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DavieGravy

97 outback - steering wheel tugs violently to the right during deceleration

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When I decelerate the steering wheel tugs violently and repeatedly to the right.  If I accelerate the problem goes away.  I have torn CV boots on both sides and also some other torn boot on the driver's side.  I'd like to solve the immediate problem first and I'm wondering which side is the culprit for the tugging.  The tugging is not a constant pull.  It jerks and stops and jerks and stops, etc and gets faster the more I increase my speed.  There is also clanking noises when it does this and clicking noises going around turns.  The problem gets worse when it's wet out. I imagine water getting into the torn boot(s) exacerbates the problem.  Here are some pictures.  I am aware that my passenger side sway bar linkage is busted.  Thanks.

 

Some boot near the center of the car on some rod near the axle, I'm guessing this is for the steering and is part of the rack and pinion?

 

boot1.jpg

 

Driver's side CV boot torn badly.

 

boot2.jpg

 

Passenger's side CV boot torn, but not as bad.

 

boot3.jpg

Edited by DavieGravy

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I'm not sure about the tugging, but the clicking as you go around corners is definitely your CV joints making noise.  They can drive like that for quite a while (at least adding grease and a new boot can help prevent further damage).  One of my earlier wagons had a bad CV on each side and I drove it like that for 100k.  Most people either go for a decent junkyard replacement or a rebuilt OEM axle as the non-OEM replacements are prone to noise/vibration/etc.

 

 

 

Top pic is the rack and pinion bellows (boot) just as you guessed.  

 

I just replaced both of mine as they were torn in about three places per side.  Before you do anything, soak with PB Blaster or Liquid Wrench or some other pentrating oil for a few days.  Be sure to count the number of threads showing on the inner tie rod above the jam nut (in the middle of your #2 pic) and write this down (for each side) so you replicate it when reinstalling everything and keep your alignment!

 

You can hold the outer tie rod (a big crescent wrench works nicely) undo the jam nut on the tie rod end , hold the tie rod and then spin out the inner tie rod (no need to undo/pop the outer tie rod where it attaches to the knuckle).  My jam nut was easy to undo, but I had a hard time getting the inner tie rod to move out of the outer tie rod.  I ended up using a pipe wrench on the inner tie rod and that worked well.

 

Remove old bellows, clean up the ball on the inner tie rod, regrease with fresh stuff, slide new boot on (*including the small metal clip!!**) and then reattach the inner tie rod to the outer tie rod.  Most replacement boots come with a plastic zip tie to secure the large end.  Some come with a smaller zip for the small end, but most people reuse the metal clip (like a hose clamp) on the small side.

 

A decent video can be found here:

 

and Beer Garage has a nice write up with pics here

http://beergarage.com/SubyRackBoot.aspx

 

I got a pair off eBay for $15 (free shipping) since I'm rolling in a Craigslist special '95 and even a couple of years is good enough for me.  I see that same seller has them for $13.50 right now...deal!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Set-of-2-Power-Steering-Rack-and-Pinion-Bellow-Boots-Subaru-BT102-/161191226929?pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&hash=item2587beee31

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The tugging sounds like a CV Joint at the very end of its life. Actually it is past the end of it's life and is still alive because there are three other wheels doing work. And Upnorthguy is correct on the rest.

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