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Old 05-03-2021, 01:07 PM   #1
Maverick1998
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Default Steering is true but in corners/ bumps it is wobbly?

TL;DR: Steering feels wobbly when turning or hitting bumps, but car is fine in straight line.


Full story:

09 wrx sedan. 150k miles. Revel coilovers (30k miles)(got them form subiemods for a really good price, have been great so far), new steering rack 40k miles ago, whiteline front and rear swaybar. Fresh alignment (two days ago from a shop I have used on multiple cars many times and always had good results)



I had a bad vibration issue due to a bad wheel bearing, but I replaced that and everything was mostly fine, but got significantly worse after my front drivers wheel made an unexpected acquaintance with a boulder hidden under the snow at a RallyX (this car is a DD but I like to do short amateur rallyX's sometimes). This unwelcome introduction resulted in the replacement of a bent tie rod, bent control arm, and new wheel. Also replaced the front drivers wheel bearing and front passenger lower ball joint.



Every since, I have had sort of a weird steering issue. What originally felt like a super out of balance wheel (lots of vibration at highway speed, moving the steering wheel a LOT at 70mph) was fixed with a balance and alignment. Now, the car tracks true and feels great in a straight line, except when i go around a corner or hit a bump. When doing either of these, the steering feels wobbly and vibrates. Hard to describe, but as though both tie rods were loose on each end so the steering has too much play, or like if your lug nuts were super loose, or what super out of balance wheels feel like, but only when turning. As a former bike mechanic, the feel is super similar to what a mountain bike with super loose fork bushings feels like, allowing the wheels to bounce through a corner so that the cornering force does not feel even, but feels like it is constantly going in and out of positions?, but of course unlike a bike there is more than just suspension component holding it together, as a bike doesn't have a control arm. Again, this is only on bumps or around corners, on a straight line or slight curves it feels fine. On the ground and stationary, there is no play in the steering. Up in the air, nothing feels loose.



I have noticed after replacing the control arm that my drivers tire sticks out probably half an inch further than before. I have been told me two alignment shops (both before and after the crash) that they cannot get the car 100% in spec, probably due to a slight frame issue, but they can get it close. I cant get any negative camper on my front wheels, as they sit they can only be at 0 degrees or +0.5 degrees. Tires are inflated properly and only have 5k miles on them, no leaks from power steering rack, no play in steering when stationary, no play in any wheels when car is up in the air.



Any ideas as to what could be causing this? The car did NOT start doing this until around the crash. I am going to replace the steering rack bushings in a week while I am changing out the clutch and see if that fixes it, but this doesn't seem consistent with bad bushings or a bad rack. Maybe get new camber bolts to get a slight front wheel camber or return the positive camber to neutral? the PS pump does like to wine and the steering likes to creak when cold, but during warm months it doesn't. Could this be a bad rack, or maybe just in need of a flush? Could it be a suspension issue, and how would I know? Doing a track day in three weeks and I obviously need to fix this steering problem before hand (I have another car but I wanted to bring this one). Any help is greatly appreciated!
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Last edited by Maverick1998; 05-03-2021 at 01:12 PM.
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Old 05-03-2021, 03:44 PM   #2
REX_WGN
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Have you considered the inner tie rods?
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Old 05-04-2021, 07:09 AM   #3
Maverick1998
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REX_WGN View Post
Have you considered the inner tie rods?
Yup, not that. Last night I checked everything again and it turns out somehow my coilovers were super out of adjustment, the damping was full soft on the rear and halfway between full soft and hard on the front, which feels like it was causing the inside tire in a turn to go light and skip across the road surface. Now that they're all set to about a bit over halfway towards hard, the problem is wayyyyy better. Still present a little bit, but way way way less than it was before. I'll be expirementing with suspension settings today to see if I can get it even better. I feel like a dumb*** lol
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Old 05-04-2021, 08:21 AM   #4
Elbert Bass
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Another possibility:
Your lack of negative camber is contributing to those symptoms. If your ride height is set too high you won't be able to get any negative camber.
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Old 05-04-2021, 08:25 AM   #5
murrdogg24
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Its called bump steer and it's caused when you lower your car and it changes the roll center of the vehicle. Whiteline makes a roll center adjustment kit (RCA) that bring the roll center back to it's normal position on lowered cars.
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Old 05-04-2021, 10:52 AM   #6
Patrick Olsen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick1998 View Post
I have noticed after replacing the control arm that my drivers tire sticks out probably half an inch further than before.
As measured how/where? What part did you use to replace the control arm?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick1998 View Post
I have been told me two alignment shops (both before and after the crash) that they cannot get the car 100% in spec, probably due to a slight frame issue, but they can get it close. I cant get any negative campercamber on my front wheels, as they sit they can only be at 0 degrees or +0.5 degrees.
I don't know what Revel coilovers are, but are you sure they're the proper fitment for your car? Something is very wrong if you can't get any negative camber or actually have positive camber.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick1998 View Post
Any ideas as to what could be causing this?
What is the ride height set to? If the car has been lowered a bunch, then you're probably experiencing bumpsteer, as murrdogg24 said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick1998 View Post
Maybe get new camber bolts to get a slight front wheel camber or return the positive camber to neutral?
Camber bolts would be a band-aid fix, not actually addressing the problem. And you don't want neutral camber, you want negative camber.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick1998 View Post
Doing a track day in three weeks and I obviously need to fix this steering problem before hand (I have another car but I wanted to bring this one). Any help is greatly appreciated!
I'd start planning to bring the other car.
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Old 05-04-2021, 11:34 AM   #7
T-37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick1998 View Post
Yup, not that. Last night I checked everything again and it turns out somehow my coilovers were super out of adjustment, the damping was full soft on the rear and halfway between full soft and hard on the front, which feels like it was causing the inside tire in a turn to go light and skip across the road surface. Now that they're all set to about a bit over halfway towards hard, the problem is wayyyyy better. Still present a little bit, but way way way less than it was before. I'll be expirementing with suspension settings today to see if I can get it even better. I feel like a dumb*** lol
So it sounds like you've narrowed your problem down to the dampers/struts. It's certainly possible an impact hard enough to damage everything that you mentioned could have also bent a damper/strut shaft or body or bracket.
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Old 05-05-2021, 10:07 AM   #8
Maverick1998
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Olsen View Post
As measured how/where? What part did you use to replace the control arm?


