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Discussion Starter #1
Hi friends. I know I have posted/talked about this a lot, but with still no resolution, and it is beginning to sicken me. Driving my Subaru on the highway, between 50 and 70 I will get extreme vibes in the steering wheel. The car is otherwise unaffected - if I let go of the wheel, you would never know of the shaking.

I've replaced the rotors, balanced the tires many times, switched the tires all around, and still no success. It has been like this since I bought it back in Feb.

So, I want to figure this out. We have a local tire shop here that also does similar work with suspension and such, and I simply want to drop it off there, ask them to figure out the problem, how much it will be, and then from there I can figure out what to do. Even if I knew what the problem was, I'd feel better. Do you guys thiink this would be reasonable? Is it even possible for them to figure it out without replacing things one at a time, trial and error?
 

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do you think you could find a stretch of road and a speed that would guarantee a tech or service adviser would experience the problem? Otherwise, I fear the problem could be too subtle/difficult to duplicate and you DO NOT want to just start throwing suspension parts at the car without a diagnosis.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
do you think you could find a stretch of road and a speed that would guarantee a tech or service adviser would experience the problem? Otherwise, I fear the problem could be too subtle/difficult to duplicate and you DO NOT want to just start throwing suspension parts at the car without a diagnosis.
It almost always happens once i hit about 67 mph. And what I mean by this is if it doesn't happen instantaneously, it will happen within a few miles of driving. It is very inconsistent, unfortunately, which makes me wonder about what is causing it? Also, when "changes" happen in the front (steering, braking, speeding up or slowing down) it can cause the vibes to come when they previously weren't happening, or cause them to stop when they are happening before the change. It is so strange, and I'm unsure as to how to go about explaining all this!
 

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...I've replaced the rotors, balanced the tires many times, switched the tires all around, and still no success. It has been like this since I bought it back in Feb...
Can I assume that you've also had the wheels (without the tires) checked to be sure they're all truly round? An out-of-round wheel could do this. HPH
 

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Have all the suspension parts been checked for wear?

Ball joints, struts, bushings, wheel bearings, all 4 tie-rod ends?
 

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I recently had the steering arms re-greased and re-booted on my car and the transformation was quite spectacular - I was getting vibration between 65-70mph too.
Check to see if the boots are split on one or both of your steering arms.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Can I assume that you've also had the wheels (without the tires) checked to be sure they're all truly round? An out-of-round wheel could do this. HPH
I had this checked at a local tire shop, they apparently are


Have all the suspension parts been checked for wear?

Ball joints, struts, bushings, wheel bearings, all 4 tie-rod ends?
They have not - I am hoping that can be done to see if any of that is the problem!


I recently had the steering arms re-greased and re-booted on my car and the transformation was quite spectacular - I was getting vibration between 65-70mph too.
Check to see if the boots are split on one or both of your steering arms.
Did it actually? Actually, both boots are ripped on mine, I just found out last week. I am looking at getting both re-greased and booted so maybe that will fix it! Did it completely remove your vibes? My steering wheel shakes pretty violently.
 

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Your symptoms sound very similar to mine. Here is my epic unending thread http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/66-problems-maintenance/44251-relentless-steering-wheel-shimmy.html

A lot of the work done to the car was needed. I listed it here because as I was doing it or paying someone else, I hoped that it would have fixed the "vibe" shimmy. I am intrigued about re-greasing the steering arms. Is there another name for them? I may have already had it done under another name like Tie-rod ends. Please elaborate.

Anyway, I am replacing the power steering pump in the next day or so due to failed pulley bearings. As usual, I hold out the slightest glimmer of hope that this necessary task will somehow fix the shimmy. Tell me more about "steering arms" in the meantime. Perhaps a description or diagram of their location?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Your symptoms sound very similar to mine. Here is my epic unending thread http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/66-problems-maintenance/44251-relentless-steering-wheel-shimmy.html

A lot of the work done to the car was needed. I listed it here because as I was doing it or paying someone else, I hoped that it would have fixed the "vibe" shimmy. I am intrigued about re-greasing the steering arms. Is there another name for them? I may have already had it done under another name like Tie-rod ends. Please elaborate.

Anyway, I am replacing the power steering pump in the next day or so due to failed pulley bearings. As usual, I hold out the slightest glimmer of hope that this necessary task will somehow fix the shimmy. Tell me more about "steering arms" in the meantime. Perhaps a description or diagram of their location?

Man, checked out your thread - your problem sounds EXACTLY like mine. I bet we have the same problem. What he meant by steering arms are the parts under what is called "Steering Rack Boot" here is a diagram from Opposed Forces, it is underneath what is marked as #8.
 

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I had a car once that had that shimmy-type faint vibration from nearly day one (bought it with about 21 miles on the clock).

On Cruise at 72 MPH, I actually got to the point of being able to TIME the event! I would go about 67 seconds without the vibration. Then, the vibration would slowly come on, last about twenty seconds, then slowly back off.

The dealer tried virtually EVERYTHING, and frankly, I got sick of taking it there and waiting, or getting their junk rental car for the day.

The only thing I could figure was it was a combination of more than one thing that was probably out of balance, out of line, not quite in-spec, etc. While everything was in operation, the harmonics would set themselves up in such a way so as to cause this vibration to come on. It could have been parts within the transmission, it could have been the drive shaft (which they checked several times, rear-wheel drive), it could have been something not quite right in the rear differential or with the rear axles and/or could have been something to do with the axles and bearings themselves.

