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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have seen the threads discussing the changes in steering in the Gen. 5. Apparently the 15 was weak and they made improvements in the 17 and more in the 18? I have a 15 and there is Zero tracking in the steering, one of just a few complaints about the vehicle but it's a big one.

My question is.. Would it be possible to get an upgrade to the steering components of the 17 or 18 where this issue was addressed? I don't know much about this stuff so just thought I would ask.... Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I may have found the answer myself in another

thread...https://www.subaruoutback.org/threads/steering-dampener-lockdown.503475/

Now just need to figure out how/who will get it done...
 

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Usually the proper combination of caster and camber will improve straight line tracking if that is what you're after, and of course certain tread patterns are better or worse in that respect.
 

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I may have found the answer myself in another

thread...https://www.subaruoutback.org/threads/steering-dampener-lockdown.503475/

Now just need to figure out how/who will get it done...
The steering dampener lockdown worked for my 2016. I did the install myself. Maybe bring in a printout of it to some independent shops and see if they will install it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Great to know about the alignment and tire tread, I will be looking into that I'm almost due for a new set.

Still wondering if the upgrades made by Subaru to the 17 and 18 can be retrofitted to a 15... more curious than anything I suppose, but would consider it should it ever need replacing...
 

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2020 Onyx
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I'm not necessarily suggesting all of these things, but you could consider:

Have your alignment checked. Too much toe-in may increase high speed stability but decrease steering response.

Increase tire pressure - +3 psi cold tire pressures may help firm up your tires - as a bonus it also increases hydroplane resistance.

I did install the perrin lockdown and it definitely increased steering precision, but it's just one piece of the puzzle.

Wider tires on the stock wheels will make steering less precise and handling worse, so when you replace the tires do not go wider than stock. A light weight wider 8" wheel with the stock tire size may improve steering/handling but at the risk of more wheel rim damage if you curb it or go off road with rocks.

Also cushy ride tires will generally have soft sidewalls that make steering less precise - since our tires have relatively tall sidewalls it makes matters worse, so if handling is a priority, consider tires that have stiffer sidewalls - like all-terrains or if you don't go off road, the michelin cross-climate SUV could be considered.

The combined weight of your wheel and tire matters - lighter weight gives better ride and handling.

You could put in firmer front and rear sway bar bushings from @traildogck and it will improve handling. If you have tools you can do this easily in your own garage.

A slightly thicker rear sway bar will also help to reduce understeer but don't go wild. Not good to combine stiffer rear springs and a thicker rear sway bar simultaneously because it could cause oversteer, unless you have proportionally stiffened the front suspension.

Bilstein shocks give much improved steering and handling - B4 shocks for comfort and B6 for sporty handling - they both combine well with stock springs. If handling is a priority the B6 is fantastic.

What makes steering precision bad is a confluence of factors that let your suspension geometry shift around when you try to steer. Go-kart handling is impossible but you can definitely get your Outback to handle better without lowering it.
 

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Wish I could wrap my head around that "tracking" complaint, which I can recall seeing a few times over the years, but I'm doubtful it was an inherent problem with 2015s. Mine tracks just fine. The only complaint in pro reviews was a somewhat "disconnected" feeling from the new electric steering system. Steering "feel and linearity" was supposedly improved for the 2016 model, but nearly all the comments I can recall seeing said the difference was marginal at best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
SiverOnyx, that is some great and thorough information!

I actually love the cushy ride, and didn't think I could even get it on a modern car, but have been happily surprised and I wouldn't change it for anything... other than maybe just the tracking... i don't mind not having great handling actually, but I am constantly making micro-adjustments over ~30 mph, I feel like I look like a drunk driver most of the time....and it's not to one side or another, which is what I am used to in my old 2x4 buckets with poor alignments.... just constant adjustments to stay in the lane.... that being said, I will look into alignment when I get a new set of (stock size) tires and maybe get that dampener altered if that doesn't work....

One note on tire pressure...I always thought that less tire pressure meant more contact with the road and less risk of hydroplaning...but the comment above states it the other way around.. hmmm....
 

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A wider tire also tends to hydroplane more, and a narrower tire less. People who get wider tires will have less traction than a narrow tire, in rain.


Speed
It's possible to approximate the speed at which total hydroplaning occurs, with the following equation.

