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Old 04-16-2019, 11:45 AM   #1
GetWrxd01
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Default Air in power steering system?

My power steering has been acting up lately. At first I thought it was the pump going out, what happens is the wheel will get hard to turn at certain spots, but I got the front end in the air and with the engine off it was still hard to turn in the same spots. Also it comes and goes, Iíll park my car overnight and in the morning the steering will be hard to turn, then a couple days later it will go away. I think that means itís air in the system, can anyone confirm this? How do I go about getting the air out? I know if thereís air in the system it means I have a leak somewhere, but I havenít noticed any loss of power steering fluid.
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Old 04-17-2019, 03:51 PM   #2
GetWrxd01
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Default Update

I tried bleeding it, jacked the front end off took the cap off the ps resovoir turned the wheel back and forth like 30 times lock to lock, it didnít help at all, and I didnít lose any fluid, my fluid is still just above the full line.
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Old 04-17-2019, 04:04 PM   #3
Turpid Porpoise
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Do you see anywhere under the car where fluid may be leaking?
Notice any spots in the wheel wells where the tires may be rubbing?
Any air bubbles in the PS reservoir with the engine running?

List as much detail about your car as well to help us point you in the right direction.
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Old 04-17-2019, 07:06 PM   #4
GetWrxd01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turpid Porpoise View Post
Do you see anywhere under the car where fluid may be leaking?
Notice any spots in the wheel wells where the tires may be rubbing?
Any air bubbles in the PS reservoir with the engine running?

List as much detail about your car as well to help us point you in the right direction.
No leaks, no bubbles, no rubbing, just replaced struts, did not fix issue. It started happening about 4 weeks ago, it occurred for about a week, then one day after I washed it the issues completely went away, about another week later it came back, and it hasnít gone away since, like I said before, I am not losing any power steering fluid, and even with the engine off and the wheels off the ground it still does it
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Old 04-17-2019, 07:27 PM   #5
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The tophats for the front shocks have bearings in them for turning. If they're old, they may have dirt in them. May want to check them out. When you replaced the shocks, did you orient the washer between the spring retainer and tophat correctly? Small end goes up.
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Old 04-17-2019, 08:17 PM   #6
GetWrxd01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yarrgh View Post
The tophats for the front shocks have bearings in them for turning. If they're old, they may have dirt in them. May want to check them out. When you replaced the shocks, did you orient the washer between the spring retainer and tophat correctly? Small end goes up.
Sorry, I meant to say the whole strut assembly, springs tophats everything. It didnít seem to have any effect on the issue, but I just threw my car up on the lift and I think it is the u joint in the steering shaft, about every 1/4 rotation is when it gets stiff, I put some grease in the joint so hopefully that will help.
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Old 04-17-2019, 08:22 PM   #7
GetWrxd01
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Just found another thread sounds like Iím not the only one with this problem, I just had to include ďu-jointĒ in my search lol. Some people have had luck with lubing it up, and others have replaced it
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Old 04-18-2019, 07:12 PM   #8
GetWrxd01
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Default Update

It didnít feel any better after lubing the u-joint up, all last night and today, until just now. I was hitting some backroads with my friends and when we got back on pavement I noticed my steering was 100% better. I donít know what happened, maybe the lube started to set into the joint, or a bump unseized it, but it has never felt better and hopefully it doesnít come back.
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Old 04-20-2019, 12:53 AM   #9
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Welp the problem is back. Drove good for one day and now I can feel the ďhard spotsĒ again, but itís not quite as bad as before. At this point Iím completely lost, I donít know how the u joint can lock up and free itself like that, but I donít think itís air in the system either. Maybe the pump? Havenít noticed any whines or any noises while turning and itís weird that it would get hard in the same spots and be so inconsistent
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Old 04-22-2019, 06:16 PM   #10
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Anybody have any suggestions? This is driving me nuts I tried lubing the u joints again this time with wd40 didnít help.
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Old 04-24-2019, 04:06 PM   #11
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You stated that you went with the method of bleeding it by popping it open and turning the wheel. While attempting this, did you actively keep the power steering level (in the reservoir) at the full line? Having a second hand to constantly fill it as needed is crucial for this method to work.
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Old 04-29-2019, 07:18 PM   #12
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I tried soaking it with pb blaster one last time and it seems like it has worked! I sprayed it over a week ago and it has been good since. Fingers crossed...
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Old 04-29-2019, 07:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hkdboarder42 View Post
You stated that you went with the method of bleeding it by popping it open and turning the wheel. While attempting this, did you actively keep the power steering level (in the reservoir) at the full line? Having a second hand to constantly fill it as needed is crucial for this method to work.
Like I previously said, it didnít go down at all. In fact even after turning all that time it was still a tad above the full line. But itís fixed now (hopefully)
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Old 05-08-2019, 12:14 PM   #14
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Can someone explain to me what "lubing the u joint" mean. I'm having the same problem with my 09 impreza OBS. The powersteering is so sticky, it seems to be prematurely wearing out/loosing the drive belt. Tried replacing the o-ring, the reservoir to pump hose, drain and refilled fluid w/ purge.
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Old 05-13-2019, 08:37 PM   #15
GetWrxd01
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All I really did was spray the heck out of both u joints in the steering shaft with pb blaster, if your steering feels like it has ďhard spotsĒ about every half rotation or so, this is probably your problem
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Old 05-13-2019, 08:37 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klmdss2013 View Post
Can someone explain to me what "lubing the u joint" mean. I'm having the same problem with my 09 impreza OBS. The powersteering is so sticky, it seems to be prematurely wearing out/loosing the drive belt. Tried replacing the o-ring, the reservoir to pump hose, drain and refilled fluid w/ purge.
Hereís a good link: https://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2169414
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Old 05-17-2019, 11:56 AM   #17
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change the pump
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Old 07-28-2020, 06:50 AM   #18
pcampbell
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Default Air in power steering system?

