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View Poll Results: Have you ever had alignment/steering problems on your WRX?
I have had steering/alignment problems 0 0%
I have had not had problems 2 66.67%
My dealer has complained about my aftermarket wheels 1 33.33%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 3. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-31-2002, 10:28 AM   #1
WRXURV8
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Default Loose Steering Rack Nightmare

Will SOMEBODY Please HELP!!!

I have had my silver WRX since June. Since the day I purchased the car, I have had a crooked steering wheel. However, the alignment is dead straight. I have had the car aligned 3 times. I finally have had the problem diagnosed as a loose steering rack and no one, not even the dealer (who has admitted something is worng), can't fix this problem. The SOA rep is finally coming to drive the car on February 13.

The dealer, although admitting something is not right, has blamed my 17" OZ Superleggeras. Some idiot mechanic said that these wheels are the wrong offset, so they now use this as their defense. I have the whole situation documented, proving that this problem has persisted since the day I bought the car, before I put my wheels on. I guess they will try to blame my new Borla Exhaust next??!!?

Anyway, if any other WRX's have had this problem or anything like it, PLEASE let me know. It is kind of annoying when your high performance car handles like a pick-up truck because you have to guess what direction the steering wheel is going!!!
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Old 01-31-2002, 11:44 AM   #2
ANZAC_1915
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> Some idiot mechanic said that these wheels are the wrong offset, so they now use this as their defense.

Actually, I think they are the wrong offset.
Aren't they 48mm?

If a wheel alignment shop thinks the car is straight but the wheel isn't then it could be a tire issue.

Glenn
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Old 01-31-2002, 12:11 PM   #3
WRXURV8
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I am aware that the Superleggeras are the wrong offset. So, therefore, I did phrase my point wrong. My point is simply that my wheel was off center the day I bought the car. I actually bought it without driving it, as I made a deal on the spot with the salesman, in order to get the lowest possible price for such a hot car. Anyway, the alignment specialist I took it to, took me under the car to show me the play in the steering rack (when the car was on the lift). As the wheel was turned, the bushings in the rack floated all over where there shouldn't have been movement at all. If this was more of an alignment issue, the car would track to one side or the other. Instead, it tracks dead straight, but the wheel can be offset to either the left or right pending what direction I last turned. OZ would not produce a wheel for the WRX that didn't properly fit. The wheels only weigh 15 lbs. and the tires are 215/45/17, the recommended size for the SOA 17" BBS Wheels. If you have any more information it would certaintly help.
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Old 01-31-2002, 02:36 PM   #4
WRXSTi69
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Default Re: Loose Steering Rack Nightmare

Quote:
Originally posted by WRXURV8
Will SOMEBODY Please HELP!!!

I have had my silver WRX since June. Since the day I purchased the car, I have had a crooked steering wheel. However, the alignment is dead straight. I have had the car aligned 3 times. I finally have had the problem diagnosed as a loose steering rack and no one, not even the dealer (who has admitted something is worng), can't fix this problem. The SOA rep is finally coming to drive the car on February 13.

The dealer, although admitting something is not right, has blamed my 17" OZ Superleggeras. Some idiot mechanic said that these wheels are the wrong offset, so they now use this as their defense. I have the whole situation documented, proving that this problem has persisted since the day I bought the car, before I put my wheels on. I guess they will try to blame my new Borla Exhaust next??!!?

Anyway, if any other WRX's have had this problem or anything like it, PLEASE let me know. It is kind of annoying when your high performance car handles like a pick-up truck because you have to guess what direction the steering wheel is going!!!
You later admit that the wheels have the incorrect offset. I guess the "idiot mechanic" may be more intelligent than you think. Just because the wheel bolt pattern matches does not mean the wheel fits the car properly. Changing your wheel offset adversely affects your scrub radius, which will cause handling problems. If there is no play in your steering rack (steering wheel moves back and forth with no tie rod movement) then the off center wheel should be easy to correct during a properly done 4-wheel alignment. If the car is not tracking properly, the front toe setting can be correct, but the steering wheel won't be straight when you are trying to drive in a straight line.
Just some input from another one of those "idiot mechanics" with full ASE Certification......
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Old 01-31-2002, 02:55 PM   #5
supermarkus
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Read the thread again, he's claimed that the car was off from day one, even before the wheels.
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Old 01-31-2002, 03:12 PM   #6
WRXSTi69
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Quote:
Originally posted by supermarkus
Read the thread again, he's claimed that the car was off from day one, even before the wheels.
Which is exactly why I suggested having a proper 4-wheel alignment done, instead of just blowing him off because he put on the incorrect wheels.
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Old 01-31-2002, 03:15 PM   #7
WRXURV8
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First, I would like to start by saying sorry about that "idiot" comment. Anyway, thanks for getting my back Supermarkus.

