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Legacy oversteer quirks


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14 replies to this topic

#1 DAlgie

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 01:42 AM

Hello, my '93 turbo Legacy seems to do some unusual stuff in the wet, hasn't snowed here that much yet to know if it is worse in it too, but when you throw it into a corner pretty fast, under trail braking situations, the car tends to oversteer quite badly, this is the back end stepping out, when you apply power it straightens out mostly, but the stepping out bit is quite bad I think. My Impreza does nothing like this, but it's a manual transmission car, 50/ 50 split, the Legacy is an auto, was wondering if the 90/ 10 thing has something to do with this, making it a lot like a FWD car until you apply power. The rear tyres have good tread on them, maybe something in the suspension arms worn or loose? Hmmm....

#2 Setright

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 02:14 AM

Many things could be worn or loose, but since it's a Subaru, let's assume that is not the case :D

You can balance things by running slighty different pressures, front to rear. (DO NOT worry about torque bind) Maybe 1 psi more on the rears should enough to put things right.

However, do consider that this car is designed to actually handle, not just plough on in terminal understeer like most "safe" family saloons.

I find that if I turn in as I release the brakes, in one fuild motion, then the rear will move round nicely and planting the throttle toward the exit will tidy things up perfectly and send me shooting out of the bend :brow:

#3 Legacy777

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 03:51 PM

What suspension do you have on the car? stock from the factory? how many miles.

The only time my car was very oversteer prone was when I had kyb struts on the rear and monroes on the front. The softer monroes and stiffer kyb's made the car quite a monster at the ragid edge.

If you have stock struts, more then likely the fronts are worn and need to be replaced.

I would highly recommend a set of KYB GR2's or AGX's if you want adjustability. KYB is a relatively inexpensive solution and will give you hands down the best increase in handling performance for your money.

Also, don't replace just the fronts, replace all four. Trust me.....you'll thank me when you go out for a drive afterwards.

#4 DAlgie

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 04:31 PM

So this is a very different handling car to my Impreza then. The Impreza will understeer in wet situations, even after I changed the rear bar for a 20mm one. The suspension is stock, as far as I know. The tyres are in pretty good shape, not the best for performance I don't think, but should be ok. Car has 126k on it, in reasonable shape. I will jack it up tonight and just check for something loose, just in case. The thing just caught me by surprise a bit with the back end stepping out, a lot easier than I thought it should. Sort of felt like a toe link was "rubbery" if you can imagine...!

#5 Legacy777

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 04:43 PM

if you have stock struts on your car with that mileage, they are WAY over due to be replaced.

Jack it up, and check for any visible signs of broken stuff or things that just don't look right.

If everything looks ok, replace the struts.....I'm telling you, you will be absolutely amazed.

#6 wrxsubaru

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 01:50 AM

yeah after beating on a $100 90 5spd awd legacy in the dirt(small jumps, big rocks, and trying to make it go any where:headbang:), the front end got quite abit softer alot faster than the rear, it made the car have just have some over sterr in the dirt, and the mud, made it alot more fun. If the front struts are worn out it definity makes the car have more over stear.

#7 alias20035

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 01:52 AM

Originally posted by Legacy777
if you have stock struts on your car with that mileage, they are WAY over due to be replaced.

Jack it up, and check for any visible signs of broken stuff or things that just don't look right.

If everything looks ok, replace the struts.....I'm telling you, you will be absolutely amazed.



If your caster is even a bit off, the Legacy can develop serious over or understeer problems, as well as tracking problems. The Legacy is really sensitive in this manner, far more so than the Impreza. Higher mileage Legacy's (200,000+ miles) will often need replacment control arm bushings to correct incorrect caster.

The Legacy has front camber and toe adjustment, but no adjustment for caster (most cars don't), so if the caster is out of whack with good struts and springs the control arm, its bushings, the front crossmember or the vehicle body is out of whack.

The problem can also occur on the back end as well, rear toe misalignment can do some really strange things, especially since Subaru's are designed to turn the wheel inward when the rear strut is compressed. This is Subaru's passive rear wheel steering system, in a hard left turn, the right rear wheel will turn left as well to try to prevent the back end from spinning out. If your rear toe is out, you may get too much or too little of this effect. The rear wheel steering is controlled by the vehicle roll angle, most cars with independant rear suspension now incorporate this type of system.

The inner bolt on the rear transverse link has a tow adjustment bolt on the rear suspension.

Bushings are often damaged when the rear bearing is changed since many mechanics will torch off the lower knuckle nut.

Since the Impreza has a shorter wheelbase it is less sensitive to rear toe misalignment.

When doing wheel alignements on Subaru's I always recommend that they lift the car off of its wheels to unload the suspension and then drop it and recheck the alignment, if the alignment remains correct the bushings are usually (but not always) ok.

