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Guest Message by DevFuse
 

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Feels like I'm swaying in the wind


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11 replies to this topic

#1 deiscient

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 01:13 PM

This has been ongoing for a while so I throw this out to the intelligent community.

For a few years I have noticed that my '93 Legacy sways about considerably when driving at highway speeds (65+ MPH). I generally do not have to correct the steering direction much when driving straight. Nevertheless, the car does feel like it is being blown about considerably even on days with little wind.

I have been to a few different Tire/Auto and garages inquiring about this and all have said my steering and suspension components look and feel solid. Is there something else I should be watching for that maybe they are missing? Alternatively, is this just a "quirk" of these cars that I have just gotten more sensitive to over the past few years?

#2 Legacy777

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 01:16 PM

If your suspension components are all ok, then I'd suspect the tires themself. If they have softer sidewalls, the car may sway slightly and not feel as planted.

Also, if your struts are still original, they are probably shot, and in need of replacing. That will go a long ways to improve the ride/handling/feel of the car. I'd recommend KYB GR2's.

#3 zyewdall

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 01:21 PM

Another thing to think about it that the grooved concrete they've started using on the freeways around here pulls your car from side to side and make it feel like it's either windy, or that struts/alignment it out of whack. Used to freak me out till I realized it only happened on the concrete sections and not the paved sections.

#4 deiscient

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 01:23 PM

Thanks for the fast reply, triple7.

FWIW, yes, I am on all original suspension save a new steering rack boot about 4 years ago. The "bounce test" shows that all 4 struts still have good damping. Is there some other test for resilience I can try with minimal tools?

I put Yokohama Avid Tourings on around that time as well which I normally keep inflated to ~35 PSI (door jamb pressures are bogus!).

I was also starting to think that the sway bar links might be showing signs of wear. Possibility?

#5 deiscient

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 01:25 PM

Another thing to think about it that the grooved concrete they've started using on the freeways around here pulls your car from side to side and make it feel like it's either windy, or that struts/alignment it out of whack. Used to freak me out till I realized it only happened on the concrete sections and not the paved sections.

Yes, I have noticed that the instability is more pronounced on wheel-rutted sectioned concrete roads than on their newer all asphalt (not my fault...) replacements around here. Still, it is noticeable even accounting for this effect.

#6 zyewdall

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 01:36 PM

Yes, I have noticed that the instability is more pronounced on wheel-rutted sectioned concrete roads than on their newer all asphalt (not my fault...) replacements around here. Still, it is noticeable even accounting for this effect.


Oh I forgot, they design roads completely differently in the west than on the east coast. The concrete is perfectly flat without wheel ruts, but they've started casting little grooves into the concrete when they pour it. Sort of like rumble strips, only smaller. For winter traction I guess? In addition to tugging the car around, it makes a high pitched whining noise when you drive over it too. The asphalt roads are nicer to begin with, but don't hold up near as well, because the studs and chains wear ruts in them so fast. I was talking to a civil engineer from the east coast, and she was baffled that concrete would last longer than asphalt, because asphalt apparently handles freeze-thaw cycles better instead of cracking apart, and I think maybe the salt doesn't destroy it like it does concrete? But she had never heard of the exisitence of studded tires.

#7 nipper

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 01:42 PM

Thanks for the fast reply, triple7.

FWIW, yes, I am on all original suspension save a new steering rack boot about 4 years ago. The "bounce test" shows that all 4 struts still have good damping. Is there some other test for resilience I can try with minimal tools?

I put Yokohama Avid Tourings on around that time as well which I normally keep inflated to ~35 PSI (door jamb pressures are bogus!).

I was also starting to think that the sway bar links might be showing signs of wear. Possibility?


It may pass the bounce test, but there are alot more thingeis under the car that make up the suspension then the struts. If its all original, i bet you you need rubber bushings at your sway bars at the very least. Also inspect your ball joints and tie rod ends, all of which can give you that weird sensation.

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#8 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 02:34 PM

a 93 could easily have bad struts I'd think.


As an experiment, put the MAX pressure in the tires and go for a drive. That might take sidewall and traction issues out of the equation somewhat. Uh - temporarily mind you. Of course it will sound and feel differnet, but if the 'swaying' is still present - likely it is suspension parts/bushings and maybe not tires.

#9 mwatt

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 04:21 PM

This has been ongoing for a while so I throw this out to the intelligent community.

For a few years I have noticed that my '93 Legacy sways about considerably when driving at highway speeds (65+ MPH). I generally do not have to correct the steering direction much when driving straight. Nevertheless, the car does feel like it is being blown about considerably even on days with little wind.

I have been to a few different Tire/Auto and garages inquiring about this and all have said my steering and suspension components look and feel solid. Is there something else I should be watching for that maybe they are missing? Alternatively, is this just a "quirk" of these cars that I have just gotten more sensitive to over the past few years?


A common cause of vehicle "wander" at hiway speeds is worn ball joints. Have any of the places you've taken the car put it up on a lift and tried to pry up between the ball joint and the knuckle on each side (to check for play)?

#10 destey

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 05:59 PM

Have any of the places you've taken the car put it up on a lift and tried to pry up between the ball joint and the knuckle on each side (to check for play)?


Could be that, tie rods (outer or inner), worn rack bushings, or the rack assembly.

If its determined to be the rack, theres adjustment for lash under the pinion gear. Adjusting involves loosening a lock nut, then bottoming out the center screw and backing it off a specified amount.

The FSM has some tests for the rack, but they involve removing it and having some test equipment. Better off to find a low mileage rack at a junkyard.

#11 The Dude

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 09:04 PM

My money is on the ball joints. They are fairly cheap and easy to replace yourself. Given Boston snow and salt however, popping the control arm off the ball joint stud could be a real chore.

#12 Legacy777

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 09:19 PM

The struts are a common wear item. If you've got over 80,000 miles on the original struts, you're doing pretty well. It's time to replace them.




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