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Old 04-20-2014, 07:17 PM   #1
Powerless
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Default 08-10 WRX Upgrade to STi Steering Rack

TL;DR The power steering on my wife's WRX is leaking (~85,000 miles). If an upgrade happens it appears it will be to swap in an STi power steering rack. I'm definitely upgrading the steering rack bushings. I'm getting a performance alignment after the repair.

1. Does anyone definitively know if this swap is possible and, if so, what it would take? Update: The WRX and the STi use the same rack. Update to the update: No they don't. WRX P/N: 34110FG080 STi P/N 34110FG030. Since they are different part numbers, I'm going to assume that they aren't interchangeable without a little more knowledge and support than I have.

2. If the rack swap is possible, is the STi power steering pump required to be swapped in when the rack is swapped?

3. Planning on adding a power steering cooler. Does anyone have any feedback about which unit is a better choice, the Murray or Hayden, given the intended usage for the car? Is there somewhere to check for these units at a lower cost?

4. Thinking about replacing the power steering fluid hoses, does anyone know the best place to get new power steering fluid hoses and which part number I'm supposed to order? I found them. As far as I can tell there are 3, a suction hose (~$28), a return hose (~$25), and a hose & tube assembly (~$187). The last of these makes this cost prohibitive for me unless the hose is actually leaking.

5. Should I upgrade the steering column linkage to the STi steering column linkage while I'm there? Yes. This is supposedly a cheap modification, and it is still relevant on the 08-10 model Subarus, at least, as seen here. There is even an indication that it is relevant on the 2011 models, so I'm not sure how far into the model years this piece goes.

6. Also thinking about installing a Cusco steering rack power brace, new sway bars front and rear, and possibly control arm bushings and rear bushings. Any thoughts on the priority of these upgrades against each other? I think I've settled on the Cygnus Performance Stage II Steering Kit for this round, and then in a future round of upgrades I'll do the sway bars and upper strut braces, then the following round a coilover kit.

Begin full post, important questions in bold.

The power steering on my wife's WRX is leaking (~85,000 miles). The car is a daily driver but sees some canyon driving occasionally, and I'm generally considered to drive my cars hard all the time. Research indicates that the solution to the leak is to swap the power steering rack itself because I don't have a press to do the rebuild. I generally find repairs to be an excellent time to make upgrades. I've been doing a lot of research on the feasibility of upgrading a 2008, 2009, or 2010 (my car is a 2009) WRX steering rack to an STi steering rack of those years or later. I have ruled out a Q-rack unit because the company seems to have disappeared and because it triggers the ABS and VDC lights which removes traction control. I have ruled out the other aftermarket units because of both cost and the same loss of traction control. So, if an upgrade happens it appears it will be to swap in an STi power steering rack and I would like to limit this discussion to that option. There are a handful of people that are looking at this upgrade on various forums but there are no definitive answers to this question given on this or any other forum. Does anyone know if it is possible?

My research up to this point says that the racks are a direct swap for each other ( for example http://www.wrxforums.com/forums/13-s...tml#post329246 from the linked post forward in the linked thread there is a discussion indicating the rack is a direct swap back in 2012), but there is some dissention among the thread sizes and tie rod length in a matter-of-fact manner from user gsrcrxsi on NASIOC July of last year from this linked thread http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?p=41479447 repeated verbatim here:

Quote:
Originally Posted by gsrcrxsi View Post
The 08+ STi has a wider track width, and hence longer inner tie rods.
The 08-10WRX has a narrower track width, and shorter inner tie rods.
The 08+ STi inner tie rods use a M18 size thread into the rack
The 08-10WRX inner tie rods use a M16 thread size into the rack

The 11+ wrx uses the same inner tie rods as the STi, same length and thread so no issues there.

So if you're planning to put the STi rack into the 08-10 WRX, you'll need shorter inner tie rods with a M18 thread, which may not exist. MAYBE the inners from a GD STi might work, but that's just a guess.
No one that has been thinking about doing the swap seems to have followed up, as far as I can tell, with whether they swapped in an STi rack or just replaced with a WRX rack. First and most important question: Does anyone definitively know if this swap is possible and, if so, what it would take?