#8 Setright

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 01:57 AM

Agreed Josh. New struts will work wonders. I replaced mine at 130k, along with new springs. All OE parts. The car was already fun to drive, but the change was amazing. However, lift-off oversteer became more prominent - which is how I like it! - so it may not solve your "problem".

No doubt, Kyb GR2's are better, so get them if you can!

#9 Dave K

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Posted 15 December 2003 - 04:58 PM

Wow, I wish I had your problem. My 00 Legacy GT pushes like a snowplow, same with my wife's 96 outback. My summer fun car is a 500hp Z28, needless to say I'm used to oversteer... and perfer it to understeer in virtually ALL circumstances. Recently drove a EVO and it was SOOO much more fun to drive, very neutral handling which made it easy to apply pedal to set up a nice drift on dirt roads. No doubt the lack of available power is part of the problem, but I also think the suspension setup is super conservative. Eventually I'm going to have to do something about that, anyone got any recommendations on suspension setup to get neutral handling?

#10 meep

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Posted 15 December 2003 - 06:04 PM

Alignment
Struts
Bushings
Tire Pressure

In the meantime, raise the rear pressure a few # over the front to try to keep it better planted.

BTW-- are you running oem wheels or aftermarket? Heavier wheels spend less quality time with the pavement if it's not smooth. That whole "unsprung weight" thing...

Mike

#11 DAlgie

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Posted 15 December 2003 - 07:41 PM

If your caster is even a bit off, the Legacy can develop serious over or understeer problems,


Yep, you hit on it, I had noticed the right front wheel would rub the rear inner plastic fender, I thought there was something going on there, but hadn't checked it out. Tonight I jacked it up and got measuring, the lower control arm is bent a little, like it got a front or sideways hit before, it's not really noticeable if you look, but the rear mount had the rubbers sort of squishing out in a strange manner, I measured it and it was shorter than the left one. I tried jacking it straight in place, no way, too strong. I'll have to pull it off and straighten it or get another one. Are they a pain to get off? The front pivot bolt has a rubber that looks like it the bolt could rust in place in the bushing and not come out.

#12 slideways

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Posted 16 December 2003 - 03:06 AM

They are faily simple to replace. A few bolts on the mounting points on the inside, and the toughest part is prying the ball joint out of the steering knuckle. I used wd-40 and a six foot concrete bar when I first took them off. If they have been removed before, they should come easier. Now I can get them out with a breaker bar. But all in all, it should be faily simple if you've turned wrenches before.

#13 blitz

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Posted 16 December 2003 - 08:58 PM

No one's mentioned this yet, but you might want to have a look underneath to check for the possibility of a broken front sway bar.

#14 myles

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Posted 16 December 2003 - 09:04 PM

Originally posted by Dave K
Wow, I wish I had your problem. My 00 Legacy GT pushes like a snowplow, same with my wife's 96 outback. My summer fun car is a 500hp Z28, needless to say I'm used to oversteer... and perfer it to understeer in virtually ALL circumstances. Recently drove a EVO and it was SOOO much more fun to drive, very neutral handling which made it easy to apply pedal to set up a nice drift on dirt roads. No doubt the lack of available power is part of the problem, but I also think the suspension setup is super conservative. Eventually I'm going to have to do something about that, anyone got any recommendations on suspension setup to get neutral handling?



Dave,

I think a stiffer rear bar will get you where you want to be.

#15 alias20035

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Posted 17 December 2003 - 12:53 AM

Originally posted by slideways
They are faily simple to replace. A few bolts on the mounting points on the inside, and the toughest part is prying the ball joint out of the steering knuckle. I used wd-40 and a six foot concrete bar when I first took them off. If they have been removed before, they should come easier. Now I can get them out with a breaker bar. But all in all, it should be faily simple if you've turned wrenches before.



The best method for pulling out a ball joint from the knuckle is to fabricate a puller for it.

Remove the ball joint from the control arm (with the proper ball joint puller).

Then remove the ball joint retention bolt from the knuckle.

Place a large socket over the ball joint (which clears the large top of the ball joint), place a washer on the ball joint, and then use the ball joint nut to pull the ball joint out of the knuckle. I use an old Legacy rear bearing race, it works perfectly.

You should spray the ball joint and knuckle with Liquid Wrench beforehand too.

Never use heat or pry on the knuckle to remove a ball joint, as the lower end on the knuckle where the ball joint is inserted is very weak. I have seen many knuckles that are cracked in this area, and all of the cracks are related to the use of heat or improper tools to remove the ball joint. I have even seen Legacy's loose the front wheel/knuckle/strut assembly due to these cracks.




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