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Old 01-21-2004, 01:20 AM   #1
padams64
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Subaru Stars STI suspension problem? or feature?

Is anyone else experiencing this?

I want to find out if this is a common trait of the STI, or if my car has a fault.
When driving in a straight line, on a flat section of road (no camber), if you accelerate slightly (1/4 throttle in 3rd/4th gear), and take your hands from the wheel, the car starts to run to the left, not a lot, but enough to take you into the next lane within 50 yards or so. If you then relax the throttle, the car runs to the right.
Also, if I negotiate a tight left hand bend, and then drive on a straight section of road, the steering wheel of turned to the left 10-15 degrees, but the car run straight. The opposite happens, on a tight right hander. The wheel stays turned right, 10-15 degrees, but the car will go straight. Eventually this steering wheel turn settles down and the wheel points straight ahead, after a few mins of straight running.

All this happens at slow speeds with low throttle input.
This means that when you up the pace, the wheel is quite a handful. If you drive through an S-bend, first left then right, going through the tight left and then open the throttle in second gear (3/4 to full throttle), you nead to turn the wheel to the right to hold the car on the left hand turn line. Then when you need to change up to third, and declutch, there is a fairly violent pull to the right, forcing you to steer back to the left to stay on the same line. Once the clutch is re-engaged in third the process starts again, by forcing you to turn the steering wheel to the right as you apply the throttle, to keep on the path you desire, as the car is still trying to pull left (even if you are now in the right hand turn part of of the S-bend).
In short the car tends to pull left under throttle and right on overrun.

On a FWD car I would account for this by Torque Steer (where the drive shafts are different lengths.) I have not checked my STI, but expect the front driveshafts are equal length. Also, this happens at quite low throttle opening, meaning I would be surprised if this is torque steer.

So, is this a trait of all STI's, or am I just lucky...! Is my alignment screwed up (the dealership say they checked it and it is fine) Front and rear tires seem to be wearing eveningly across the tire. If you think it is the alignment, can you suggest if it is front or rear? Anyone you would recommend to check the alignment in the East Bay Area? Do you think something is broken, or out of spec? Is the front LSD too tight?

Any help welcomed, as this is really taking the edge off my enjoyment right now.

Thanks Paul
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Old 01-21-2004, 01:48 AM   #2
Mark Avery
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You're not the first to report an STi with wandering steering. Reportedly Whiteline steering rack bushings help a lot. And, yes, the "personality" of the front diff takes a bit of getting used to.
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Old 01-21-2004, 02:17 AM   #3
afpdl
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I believe its all just diff behavior except for the memory steer. If you are on the gas exiting a turn you have to turn back to straight or the car continues in the direction you turned because thats what the front diff is supposed to do. If you letoff the gass it will unwind by itself but if not you have to make sure you unwind the wheel.
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Old 01-21-2004, 04:33 AM   #4
biggreen96
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factory alignments arent perfect most times.
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Old 01-21-2004, 03:14 PM   #5
padams64
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Subaru Stars Alignment suggestions

The local subaru dealer does not even have the STI alignment in their machine. They had had to use the WRX alignment, and then adjust the readings to get to the Factory settings. Rather lame if you ask me. They expect the new settings for their machine to include the STI in March or so.... A long wait since I have put up with this since I bought the car in June.

So what is the consensus on the alignment that is best for the STI, to remove some of the neagtive characteristics. I am looking for a car that will understeer less, have more on-center feel, and hopefully reduce the pull from slight on-gas to off-gas. Full-throttle behavior I can deal with , but the 1/4 throttle behaviour is a bit wierd. I want to retain the tire life a best as possible. I like to drive the car hard, and not do anything weird, but also need to drive it sensibly (80% of the time in the Bay Area traffic!)and not have the car do things that are odd/unexpected.

I may well go with the tougher steering rack bushes, and the anti-lift kit. Are Whiteline the best for these? I had heard they were not necessarily the best quality parts, are they better now. Or would you recommend Cusco or another brand.

I have seen discussion about increasing the castor, as well as adjusting the front and rear toe settings. Any concensus on the best settings that will neautralize the undesteer, without going into overboard oversteer?

Any suggestions on a progression of parts to fit on the suspension would be good too.

I intend to keep for car stock and resolve the current 'problem' while the lemon law is still in effect for this car (Dec 2004). Once it is fixed, or the time expires I'll start to modify parts.

Cheers

Last edited by padams64; 01-21-2004 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 01-21-2004, 05:47 PM   #6
Mark Avery
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In the front: the Whiteline anti-lift kit will increase castor a little. To increase it more, you need adjustable top mounts. The fronts have some camber adjustability, I recommending maxing the negative camber you can get from the stock front setup - probably around -1.5*. If you want more, again you need adjustable top mounts.

In the rear: Stock, there's almost no adjustment. You can add inexpensive ($25) camber bolts, for a little adjustability (+/-1.5*), for more you need, you guessed it, adjustable top mounts.

