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Just bought a 2005 Impreza RS 2.5. It has a clunking noise that we thought was coming from the left front wheel area when you hit a bump or go off a driveway drop-off. On the highway you cannot hear it. Around town doing 40 MPH every bump in the road you hear it.

We took the left front wheel off and the struts/springs. We are replacing the springs with the stock ones. While wheel was off and strut out I grabbed the front hub/brake assembly and tried to see if I could tell where the clunking noise was coming from. It sounds like it is coming from where the axle enters the transmission. There seems to be a lot of play - in and out - but I don't know what is considered excessive. However, when I grab the front hub assembly and manually manipulate it up and down (and possibly sideways) I can definitely hear a clunk where the axle goes into the transmission.

Any ideas? I assume some play is normal but, again, I don't know how much is excessive.

Also, it does not seem to do it while turning or anything else. Just between 10 and say 45 MPH when you hit a bump or especially a "dippity do" in the road.

Thanks.
 

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yep. you heard me.
03 Legacy GT wagon
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if you grab the axle shaft and try to push/pull the axle either towards the transmission or the hub, you will get lots of movement, that is the purpose of a CV axle.

you might have a bad wheel bearing, bad ball joint or tie road, bad tophat, or damaged endlink.
it is unlikely that the axle would be related to a noise that only happens on bumps and not corners
 

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It could still be the axle.

I just recently had to replace one of my front axles. It was clunking when going over rough roads in a turn, and by the time I replaced it, was clunking just turning the steering wheel all the way in one direction.

The inner joint on the axle is indeed supposed to move in and out. When I pulled my axle off, however, there was absolutely no resistance to this movement. It would clunk in and out with just me shaking the axle. The inner joint should have SOME resistance I think.

Anyways, replaced axle, everything was all good. No more clunks.

If you have the time, try remove the axle in question and seeing how the inner joint feels.
 
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