Got a bad steering knuckle? You can skip the shop and replace it right at home with this tutorial. It will show you how to prepare for the project and how to replace the steering knuckle in the safest and most efficient way possible.
Why it’s Important to Replace Your Steering Knuckle Right Away
Image Credit: Patrick Olsen
When you have a cracked or bent steering knuckle, a few things could go wrong. For one, your wheel alignment will be thrown out of whack, which leads to uneven tire wear and poor handling. It will also put additional stress on the ball joints, which can break suddenly and cause you to lose control of your Subaru. If you suspect that one of your steering knuckles is about to fail, here’s a diagnostic guide you can use.
Preparing for the Project
Like many projects, this one requires some preparation ahead of time. Get the following items before replacing your steering knuckle:
1. A Replacement Steering Knuckle
A replacement steering knuckle is pretty easy to find, but a quality replacement steering knuckle is even easier to find. All you need is this list of OEM Subaru steering knuckles at wholesale prices. Be sure to perform a search on your Subaru to find the right OEM steering knuckle for your car. Don’t forget to pay attention to the position of the steering knuckles. Some are made for the left side, and others are made for the right side.
We don’t suggest getting an aftermarket steering knuckle for a variety of reasons (which are listed here). You’re better off getting an OEM steering knuckle. Here’s a list of our best-selling steering knuckles:
- Part No. 28313AE030 – 2003-2007 Outback, Legacy, Impreza, Forester, and Baja models
- Part No. 28313AE020 – 2002-2008 Outback, Legacy, Impreza, Forester, and Baja models
- Part No. 28313AG020 – 2010-2014 XV Crosstrek, Outback, Legacy, Impreza, and Forester models
- Part No. 28313AG030 – 2010-2014 XV Crosstrek, Outback, Legacy, Impreza, and Forester models
- Part No. 28012AA004 – 1990-2000 Legacy, Impreza, and Forester models
- Part No. 28313FE061 – 2006-2007 Impreza models
- Part No. 28313FE071 – 2006-2007 Impreza models
2. Replacement Ball Joints (Possibly)
There’s a chance your ball joints are on the brink of failure as a result of added stress from a broken steering knuckle. Inspect the ball joints on both sides of your car using this WikiHow tutorial and get replacement ball joints if needed.
Here’s a list of the tools you need for this project:
- Socket set
- Long breaker bar
- Torque wrench that goes to 200 lb-ft
- Small pry bar
- Ball joint separator (also known as a pickle fork)
- Tie rod puller
- Mechanic's hammer
- Flat screwdriver
4. A Home Car Lift
Because the steering knuckle is directly connected to your wheel, your car needs to be lifted first before you can do anything. You can safely lift it with jack stands, or a Kwik-Lift. Since you only need one wheel off the ground, it's tempting to just leave the car on the jack. Don't do it, it's just not safe.
Important Tips to Know Before Starting the Project
- If you’re not sure where all of your jack points are, check your owner’s manual. It’s really important to lift your vehicle by its jack points.
- If you need a ball joint separator or tie rod puller, check your local auto parts store. They will often loan them to you for free.
- You must properly torque all the fasteners in this job. Make sure you use a torque wrench.
- Spray all the nuts and bolts that you are going to remove with a rust penetrant a day or two ahead of time. Also spray the tie rod joint and the ball joint.
- Your car will need an alignment when you are done.
Replacing the Steering Knuckle in 10 Steps
(This is a generic overview of the repair. Check Youtube for specific steps for your Subaru.)
- Lift your vehicle.
- Take the wheel off on the side with the broken steering knuckle.
- Remove the caliper without disconnecting the brake line. Hang it on a wire so you don't damage the brake line.
- Remove the axel nut.
- Remove the tie rod end from the knuckle.
- Remove the ball joint from the knuckle.
- Remove the bolts that connect the knuckle to the strut.
- Remove the entire steering knuckle assembly from the car.
- Either put the old ball joint (if it’s in working order) or the new ball joint on the new steering knuckle.
- Install the new steering knuckle in the reverse order of removal.
Please contact us if you have any questions about the replacement process. Or if you need help finding the right replacement steering knuckle or ball joint for your Subaru.