Welcome to the North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club Tuesday July 29, 2014
Home Forums WikiNASIOC Products Store Modifications Upgrade Garage
Click here to visit TireRack
Brakes & Suspension Forum sponsored by The Tire Rack

Losing traction? Need new tires?
Click here to visit the NASIOC Upgrade Garage...
Here you can view your subscribed threads, work with private messages and edit your profile and preferences Home Registration is free! Visit the NASIOC Store NASIOC Rules Search Find other members Frequently Asked Questions Calendar Archive NASIOC Upgrade Garage Logout
Go Back   NASIOC > NASIOC Technical > Brakes, Steering & Suspension

Welcome to NASIOC - The world's largest online community for Subaru enthusiasts!
Welcome to the NASIOC.com Subaru forum.

You are currently viewing our forum as a guest, which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our community, free of charge, you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is free, fast and simple, so please join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact us.
* Registered users of the site do not see these ads.
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-19-2011, 08:45 PM   #1
Drifter2be
Scooby Specialist
 
Member#: 265122
Join Date: Nov 2010
Chapter/Region: SCIC
Location: Hemet, CA
Vehicle:
2004 WRX
Java Black Pearl

Default 2004 WRX Steering "hard spots"

Ok. Car is a 2004 WRX with 98K on the clock. Yesterday morning pulling out of my garage I noticed that the steering was a bit hard in spots, Basically I would turn the wheel about 1/5th turn either direction and it would get harder to turn, after about another 1/5th turn it would get really easy then really hard again.

Its most noticeable after the car has sat for several hours, but even after 20 minutes of driving today there was some noticeable resistance. Its not like its preventing me from turning, its almost as if I have less assistance from the power steering.

I am going to try to put my car in the air tomorrow to check everything out, I'm personally leaning more toward the steering rack going bad, but also think that it could be a damaged line or maybe even a pump.

Anyone that has had an issue like this, I would really appreciate any input. I figure if the rack is bad, I'll just upgrade to an 04 STi rack.
* Registered users of the site do not see these ads.
Drifter2be is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-19-2011, 08:50 PM   #2
G&C
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 185995
Join Date: Aug 2008
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: some a'ight speeds
Vehicle:
C5 Z06

Default

I had the same issue in my Legacy. I just had to lube the u-joints connecting the steering rack to the steering wheel (used pb blaster and then white lithium grease). Problem went away completely. Of course, I replaced the rack and the pump before I looked at the joints.

Hope this helps.
G&C is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2011, 12:24 AM   #3
Drifter2be
Scooby Specialist
 
Member#: 265122
Join Date: Nov 2010
Chapter/Region: SCIC
Location: Hemet, CA
Vehicle:
2004 WRX
Java Black Pearl

Default

Thanks. I'll give this a try tomorrow.
Drifter2be is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2011, 06:44 PM   #4
Drifter2be
Scooby Specialist
 
Member#: 265122
Join Date: Nov 2010
Chapter/Region: SCIC
Location: Hemet, CA
Vehicle:
2004 WRX
Java Black Pearl

Default

I soaked both joints in PB Blaster, let them sit for a few minutes then sprayed them out with acetone, then soaked both in white lithium grease. After working the wheel for a few minutes the tough spots toward 12 o'clock have gone away. but at 6 o'clock they are still a little noticeable. It may just be time to replace the u-joints in the steering shaft.
Drifter2be is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2011, 10:18 PM   #5
scoobycoupe
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 277567
Join Date: Mar 2011
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: MD
Vehicle:
99 2.5 RSti
06 LGT S2

Default

I had a similar problem with my 99RS. i would check the part of the P/S hose that has spring clamps to see if the hose is loose and sucking air into the system. also do the obvious and make sure there is enough fluid in the resivour
scoobycoupe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2011, 10:58 PM   #6
Drifter2be
Scooby Specialist
 
Member#: 265122
Join Date: Nov 2010
Chapter/Region: SCIC
Location: Hemet, CA
Vehicle:
2004 WRX
Java Black Pearl

Default

Rez was overfilled originally, removed some fluid today, after driving about 80 miles it feels like its pretty much gone back to normal.
Drifter2be is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2011, 11:17 PM   #7
scoobycoupe
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 277567
Join Date: Mar 2011
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: MD
Vehicle:
99 2.5 RSti
06 LGT S2

