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2004 Legacy Outback
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all. I'm a new Subie owner and happy with everything about my 2004 Outback......except an alignment issue which the dealer is having trouble fixing. The car pulls to the right in just about all situations. I checked tire air pressure but everything seemed fine. The car has done this since I recieved it from the dealer as new with 24 miles on it.

I was wondering if anyone else has or had alignment problems and if so, how they were resolved.

thanks
 

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I'm was having a slight problem with my 2004 pulling to the right. Just took it to the dealer the other day. They aligned it, put the wheel on straight (it was off to the right a few degrees) and it's fine. Then they told me that they had ordered new steering rack bushings, and when they came in they would install them under warranty. This is supposed to be the "fix".
 

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2004 Legacy Outback
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Discussion Starter #3
That does sound like the same problem I have currently. I did take it back to the dealer and they said it was the toe in and camber adjustments.....but when I brought the car home it was doing exactly the same as when I droped it off...Hmmmm. So tomorrow I'm going back to the dealer to sit with a mechanic while he test drives it and I will wait for the car to be fixed before I leave... I hope this is not a sign of things to come???? :(

Thanks much for the reply...I will go in to the dealer with some knowledge ammo now...LOL

Thanks again.
 

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'04 OB Wagon
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Alignment

I also have a 2004 Outback and since day one the steering alignment has been a bit off. Although it hasn't been pulling in either direction too badly, if I try to hold the wheel dead-on accurate, it would drift off to the left immediately. I took it to the dealer and told them what the problem was and they corrected it under warranty. After they "fixed" it, it would drift off to the right. I was about to go completely insane and simply took it the a reliable mechanic down the street and for about $50 he fine tuned it and told me that the alignment is fine, but the "cosmetic alignment" of the steering wheel is off and he was able to correct it with patience and a few test drives. It is much better now.
 

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2004 Legacy Outback
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Discussion Starter #5
Well I got the car back from the dealer......

What they found was something called "radial pull" in one of the front tires. All they did was rotate that wheel to the back of the car. It seems to track much better now...I do think the sterring wheel is off a bit though. I may have them look at it again when the new tire comes in.

Thanks for the quick reply's
 

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MY04(SE) Outback 2.5 i, MT i.e bog standard
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Subieboy said:
Well I got the car back from the dealer......
.... All they did was rotate that wheel to the back of the car.
I've experienced something like that with a '99 Seat Ibiza that after removing the winter tires in the spring, replacing them with the summer ones started to be sort of all over the place. No way you could let go of the wheel and stay on the road. Our local dealers workshop did just the same. They swapped one of the front wheels for a rear one and the car was as good as new again. Best of all, they didn´t charge anything for it:) Tires can make a car behave very odd. I had a friend who's BMW always very "nervous" when on Klebér tires but perfectly docile on anything else.
 

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2004 Legacy Outback
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Discussion Starter #7
Does anyone know of a good replacement tire for the Outback? Maybe I should replace the Bridgestones with something else...I always had luck with BFGoodrich... Any suggestions???
 

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I've actually noticed that my 03 legacy H4 (with about 5k miles after a year) is sightly pulling to the left...whenever i'm on the highway im always holding the wheel sligtly to the right...when I take it in next week for inspecton Im going to have it looked at, but could this be due to potholes/ i hit a few big ones everyday on my way to work and once actually fell off a curb in LI when i was backing out of a driveway????
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well I still seem to have something going on with the steering. When they moved the tire with the "radial pull" to the back it did not seem to pull as bad to the right especially when on the highway. I do still notice that the steering wheel is a few degrees off to the right when driving straight. The steering seems to be very loose too at least compared to my wifes 04 Legacy. I think it time for another trip to the dealer...this is trip number 3 and the car has 1000 miles on it....Hmmmm???
 

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2004 Legacy Outback
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Discussion Starter #10
Steering alignment issued resolved!

Well, I got the car back from the dealer and here are the results:

To start, I was given an identical car as my rental for the day so I was able to judge the differences in the way the car handled compared to my Outback. I noticed that the car handled similar to mine but the steering was a little tighter and the steering wheel was aligned properly when driving straight.

As far as repairs go to my Outback Wagon, They replaced the faulty tire and readjusted the toe-in to correct the mis-aligned steering wheel. Since it was a 40 mile drive home from the dealer I was able to tell that their was a noticeable difference in the feel of the steering and tracking of the car (much better). I also got my 3000 mile service at 1560 miles. Total was $30.00 (ok I guess)

On a side note...I picked up one of the rockymounts.com bike rack and it works like a champ. Total was $130.00 for one rack with locks.
 

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04 Outback pulls to right

Sorry I only came upon this forum recently. I have been having the same pulling issue as other OB owners. Three alignments, a tire rotation, and wheel balancing have not solved the issue to date (6,500 miles).
 

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'04 OB Wagon
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I was told that the wheel is sometimes compensating for the arc of the road. The left side of the road is sometimes higher than the right to allow for the water to leave the roadway. I also can't help but wonder if there is an issue with the amount of torque that is put out of one side of the vehicle'd wheel compared to the other.

Anyone have comments on this?
 

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kgeisinger said:
I was told that the wheel is sometimes compensating for the arc of the road. The left side of the road is sometimes higher than the right to allow for the water to leave the roadway. I also can't help but wonder if there is an issue with the amount of torque that is put out of one side of the vehicle'd wheel compared to the other.

Anyone have comments on this?
This is known as a crown in the road, and yes it can make your car pull to the right. Sometimes on interstates the inside lane is crowned to the left thus the car pulls to the left. Find a flat parking lot that you can get a little speed up and do the straight line test.

You are referring to torque steer. This is more of a FWD thing. The axle shafts to the front wheels are not equal length. Torque steer is usually felt at initial acceleration. The subie does not display this symptom because the shafts are equal length. Thus the symmetrical AWD that Subaru advertises. Also the rear wheel help fight this as well. That's why RWD cars aren't known for this.

Charles
 

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2004 Outback wagon
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jobe1492,

Did you have the problem fixed? If so, what was the diagnosis and what was the solution?

Thx.
 

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'04 OB Wagon
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Cannonball,

Hey Charles, thanks for the info on the crown of the road and the explanation on the axle length differences and how Subaru does not have that problem. I was wondering what was meant by "symmetrical" in their AWD advertisements.

I did the parking lot test and all appears normal. I guess it is actually the crown of the road that is causing the offset in the steering from time to time. Thanks again.

Kurt
 

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My wife's MY03 Baja had the steering wheel a little off center since new. She finally got around to taking it in and found out it was out of alignment. I guess you can't just take the steering wheel off these days to straighten it like yesteryear. Brian
 

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I had the same problem with my 04 Outback. It pulled slightly to the right. The dealer instaled new steering rack bushings and it fixed the problem. Didn't need an alignment at all. The dealer is in Riverside California.
 

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2004 Legacy Outback
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Discussion Starter #19
Do you know if the bushings you had installed by the dealer were stock bushings or were they a high performance "stiffer" bushings. Just curious....

thanks.
 
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