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2003 - Noise, uneven tire wear, hard to drive straight? - Updated!

2006 Views 15 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  bobk25
My 2003 Forester, 114k, has been making noise when I drive on bad roads. The tires seem to be wearing unevenly. Driving on highway seems hard to keep straight, and going over bad roads or railroad crossing impact is harsh, feel like there is no suspension at all. I replaced shocks at 70k, Excel-g, also had a local shop replace sway bar links and some bushings(I wish I asked the details). Recently complained to the dealer and they couldn't find anything wrong. Are they just not interested in this kind of work? I know something is definitely wrong. Now I am planning to work on it myself, but on a limited budget, I am looking for suggestion troubleshooting, and what to replace first, given I can't afford to replace everything at once. Can the shocks be bad again? I am planning to keep the car for another 100k. I am not a mechanic, but have lots of tools and no fear.
Thank you all.
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I probably drive the same roads that you do, or at least most of them. I also have about half the mileage on my XS that you do. Harsh ride? Always. My Michelins were harsh and now my Pirelli Cinturato p7's are pretty much the same. I just make sure the radio is on when I drive. Actually my Subaru is smoother than my previous ride; that one had 31" tires.

Remember our roads are crap. I think they lay down the asphalt for maximum roughness and noise.

No one mentioned it, but it is possible that your tires have a manufacturer's defect. It does happen. Other than that, how old are your tires/ mileage? As tires wear they get harder/stiffer. If there is a pattern emerging on the tire surface that should help you determine what's wrong as opposed to just changing parts hoping to get lucky. A bad tire pattern will not get better if you fix the underlying problem, it will stay bad. The only answer is to replace the tires.
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