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Old 02-17-2011, 10:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default OB Lane Wandering

To avoid totally hijacking the Shaker TSB thread, this is about lane wandering with the 2010/11 OB that we started discussing elsewhere.

Discussion so far:

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2nd Subie View Post
So, I haven't felt any of the shake symptoms, and my VIN is just before those listed above.

I have noticed the lane wandering at higher speeds that people have mentioned; does anybody think the current fix would address this at all? I'm not even sure its enough to bring up to the dealer since it hasn't been often, yet, though kinda scary when it happened.
Quote:
Originally Posted by alex6speed View Post
Isn't that fixed with just an alignment? I've read so much about the shakes, but haven't hear much of frequent "lane wandering". Does it pull in both directions or just one?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harplayr View Post
A car that is kinda scary is not good.
Have it checked out.

To answer alex6speed, many of the Outback’s that have the wandering problem have not been corrected by alignments and road force balances. I had 3 alignments at two different dealers to try to correct the wondering, but the darn thing still didn’t want to go straight.
My case sounds different than 2nd Subie's as it wandered at all speeds, city and highway. So hopefully an alignment will solve his problem. It's still worth a service trip to check out IMO.
Quote:
Originally Posted by subiesailor View Post
By the way many owners found that the dealer did not properly prep their car after transport and were driving around on over inflated tires which WILL with out doubt result in very twitchy and wandering driving experience. Check the tire pressure and make sure its the same as whats listed in the door sill. If that doesn't help then go to the dealer.
Quote:
Originally Posted by alex6speed View Post
Wow, that is pretty crazy? How deep a cut does it make when you leave the steering wheel alone? I realize that may be hard to describe, but this is something I'm totally learning right now. Sounds like a steering column / alignment problem. Not to make like of it, but it doesn't look like you're making a constant left turn just to drive straight, right?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harplayr View Post
I don’t want to hijack this thread so I’ll be brief. If you want to go into more detail we should discuss in some other thread.

It was not a radical pull, but to drive straight the car needed constant minor corrections. It made long trips exhausting as you could never just relax and drive, you always had to be “on it” and make sure that you are centered in the lane.

After 3 attempts to fix it the dealer wrote it off as “normal” following the crown in the road.
One thing I always do as part of a test drive is to let go of the wheel and see how a car tracks. This one immediately would wander off course; the test outback did very well (same roads). My current cars also do just fine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vectro View Post
My wandering sensation - exactly described by Harplayr - was remedied by adjusting the rear wheels toeing either in or out - I can't remember. The service manager knew about this problem and has had success with this model doing the procedure on other similar acting Outbacks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2nd Subie View Post
First off, I hope the new fix is an actual fix for those having this problem. it sounds positive so far.



Secondly, mine does not seem to have the same issue as yours, its been once or twice at about 65-70 where i don't really feel connected to the road and find myself too close to the car next to me.



Tire pressure and alignment checks are great suggestion! Thanks for the input!

It could also need a driver mod, as well
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatabbot View Post
I, too, have the directional stability problem with my OB on the highways. RSB made no difference, alignment is within specs and no variation in tire pressure has helped.

Three times now the steering has just gone "dead". No feel, no feedback, nothing. It's always when a gust of wind hits and usually in a gradual curve. Talk about scary, feels like driving 70 mph on ice. Sometimes the car is rock solid on the highway, sometimes it drives like there are 4" of play in the steering wheel and sometimes it drives like the steering wheel is just there for decoration. Haven't been able to pinpoint the variables that cause the differing conditions, either.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2nd Subie View Post
yeah, that's more what i felt. After the RSB upgrade, i felt it on the on ramp in a turn; it felt a bit like being on ice for just a second. Cross wind was the highway sensation, sort of just floating for a few seconds. I don't know if I can reproduce it, and its not often.

Should we start a new thread? I really don't want to derail the TSB topic.
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatabbot View Post
Sure, feel free. We probably have hijacked this one enough.
And thus begins a new thread for discussion.....
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Old 02-17-2011, 10:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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So one thing I worry a little about is whether the RSB upgrade will have any impact on the dealer's inspection/response to any issues like this. I think the RSB thread mentioned that the techs likely would not notice at all. Anybody come across this?

Am I already hijacking my own thread?
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Old 02-17-2011, 10:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I hope someone eventually finds out a fix for this problem. On my car it's not an alignment or tire pressure issue. Granted on many days it's just fine, but on some days the car has a mind of its own.

Been bashed for saying it in the past, but my 2001 Wrangler tracked better on the freeway than my OB does. My OB is still better than my old CJ, though

As far as the RSB, I wouldn't worry about it personally. Not to demean the good technicians out there, but most technicians at the dealership probably have a hard time dressing themselves in the morning. Doubt they'll notice a slightly thicker sway bar.
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Old 02-17-2011, 10:56 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I went with the Rallitek RSB and it seemed to clear up a good bit of the "vagueness" when driving at freeway speeds. The car seems less prone to "wandering" (but I think mine was already less prone to that than some I've heard about on here) and cross winds don't effect it as much as they used to..

When I first got the car, anything over about 70-75, combined with a mild crosswind would send the car in one direction and then the other. My theory was that the crosswind was causing the car to lean, which caused it to push/steer in one direction and when you corrected back, the car leaned the other way, which caused it to seem to steer/push in the opposite direction. It could be quite unnerving, especially at even higher speeds..

I have had one or two instances where crosswinds have still effected the car, but those were predominately strong tail winds that shifted in one way or another.. My Outback seems much more stable with the Rallitek RSB than it was with the stock one.

According to Rallitek's website, their RSB "replaces the weak factory 15mm rear sway bar with a RalliTEK 19mm solid. This is a 157% increase in stiffness."
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Old 02-17-2011, 11:18 AM   #5 (permalink)
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LOL.
I’ve seen y-tube’s that caliper-ed the RSB to 16mm, that’s 0.118” delta of 19mm. After it’s all been weathered, yup I doubt the techs will see that.
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Old 02-17-2011, 12:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I changed the RSB to the 19mm Impreza STI spec C and can still feel a gentle tug with strong crosswinds @ 60mph.

I am hoping to get a camping trip under the belt this weekend. I don't really have long highway driving before/after to compare, but should be able to report on the after

The only lane tracking issues I have had so far have been with gusty crosswinds, the they are lessened but not removed with the 19mm RSB.
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Old 02-17-2011, 12:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I wonder if it's the factory tires? Anyone try different (better) tires?
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:34 AM   #8 (permalink)
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So, i checked my tire pressure-- 32psi all around. I put my rears to 30. I doublt 2 psi will make a difference, but might as well start at specs.
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:41 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Three observations from personal experience.

1) Uneven tire pressure on the fronts make my OB impossible to drive in a straight line - the bigger the difference the more extreme the condition. Now that I'm aware of it I believe (or at least think) I can tell if there's just 1 psi difference.

2) Mine has a tendency to follow the road crown a bit more than any other vehicle I've owned (at least as far a I can remember). In other words in wants to go to the downhill side of the road.

3) The higher the tire pressure the more it wants to 'wander'. It drives best with the fronts at 32 or 33 psi and the rears at 2 psi less than the fronts.

As a side note the higher the cross wind the more the impact of 1) and 2).
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:48 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Mine loves to follow any irregularities or grooves in the pavement, too.

I just don't get it. Sometimes my OB can be solid as a rock going down the highway and therefore a great cruiser. Other times it's an absolute handful. Can't tell a consistent temperature, tire pressure, wind speed, etc. that causes it to act one way or the other
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