Iíve got original Ps pump, struts, steering rack and steering u-joints. I sprayed the U joint fairly liberally with white grease and it seems better but not perfect. Problem seems to have started suddenly. Stiff around 10 and 2. Seemed like lubing the joints helped.

I donít really want to throw parts at it right this sec. what to try next?

U joint is $150
Quickstruts are $250
Pump is $150
Rack $250-300


No leaks or bubbles on the pump/reservoir. Fluid is new. No whining.

Last edited by pcampbell; 07-28-2020 at 06:55 AM.
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Old 07-28-2020, 08:53 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcampbell View Post
Iíve got original Ps pump, struts, steering rack and steering u-joints. I sprayed the U joint fairly liberally with white grease and it seems better but not perfect. Problem seems to have started suddenly. Stiff around 10 and 2. Seemed like lubing the joints helped.

I donít really want to throw parts at it right this sec. what to try next?

U joint is $150
Quickstruts are $250
Pump is $150
Rack $250-300


No leaks or bubbles on the pump/reservoir. Fluid is new. No whining.

If you put the car on jack stands with the wheels off, you can easily rotate the U-joint by hand from underneath. If its binding there, you'll feel it happen. If you experienced binding from any other of the mentioned parts, the binding wouldn't consistently be at 10 and 2. If it where me, id throw a fat glob of grease in the joint while rotating it from under and if that fails I'd get a junk yard joint that isn't rusted.
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Old 07-28-2020, 09:30 PM   #20
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The steering u-joints are sealed, some thin spray lube MIGHT make it inside one if its seal is bad and causing it to rust/seize. If the binding goes away immediately after spraying those u-joints with the front wheels off the ground, yeah that's the most likely problem. If the front wheels are off the ground and your strut mount bearings are good, the binding in certain spots will likely be the steering joint or inside the rack. I've seen vehicles get into accidents and get hit directly on a front wheel and bend the inner main rod of the rack.

If you want to eliminate the strut bearings from the equation, disconnect both outer tie rods from the knuckles. Then you will just be turning the rack and u-joints.

I've actually had a vehicle come in that was still in warranty and even though I could tell the entire side was repainted and a wheel was brand new, they still made me do the rack under warranty.
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Old 07-29-2020, 08:58 AM   #21
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Yeah putting the front end up and key on/engine off, I slowly turned the u-joint by hand while spraying liberally. It seemed to help , but still clearly some notchiness... Well it's either notchy or the PS is intermittently working. I decided to try a used JDM U-joint from eBay, with hopes that those only have like 40-60k miles on it. It will probably be obvious when I take the old one off if that is the culprit, but I figured if it was coming off it should go back on with something better.

Last edited by pcampbell; 07-29-2020 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 08-01-2020, 02:06 PM   #22
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Step 1 of the FSM for replacing the U-joint says to remove the steering wheel. Is this necessary?
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Old 08-01-2020, 03:23 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcampbell View Post
Step 1 of the FSM for replacing the U-joint says to remove the steering wheel. Is this necessary?

My first step would be to bungee cord the bottom of the steering wheel to something under the driver seat, so it can't accidentally spin and screw your clockspring up, before disconnecting either end. Of course if the ignition lock mechanism is locked, the wheel won't spin in relation to the column, and you won't have to worry about the clockspring/spiral cable/ whatever Subaru decides to call it.

I've pulled a few of my subie columns, but can't remember for sure. The steering u-joints don't have an expansion joint, so likely the column needs to be
dropped, as the manual mentions.

Best thing to do is mark each end where it mates to the steering column and the rack, with a fine permanent marker. Then remove the bolt on both ends and see if you can shift it up far enough to take off the rack, then the column end should slide off easily. The lower end can be a pain sometimes, but they usually come off with some light tapping. Obviously spraying some light lube on the rack end is a good idea.
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Old Yesterday, 03:26 PM   #24
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Good news and bad news.

Stock U-joint is definitely toast. Very hard to move on 1 axis on 1 of the ujoints.

Bad news is the JDM U-joint I ordered isn't the right length, it is about 1/2" too short which is about as much spline contact as is on both sides... not something I want to mess with. Ordered a new USDM one for my 05 Outback, which is PN 34170AG041 .




Some notes:
1) Used seatbelt and ratchet straps to ensure steering wheel won't move, also put car on ramps not jacks so wheels don't move.

2) Remove the pinch bolts completely, even if they are loose, they may still be contributing to tension on the splines. Just take them out.

3) The pinch bolts are aimed so you can reach both easily straight on from underneath the car. No special tools needed just 12mm with extensions.

4) Attention not to detent the splines when "chiseling" the u-joint off of the splines. Basic movement is to push it up towards the vehicle side until you can get it off the steering rack, which is done by tapping it on both the upper and lower u-joint repeatedly (top then bottom, repeat, etc.). One it's off the rack, you can get it out of the way and down off the vehicle side.

5) You can easily pry the u-joint off of the vehicle side with a pry back and using vehicle body as pivot or pressure point. Mine wa spretty nasty rusty underneath the ujoint.

6) After removing u joint I cleaned splines well with PB blaster, emory cloth, air. Will grease well before I put new one on.

7) Tightening torque is 17.4 ft lb.

Last edited by pcampbell; Yesterday at 03:33 PM.
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