Default

Back to normal being stiff or normal like it should be
scoobycoupe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2011, 09:20 AM   #8
G&C
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 185995
Join Date: Aug 2008
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: some a'ight speeds
Vehicle:
C5 Z06

Default

When I sprayed my joints, I had the car in the air so I could continuously have someone turning the wheel from side to side while I sprayed. That may help too, if you didn't get it worked out already.
G&C is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2012, 09:08 AM   #9
RACER3251
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 284685
Join Date: Jun 2011
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Vehicle:
2014 Ford Focus ST
Sunny D

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drifter2be View Post
Ok. Car is a 2004 WRX with 98K on the clock. Yesterday morning pulling out of my garage I noticed that the steering was a bit hard in spots, Basically I would turn the wheel about 1/5th turn either direction and it would get harder to turn, after about another 1/5th turn it would get really easy then really hard again.

Its most noticeable after the car has sat for several hours, but even after 20 minutes of driving today there was some noticeable resistance. Its not like its preventing me from turning, its almost as if I have less assistance from the power steering.

I am going to try to put my car in the air tomorrow to check everything out, I'm personally leaning more toward the steering rack going bad, but also think that it could be a damaged line or maybe even a pump.

Anyone that has had an issue like this, I would really appreciate any input. I figure if the rack is bad, I'll just upgrade to an 04 STi rack.
Sorry to bump and old thread back to life, but I recently just started having this exact same problem with my 04....I am not quite the most mechanically inclined, so could someone post a pic up of what to lube to free up the steering?

Just for craps and laughs, what would a steering rack cost at worst case scenario?

Also, I have been pretty busy with work and such lately and may not get a chance to look at it until the weekend, is the car still going ot be safe to drive until then?

Thanks in Advance!
RACER3251 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2012, 08:57 PM   #10
randyx007
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 252737
Join Date: Jul 2010
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Spokane WA
Vehicle:
2005 Subie STi
Blue

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by RACER3251 View Post
Sorry to bump and old thread back to life, but I recently just started having this exact same problem with my 04....I am not quite the most mechanically inclined, so could someone post a pic up of what to lube to free up the steering?

Just for craps and laughs, what would a steering rack cost at worst case scenario?

Also, I have been pretty busy with work and such lately and may not get a chance to look at it until the weekend, is the car still going ot be safe to drive until then?

Thanks in Advance!
Having the same problem man, just ran sum additive for hard spots in the steering and changed the atf. Seems a bit better but im guna go try and clean the u joints. If you look right under the intercooler on the driver side you will see those joints

But a new rack and pin runs me 180 bucks (I am a employee at Carquest auto parts) but usually they are like 300. If that doesn't make a difference I am leaning toward replacing the power steering pump. Not leaking or anything but its only 70 bucks oem for me =)
randyx007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2012, 09:38 PM   #11
RACER3251
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 284685
Join Date: Jun 2011
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Vehicle:
2014 Ford Focus ST
Sunny D

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by randyx007 View Post
Having the same problem man, just ran sum additive for hard spots in the steering and changed the atf. Seems a bit better but im guna go try and clean the u joints. If you look right under the intercooler on the driver side you will see those joints

But a new rack and pin runs me 180 bucks (I am a employee at Carquest auto parts) but usually they are like 300. If that doesn't make a difference I am leaning toward replacing the power steering pump. Not leaking or anything but its only 70 bucks oem for me =)
OK, so I will actually lube the ujoints form the top (as in under the hood but on top of he engine)? I was under the assumption that I would be on my back under the car spraying up, so I am glad I asked

And for what it's worth, I called every Suby dealer close to me and everyone said they have never (I would assume they were exaggerating a little bit) encountered a car with a ps pump or rack issue that wasnt wrecked
The one dealer suggested, that air got into the system, so I should pop ps fluid cap and work wheels back and forth to release any air...i also removed fluid and added about 1/2 a bottle of lucas...result is steering is much improved once warm but still crappy and stiff when cold...I am gonna remove and add more additive this weekend and attempt to lube u-joints too
RACER3251 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2012, 10:34 PM   #12
randyx007
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 252737
Join Date: Jul 2010
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Spokane WA
Vehicle:
2005 Subie STi
Blue

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by RACER3251 View Post
OK, so I will actually lube the ujoints form the top (as in under the hood but on top of he engine)? I was under the assumption that I would be on my back under the car spraying up, so I am glad I asked