Let me shed some new light on this issue and clear it up. MY STEERING WHEEL HAS BEEN OFF CENTER SINCE DAY ONE. THE RACK HAS OBVIOUS PLAY. WHEN I MAKE A RIGHT TURN AND CONTINUE DOWN A ROAD, THE STEERING WHEEL IS OFF CENTER TO THE RIGHT (AND VICA VERSA). THIS WAS BEFORE I HAD MY WHEELS!!!! MANY TUNERS AGREE WITH ME.....THE OZs AREN'T THE PROBLEM. THIS ISSUE HAS BEEN DOCUMENTED WELL BEFORE I BOUGHT MY WHEELS.

DOES ANYONE ELSE OUT THERE HAVE OZ SUPERLEGGERAS? IS YOUR CAR MESSED UP. LET ME KNOW!!!!!
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Old 01-31-2002, 03:26 PM   #8
WRXURV8
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YO WRXSTI69:

I have had 3 Alignments done. Do you have anymore suggestions?

OZ Wheels are not your average everyday wheels from Pep-Boys. They are some of, if not the best, wheels you can buy. If you go to their web-site, they clearly state the Superleggeras are made for the WRX. Also, in this month's Sport Compact Car, they advertise the Superleggeras on a WRX. WHY WOULD OZ CLEARLY STATE (and advertise), ALONG WITH THE TIRE RACK (where I bought my wheels), that these wheels fit the car WITH NO EFFECTS, if they don't fit?
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Old 01-31-2002, 03:39 PM   #9
WRXSTi69
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May I make a serious suggestion? If you still have your stock wheels and tires, install them on your car. Have the dealer check the alignment (4-wheel, of course). If it's in spec, and the car still exhibits the same conditions, there are other possibilities, including incorrect backlash adjustment in the rack, for one. The fact that the rack moves a bit when the wheels are turned under load shouldn't be a concern. After all, the rack is mounted in rubber bushings to allow some movement in an effort to reduce NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) in the vehicle. (That's one of the oldest tricks in the book used to upsell front end work to unsuspecting customers, by the way.) The dealer should be able to check what is needed and correct it. Once you are satisfied that the car is behaving correctly, re-install your aftermarket wheels. Any problems that show up then can be directly related to improper offset.
There, not so hard, is it?
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Old 01-31-2002, 03:47 PM   #10
WRXSTi69
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Quote:
Originally posted by WRXURV8
WHY WOULD OZ CLEARLY STATE (and advertise), ALONG WITH THE TIRE RACK (where I bought my wheels), that these wheels fit the car WITH NO EFFECTS, if they don't fit?
Because if their advertising stated "These wheels do not have the correct offset as recommended by the factory and may cause handling problems" do you think they would sell many?
To prove a point, try this: buy some strong steel oil drums, 17" diameter. Drill one end to fit your wheel lug pattern. Glue on your tires and mount them up so the tires stick out a foot from the fenders. Do they fit? Sure. But, your scrub radius is way out of whack, and I bet the car handles terribly. It's an extreme example, but it's the best way I can attempt to explain scrub radius. Suspension systems are carefully designed by the factory to work with specific wheels, which is why Subaru sells the BBS wheels - larger diameter, correct offset, and the scrub radius remains the same as stock.
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Old 01-31-2002, 10:55 PM   #11
steveswrx
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WRXSTi69,

So if I'm interested in buying aftermarket rims should I only buy the BBS rims sold by Subaru? What information should I provide/get for new rims and tires for the 2002 WRX. If I upgrade from the stock 16" inch rims to new rims and tires whatever brand they may be should I get an alignment done? What else? What should I be looking for when buying new rims and tires? Seems like you are knowlegable on the subject? Just would like some suggestions so that when I do have the money and desire to get upgraded rims and tires I do it right.

Thanks...
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Old 01-31-2002, 11:06 PM   #12
mywrx2002
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Default Quick note

As a ASE Master Tech myself, my "Idiot mechanic" at the local Subaru dealer stated that my OZ P1 wheels (please note exact offset) in 17" and 215/45/17 bridgestone s03 PP had made my turbo malfunction, and possibly the up-pipe come apart.
I hope you will join me in a rousing burst of uncontrolled laughter, but the worse part is that it took three weeks of the car sitting in the shop there, many calls to the dealer, and finally a call to SOA to get this resolved, as a rep. came.
He knew how to use a telephone and called the tech line, and one of the people on the other end( after i disabled the wastegate and made sound dissapear) finally begrudgingly ordered a new turbo and installed it.