{\displaystyle V_{p}=10.35{\sqrt {p}}}
{\displaystyle V_{p}=10.35{\sqrt {p}}}


Where {\textstyle p}
{\textstyle p}
is the tire pressure in psi and the result {\textstyle V_{p}}
{\textstyle V_{p}}
is the speed in mph for when the vehicle will begin to totally hydroplane.[9] Considering an example vehicle with a tire pressure of 35 psi, we can approximate that 61 mph is the speed when the tires would lose contact with the road's surface.
However, the above equation only gives a very rough approximation. Resistance to aquaplaning is governed by several different factors, chiefly vehicle weight, tyre width and tread pattern, as all affect the surface pressure exerted on the road by the tyre over a given area of the contact patch - a narrow tyre with a lot of weight placed upon it and an aggressive tread pattern will resist aquaplaning at far higher speeds than a wide tyre on a light vehicle with minimal tread. Furthermore, the likelihood of aquaplaning drastically increases with water depth.
For steering precision + cushy ride I would try that lockdown. It removes steering slop specifically/surgically.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wow, that's wild about the tire pressure... i always thought the pressure into the road was from the weight of the vehicle and the internal tire pressure had nothing to do with it.... I had the logic totally wrong in my head, thanks for that!
 

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If you have ramp stands and hand tools I bet you could install the perrin yourself. Did you read my install post? Different generation but same thing.

 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If you have ramp stands and hand tools I bet you could install the perrin yourself. Did you read my install post? Different generation but same thing.

Hmm Well, if I decide to do it myself I feel very prepared by that post! I am going to think on this...
 

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Wow, that's wild about the tire pressure... i always thought the pressure into the road was from the weight of the vehicle and the internal tire pressure had nothing to do with it.... I had the logic totally wrong in my head, thanks for that!
Basic principle is that each tire carries its share of the vehicle weight - it pushes down and the road pushes back up. That force is pressure times area (neglecting the tire sidewall). So increasing the pressure decreases the area for the tire and road to push against each other, and that means there's less water in the way on a wet road.
Of course the opposite is also true - you can decrease tire pressure to sink into sand or snow less. One name for that is "flotation" :)
 

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Ideally you want a tire with a narrow long footprint for snow or sand instead of a wide one though, because a short wide footprint creates a dam effect where sand or snow can pile up in front of the tire. That's why people use "pizza cutter" tires. In winter, Nokian (the nordic winter tire specialist) says narrow tires are better than wide ones.

In the winter, narrow tires are better under extreme conditions as they provide higher surface pressure against the road. Narrow tires also work better than wider ones in loose snow and slush.

Also see this well thought-out post:

 

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I had a similar experience with my 2015 OB. It felt like it took a lot of effort to keep it going straight on the interstate. It didn't feel like a pull to one side but just kinda all over the road. I have the Perrin lockdown which definitely helped the most. I also have a upgraded rear sway bar which was a big improvement. I just put some new tires on it Falken A/T trail and a fresh alignment and it tracks better than when It was new. I think I will put some b6's on it in the next couple thousand to finish it up. Overall I think the advice above is solid and from how you describe It, it sounds very similar to what I had going on. There is hope, but its not a one piece fix.
 

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I love that better than new feeling. With better shocks it can feel like a whole different car.
 

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Ideally you want a tire with a narrow long footprint for snow or sand instead of a wide one though, because a short wide footprint creates a dam effect where sand or snow can pile up in front of the tire. That's why people use "pizza cutter" tires. In winter, Nokian (the nordic winter tire specialist) says narrow tires are better than wide ones.




Also see this well thought-out post:

Both good references, thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Any knowledge on if this particular mod will have any effect or complicating consequences regarding the TSB that was issued for the front end "clunk" in the steering that has been discussed in many other threads (and which my vehicle also has but not to a degree that I am thinking of getting anything done about it).

Just wondering if this mod would complicate that fix if I needed it in the future...
 

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I would not do the mod until after you have the TSB performed, otherwise they might blame your "clunk" on the Perrin Lockdown.

Alternately you can do the mod and then undo it for the TSB, however in theory if you leave it in for years it may compress the rubber and leave the steering worse than before you used it because the rubber no longer fills the space as well, so you'd need to put the thing back in after the TSB was completed.
 
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