Side note: regardless of which rack is put in it seems that swapping the Whiteline steering rack bushing in helps steering feel tremendously, so I do plan on making that upgrade. With all the positive reviews it's obvious to me that it needs to be done.

Further research indicates that perhaps the stock WRX power steering pump is insufficient to push enough fluid to the STi power steering rack. Second question: If the rack swap is possible, is the STi power steering pump required to be swapped in when the rack is swapped?

Regardless of which rack I install I'm also considering installing a Power Steering Cooler, either a Murray (http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/de...5146&ppt=C0031) or a Hayden (http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/de...5146&ppt=C0031) unit. Does anyone have any feedback about which unit is a better choice, given the intended usage for the car? Is there somewhere to check for these units at a lower cost?

I'm considering replacing the power steering fluid hoses at the same time. Does anyone know the best place to get new hoses and which part number I'm supposed to order?

Other notes on this swap:
[1] After the swap is made, I do plan on having a performance alignment done at a local performance shop.

[2] I'm also considering doing a steering column swap for the STi column, based on the photos in this thread: http://legacygt.com/forums/showpost....4&postcount=17. However, Subaru Genuine Parts Online Catalog (https://www.subarugenuineparts.com/oe_parts_cat.html) indicates that the Impreza turbo models for 08-11 use the same steering column, so the WRX and the STi have the same column. So, maybe this isn't anything I need to do. Not sure on this one. Further research indicates this is still an important upgrade to make on the WRX, and the rubber damper is not in the steering column, but the steering column linkage. See here for proof that the damper is still present in a 2009, and see here for proof that it is probably still there in a 2011.

[3] If costs allow, I'm thinking about swapping in a Cusco power brace power steering rack (http://www.rallysportdirect.com/Cusc...-Steering-Rack), new sway bars front and rear, and possibly control arm bushings and rear bushings. Any thoughts on the priority of these upgrades against each other? Cost is a major factor here, but if the budget allows I may be able to add them.


Edited to incorporate further research. Edited again to add a TL;DR with updates. And again.
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Last edited by Powerless; 04-23-2014 at 12:09 AM.
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Old 04-21-2014, 06:57 PM   #2
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Update: I received a response from subarugenuineparts.com this morning to a query I made through their site yesterday and they indicated that the STi rack does fit correctly on my car. Looking at the available racks for the car, I only see 3 racks:
1) STi
2) Non-STi, non-WRX, built before 9/20/08
3) Non-STi, non-WRX, built 9/21/08 or later
I ran different years through their tool and it would seem from this that the WRX and the STi have had the same steering rack since 2008. From 2008-2010 Edmunds.com (change the year in the URL for 2008-2010) lists the steering ratio for the WRX as 15.0:1, which is roughly the STi steering ratio prior to 2008 (usually 15.5:1). It looks like Subaru decided to just use the same part for the steering rack (finally). That should also mean that there is no upgrade required for the pump since the pump that is in there has been driving the rack just fine.
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Old 04-21-2014, 11:33 PM   #3
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get an sti steering column damper, which is higher durometer.
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Old 04-21-2014, 11:36 PM   #4
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some of racks will fit but will use fewer of the mounting holes. not sure on the last few chassis... it would be brilliant if the 13:1 rack off the new sti would.

there are no other legit/reliable options for such a quick ratio. imo at least.
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Old 04-22-2014, 07:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ride5000 View Post
get an sti steering column damper, which is higher durometer.
I can find no reference to this anywhere. What are you talking about?