Without buying extras, you can try:
Front: Camber -1.5*, Toe 0*
Rear: Camber 1.2* (stock), Toe 1mm out
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Old 01-21-2004, 06:16 PM   #7
padams64
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Subaru Stars good advice

Thanks Mark,

I'm off to a local race shop in Castro Valley on Friday to have them look at this. I'll take these setting with me to see if they help.

Anyone have any recommendations on the adjustable top mounts for the front. I have seen the reviews in the other forums of the ones from DMS. Are these the way to go, or are here others that folks like better?

If I can max out the grip at the front I may then start to play with the rear if the car becomes too tail happy.

Cheers
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Old 01-21-2004, 06:28 PM   #8
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I have rear camber bolts. I can get about -2.7 with them. The most I was able to get out of my front OEM camber bolts was -1.3. So for now I'm running -1.3/-1.0 f/r. I'll be adding the same camber bolt to the front. I'll probably try -1.8/-1.3 f/r to start.
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Old 01-21-2004, 06:40 PM   #9
padams64
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Subaru Stars Which brand camber bolts?

Which brand of camber bolts are you going to use for the front?
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Old 01-21-2004, 07:36 PM   #10
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The ones sold on Z1auto.com . They require drilling and widening of the top of the two bolt holes at the bottome of the strut. They should be here next week. I'm doing them in conjuction with group-N tops. I'll let you know how things go if you want.
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Old 01-21-2004, 07:41 PM   #11
padams64
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Subaru Stars

Yes, please update me when you have driven the car for a while.
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Old 03-08-2004, 12:19 PM   #12
yukonm
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My sti has similar 'steering memory' issues and it requires significant steering adjustments in constant radius turns when transitioning the throttle between just-on and just-off. I think it is all in the front diff. My steering's memory seems symetrical, but I haven't actually tested it .
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Old 03-08-2004, 12:46 PM   #13
StiDreams
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The camber bolts from Z1 do not fit the fronts. The front hole for the STi camber bolt diameter is bigger than 14mm. It's looking like I'm stuck unless I go with some sort of adjustable strut tops.
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Old 03-08-2004, 06:31 PM   #14
Bullit
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Interesting that this thread came back up again. I just got back from the dealership today. I had them align the car. Sorry, I didn't get the specs, just that it was indeed out of alignment. It had been pulling to the left since I got the car. At first I was amazed at how straight the car tracked...then I made a turn. Now that the car doesn't always pull to the left, I can say for certain that my STi has the same "wandering steering" that others have. Not to be confused with lift-off oversteer that has been discussed extensively in another thread. The car is better by a long shot but I'm now considering the Whiteline bushings. I've heard lots of good first impressions of the whiteline bushings, but what are peoples long term impressions of this mod? Any problems? Did it indeed fix the "wandering steering" feel or is that something I should learn to live with?
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Old 03-08-2004, 09:50 PM   #15
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roads and alignment affect the pull of steering. as one other said the factory alignments have proved to be anything but aligned.
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Old 04-16-2004, 01:10 AM   #16
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after installing whiteline steering rack bushing I will say that this is not an option that people should lead other to assume this is a deffinitive solution.

the bushing do make the steering rack noticably stiffer but do not cure all of the flex found in the rack. a good thrust alignment will deffinatly help a bit more, but I'm not sure as to wether or not the problem will come back.
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Old 04-17-2004, 01:46 AM   #17
padams64
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Default over-damped?

I noticed somewhere a discussion about the US spec STI suspension has springs that are too soft for the dampers settings.

This seems to be accurate, and can be tested on a flat freeway, by negotiatng a long curve at a constant speed (say 80mph) with constant steering input. You can feel the car heel over slowly throughout the curve, rather than settling quickly. When you hit the straightaway and unwind the steering, the car slowly releases the compressed spring (5+ seconds).

I think this explains why I (and others) have this wandering steering in corners and over bumps. The springs are being compressed and the suspension is putting varying amounts of bumpsteer into the car, as the springs are not able to unload in time to react to the next bump.

I am going to look into a set of hard springs as the car feels very numb right now and does not inspire confidence. I think this may also go a long way to fixing memory steer issues.

Any thoughts from those that have already done spring upgrades? Which ones are best, 'pinks' or Eibach? I am only looking at a spring replacement for now, as I want to save for the Prodrive suspension next year.

Cheers
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Old 04-17-2004, 12:55 PM   #18
mrxx
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Default STi wander

When the car was brand new, it pulled to the right. Took it back to the dealer, he aligned it - didn't solve the problem.

Traced it to "wheel pull". Yes, the front right RE070 was dragging the car over, pull went with the wheel.

So he put the tire on the rear which made the problem better, and arranged for a warranty replacement on the tire (Subaru doesn't do that !).

The car is still a bit wanderful, but it really isn't bad. It will drift at random to the left or the right, after a little while.

I was wondering if the Whiteline bushings might help - what does it cost to get them installed?
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