The dealer tried everything, turning down the rotors while on the car, removed and replaced the drive shaft in as many different configurations as possible, switched all the wheels and tires from another brand-new identical car in the lot, anything and everything short of tearing the entire car apart was done!

Finally, as the miles were climbing, I tried the "Lemon-Law." That was a lot of paperwork and their inspecting my car all for really nothing as the money I would have received had I "won" the case would have been so little and I would have taken such a loss to make it not even worth considering.

We are talking about a brand-new **** car in the 90's that I bought for about $30,000! The sticker price was about $32K -- it was not a "low-end" car by any means!

I fought with **** so much, I ended up telling them that I drove nothing but **** all my life but their lack of treating me right on this made me decide to NEVER buy another ****, EVER. And, I haven't -- and I WON'T!
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
To DavidPeab and others watching this thread...

Called a local Subaru guru and asked him about my problem. Before I was to bring it to him, he said I should take the rims off and check the rim and rotor, where they both push together where the lugs tighten them on, for crud that builds up there, and remove it all. So, I took the front tires off (I have fairly new rotors so no buildup on that side) and found a lot of rust-like bubbling/buildup on the inside of the rim where it sits on the rotor. After 15 minutes with some spray cleaner and steel wool, I had the surface pretty smooth and flat (not that it was that bumpy to begin with, though.

While I was down there, I twisted the steering rack boots around so that the tears were on the top, rather than the bottom, in hopes of keeping some dirt from getting in. I pushed a tube into the splits on each side and sprayed the inside with lithium grease - probably held the can down a minute on each boot, totally soaking the inside.

I then put the wheels back on, took it down the road, and no vibes! Also, pushing down on the breaks at high speeds (which usually was met with extreme vibes/shaking in the steering wheel) resulted in minimal vibes.

So now, I wonder what fixed the problem. I also noticed that each part of the rack under the boot was leaking fluid, and smelled like power steering fluid. Is this a bad sign? Not anything like drips, but I looked/reached in there and saw/felt a slight, brownish fluid on the metal pieces within the boot.
 

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Oh yeah, I've had to do that. Wasn't an extreme vibe so I didn't think of it.

I had to chip away at the corrosion, very strong black crud, almost like glass.
 

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It is not fixed. The grease is the tell tale. The inner tie rod ends are worn and need to be replaced. With the torn boots and extra grease you will collect more grit than ever. Soon the vibes will be back and worse than ever. Do the outer ends at the same time and it will feel like a new car.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yup you guys are right, it came right back unfortunately. Not nearly as bad, but still bad. So you're thinking inner tie rod ends?
 

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Thanks for the tips. I already tried most of them: replaced a lot of boots since the car sat for 3 years and several dry-rotted - including the inside tie-rod ends which I inspected while under there, new rotors front and back, cleaned inside wheels so Goodyear guy could do road force balancing. I am intrigued by the bushings that may have rotted as well, mentioned here:

What he meant by steering arms are the parts under what is called "Steering Rack Boot" here is a diagram from Opposed Forces, it is underneath what is marked as #8.
Unfortunately the diagram was not attached or could not be seen by my Mac. Please reattach so I'll now what else to pin my false hopes on. If I ever do get this fixed, I fear I might miss it. Everybody needs a hobby, right? lol
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the tips. I already tried most of them: replaced a lot of boots since the car sat for 3 years and several dry-rotted - including the inside tie-rod ends which I inspected while under there, new rotors front and back, cleaned inside wheels so Goodyear guy could do road force balancing. I am intrigued by the bushings that may have rotted as well, mentioned here:


Unfortunately the diagram was not attached or could not be seen by my Mac. Please reattach so I'll now what else to pin my false hopes on. If I ever do get this fixed, I fear I might miss it. Everybody needs a hobby, right? lol
Went back and looked - I never posted the link, sorry!

You are worrying me - I don't find this to be a hobby in any sort of definition, haha! If I were to get this fixed with my Sube, there would only be one other thing that bothers me... the fact that it buckles/jerks whenever slightly pushing on or off the accelerator. That one I can live with though, but not this!

I am going to the local Sube guru garage asap. Calling tomorrow to schedule an appt to get both steering rack boots re-greased and re-booted, and going to see if he can figure out the problem too. I'll mention tie rod ends to him.
He quoted me $150 with tax to do the boots :/
 

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If he is going to do the boots, might as well do the tie rod ends then. The boots have to come off to change them. No reason to do that twice.
 

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What the where?

I'm beginning to feel like I'm on a snipe hunt, or at least need to learn more about the proper names for some of these suspension parts. :rolleyes:

Mihogan: I don't mean to hijack your thread, but I figure this process might help both of us, if not more folks. I'm pretty sure this is the link you referred to - http://opposedforces.com/parts/legacy/us_b12/type_21/steering/power_steering_gear_box/illustration_1/ I found the boot (#8) and will have to double check but I seem to remember inspecting and maybe even replacing that one about a year ago. It all sort of blends together now. lol

1 Lucky Texan: Can you tell me which no. in this diagram refers to
that rear, liquid-filled, bushing on the front lower control arm.
Of course it wouldn't surprise me if I had the wrong diagram all together. lol

Front_Suspension.gif

Thanks,
David
 

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1 Lucky Texan: Can you tell me which no. in this diagram refers to Of course it wouldn't surprise me if I had the wrong diagram all together. lol

View attachment 25098

Thanks,
David

14 and 15, they are side specific.

I KNOW I have at least one that is bad because I had a few days of an unidentifiable sticky, greenish oil drop looking deposit under the car. I already have Prothane parts to rebuild the mounts. Plan to attack that in a few weeks.
 
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