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2010 Subaru Outback Premium 2.5i w/AWP 6MT
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

So, yesterday, I bent my front right tie (steering) rod. Wheels out of alignment a few degrees. Drove home and the VDC light came on solid and the brake light started flashing. The ECU shows no codes, which means I am suspecting it's limited to the BCM.

Any ideas on what the flashes mean?

Thanks in advance,
Robert
 

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2010 Subaru Outback Premium 2.5i w/AWP 6MT
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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Fix it and the code will probably go away.

My guess is the wheels aren't turning the same and are fighting each other and sensors are picking that rotational difference up via the tone ring and wheel sensors. Straighten it out and they'll all match and probably the codes will remedy themselves.

Impacts like this also bend control arms and struts so keep your eye out for any additional damage. Are you positive it's the tie rod? Most common item to bend from the repairs I've done is the control arm.
 

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Are you positive it's the tie rod? Most common item to bend from the repairs I've done is the control arm.
I was wondering the same thing. I also am having some trouble understanding how the wheel can impact the column with enough force to bend something ... and not have torn the front of the fender and bumper skin off.

I have slid into a curb hard enough to pooch a wheel and not bent anything else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Impacts like this also bend control arms and struts so keep your eye out for any additional damage. Are you positive it's the tie rod? Most common item to bend from the repairs I've done is the control arm.
I was wondering the same thing.

Oh very sure. It's like a flattened S. I'm great with the mechanics of cars... don't know all of the new control units though. Pics below. Everything but the steering rod is undamaged.

I also am having some trouble understanding how the wheel can impact the column with enough force to bend something ... and not have torn the front of the fender and bumper skin off.
I was "barely" moving. The column was passenger side rear, I backed out and turned the wheel sharply. Hit dead center on the tire and missed absolutely everything else. The car literally moved no more than 12 feet from a dead stop (and back to a dead stop when it hit the column, lol).

The car otherwise drives absolutely fine, though, on turns at speed, you can feel one wheel grab more than the other if it hits a bump. And, you can visually notice that the wheels are toed in. But, there's no shake, no shimmy, etc.


The first pic is with the driver's wheel straight - note the passenger wheel is facing slightly left.


Following that, you can see the bent tie rod. The other end of the same tie rod is bent slightly the opposite direction, making a very flat S... or a flat "~".

And following that, you can see parts of the rest of the underside. Nothing else is damaged. Heck, even my 215,000 mile original CV boots look pristine after years off off road abuse.

So, I got lucky on this one, I guess.

I'll re-bend it a little and get it replaced after the snow storm tomorrow through Thursday. Can't get it into a shop in time to beat the snow, and I don't have the tools to do this type of work on my own anymore. Wishing more and more that I did. :|
 

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good job diagnosing it.

they're super easy to replace. just swap out both tie rods with OEM units and you're done. OEM tie rods typically last hte life of the vehicle so I generally don't entertain aftermarket parts on those.

dang that's some serious salt and rust!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
good job diagnosing it.

they're super easy to replace. just swap out both tie rods with OEM units and you're done. OEM tie rods typically last hte life of the vehicle so I generally don't entertain aftermarket parts on those.
Thanks! If I had the tools and someplace warmer than our current 32°, I'd do it. Into the shop for a few hundred bucks. :crying:

dang that's some serious salt and rust!
I spend a LOT of time doing things like this... so, not too bad, considering I'm nearing a quarter million miles. :grin2:


That's an ocean tidal pool, so, it's quite very salty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Now I understand the impact. Dang, you bent it...didn't you.
I thought I had crushed the whole side of the car at first, but the impact was solid - not like one would expect crushing sheet metal. I pulled forward, backed out properly, went out to check, and everything looked perfect.

Then I realized the steering wheel was slightly off center to drive straight (I think it's about the difference required to turn the wheels to the right until they're both toed in the same.

Talk about luck though! Last thing I wanted was to crush sheet metal or rip off a control arm when I'm trading in the car in 5 months. Managed to get this far with nothing more than the usual door dings and the rust that accumulates after heavy driving.

