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I tried searching, I am sorry if this is something common.


I do not have whining associated with low p.s. fluid, I am not seeing any leaks, the reservoir seems fine.

The steering is pretty stiff on my 1999 Legacy Outback Wagon.

I had the vehicle down for a long time while replacing a lot of parts.   I don't really remember exactly how the steering felt prior to the new parts, but I knew it was somewhat stiff (NOT as bad as a completely bad p.s. rack or pump, and you just start driving "manually").

my other cars are newer (2003 legacy sedan, 2013 fusion), so they definitely have lighter and more comfortable steering feel.

Is the stiff steering the start of something going bad?
Is it just the nature of this particular vehicle?

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Try a Drain/Flush/Refill for the power-steering fluid.

There should be a procedure for this in the FSManual.  It involves draining the fluid through one of the lower hydraulic fittings, and refilling. There's a procedure for removing air from the system, which effectively flushes the system as well.

I did this a few years ago on my 2002 Forester.  I couldn't believe how black and gunky the drained fluid was.

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If you've got a gen3, on the RX models at least, there's a wire on the back of the ps pump, make sure this is connected. Now, I don't know if the GX has this. I believe it's a solenoid to restrict the flow of fluid to the rack when driving at speed to give more "feel" in the steering. At low speed manoeuvring, this would make the power steering seem heavy. 

Another thing to check is to make sure there are no cracks in the remote reservoir pickup hose as these will suck air.

This is for the Gen3, the Gen2 has the reservoir on top of the power steering pump. 

Cheers

Bennie

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1 hour ago, el_freddo said:

If you've got a gen3, on the RX models at least, there's a wire on the back of the ps pump, make sure this is connected. Now, I don't know if the GX has this. I believe it's a solenoid to restrict the flow of fluid to the rack when driving at speed to give more "feel" in the steering. At low speed manoeuvring, this would make the power steering seem heavy. 

Another thing to check is to make sure there are no cracks in the remote reservoir pickup hose as these will suck air.

This is for the Gen3, the Gen2 has the reservoir on top of the power steering pump. 

Cheers

Bennie

y'know...... when I was installing the new transmission on this thing, I remember seeing a connector that was dangling that I couldn't figure out.    I will see if I can find the picture again and post it up.

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I don't know if this is too far back or not.   This is an old picture.  I figured that it was a ground but I couldn't find where it went.

to share.JPG

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power steering wire, if it has it, is right by the pump, not at the back of the engine.   start looking at the pump, not elsewhere. 

if the steering rack to steering column ujoint is seized you'll also be fighting stiffness in that joint. 

check that and change fluid.  

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Frozen balljoints can make steering heavy, but I've never seen frozen ones on a subaru, only super loose ones.

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On the 90's subarus, at least on the 2.2 motors and probably on the 2.5, the power steering reservoir is on top of the oil pump.  Inside the reservoir is a very small strainer on the return line..  If this strainer is largely plugged then the steering could be very stiff.  

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I just replaced all balljoints, bearings, tie rod ends, and one inner tie rod.

I didn't do the struts this time around, as they didn't seem overly bad like my 03 sedan.

I will hopefully check out all of the suggestions within the week.,

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It’s not *struts*. The *strut mounts* permit rotation via bearings for steering but the ones I’ve seen should make noise as well. 

 

Ive shot great grease into dry/rusty bearings of front Subaru top mounts before that are rusty and making noise. That  Freed them up. 

Edited by idosubaru
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Correct.  Thank you.  I only mistakingly left off the other component words because I haven't been sleeping much.

Where can you shoot the grease into them?   From the top side, or from the bottom side only?   need to disassemble to see the bearing?

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You'll have to remove the assembly from the car (relatively easy).  At that point you will be able to hand rotate the top cap and see how it feels.  If you feel anything ... I recommend replacement.  If It feels smooth but loose attempting to squirt grease in could prolong its life. But... if you have it out why not replace it.

To replace you need to disassemble (not so easy).  

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