So, it turns out that Jamie from subarugenuineparts.com wasn't on board with what I was asking, and instead just returned the stock part # for my VIN. I've tried asking again and will update with a response. Meanwhile, here are the relevant part numbers:

08-10 WRX: 34110FG080
08-10 STi: 34110FG030
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Old 04-22-2014, 07:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Powerless View Post
I can find no reference to this anywhere. What are you talking about?
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=1926049
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Old 04-22-2014, 11:51 PM   #7
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Ah yes, that was question 5 in the TL;DR and Note [2] in the original post. Thank you for the link as that thread cleared up for me that the part which needs to be replaced is the linkage and not the steering column itself, and that the 2009 does still use a rubber damper in the linkage. I'm putting that back on my to-do list and updating the top post.
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Old 04-23-2014, 11:04 AM   #8
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After 3 months of searching I've finally given up and ordered the WRX rack. I have been unable to find anyone willing to take the time or have the resources to check the thread sizes and part dimensions on the two racks, or to reply with their experiences trying to find any of this information. Never has information on car parts been so obtuse for me. I've contacted everyone I can think of to get this information, including aftermarket vendors, OEM vendors, and Subaru (to be fair, I haven't given them enough time to respond yet). I've searched every WRX-related forum I could find. I've done eBay searching, Google searching, and even more forum searching trying all the keywords I could think of. I've come up empty on all fronts. I've finally given up and just ordered the WRX rack because I don't have $700 to toss around on a part that may or may not fit.
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Old 09-15-2014, 10:40 PM   #9
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Hey Powerless,

I also have an 09 wrx and my power steering rack is leaking. I currently have around 93K on it, but the leaking started in the upper 80K's I believe. I spoke to the dealer in my area (Chicago) and they said it is a direct swap and would be willing to do it if I choose. I havent found much research suggesting that it will work or how much is involved but I think I might take the risk with the swap. I am going to ask them what parts are involved and how "direct" of a swap it is.

Have you found anything new on this or did you just go ahead with the WRX rack?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Powerless View Post
After 3 months of searching I've finally given up and ordered the WRX rack. I have been unable to find anyone willing to take the time or have the resources to check the thread sizes and part dimensions on the two racks, or to reply with their experiences trying to find any of this information. Never has information on car parts been so obtuse for me. I've contacted everyone I can think of to get this information, including aftermarket vendors, OEM vendors, and Subaru (to be fair, I haven't given them enough time to respond yet). I've searched every WRX-related forum I could find. I've done eBay searching, Google searching, and even more forum searching trying all the keywords I could think of. I've come up empty on all fronts. I've finally given up and just ordered the WRX rack because I don't have $700 to toss around on a part that may or may not fit.
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Old 09-16-2014, 02:49 PM   #10
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the GR STi rack will bolt up to a 08-10 WRX just fine. the 2 bolts on the drivers side and the passenger side clamp are the same between WRX/STi.

theres still the issue of the STi inner tie rods being too long. but you can probably thread them in far enough that it'll still align properly. I cant say for sure.

if you're going to swap racks to an STi, get the 2015 STi rack since it's a quicker ratio.
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Old 09-22-2014, 12:29 AM   #11
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Will I be able to make the wrx ones work? Or will I have to get sti ones and make them work? Probably ordering everything from the dealer tomorrow.

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Old 10-07-2014, 03:47 PM   #12
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I don't see why sti inner tie rods couldn't be cut down to the length of the wrx rods. My rack has been leaking for almost 2 years and when I fix it I would like to do the sti rack. It is a quicker ratio correct? I mean thats the whole point of swapping right?
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Old 10-07-2014, 06:19 PM   #13
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If your rack is leaking it's likely from the pinion valve, which is a swappable part, you don't have to change out the entire rack. You take your old rack out, un bolt the valve off of the top of the rack, disconnect the hoses to it, put new one on, and do everything in reverse to put it back together. It's not hard and is cheaper than getting an entire new rack or swapping.