I've never been so happy that I (only) need to replace a tie rod. :grin2: :wink2:

As long as the computer stops complaining once that's done, I'll be thrilled.
 

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There are also a number of sensors down there too...speed sensors etc. When I was hit on the front left I recall the repair shop having to send the car to Subaru due speed sensor issues...causing light in the dash to go on
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
There are also a number of sensors down there too...speed sensors etc. When I was hit on the front left I recall the repair shop having to send the car to Subaru due speed sensor issues...causing light in the dash to go on
There's one on this model, embedded in the back of the removable wheel hub. It's pretty hard to get to or accidentally hit. Just pulled it 5,000 miles ago when I helped replace the front hubs. This is a Forester one (it's similar - can't find an Outback one). Fortunately, that's all my car has up front.

I am wondering though if I damaged the tone ring in the hub on impact, and it failed in the next 20 miles of driving (it's highly unlikely, so...)...

If not, it's just that the tires are not turning at the expected speed. The manuals seem VERY sensitive

When the original hub started wearing down (noisy as ****, still turning, grinding a little), I did get similar lights - that was after 20K miles driving with it getting progressively noiser. When I replaced it, the lights went away.

Waiting on a call back from the dealership with a price...
 

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Thanks! If I had the tools and someplace warmer than our current 32°, I'd do it. Into the shop for a few hundred bucks. .
same thing. either way - it's an easy fix so it won't be that bad of a hit. two new tie rods and an alignment. OEM tie rods are only $35
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Geniune-OE...er-Tie-Rod-2010-2014-34160AE000-/231528600875

That's an ocean tidal pool, so, it's quite very salty.
right on, from maryland so i'm familiar with the stuff.

got my fishing gear out last week - frozen solid, i forgot to clean it out all the salt water from late fall ocean fishing.
 

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You have likely upset the Steering Angle Sensor with the steering wheel not straight. The BIU and VDC units compare the individual wheel speed to the SAS to determine if you're sliding, drifting, turning, etc.

With the steering wheel not "centered" and the wheel speeds reporting nearly identical wheel speeds, it will throw an error. After replacing the bent tie rod and getting an alignment, the code should be removed. Once everything is kosher mechanically, the BIU and VDC units should be happy.

Do not let the dealer charge you for a "re-calibration" until the other work has been performed.
 

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2010 Subaru Outback Premium 2.5i w/AWP 6MT
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You have likely upset the Steering Angle Sensor with the steering wheel not straight. The BIU and VDC units compare the individual wheel speed to the SAS to determine if you're sliding, drifting, turning, etc.

With the steering wheel not "centered" and the wheel speeds reporting nearly identical wheel speeds, it will throw an error. After replacing the bent tie rod and getting an alignment, the code should be removed. Once everything is kosher mechanically, the BIU and VDC units should be happy.

Do not let the dealer charge you for a "re-calibration" until the other work has been performed.
Thanks so much, RoughDiamond! Heading in Monday. In the meantime, I've bent the rod 80% back to normal so I am not wearing my tires as much and so steering is more normal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yay

Hey all, thanks for your help. So, I bent back the tie rod as much as I could without removing it, yanked and reconnected the battery cable, and the lights cleared.

The steering wheel is only a couple of degrees off (as opposed to 15-20°), so, as mentioned above by RoughDiamond, that was the last piece.

Going to still have it replaced since I can't get it totally straight with what tools I have. Here's "after" and "before" trying to straighten it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
you straightened it, that's brilliant!

It was utterly idiotic. :surprise: :grin2:

I used my hydraulic floor jack to slowly apply pressure to it to straighten it. Theoretically coulda damaged the steering rack, but decided to take the chance. Worked out fortunately, but I would not recommend my method. I should have taken it off, stuck it in a vice, heated the **** out of the bent section, and then used a well fitting pipe on the non-vice side to straighten it.

Got lucky twice - once when I hit the post and didn't crumple or break something else, and again when I unbent the rod a bit with the jack. :wink2:
 

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was the weak point in the first place and probably experienced some localized plastic deformation making it conducive to "repair".

few newer cars owners have this willingness and concept, i highly approve. you deserve your own forum section.
 
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