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

2003 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 second the opinion to get a second opinion. Any shop that will produce the actual data on paper/pdf before and after alignment is good with me, ask before you even drive there. And I’ve had tire shops balance tires +/- .5 oz. and ruin them in short order. BUT! You are probably at the time to do a suspension rebuild. Wheel bearings, control arms, etc. Anything that moves or is held in place by rubber. And even the best balanced tires don’t matter if they aren’t on a hub that runs true or torqued correctly. Most people don’t have this but for minimum $s the Harbor Fright, clamp-on, dial indicator WILL tell you if you have a wheel, disc, or hub wobble. Usually you can get the wheels off the ground and SAFELY put the car in drive just to watch for wobbles and listen for noise. Happy hunting!
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