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Rack and pinion issues?


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17 replies to this topic

#1 Bushwick

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 02:37 PM

Took the Legacy out for it's maiden voyage last night after swapping in a new rear cross member, brake line, tune-up, etc. I noticed an odd pulsing with the steering wheel while holding the wheel off center and power steering feels a little heavy but can't tell if the heavy feeling is normal or not. The pulsing reminds me of rotor issues (similar feel) but I wasn't applying the brakes. Didn't feel anything unusual when the wheel was straight. For all I know it just needs driven a bit since it's been sitting awhile, but if it needs something would rather do it now rather than next week when temps plummet into the 30's. 



#2 nipper

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 06:06 PM

Actually the temps dropping for a short time is good. PS racks when they fail will be harder to turn when cold, once the fluid warms up it is almost normal.

 

There is always some flex in the rotors, You may have a hard spot in rotor or just rust from sitting that you are feeling. Drive it a bit and see what happens. DO a hard breaking from 50 and see if it pulses.



#3 grossgary

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 05:56 AM

wheel out of balance?

 

the steering rack ujoints can fail, making the steering feel lumpy - maybe inducing some slop? may be particularly likely if it's rusted.

 

Subaru racks and pumps almost never fail.  Racks sometimes leak externally but other than that issues with those two components are rare. So far every time I replaced a power steering pump thinking that was the issue - it was something else - like the ujoint i just mentioned.



#4 Rooster2

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 06:23 AM

Maybe a flat spotted tire?? Suggest driving for a while.........see if condition continues, or goes away.



#5 nipper

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 08:03 AM

If it is the U joint it is an easy test. Spray the joint with white lithium grease heavily. The lumpyness will go away. I drove Blu like this till his death for a few years, just had to lubricate the joint every few months.



#6 Bushwick

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 09:18 AM

What U-joint? I have CV shafts with boots, no rips. Tires have no bad spots nor rot surprisingly. It was only felt while loading the wheels side to side (holding steering wheel at 10 or 2 while doing 35-40). Maybe wheel bearing? No noise that I could hear, just the pulsing. I won't be getting 30 day tags until Thursday, so any driving will have to wait until then. Will definitely take it out and run it for a good couple hours then.



#7 grossgary

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 10:26 AM

the steering rack has a ujoint right where the steering column meets the steering rack input shaft - it's about a foot or so underneath the master cylinder.

 

i have tried spraying bad joints like nipper said with no effect but that was on a vehicle that had sat for some period of time.



#8 Bushwick

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 10:36 AM

Oh OK, was thinking something in the drive-line, not the steering column. I'll inspect both front wheels + the u joint more closely when the rack dust boots go in. 



#9 Fairtax4me

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 10:09 PM

Sounds more like an issue with the pump. Try raising engine speed (lower gear) and see if the pulsation is still there.

Have a similar issue with my mothers Camry but has been exactly the same way for years. New fluid didnt help, just an oddity with the pump as far as I can tell. Still seems to steer just fine and the pulsation (which is VERY slight) doesn't bother her, so I haven't chased down the exact cause yet.

#10 Bushwick

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 11:42 PM

I was only able to run once down an isolated road at night about a mile since it's not plated yet and local PD are like flies around here. Should have temp tags Thursday and will take it out and see if it straightens out or not. I didn't bother checking ball joints or tie rods when I bought it since I figured it'd need them soon anyways with the high mileage. I'll raise the wheels and check for play just to rule out. It was stored out of the elements so no rust on the rotors either. If it's just the pump, I'll have no issues replacing it. Just hoping it's not the rack.



#11 grossgary

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 05:28 AM

i'd look at the front control arm rear transverse link bushings. those bushings fail and will give vibrations under certain conditions. they fail far more often than pumps, racks, and ball joints on Subarus. item circled in this image (i know nothing of this website, just found the pic):

 

http://images04.olx....spare-parts.jpg

 

you didn't say mileage or condition but steering pump and rack failures are very rare in Subarus.  they sometimes leak, mechanical failure is rare and they're rarely replaced even at 200,000 miles.  ball joints, unless the boots are ripped, are also robust though they're usually breaking boots particularly in the rust belt.

 

i'll be in Canton over thanksgiving and could possibly help take a look at it if it would be of any help but you'll have it figured out by then i imagine.


Edited by grossgary, 23 October 2013 - 05:29 AM.


#12 Bushwick

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 10:38 PM

Thanks for pointing out that link Gary. I'll inspect those. Car has 177k and no leaks up front. Only valve covers leaked and those were just replaced with the lifters. Power steering fluid is normal level too. Too bad the weather is changing rapidly here as we are already getting into the 20's at night, so not looking forward to fixing. Getting Nov. weather weeks early for some reason.



#13 Bushwick

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 01:12 AM

Got temp tags yesterday and put about a 100 miles on the car with highway and local driving. The pulsing was gone right away (oddly enough), with a minor rubbing sound replacing it briefly (while making turns). This eventually diminished too. The rubbing sounded like a rotor on pad, though they were clean. Also was able to get it e-checked which it passed with flying colors. 

 

Anyways, pretty happy with it. Got a few rattles and squeaks to sort out under-hood. Wasn't happy with that tiny rear sway bar though. Hard enough turns the rear felt like a limp noodle. Thankfully the Outback's thicker bar is a direct swap. Grabbed one from a 99' and installed. Big improvement, but not as rigid as I'd like. Might tack some extra bar in or reintroduce the small factory one to shadow the Outback one (double stacked bar), but at least it made a big difference and feels more sedan-like rather than one minute it's working, the next it's being overpowered on a 35 mph curve and the rear is wagging like a dog's tail. Weird concept having a non symmetrical sway bar just to make a hasty bend to clear an exhaust pipe. 


Edited by Bushwick, 25 October 2013 - 01:17 AM.


#14 Fairtax4me

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 01:10 PM

The rear away bars are definitely undersized on these, but it helps keep the back end from doing the steering by letting the rear tires make constant even contact with the road. The front inside tire lifts, and makes the car under steer rather than spin out.

Outback bars front and rear make a big improvement. Get a set of Forester sway bar brackets, and a 20mm rear bar from an STI to stiffen the back up a bit more.

#15 Bushwick

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 10:23 PM

Get a set of Forester sway bar brackets, and a 20mm rear bar from an STI to stiffen the back up a bit more.

 What year Forester and which bracket? The bracket that attaches to the body? Or the outer bushing bracket that slips into that? Also, what year STi? 



#16 Fairtax4me

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 10:45 PM

98 to 07 Forester IIRC. The one that mounts to the frame. The forester bracket is taller than the legacy bracket, but it bolts in place exactly the same way. It brings the bar down about an inch to help get it under that weird hump under the spare tire well. You may still have to massage it a bit with a mini sledge, but the brackets help alot.

STI bar I don't remember exact year but somewhere around the mid 2000s up to about 2009 they used a 20mm rear bar.

#17 bluedotsnow

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 10:54 PM

all 1995 and 1996 lower end legacy (everything but outback) have a service bulletin recall on the right or left transverse link i think its the passenger side.... but its worth replacing altrom imports makes a decent replacement for the lower end and the outbacks can be easily had at pickandpull and usually are not blown out, I did have a bad day of looking, 3 yards and every transverse link was blown out outback included.



#18 Bushwick

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 10:15 AM

I guess the fun part is waiting for a WRX to happen along in a yard, or maybe luck out with a local craigslist offering. Doubtful many will want larger than 20mm, but maybe some wrecks or a parts car.

 

The transverse mounts are OK. Pretty sure this was up to date with whatever recalls as PO mentioned something about the struts.






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