And for what it's worth, I called every Suby dealer close to me and everyone said they have never (I would assume they were exaggerating a little bit) encountered a car with a ps pump or rack issue that wasnt wrecked
The one dealer suggested, that air got into the system, so I should pop ps fluid cap and work wheels back and forth to release any air...i also removed fluid and added about 1/2 a bottle of lucas...result is steering is much improved once warm but still crappy and stiff when cold...I am gonna remove and add more additive this weekend and attempt to lube u-joints too


You can just remove the washer fluid tank and get right in there. See my ps pump/rack and pin are not leaking or making noise??? So I just sprayed the u joints with break cleaner and pb blaster... let it sit then greased them (probably did that in the wrong order lol) but it helped but not 100%... but if yours isn't making noise such as mine i'd assume its those two joints
randyx007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2012, 04:38 PM   #13
RACER3251
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 284685
Join Date: Jun 2011
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Vehicle:
2014 Ford Focus ST
Sunny D

Default

Got sort of an update, this morning my car had the normal super hard spots while cold, and then gradually diminishing as it warmed up.
BUT when I got to work and was in the parking lot, I noticed that it was making a slight squeal (kinda like when you turn the wheel to the locks, but it was turned that far)...This made me suspect that it was maybe just bad belts causing the hard spots.
Upon belt inspection on my break: there were no cracks, no apparent fraying and they were pretty tight (I cold only do a 1/2 turn on each, or if I pushed down with fair force they would only push in the height of my thumb, approx 10mm)

I am going to lube the Steering Shaft-Rack U-Joints this Saturday, when I have the TMIC off to install silicone hoses, and hope that a corroded shaft is my problem, though I think things are starting to point towards a bad PS Pump :-(

I will keep everyone updated on my findings and steering status/change
RACER3251 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2012, 01:26 PM   #14
mountainmanSTI
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 305003
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Summit County, CO
Vehicle:
2010 WRX/STI
SILVER

Default

you may want to just bleed out your power steering fluid and replace it all. Use a power-bleeder, and completely flush out and refill the system. At nearly 100k, it couldn't hurt.

What type of additive did you put in (lucas)? If you used stop-leak or something comparable, it could have a clotting/blocking effect within your system, especially if it has already been compromised with air. Also, the DOT or density of the fluid may not have been up to WRX specs. To me, air or blockage in the PS system sounds like what is going on for you, especially since the heat of the fluid has an impact on your steering feel. Just one big bubble of air could effect the system negatively, lots of air would make your pump less efficient because the fans are catching air instead of fluid.

I had my power steering pump go out on a few of my past cars. When it goes, its not just "hard"-- its startlingly difficult to steer when you are experiencing PS pump failure, even intermittently.

Hope you get to the bottom of it... good luck
mountainmanSTI is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2012, 01:52 PM   #15
djosbun
Scooby Specialist
 
Member#: 202176
Join Date: Feb 2009
Chapter/Region: MWSOC
Location: Hamilton, Ohio
Vehicle:
2004 WRX wgn P1RANHA
'07 Tribeca

Default

I had an issue with my '86 Corvette where, upon turning the wheel, it would seem to hit a 'hard spot', and then turn fine. Ended up being a bad steering rack, since the 'hard spot' happened in the same 'spot' when turning the wheel.
djosbun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2012, 11:29 PM   #16
mikeydrives1
Scooby Specialist
 
Member#: 262117
Join Date: Oct 2010
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Vehicle:
2001 Forester
STi II type M

Default

Bump for an issue im now experiencing too.
mikeydrives1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2012, 01:13 PM   #17
RACER3251
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 284685
Join Date: Jun 2011
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Vehicle:
2014 Ford Focus ST
Sunny D

Default

Update: After running a few bottles of Lucas through my car ,helping but not 100%, and after running some diagnosis and thought through whats happening.

I am pretty certain that I am having some Steering Rack valving issues (whether a valve is clogged or bad etc)

My options I believe now either buying a new rack from RockAuto for $276 then $200 for R+R and Alignment or
rack and pinion rebuild kit for $33 and the same labor/alignment fees.

My question is, has anyone ever rebuilt a Rack before and would it be worth it? or should I just buy a remanufactured rack and replace the entire thing?

Thanks
RACER3251 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2012, 10:07 PM   #18
RACER3251
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 284685
Join Date: Jun 2011
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Vehicle:
2014 Ford Focus ST
Sunny D

Default

PROBLEM FIXED!!!!!!!!! Yes that's correct, the problem has been fixed!!!!!!