I don't know what Revel coilovers are, but are you sure they're the proper fitment for your car? Something is very wrong if you can't get any negative camber or actually have positive camber.


What is the ride height set to? If the car has been lowered a bunch, then you're probably experiencing bumpsteer, as murrdogg24 said.


Camber bolts would be a band-aid fix, not actually addressing the problem. And you don't want neutral camber, you want negative camber.


I'd start planning to bring the other car.

Thanks for all the responses! For each question:

1: No measurement, but I can visually see more tire exposed from under the fender on one side.


2. Revel coilovers are 1k-ish coilovers, lesser know brand made by tanabe. Seemed good for the money but certainly nothing amazing. The also have camper plates at the top which are set about neutral (not towards the positive or negative camper, as those plates probably give about 10 degrees of adjustment total, which I noticed yesterday the alignment place clearly didnt bother adjusting those, so thats definitely has contributed to the lack of negative camber.



3. Ride height is only about 1 inch to 1.5 inch below stock.


4. The other car is my track miata, but my dad is coming to the track with me for the first time, so I am letting him use that while I drive this car.


The control arm was replaced with an aluminum one from oreilley rather than another stock steel one, as that is what they had in stock at the time, but it should be the same.


I think my conclusion is take the car back to the alignment shop and tell them to set the camber using the camber plates, and then fine tune it using the camber bolts. Does that sound like a good move? (I could possibly take it to a different alignment place instead, the first one forgot to print out my specs before and after and ended up not charging me, so they owe me nothing).



Thanks for all the advice!
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Old 05-05-2021, 10:10 AM   #9
Maverick1998
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T-37 View Post
So it sounds like you've narrowed your problem down to the dampers/struts. It's certainly possible an impact hard enough to damage everything that you mentioned could have also bent a damper/strut shaft or body or bracket.
The struts have a pillowball mount at the top so when I took the impact, they seemed to have just rotated out of the way. Had a mechanic friend do the control arm install (He has a trailer and was able to trailer the car to his shop for free, as I didn't want to pay a towing company to bring it back to my garage) and he said they seemed to be perfectly fine.
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Old 05-05-2021, 10:11 AM   #10
Maverick1998
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elbert Bass View Post
Another possibility:
Your lack of negative camber is contributing to those symptoms. If your ride height is set too high you won't be able to get any negative camber.
I am not super familiar with car suspension kinematics but it is good to hear that that is a contributing factor as that is a fix that i can do.
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