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1990 AWD Legacy wagon
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I'm totally clueless about mechanic and I'm not english speaker so please be tolerant :D.
I'm in Alaska, I drive a Sub legacy AWD 1990 with about 170000 miles.

Since last week, while driving, the wheels move violently to the right. The steering wheel move to about 10 degrees to the right. It's really quick and it happened usually with a small sound. Then It comes back to normal withing a second.

Sometimes it happens in a smaller amplitude just few millimeter that I can feel in the steering wheel.

It is pretty dangerous since the road here are basically covered with ice.

Any clue on what is going on?
 

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2013 limited Outback 2.5i, pzev, rear seat protectors, Venetian red pearl, all weather floor mats, rear cargo net, viper remote start, puddle lights, body side molding,
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First, i'd think that alignment and or tie rods What Is A Tie Rod : How Car Stuff Works

Possibly alignment.

Did anything happen like going into a snowbank or extreme off roading or getting towed out by somone who's not a professional tow truck driver?

I'm in Anchorage, btw:D
 

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1990 AWD Legacy wagon
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
First, i'd think that alignment and or tie rods What Is A Tie Rod : How Car Stuff Works

Possibly alignment.

Did anything happen like going into a snowbank or extreme off roading or getting towed out by somone who's not a professional tow truck driver?

I'm in Anchorage, btw:D
Well you know the road here in Alaska, we drive over some snow drift in our driveway almost every day so....
Is that expensive to fix? I mean we drive a 1990 subaru it tells a lot about how much we are able to put to repair a car :D
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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I would immediately check all the lugnuts and wheel studs.

if you post your city, maybe (or hopefully, given your location) someone could suggest a shop to take it to.

if you are not a mechanic, it does seem you need one.
 

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1990 AWD Legacy wagon
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I would immediately check all the lugnuts and wheel studs.

if you post your city, maybe (or hopefully, given your location) someone could suggest a shop to take it to.

if you are not a mechanic, it does seem you need one.
I live in Fairbanks, sorry I didn't think about that
Thanks for your answer
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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you need to grab the tie rods right now and yank on them - do they move, clunk or have play? it takes like 15 seconds to do that. google tie rods for a legacy if you don't know what they are - grab the tie rod on each side and yank on it. let us know what happens.

this happens at any speed? flat, uphill, hitting bumps, doesn't matter?
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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^^^yeah, and is it more/less likely to happen when you're turning? does the car make any whining, groaning, clunking noises?

I wouldn't overlook some oddness with a broken/failing axle also.

either way, this is a serious safety hazard and likely would end badly to extremely badly if ignored.
 

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1990 AWD Legacy wagon
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, I did'nt find a patern, it seems to happen randomely. There is a sound when it does it really strongly otherwise not.
I didn't feel it yet at other speed than full speed (55mph) and it can happened 5 times in one minute and not doing it for 10 minutes. That is weird!
I yanked the tie rods, they don't move at all. One of them while yanked really hard make a little noise but that is it.
Is it the axle then? (that sounds like an expensive suregery :D)
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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Severe wheel movement is generally loose components. Tie rod, ball joint, lower control arm bushings. Does it change when braking? Pull the other way or straighten out?

Tire pressure could also be an issue.

In first photo, check numbers 1 and 2 on both sides of the car. In second photo, check numbers 3, 4 and 5 both sides. What ever you find loose needs to be replaced and then the car will need a 4 wheel alignment.
 

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are all 4 tires the same model and close to the same amount of wear?
 

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1990 AWD Legacy wagon
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks all for your help.
After checking everything you told me with a friend who knows a bit more than me, we founded nothing.
The day after the car didn't do it anymore. I went to a garage and ask for a steering check, they didn't find anything neither.
The guys think that some ice might have been stuck in the break and would explain the violent pull of. I'm not convinced since it didn't happened while breaking but well, at least it doesnt do it anymore.
Since everything seems fine around the axle it seems we are safe to drive it, maybe the problem come from the steering wheel, will see.
Thanks again
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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Ice? I don't remember ice. Course, you are in Fairbanks. Duh. Could have been stuck to the rim throwing it out of balance..
 

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2013 limited Outback 2.5i, pzev, rear seat protectors, Venetian red pearl, all weather floor mats, rear cargo net, viper remote start, puddle lights, body side molding,
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Severe wheel movement is generally loose components. Tie rod, ball joint, lower control arm bushings. Does it change when braking? Pull the other way or straighten out?

Tire pressure could also be an issue.

In first photo, check numbers 1 and 2 on both sides of the car. In second photo, check numbers 3, 4 and 5 both sides. What ever you find loose needs to be replaced and then the car will need a 4 wheel alignment.
:29: Is there a way to thumbs-up someone here or a "like" button? AWESOME post and way to help out :)
 

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1990 AWD Legacy wagon
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Actually it does it again and a lot!
It didn't do it for 2 days then suddenly it did it all the time, weird.
When the problem is active, if I break it makes it happened everytime. It stopped doing when we arrived in town and then even while breaking it didn't do it.
I tried to turn the wheels all the way to the left and all the way to the right and it made it stopped for a while.
There is an heavy sound when it happened, located around my feet but it's hard to say.
Anyway since my axles are ok and everything has been checked I wonder what the heck happened to this car!
 

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2006 Outback 2.5i Limited 5MT, 1984 Porsche 944
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I'm just going to throw some ideas out here...

Does this car have anti-lock brakes? I'm not sure when Subaru started making ABS an option. If it does, you may have a bad wheel sensor.



How do your coil springs look in the front? If the bottom tip of the spring has broken off, it may shift in the spring perch and possibly cause a problem like this.



I agree with the previous comments. You need to avoid driving this car as much as possible until you find the problem.


:) Also, quick English lesson: Break and Brake. Pronounced the same, but mean two different things.

Break "If you press too hard, a pencil will break". "Don't break the eggs."


Brake "My car needs new brake pads". "Press the brake pedal to stop."
 

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1990 AWD Legacy wagon
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm just going to throw some ideas out here...

Does this car have anti-lock brakes? I'm not sure when Subaru started making ABS an option. If it does, you may have a bad wheel sensor.



How do your coil springs look in the front? If the bottom tip of the spring has broken off, it may shift in the spring perch and possibly cause a problem like this.



I agree with the previous comments. You need to avoid driving this car as much as possible until you find the problem.


:) Also, quick English lesson: Break and Brake. Pronounced the same, but mean two different things.

Break "If you press too hard, a pencil will break". "Don't break the eggs."


Brake "My car needs new brake pads". "Press the brake pedal to stop."
Sorry for that :D!
I have ABS which is doing some weird noise but working (living in Alaska you notice pretty quickly if it's working or not).
The Coil springs are good.
It does it as well while driving normally without braking.
The sound is really weird and sound like someone banging a hammer where the steering wheel join the axle (feel like it but hard to say when you don't know anything about mechanic)
 

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When ABS is activated, it will make a weird "vibrating" noise. Perfectly normal.

I'm running out of ideas, so I'll throw some more out there.

Worn steering rack mounts? Worn passenger side strut mount? Binding CV joint in the axle? Malfunctioning front differential?
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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I recall some older soobs had a problem with the ABS pump buzzing all the time.
 
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