Steering Wheel: Pulsing "Slight Grind" Feel @ Slower Speeds - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums

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Old 10-02-2011, 03:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Steering Wheel: Pulsing "Slight Grind" Feel @ Slower Speeds

Haven't updated my profile, but have recently purchased a 2011 base model Outback with an August build date. I was so tuned into the more well known shaker issue that I might have missed what has now become very apparent as a pulsing sensation in the steering wheel (and even floor) which also feels a bit like an intermittent slight grind. I've just taken the car on a big road trip, so there was plenty of time to become tuned into this issue.

It occurs at slower speeds upon turns; normally more apparent when the wheel is at 10 or 2 o'clock (or deeper into the turn). The actual pulsing sensation happens on super smooth pavement, but seems to be more noticeable on rougher pavement.

I've read a bit on here regarding this issue, but it hasn't quite gotten the airtime as the high speed shaker issue ... so wondering if this is a problem for all Outbacks which people just accept or if this is a limited problem which only affects a small subset of vehicles? Also wondering if there is an accepted "solution" to this issue which conclusively/permanently resolves this symptom?

I haven't contacted my dealer or SOA yet, just trying to figure out what might be going on & what others have encountered too?
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Old 10-02-2011, 06:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by FaceOnMars View Post
Haven't updated my profile, but have recently purchased a 2011 base model Outback with an August build date. I was so tuned into the more well known shaker issue that I might have missed what has now become very apparent as a pulsing sensation in the steering wheel (and even floor) which also feels a bit like an intermittent slight grind. I've just taken the car on a big road trip, so there was plenty of time to become tuned into this issue.

It occurs at slower speeds upon turns; normally more apparent when the wheel is at 10 or 2 o'clock (or deeper into the turn). The actual pulsing sensation happens on super smooth pavement, but seems to be more noticeable on rougher pavement.

I've read a bit on here regarding this issue, but it hasn't quite gotten the airtime as the high speed shaker issue ... so wondering if this is a problem for all Outbacks which people just accept or if this is a limited problem which only affects a small subset of vehicles? Also wondering if there is an accepted "solution" to this issue which conclusively/permanently resolves this symptom?

I haven't contacted my dealer or SOA yet, just trying to figure out what might be going on & what others have encountered too?
Might be a problem with your transfer clutch (if you have the CVT)
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Old 10-02-2011, 07:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
pgh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FaceOnMars View Post
Haven't updated my profile, but have recently purchased a 2011 base model Outback with an August build date. I was so tuned into the more well known shaker issue that I might have missed what has now become very apparent as a pulsing sensation in the steering wheel (and even floor) which also feels a bit like an intermittent slight grind. I've just taken the car on a big road trip, so there was plenty of time to become tuned into this issue.

It occurs at slower speeds upon turns; normally more apparent when the wheel is at 10 or 2 o'clock (or deeper into the turn). The actual pulsing sensation happens on super smooth pavement, but seems to be more noticeable on rougher pavement.

I've read a bit on here regarding this issue, but it hasn't quite gotten the airtime as the high speed shaker issue ... so wondering if this is a problem for all Outbacks which people just accept or if this is a limited problem which only affects a small subset of vehicles? Also wondering if there is an accepted "solution" to this issue which conclusively/permanently resolves this symptom?

I haven't contacted my dealer or SOA yet, just trying to figure out what might be going on & what others have encountered too?
I have that feel sometimes but I don't consider my car a shaker. Also, When I first got the car making a sharp turn from a stop would produce a grinding noise that could be felt and heard. That noise happens still . My 11 Legacy also has this.

You didn't say you had a shaking wheel between 65 and 80 so I assume either this is a different problem or a normal behavior
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Old 10-04-2011, 10:47 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by RobMunach View Post
Might be a problem with your transfer clutch (if you have the CVT)
I do have a CVT, but not familiar enough with what a transfer clutch does to know if it might be related based on the symptom.

Have also noticed that this issue is present without turning the steering wheel very far in either direction. In other words, I can feel the "threshold" of the "grinding pulse" by quickly steering back and forth by a couple inches from 12 o'clock.

Just rolled in from the final leg of my trip, so haven't had a chance to contact SOA yet. I bought the car from a dealer which is 300 miles away, but there are closer ones (better deal at the one further away) ... which are still a good 1.5 hours. Have been sitting on the sidelines with the shaker issue for over a year due to not wanting to have to get roped into traveling to get the car serviced - now it looks like I'll be on this same road.
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I have that feel sometimes but I don't consider my car a shaker. Also, When I first got the car making a sharp turn from a stop would produce a grinding noise that could be felt and heard. That noise happens still . My 11 Legacy also has this.