I finally got sick of having to fight my car to steer it, so I said "eff it!" I am replacing something.
My mathematical narrowing down of causes led me to purchase a reman. Steering Rack and Pinion from Rack Doctor (btw, excellent product and fast shipping, Go Rack Doctor!)
I wasn't too eager to replace myself, so I dropped my car off at a local garage, whom I trust, to replace the rack....Low and behold, 3 hours later, I get a phone call and the notchy steering answer was revealed!!!!
It was not 100% a bad rack like I was presuming/ hoping, but the mechanic had found out that the Lower Universal joint in the Intermediary Steering Shaft was in fact frozen solid. Once I heard that news, it made complete sense that this was the culprit of a notchy steering hard spot every "x" turns of the wheel, doh! Bad news was this was a $192 steering shaft assy form Subaru :-(

Anywho, I went ahead and replaced the rack too, since it was already bought and budgeted (and I figure the car has 122,000 miles so it may have been close to crapping out anyways), and paid to have a new intermediary steering shaft installed and VIOLA the steering is just like new again, and my Suby is once again a pleasure to drive :-)

I guess not all scenario's are the same, but others had mentioned lubing the universals when notchiness starts (which I did but to no avail), so it looks like this very well may be the culprit and a good place to start...Anyways, I hope this helps some frustrated WRX owners in he future :-)
RACER3251 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2013, 09:28 AM   #19
Metallrulz
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 100148
Join Date: Nov 2005
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: South Jersey
Vehicle:
2003 WRX Wagon
Silver

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by RACER3251 View Post
PROBLEM FIXED!!!!!!!!! Yes that's correct, the problem has been fixed!!!!!!

I finally got sick of having to fight my car to steer it, so I said "eff it!" I am replacing something.
My mathematical narrowing down of causes led me to purchase a reman. Steering Rack and Pinion from Rack Doctor (btw, excellent product and fast shipping, Go Rack Doctor!)
I wasn't too eager to replace myself, so I dropped my car off at a local garage, whom I trust, to replace the rack....Low and behold, 3 hours later, I get a phone call and the notchy steering answer was revealed!!!!
It was not 100% a bad rack like I was presuming/ hoping, but the mechanic had found out that the Lower Universal joint in the Intermediary Steering Shaft was in fact frozen solid. Once I heard that news, it made complete sense that this was the culprit of a notchy steering hard spot every "x" turns of the wheel, doh! Bad news was this was a $192 steering shaft assy form Subaru :-(

Anywho, I went ahead and replaced the rack too, since it was already bought and budgeted (and I figure the car has 122,000 miles so it may have been close to crapping out anyways), and paid to have a new intermediary steering shaft installed and VIOLA the steering is just like new again, and my Suby is once again a pleasure to drive :-)

I guess not all scenario's are the same, but others had mentioned lubing the universals when notchiness starts (which I did but to no avail), so it looks like this very well may be the culprit and a good place to start...Anyways, I hope this helps some frustrated WRX owners in he future :-)
Thanks a lot for this info. I've been having similar problems with my '03 WRX. Last weekend I rebuilt my p/s pump thinking I wasn't getting enough assist. Then I ran some Seafoam through the system to see if I could maybe unclog some valves in the rack and pinion. Nothing helped.

Last night I shot some PB Blaster onto the universal but it didn't help much. So lastly I was going to order a new rack from Rack Doctor.

Now seeing your results, I'm going to drop the rack a bit so I can pull the universal and really inspect it - I think that's the only way to check it out. Thanks for the info and I'll update this thread once I figure this stupid thing out.
Metallrulz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2013, 08:48 AM   #20
Metallrulz
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 100148
Join Date: Nov 2005
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: South Jersey
Vehicle:
2003 WRX Wagon
Silver

Default

The u-joint was damn need frozen on 1 of the 4 movable joints. Just shooting some PB Blaster on it didn't help - I needed to pull it and really work the PB Blaster in (moving it 50 times) and then grease it. The steering is so much easier now and there's no notchiness now. Really glad I found this before I went ordering a rack.
Metallrulz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-15-2013, 10:48 PM   #21
2003wrx64
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 171615
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: North Carolina
Vehicle:
2003 WRX

