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Old 09-15-2009, 03:38 PM   #1
WRBear
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Default Changed Steering Rack Bushings, Now Weird Car Responses

Ok, I installed Whiteline Steering Rack Bushings on Sunday. Took it for a drive, and noticed the steering wheel was cocked to the left, say about 10 or 11 o'clock. Sounds like the wheel should have been held straight while re-attaching the steering input collar. Ok, no biggy...

Go to turn right onto the highway, and feel/hear this rubbing on the left side of the car. Accelerating up the entrance ramp, and I lose traction. Dash light engages, and the car begins shifting laterally.

Last night, I adjusted the steering input collar. Had my roommate hold the wheel to the right a bit to try to compensate the counter-clockwise shift in my wheel. Tighten everything up, take it for a drive. Still the same 10 o'clock wheel problem.

This morning, I'm driving to work, and my VDC and Hill Assist come on (not the first that it's happened -- faulty Wheel Angle Sensor -- repaired under warranty). Turn off the car, turn it back on, lights disappear.

Accelerating, I feel some rubbing/vibrations under the brake pedal, traction light kicks on, lateral movement of the car. Kind of scary when on the highway

Call up Subaru to schedule an appt tomorrow morning to look at it, but I'd rather try to get this solved tonight in case they charge me.

Can anyone chime in with what the problem may be, and what I can specifically look at tonight when I jack the car up and crawl under there?

Appreciate any input.

Thanks,
Chris
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Last edited by WRBear; 09-16-2009 at 12:42 AM.
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Old 09-15-2009, 04:33 PM   #2
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Is the power steering fluid full. I'm not sure you would have lost any after removing the steering knuckle from the steering rack, but worth a check.

Also try leaving the bushing mounts tight, remove the steering input from the rack, manually turn the wheels so they are perfectly straight, make sure steering wheel is perfectly straight, and re-install the steering column into the rack.
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Old 09-15-2009, 04:35 PM   #3
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Is it possible to remove the knuckle without loosening the bushings? I tried to do that, but it seemed almost impossible--seemed like you need some play in the rack to loosen it

I'll check to the fluid to verify, but nothing spilled out that I recall.
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Old 09-15-2009, 04:38 PM   #4
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I recently had my sub in for sevice and after it came out I thought I noticed some rubbings/vibs through the steering wheel and gas pedal. I also noticed a slight lateral movement every so often when I turned also (not enough that i'm almost hitting car though, just enough to notice the line a was driving on shifted a bit). I'm assuming that I need an alignment (still haven't had it checked). I'm planning on setting up a check this weekend.

The dealer resurfaced my rotors and installed new pads. I'm pretty sure that they wouldn't do the best alignment job on the install.
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Old 09-15-2009, 04:40 PM   #5
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Popped axle? Check if they are seated correctly in the transmission usually you get leakage though from this. What was unbolted when you took it apart to put the bushings in?
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Old 09-15-2009, 04:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 05EJ25 View Post
Popped axle? Check if they are seated correctly in the transmission. What was unbolted when you took it apart to put the bushings in?
Hmm, could be. Like a jerk off I kinda jack the car up a bit on the transmission. Not off the ground, just raised it a bit for jack stands, so it could be anything at this point. I'll put UM-WRXer to work tonight

Would a popped axle explain why my steering wheel is cocked also?
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Old 09-15-2009, 04:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WRBear View Post
Is it possible to remove the knuckle without loosening the bushings? I tried to do that, but it seemed almost impossible--seemed like you need some play in the rack to loosen it

I'll check to the fluid to verify, but nothing spilled out that I recall.
I didn't even think of that (you caught me). You may need three people (now that I think about it more clearly).

Person 1. To remove the bushing brackets and remove the steering column from the rack.

Person 2. To manually rotate the tire so they are perfectly straight forward (or as close as possible, its pretty easy to see).

Person 3. Rotate the steering wheel so its perfectly straight.