You didn't say you had a shaking wheel between 65 and 80 so I assume either this is a different problem or a normal behavior
I don't believe my car is manifesting itself as a true full blown "shaker" (no shake at 65 - 80), but kind of wonder if it's related or simply muted (dampened)? As I mentioned above, it's not limited to a sharp turn from a stop (although this seems to invoke the most noticeable response).

Have you brought up this issue to your dealer? I'm curious what the official explanation is if it's a common issue. I'm convinced it's not a direct "road feel" ... since there does seem to be a fairly regular cyclical "pulsing" of this slight grind feel which is not dependent upon the speed of the vehicle.
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Old 12-20-2012, 02:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FaceOnMars View Post
I don't believe my car is manifesting itself as a true full blown "shaker" (no shake at 65 - 80), but kind of wonder if it's related or simply muted (dampened)? As I mentioned above, it's not limited to a sharp turn from a stop (although this seems to invoke the most noticeable response).

Have you brought up this issue to your dealer? I'm curious what the official explanation is if it's a common issue. I'm convinced it's not a direct "road feel" ... since there does seem to be a fairly regular cyclical "pulsing" of this slight grind feel which is not dependent upon the speed of the vehicle.
Old thread but here goes. Does the grinding seem to be happening when the engine is cold more than when the engine is warm? Is the grinding noise more like or accompanied by a rubbing noise?

The power steering pump is roughly the same as my '00 model on the newer outbacks where the fluid intake fitting has 2 rubber o-rings and is held on by a single offset bolt/screw.

On mine, before the engine warmed up the o rings would shrink and the power steering pump intake would be sucking in air making the oil all nice and bubbly going to the rack. The noise from the rack sounded like grinding or rubbing that actually had me thinking the pivot bearings in the front strut mounts were not turning and causing a combo of metal on metal/metal on rubber sound.

To test this, just remove the elongated triangle air intake duct that sits over top of the power steering fluid reservoir and pop the cap off so you can see the fluid. Turn the car on and turn the steering wheel so that you get the noise a few times then get out and look at the fluid in the reservoir. If there are bubbles in the fluid then all you need to do is replace the 2 rubber o-rings in the metal angled fitting on the top of the power steering pump (the bigger rubber hose from the reservoir goes to that fitting). You don't even need to drain the fluid or anything to do this, just have the cap off of the reservoir so there's no pressure pushing the fluid up to the pump with the car off. Unscrew that one offset bolt/screw (on my 00 it's a torx/star drive screw) pull the fitting out and you can see the 2 o-rings right there. Any auto parts store will sell a cheap assortment of o-rings for a few bucks.

This is actually a common problem on many subarus, the OEM rubber o-rings are flat and barely wider than the metal insets and the older ones had a metal serpentine belt shroud that connected to that fitting causing it to wiggle around. Replacing them with fat round o-rings will cure it.
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Old 12-20-2012, 02:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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more probable is something simple like maintenance items, tires or brakes.

how many miles?

if it's an issue then CV axle (any busted boots?) or wheel bearing.
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Old 12-20-2012, 03:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Might be important to have him define his idea of "Grinding" and at what speeds he's experiencing this.

Every AWD vehicle I've owned will load up all 4 wheels and exhibit a high level of of drive line and tire loading in very specific turning conditions. His description had me thinking the groan when turning at slow speeds or tight turn from a dead stop etc thread which has been around for a long time.

Which case this is not CVT specific its commonly found with all AWD vehicles in certain driving situations that generate a high loading to all 4 wheels when turning!

The reference to brakes and grinding - could be similar to what I experienced around 32,000 miles through about 35,000 miles where certain local slow speed around town use would result in the brakes making a very terrible grinding sound - which after many checks on the actual pads and brake gear turned up fully servicable pads and brake gear. This grinding effect would go away as soon as the car made an extended stop say from exiting the highway at speed - assumption is that the brake gear was heated up more and something in the brake pads was being burned off the discs or pads which was causing this grinding sound at slower lower temp brake use around town. Now at 40,000 miles the brakes are no longer doing this - my suspicion is that the brake pad material had a spot in it where the material was slightly different and caused this grind during low speed low temp brake use. Now that the material has been removed ie the brake pads have worn past this odd patch of material they are no longer doing this during the around town low temp brake use.
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Old 09-10-2013, 12:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Seems that I may have the similar issue.
When I go straight its Ok. When I start turning the wheel, I can feel slight pulsation on the steering wheel.
I have 2010 2.5 Outback I just got a week ago.
Does anyone have pictorial of the gaskets and their location?
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Great information!!
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