Default

yeah, you really have to remove it to work out the tight spots. it's easy to remove. you will find the coupling right in front of the left front axle. Two 12 mm pinch bolts fasten the coupling to the steering shaft and the rack. Before removing, mark the coupling and the splines on both the steering shaft and the rack so that your steering wheel will be straight when you reinstall. Simply loosen the bolts and use a long screwdriver or prybar to tap the coupling upwards on the steering shaft. Swing the lower part of the coupling away from the rack and then pull it or tap it off of the steering shaft. After removal, work out the kinks with some penetrating oil and a rubber hammer. You will need to use a pocket screwdriver to gently peel back the rubber lip in order to squirt some oil into the U-joint. Eventually you will be able to work it by hand. Lube with some thicker oil and reinstall. You may have to spread the end of the coupling a bit to get it to slide back over the splines. Make sure you have it lined up properly and snug the bolts.
2003wrx64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2014, 01:32 PM   #22
sleepersoob02
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 253048
Join Date: Jul 2010
Chapter/Region: MWSOC
Vehicle:
2002 Impreza WRX
Silver

Default

Awesome info guys! I have the same issue on my 2000 RS. Next check is the universal joint
sleepersoob02 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2014, 11:29 PM   #23
Nick-subiefan
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 164500
Join Date: Nov 2007
Chapter/Region: MWSOC
Location: Chicago, IL
Vehicle:
2004 WRX
Silver

Default

I had the same issue about 2 years ago on my 04 WRX and my shop had me replace the whole steering rack (installed a brand new STI rack). Now the problem is back.
This time I will check all the joints before I bring it in.

It is frustrating to find out that I paid to replace a whole rack when the problem may have been a stuck joint

Thanks guys for sharing your problems ... and solutions with the rest of us
Nick-subiefan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2014, 08:28 AM   #24
kungfooren
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 43437
Join Date: Sep 2003
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: Bay Area, CA & Cambridge, MA
Vehicle:
2004 WRX wagon
Java Black

Default

***
I'm having a very similar problem on my 04 wrx.

Issues: steering hard spots
Attempted fix1: remove and inspect the u-joint/knuckle in steering column. OK.
Attempted fix2: replaced steering rack bushing--helped the steering feel but hard spots still there. My mechanic used air tools and likely introduced air into my power steering system. First things first, I wanted to get the air out of the PS system. I jacked up the front of the car and turned the wheels lock to lock many times with the car NOT running. I could definitely feel the hard spots. Also noticed a few small bubbles in the PS reservoir. Then I went lock to lock many times with the car running. When I went back to turning the steering wheel with the car not running, it feels like the hard spots are in different places.

Is it possible that air in the power steering system is causing steering hard spots even though the power steering system is not running? I know I still have some air in my system because my steering wheel still vibrates/shudders like crazy when I turn the wheels with the power steering running.

Thanks
kungfooren is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2014, 08:41 AM   #25
Goatcrapp
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 64289
Join Date: Jun 2004
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Vehicle:
2004 wrx wagon
wrb

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by kungfooren View Post
Is it possible that air in the power steering system is causing steering hard spots even though the power steering system is not running?
Yes. without going too much into it - the power assist is just that - an assist. you're still moving fluid around when you turn the wheel manually, and air compresses differently than ps fluid (or atf, or whatever else you have in there.)

with that said - did you lube up the ujoint? i did the same thing as you did chasing down this gremlin, (inspected it) and was going crazy until i hit up everything with a nice thick lube.

my problem was two fold - my ps belt was skipping a little... tightness was fine, belt looked fine, but when i replaced it i could see small sections (1/2" or so of the belt) where the ribs were worn down, causing it to skip when turning.

I was ready to replace the pump and rack if needed, to resolve this stupid problem... did the cheap stuff first and it turned out okay.
Goatcrapp is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
FS : VA: 2004 WRX Steering Wheel (no airbag) njk8010 Interior/Dressup/Audio & Security 7 06-29-2011 08:24 PM
So cal 2004 wrx Steering wheel W airbag treicoaie Private 'For Sale' Classifieds 1 02-08-2006 12:40 PM
2004 WRX steering wheel ten80 Private 'For Sale' Classifieds 7 02-12-2005 10:04 AM
WTT: 2004 WRX Steering Wheel for 2005 limequat Private 'For Sale' Classifieds 0 01-19-2005 12:00 PM
SoCal: 2004 WRX steering wheel SoCalWRXwagon Private 'For Sale' Classifieds 6 07-14-2004 03:08 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:07 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Powered by Searchlight © 2014 Axivo Inc.
Copyright ©1999 - 2014, North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club, Inc.