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Hey all. Two days ago I got my power steering rack/pinion replaced in my Subaru Legacy outback 1999 at a shop because there were several leaks in the original. I did not get a wheel alignment right after because the shop I was at didn’t do it but told me I should go get one right after the current service. Also it took so long to get the steering rack changed I didn’t have time that day to go do it so I was going to do it in a few days.

Before the rack change, when driving straight, the steering wheel had this nice smooth gliding small deadzone in the middle. Now after the change, its very stiff when in the middle and kind of jerks left and sometimes right, randomly when driving straight. I don’t mean the actual car does, just the steering wheel, and the deadzone is now larger before the car wheels actually turn and feels stiff, making tiny steering adjustments hard because of the now larger/stiff deadzone. And also the little random left/right jerks of the steering wheel(most of the time not the actual car wheels, so its a little confusing when driving)

I will eventually get a wheel alignment this week I just have not had time but I’ve just been researching ands some people say it has nothing to do with wheel alignment, just a bad rack/pinion change, others say its just because I didn’t get wheel alignment. Are these symptoms connected? What do you guys think?
 

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New rack or used? Correct fluid and is it full. Hopefully new rack mounting bushings with replacement. Toe out will make it "hunt" and or bump steer. Best to have it aligned and go from there as long as all other front suspension components are in good shape and tight.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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Subi Racks are notoriously hard to bleed the air out if not done properly. They also do not like to self bleed over time, which a simple steering gear will do easily.

The steering isn't smooth, it's jerky at spots? What about full lock, does that make it unhappy?
 

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New rack or used? Correct fluid and is it full. Hopefully new rack mounting bushings with replacement. Toe out will make it "hunt" and or bump steer. Best to have it aligned and go from there as long as all other front suspension components are in good shape and tight.
so the "toe out" you are talking about is fixd by wheel alignment? thank you for the info btw! EDIT: it was "new" 3rd party replacement. not from subaru though
 

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Like TDCK says if there is air in system your steering will feel herky jerky as your turning the wheel due to getting and loosing boost. Toe being off will just give an unsettled feel needing constant correction. Both together would amplify the effect giving nervous steering.

Get the alignment done so you don't damage / wear those front tires. Air in system will self correct over time, it may take a while, just keep checking fluid level in ps reservoir and keep it full with the Dexron lll it calls for.
 
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