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My 1991 2WD Legacy is having problems feeling solid on the road. Especially while driving on the freeway. It will erratically jerk left OR right.  I'm sure the condition of the road contributes. They grooved the cement I assume to have someplace for water to go, but my other cars don't share this issue.  It's got 240,000 miles and I've never had to make any repairs to the front end and the bearings have never been replaced (I bought it with 9,000 miles back in 1992).  Any suggestions as to what I should tackle first to get my Legacy to feel "tight" on the road again? We're getting winter weather here in Idaho and I'm afraid that its going to jerk me into a spin on ice if I don't correct this issue.  Thanks!

 

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Balljoints, tierods, and wheel bearings.

 

Along with making sure you don't have an axle joint begining to bind.  (that ussually is accompanied by shaking)

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Thanks Gloyale... I wanted a little knowledge of what to expect when I take it to Les Schwab. Sometimes they really try to sell me more than I need.  

PS... seeing you're from Corvallis, good luck on the big game Christmas Eve! ;-)

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Last winter I experienced wandering in light snow conditions. Almost like the 4 corners of the car were fighting for control and if I came through a rut in the snow, one corner would win out over the others as power was transferred.

Had wheels balanced and alignment done and it disappeared.

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+10 on ball joints and tie rod ends at the very least.

 

Wheel bearings if needed (my 90 has never had front wheel bearings replaced, only the left rear...twice now at 237K)

 

check condition of struts/springs

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Check your CV axles as well… it's not common BUT if they have torn boots or are missing the bands and the grease has leaked out they can bind up.  It's not as common as the ball joints, tie rods, control arms, or even struts.  But it does happen.  

 

Keeping a shop honest is as simple as asking them to take you out and show you.  I'm from Boise and managed a shop there until I changed careers. Les Schwabb does an ok job but they are there to make money just like any other shop.  If they won't show you the problems with your car then you should seek a second opinion.  

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All great suggestions and good areas to start!

 

Now if you have the issue continue, check the steering rack bushings. Have seen issues once they've become oil saturated and have also seen them stretch from age. I've been dealing with a similar issue where my '04 Outback wanders real bad on roads with ruts or uneven pavement even after replacing multiple front end parts (bearings, hubs, ball joints, tie rods, intermediate shaft, transverse bushings), the problem continued. Finally had my coworker give the front wheel a good side to side shake and noticed the rack was moving a bit. I have a set of Whiteline polyurethane rack bushings on order currently and hopefully will get them in before the holiday!

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Thanks Caboobaroo.... Funny you bring that up as I just stumbled on a video this weekend where someone had that exact issue. I did have an oil leak so it very well have gotten oily from that incident. 

As a newby with his first post I'm impressed with the helpfulness of this Subaru community. Thanks for all the great insight.   Merry Christmas!

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