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2005 Legacy 2.5i Wagon 4EAT; 2005 Forester XS 4EAT
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672 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I started to notice intermittent shaking, sometimes violently, and it almost seems like it's coming from all 4 wheels. It'll do it for about 10 minutes or so of highway driving, then it'll almost completely go away. It will then stay fairly smooth for another 15 minutes or so. It almost feels like a tire out of balance.

It can get a little scary, since the steering wheel can shake pretty bad, especially above 60 MPH. I should note that the warped rotor feel is much, much worse when the shaking is going on, especially on the highway.

I was initially thinking the new tires I bought for it, since I now know they weren't the type of tire it should have on it, could be the problem. Wouldn't they cause issues at all times if it is the tires?

It recently had a tie rod end, cv boot and a front bearing done.

Any tips would be appreciated.
 

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2001 Outback H6
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86 Posts
It could also be a sticky brake caliper. The next time it happens, give the brakes a tap and see if the vibration goes away.
 

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2001 OBW AWP
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87 Posts
I just had vibration also but only when accelerating or going up hill, It was traced to the inner c/v joint on the pass. side. The boot had leaked over the years and the cv joint got play. I thought it was tires but narrowed it to the joint.
 

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2005 Legacy 2.5i Wagon 4EAT; 2005 Forester XS 4EAT
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672 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
It could also be a sticky brake caliper. The next time it happens, give the brakes a tap and see if the vibration goes away.
I was kinda thinking that, but it makes no difference.

As for a CV joint, would it just come and go like mine's doing? The guy I bought it from replaced a boot because it was torn and leaking. He bought the car at an auction, so no clue about how long it was torn and leaking before he purchased it. He said the axle/CV joint looked good before hand.

I still want to get each wheel off and re-grease all caliper slide pins. He said the brakes looked fairly new, but it definitely shows signs of warped rotors. It occasionally makes some faint grinding noises in the rear. The other day I noticed a metallic smell when I got out of it, coming from the driver's side rear. The wheel was cool to the touch, so my guess it something isn't quite right with the e-brake hardware inside that wheel. The e-brake does seem to work well, though.

I really wish I knew someone around here who's familiar with Subarus... someone who wouldn't want a ton of money to help me diagnose and repair stuff. I can do a decent amount of mechanical work with the right tools. The cold PA weather kinda hampers what I can do right now without a garage. It's going to be a blistery 43º here today, and I'd love to dig into each wheel to at least grease the slide pins.
 

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2005 Legacy 2.5i Wagon 4EAT; 2005 Forester XS 4EAT
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672 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I'd get the tire balance rechecked...
If it is the tires, wouldn't it do it all the time?

Something I was pondering while driving last night: I live in rural Pennsylvania, so there are many curvy roads. It ALMOST seems like curtain curves back and forth cause the issue to come and go... almost like once the wheels are traveling through curves (different radial differences due to turning) it either makes or breaks some some sort of balance. It sounds really off the wall, I know, but it almost makes sense to some degree.

For that theory to be effective, another wheel/tire would have to be near-equally out of balance... no?

As for the tires, I bought them as a recommendation by a girl who works at my cousin's garage. They're an off-brand made by Cooper.

This screenshot is the only info I can really find about these tires...
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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15,483 Posts
If you are feeling it from all four corners and its sporadic, then the options are the type of tire or struts.
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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5,947 Posts
I had a bad inner CV joint that acted like that, would be smooth, would vibrate, could slow down and it's stop then I couild speed up again.
 

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2003 Baja, N/A, auto
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58 Posts
If it is the tires, wouldn't it do it all the time?
You would think.... But my dad had this exact same problem with his car (not a subi though) and the problem ended up being a just slightly off balance wheel..... Which is why I suggested having the balance rechecked...
 

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2005 Legacy 2.5i Wagon 4EAT; 2005 Forester XS 4EAT
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672 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I got the driver's side caliper slide pins re-greased yesterday. It started getting late and cold, so I'll have to attempt the passenger's side another day. Didn't make a difference.

From what I could see, everything looks good on the driver's side.

I'll see if I can get the balance checked sometime this week.
 

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2005 Legacy 2.5i Wagon 4EAT; 2005 Forester XS 4EAT
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672 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
A little more info.:

The wobble can be felt even at very low speeds. It almost feels like a wheel/tire is just lopsided.

After driving on the highway at about 70 (actual, 74/75 reported by odo) MPH, it will shake and shimmy for at least 10 minutes or so, then eventually smooths out pretty good. It'll stay smooth until I come to a stop again. Once I start driving, it'll usually start all over again about 9 out of 10 times.

Thought: steering rack, axle or tie rod end?

It almost feels like a couple lug nuts are loose. I'm just stumped as to why it eventually smooths out. I kinda want to get my other half to drive the other car beside me and look for any wobbling wheels.

I'll throw this note in, just in case any of you can find something in it...

This never happened until I had ice/snow caked in the wheels, severely throwing the wheels off balance. I had to take it to the carwash to spray them out. The problem went away after that. Obviously, there isn't any ice/snow caked in the wheels now, but the feeling is the same.
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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15,483 Posts
Have the same set of tires been on the whole time even prior to the shaking incidents?

There may be a chance is a binding brake. Could be steering component related. Could be bad struts.

You need to get it to a shop or off the ground and shake it down for anything loose.
 

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2005 Legacy 2.5i Wagon 4EAT; 2005 Forester XS 4EAT
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672 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I don't think it's torque bind. It doesn't act weird if I'm making a tight turn, as in it doesn't "walk" through a turn like a 4x4.

As for tires, yes. Same tires. I bought them right after I purchased the car.

Something else I've noticed and forgot to mention: I've started hearing a faint popping sound when at a stop and turning the steering wheel. Again, not constant.

If it's a binding caliper, would tapping the brakes make a difference? I've tried that without noticed improvement. I still have to get the passenger's side front wheel off to inspect/re-grease the caliper slide pins. The weather hasn't been playing nice, and I don't have a garage.
 

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Premium Member
01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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15,483 Posts
I don't think it's torque bind. It doesn't act weird if I'm making a tight turn, as in it doesn't "walk" through a turn like a 4x4.

As for tires, yes. Same tires. I bought them right after I purchased the car.

Something else I've noticed and forgot to mention: I've started hearing a faint popping sound when at a stop and turning the steering wheel. Again, not constant.

If it's a binding caliper, would tapping the brakes make a difference? I've tried that without noticed improvement. I still have to get the passenger's side front wheel off to inspect/re-grease the caliper slide pins. The weather hasn't been playing nice, and I don't have a garage.
Retorque the lug nuts and see what happens.
 

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2005 Legacy 2.5i Wagon 4EAT; 2005 Forester XS 4EAT
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672 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I was talking to a friend of mine who's a former GM master tech. He was thinking it's a sticking caliper piston. He said the heat that builds up after it's driven for a while on the highway (my 10-15 minutes) is enough for the piston to release enough for the pad to no longer rub the rotor. He suggested I try driving it only using the emergency brake to stop to see if the problem shows up. I did that last night. BINGO! I had almost zero wobbles/shakes the whole time driving it like that.

Now I have to figure out which one is causing the issue and go from there. Do you think there's any hope in getting the caliper revived, or will it need replaced?
 

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Premium Member
03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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18,122 Posts
good troubleshooting.

maybe you can find some excessive pad wear at one corner - that might be a good clue.
 

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2003 Baja, N/A, auto
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58 Posts
Infared temp gauge on the wheels after driving should show one being hotter than the other 3..... There's your sticking caliper...
 
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