Person 1. Re-attach the steering column into the rack, and re-install the bushing brackets.
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Old 09-15-2009, 04:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WRBear View Post
Hmm, could be. Like a jerk off I kinda jack the car up a bit on the transmission. Not off the ground, just raised it a bit for jack stands, so it could be anything at this point. I'll put UM-WRXer to work tonight

Would a popped axle explain why my steering wheel is cocked also?
It could be offsetting the wheel just a bit because the axle is pushing outward on the wheel. Even a tight turn could pop them out sometimes. Like I said most of the time you would leak a bit of gear oil.
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Old 09-15-2009, 05:16 PM   #9
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if the steering angle sensor is reading wrong then the VDC may be freaking out thinking the car is in a lateral skid and activating ABS (which would be the vibration you are feeling in the pedal and the lateral movement)

people installing quick ratio racks in the VDC equipped cars have had similar issues

did you by any chance let the wheel rotate right through 360*?
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Old 09-15-2009, 09:22 PM   #10
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Interesting. I just installed Noltec rack bushings and my steering wheel is now off-center to the left. I guess any slight difference in bushing thickness will offset the rack slightly.

When I can get my tie rod ends unstuck, I plan to get it centered again, but it's no big deal. Of course I don't have all the stability stuff.
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Old 09-15-2009, 09:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UkNuck View Post
if the steering angle sensor is reading wrong then the VDC may be freaking out thinking the car is in a lateral skid and activating ABS (which would be the vibration you are feeling in the pedal and the lateral movement)

people installing quick ratio racks in the VDC equipped cars have had similar issues

did you by any chance let the wheel rotate right through 360*?
I may have done that with the car in the air actually. Was there a solution to that?

Took it all apart, and now its cocked 1-2 o'clock

I'm going to Subaru tomorrow, let them fix it. I bet if they just re-aligned it, it'll be fine.

But your theory is very sound UkNuck. ECU may think I'm losing traction as I accelerate with the wheel tilt and car direction being unequal?

Now I'm experiencing what its like to go up a hill with no hill-assist....not so easy

Last edited by WRBear; 09-16-2009 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 09-16-2009, 06:51 AM   #12
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Had the same issue when I did mine. What you need was when reattaching the steering column you turned it a little. So what you need to do is
1.Get car wheels straight on floor before you jack up. I went back and forth a couple times and let it straighten itself out.
2.get a buddy/wife/somebody to help you
3.go back under and drop the column again so the steering wheel is loose
4.have your friend/wife/whoever hold the steering wheel as straight as possible not allowing it to spin while you hook the column back up. Tighten the bolts and it should be or be close to straight again.

Now if that does not happen perfect(like mine did), I took the car to get an alignment and complained that the wheel was off and they straightened it up and aligned the car. Good as new.
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Old 09-16-2009, 07:10 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coyote73176 View Post
Also try leaving the bushing mounts tight, remove the steering input from the rack, manually turn the wheels so they are perfectly straight, make sure steering wheel is perfectly straight, and re-install the steering column into the rack.

If you didn't remove the U joint in the first place, don't do this.


EDIT: it does sound like the SAS is wrong, because the rack isn't centered correctly with the wheel. you may want to check it with a subaru monitor to verify the SAS reading.
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Old 09-16-2009, 10:30 AM   #14
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Getting an alignment done on the car now--apparently mine was off?

Cause of my stripped bolt for my rear sway bar, my bushing came off and the bracket bent--so I'm going to have to order a new bushing and bracket
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Old 09-16-2009, 10:56 AM   #15
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If you let the wheel spin, then the steering angle sensor will be reading incorrect so when you go too far in a direction, it will set those lights off. You need to most likely need to simply have the SAS recalibrated at Subaru. I have done this a couple of times on Honda Ridgelines, when I was doing update bulletins on squeaking steering wheels. but you would also need to get the vehicle realigned because you took the steering apart, no way around that.
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Old 09-16-2009, 10:40 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WRBear View Post
Getting an alignment done on the car now--apparently mine was off?

Cause of my stripped bolt for my rear sway bar, my bushing came off and the bracket bent--so I'm going to have to order a new bushing and bracket
Haha, a fellow Subaru owner/co-worker IM'ed me at work saying "what color are you sway bar bushings?" I thought red, but realized that was the front, and the blue was the rear. He replied, "I think I saw a blue one on the driveway to our building" Go down there, and sure enough, there's my rear swaybar bushing! What are the chances? Already put in the order with Rallitek for a rear bushing and bracket, but what a find.

So yeah, $100 for an alignment...felt I should have just gone to EFI and gotten a sport alignment done for less. Oh well, I just hope my damn stripped bolt for one of the driver-side steering rack bushings doesn't fall out.
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