These racks completely suck though, the pinion valve always ends up leaking.
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Old 10-07-2014, 10:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ride5000 View Post
some of racks will fit but will use fewer of the mounting holes. not sure on the last few chassis... it would be brilliant if the 13:1 rack off the new sti would.

there are no other legit/reliable options for such a quick ratio. imo at least.
Really? I've been loving my 11.5:1 Q-rack for the last 50k sMiles. Are they no longer available? Or, not available for the '09?
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Old 10-28-2014, 11:50 AM   #15
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I think no longer available. The only thing I've found is a quick ratio column that's about $550. Heard really good things about it. At some point I would like to see if I could get an sti rack in my 2010 wrx. I've heard the tie rods might be different but there's ways around that.
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Old 10-28-2014, 12:27 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverbullet830 View Post
I don't see why sti inner tie rods couldn't be cut down to the length of the wrx rods. My rack has been leaking for almost 2 years and when I fix it I would like to do the sti rack. It is a quicker ratio correct? I mean thats the whole point of swapping right?
I dont think you need to cut them down. just thread them in further. should be able to thread them in enough.

GR STi and 08-10 racks are the same ratio. there's really no reason to swap 08-14 WRX for an 08-14 STi rack.

only quicker rack is the 2015 STi rack at 13:1

Quote:
Originally Posted by bushflyr View Post
Really? I've been loving my 11.5:1 Q-rack for the last 50k sMiles. Are they no longer available? Or, not available for the '09?
Q-rack is no longer in business.
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Old 10-28-2014, 01:33 PM   #17
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Thanks for the info. You're right there is no reason to switch if its the same ratio. I will most likely get a reman rack ( less than $200) that has a lifetime warranty vs a new one that could start leaking again. I know its just the valve but even that is like $300 new I think.
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Old 01-06-2015, 01:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverbullet830 View Post
Thanks for the info. You're right there is no reason to switch if its the same ratio. I will most likely get a reman rack ( less than $200) that has a lifetime warranty vs a new one that could start leaking again. I know its just the valve but even that is like $300 new I think.
2012 wrx here. I have the same leaking issue. Where are you finding this remanufactured rack for less than $200? I think this is the route to go, if the remanufactured rack includes the pinion valve.
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Old 01-06-2015, 02:23 PM   #19
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There was a shop somewhere in the US that rebuilds them. It was on eBay for I think $199 with lifetime warranty.
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:43 PM   #20
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FYI for more info about this swap check out this LGT thread the swap of the 13:1 rack to the BP/BL chassis should be the same issues to overcome as the 08-10 WRX/Impreza swap as the front suspension is just about the same between the two. Looks like some modding of the inner tie-rod is what needs to be done.
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:50 PM   #21
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i would steer *hahah* clear of the reman racks. a friend who owns a station lost quite a bit of money swapping not one but TWO of them out under warranty for some little old lady. factory sealed oem for me, or take a shot on a boneyard pull.
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:18 PM   #22
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My issue with factory is they are already known to leak at low mileage. And then what? You're SOL. At least the reman has a lifetime warranty.
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:25 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Power6 View Post
FYI for more info about this swap check out this LGT thread the swap of the 13:1 rack to the BP/BL chassis should be the same issues to overcome as the 08-10 WRX/Impreza swap as the front suspension is just about the same between the two. Looks like some modding of the inner tie-rod is what needs to be done.
Good find man. If I ever get around to fixing mine I'll have to check into this more.
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Old 01-27-2015, 12:49 PM   #24
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Sorry for the late reply. I did end up just replacing with the OEM WRX rack, but I also upgraded some of the parts by installing the Cygnus Performance Stage 2 Steering Kit which feels to me like it improved my steering response in the canyons. I don't drive my car hard enough normally to really need the upgrade, but it feels better to me. I also did 3 of the suspension bushings up front and 3 in the rear. Not sure how much that really improved anything. The car rides a little harder, but I've gotten used to it. I presume the harder ride means the suspension is more responsive, but doing it all in tandem didn't allow me to really notice which parts made the specific difference. After all the mods were made it seemed like I had some new squeaks for awhile, but they have just about all settled in and gone away as the miles have racked up. Good luck!
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Old 04-04-2015, 09:43 PM   #25
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FWIW I just had this done. 2015 Sti Rack (subaru 34110VA120) into my Narowbody 2010 Wrx 5dr.

The tie rod ends are longer but my shop (Cobb Tuning Plano) still got it aligned just fine, it bolted right up otherwise. Piece of cake.

So far I love it.

My build thread with some pics.
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