybe I started with BAD used OEM axles? Hoping the video of sound helps. Thanks for any advice in diagnosing this issue.

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