Its too bad WRXSTI69 and I don't work for SOA, we could fix things

laters
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Old 02-01-2002, 12:24 AM   #13
steveswrx
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All I can say is "UNBELEIVABLE!!!" Do dealers take everyone for IDIOTS?
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Old 02-01-2002, 08:17 AM   #14
WRXURV8
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Does anyone want to buy some Superleggeras? They will be $500.00 without tires. I do have another point: How come my cousin has a Black WRX with my same wheels and his car drives properly? Everyone has a different opinion on my problem and it is very frustrating. This car has been one of my favorites since I can remember. Now it has been nothing but a nightmare with these stupid wheels. I'll make one very significant point. WHERE DOES SUBARU GET THE NERVE TO CHARGE $3,000.00 for these BBS Wheels. Have they ever heard of supply and demand. If they would offer these wheels for at least $1,000.00 less they would sells hundreds of more sets. The Euro Rex comes with 17"s and bigger brakes......What gives? Even the Lexus IS300 offers 17"s as a no cost option.......Sorry for comparing that dog to the Rex, but anyway.
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Old 02-01-2002, 08:32 AM   #15
WRXSTi69
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Default

Quote:
Originally posted by steveswrx
WRXSTi69,

So if I'm interested in buying aftermarket rims should I only buy the BBS rims sold by Subaru? What information should I provide/get for new rims and tires for the 2002 WRX. If I upgrade from the stock 16" inch rims to new rims and tires whatever brand they may be should I get an alignment done? What else? What should I be looking for when buying new rims and tires? Seems like you are knowlegable on the subject? Just would like some suggestions so that when I do have the money and desire to get upgraded rims and tires I do it right.

Thanks...
Well, that would be the easiest way to assure getting the correct wheels.
Let me try to explain wheel offset: take a 6" wide rim. Measure the distance from the inner edge of the rim to the surface that actually bolts to the hub on the car. Lets say that distance is 3". That would mean you have a 6" rim with 50% offset. Now take a 10" wide rim with a distance of 5" to the mounting surface - still a 50% offset! The problem with a lot of wider rims is that they have to change the offset to clear suspension components (struts and springs). Doing so changes the "pivot point" of the tire on the pavement (determined, in part, by the inward inclination of the strut). Most cars are designed so that an imaginary line drawn through the center of the strut would contact the road in the middle of the tire contact patch - zero scrub radius. If that line is slightly outside the center of the patch, you have positive scrub, which can actually help make the car a bit more stable at high speed. Put on a wider rim with incorrect offset to clear the strut, and you end up with the line inside the center of the patch (sometimes dramatically so) and you have negative scrub - which is inherently unstable, causing wander and pull.
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Old 02-01-2002, 12:05 PM   #16
ANZAC_1915
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If the dealers claim your wheels caused your CD player to fail, you have to call their bluff.

Just say "can you put that in writing please? I need to take it to my lawyer."

Re this specific problem - I have a strong suspicion the wheels are causing the rack to move around. I bet the compliance was already there (it is a road car after all).

I suggested fitting the OEM wheels, and getting another alignment, to make sure the wheel is straight. Then try and prove the rack shifting problem.

Glenn
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Old 02-01-2002, 01:32 PM   #17
WRXSTi69
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Quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Wallace
If the dealers claim your wheels caused your CD player to fail, you have to call their bluff.
Glenn
Glenn, that's a bit of a stretch. But, I know of customers who will bring their vehicles in with complaints that read something like "Ever since you put on that new hubcap, my transmission started slipping." Changing a hubcap won't cause transmission failure. Wheels won't cause a problem in your CD player. However, if I get a steering system complaint, and I overlook the wheels and tires, I'm not doing a proper, thorough diagnosis. I'm glad we both agree that putting the stock wheels and tires back on the car, and THEN having it checked and corrected, will help eliminate any possibility of the wheels contributing to the condition he is describing.
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Old 02-01-2002, 08:06 PM   #18
WRXURV8
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Well, we are going to have to wait until February 13 when the SOA rep finally drives my car to determine what is wrong with it. I am convinced that it is not my wheels. I spoke to the following people without giving them much knowledge of my situation and without stating that I was in the market to buy knew wheels: The Tire Rack, Cobb Tuning, Vivid Racing, M2, etc.

All of the ASE Mechanics that wrote me back, I appreciate it. Once again, sorry about the "idiot" comment. My conclusions are this until February 13: I had the problem even before I bought the wheels, so it isn't them; The difference between a 48mm and a 53mm offset is about an 1/8 of an inch, hardly enough to cause the severe problems that I have; My tires never wore the wrong way so it is not my alignment, and finally, no matter what you say, OZ would not sell wheels made specically for the WRX, the Tire Rack wouldn't sell wheels for the WRX, and Tuners wouldn't put Superleggeras on WRX's, IF THEY DIDN'T FIT.

One last question: Has anyone spotted the two piece wheels available as an option in Europe for the WRX? Now those are cool.
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