('98-'00) Steering problems - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-27-2009, 06:56 AM Thread Starter
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Steering problems

So first off I have searched but haven't found anything specifically related to my problem as described. I've only had the vehicle for about two months, it's a 99' Forester S if that matters.

Recently I've noticed that the steering is very stiff and what I would describe as "notchy". It is very hard to start turning the wheel, then gets a little easier, then gets harder again, same in both directions. Almost like when you begin to turn the wheel you have to overcome some unseen force, then it starts turning, only to meet resistance again and release again. There is no difference in symptoms whether I'm moving or sitting still.

The tire pressure is OK, the power steering fluid level is fine and the pump appears to be working ok. Ideas? Steering rack? Tie rods? PS pump? The symptoms actually began after I had Krown Rust control done but this might be a coincidence. I read in another post that older Foresters do have some steering assist, does anyone know where this electical connector is, maybe it came off?

The vehicle is still drivable it's just very annoying. Just looking for some input. Thanks.

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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-27-2009, 09:21 AM
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Subscribed. Describes the problems i've been having recently as well. It feels like when you first turn it in one direction theres pressure on the wheel like you're turning against a curb but then if you move back a little and turn again it moves very easily. Might try changing all the PS fluid.


04xt/4eat, 16g, STI bits and bobs
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-27-2009, 09:27 AM
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First, I would change the PS fluid.

Then check belt tension.

Also I haven't seen it on a Forester, but some Legacys/Outbacks did have a problem I saw where the power steering pulley was loose on the shaft giving the same symptom. You will only notice it if someone is turning the wheel while you watch the pump shaft and pulley.

98S, 2014 Impreza 5 dr Ltd (9 Subaru's since 1978, 7 were 5 sp) ILuvSubaru's
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-27-2009, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I'll try searching for a DIY for changing the fluid and start there. It is like steering against the curb, it's an odd sensation, almost like the tires don't want to turn but then they do. Then they change their mind and don't want to again.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-27-2009, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacFady View Post
Thanks, I'll try searching for a DIY for changing the fluid and start there. It is like steering against the curb, it's an odd sensation, almost like the tires don't want to turn but then they do. Then they change their mind and don't want to again.
I've been trying to think of a way to describe it on here for weeks lol. Hopefully we can figure this out. Its been bothering me for a while. However my axle is now failing as well and I'm replacing all the bushings etc in the front end soon, well see if that helps anything.

04xt/4eat, 16g, STI bits and bobs
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-10-2009, 03:51 AM Thread Starter
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Well just as an update, it appears to be directly related to the outside temperature for me. I haven't put my car in storage for the winter yet so the Forester's home has been outside. The temp's been dropping below zero here at night and I find when I first start driving it is most symptomatic. However once the vehicle is warmed up, or on days it is actually parked underground, it doesn't seem to be a problem. I haven't got around to changing the fluid yet. I didn't notice the pulley shaft moving at all when someone was turning the wheel but thanks for the suggestion.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-28-2011, 06:27 AM
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Hey guys,

I noticed the exact same issue this morning when I took off with my 03 X. It was around -4 C here and very humid. Are there any updates on this?

Keven

Keven 03 X, 6MT :D, some N/A love......
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-10-2012, 10:40 AM
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Bump for same problem. Just started occurring last week.

*Hard/ sporadic/ jumpy steering assist*

Attempts:
- Re-tensioning belt
- Check and rechecking fluid
- Bleeding power steering lines
- Check and rechecking tire pressure

I'm going to try checking the bearings on the PS pump. I wouldn't be happy if it turned out to be the rack.

2005 XT - 4EAT - Journal to come

Last edited by Slim_Jim; 06-11-2012 at 05:42 PM.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-11-2012, 01:57 AM
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Your descriptions sound like belt slip. Take a white marker and put a line across the power steering pulley, then have someone turn the steering wheel backwards and forwards with the engine idling.

Also check the reservoir has no air bubbles. If you have air bubbles you have a suction side leak.

If you want to check the pump, just drop the belt and spin by hand. It should spin freely but with all your might you probably can't get more then one revolution with a good flick.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-09-2015, 03:07 PM
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Sorry for reviving an old thread

Happened to me in the weekend when I was in Yosemite (8-9 months old '15 XT). It was ok when I did the initial turning, then when I tried to fine tune my steering in a corner, there are some resistance, and wasn't able to turn smoothly because of that.

I haven't check anything beside the PS fluid, but does anyone with a newer model that experience similar situation?

Will probably visit the dealer and maybe do the diy mentioned above.

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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 12:28 AM
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Sorry for the resurrection, but has anyone found a solution to this? I'm having the exact same problem described by the OP and first response (feels like turning against curb, but sometimes it decides to cooperate for 1 second at a time) and it's been YEARS and nobody has posted a successful fix for this?

I have a 2002 Forester S as well, 2.5NA should be the same stuff in there... Cold seems to make it worse, but when I read reports of checking belt, fluid, tires, etc, and no improvement? Not hopeful!

If I don't get a response here, I will start a new thread (and apologize)!

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It's amazing what you can find when you RTFBOTKF!
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 06:58 AM
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The power steering suction hose is the culprit on mine. They got hard and would not seal around the reservoir and pump intake. The colder the temperature the bigger the leak.

The mechanical binding you felt came from the air in hydraulic system. My steering shakes really bad and feels like the wheel is coming off the car before I fix this.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 11:09 AM
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I fixed this issue recently on mine with a new power steering belt. It was a lot more noticable when cold. The belt had a lot of tiny cracks in it and it was very easy to replace yourself. It cost me 10 quid for the belt, so its not crazy expense to start with this.
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jstawgn View Post
The power steering suction hose is the culprit on mine. They got hard and would not seal around the reservoir and pump intake. The colder the temperature the bigger the leak.

The mechanical binding you felt came from the air in hydraulic system. My steering shakes really bad and feels like the wheel is coming off the car before I fix this.
What do you mean by "suction hose"? Do you know what the part number is, or point it out on a diagram?

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It's amazing what you can find when you RTFBOTKF!
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 01:26 PM
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