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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I've recently purchased a 2008 MY09 XS Premium, with 95,000km (59,000 miles), and it all seemed pretty good when i purchased it (from a private seller, not dealer), but while i'm handy with tools, i'm not a mechanic by any means. I took it in to my local dealer a few days after i got it, and they changed out all the fluids/etc as part of a 112k service. Nothing to report except brake pad wear and needing new tyres...

Anyway, so it needed a new set of boots, and i've thrown on some G015's (215/65/r16), and got a wheel alignment while i was at it. The alignment report confirmed what i'd suspected after spending a bit more time under the bonnet/hood, in that the car has had a hit on the front left at some stage and been repaired, which i'd not noticed when i checked and test drove the car originally.

Caster angles for the front left are 4.5 degrees, and 6.0 for the front right. The tyre fitters reported this, along with a few other minor issues i knew about (brake pads needed replacing/etc), and that they found the car to be pulling to the left. Now i didn't notice this before i bought the car, so suspect the seller may have adjusted tyre pressures when i tested it to 'correct' pull, but anyway, regardless... Caster angle reported as off. It seems to be fairly widely reported on here that caster angles don't make much (if any) difference to 'pulling' to one side, however...

Camber/toe/etc all looked to be within spec, no real differences left to right.

So anyway, questions are:
1) Could it be the caster angle difference of 1.5 degrees is causing the pull to the left
2) What corrective action can i take, assume it's a structural issue as a result of a crash
3) Any other suggestions?

If i was to throw a lift kit (ie, if i was going to do it anyway) on the car, is this something fairly easily corrected at the same time? If i had to replace any suspension components, i may as well upgrade it at the same time, and a little lift wouldn't hurt.


Cheers...
 

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2001 Forester
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2,605 Posts
What are the camber reading? Camber affects the pulling feeling far more than caster. Caster mainly affects the on center feeling as you steer the vehicle from a turn.
 

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2004 forester sti
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2,479 Posts
Does the steering pull back to centre one way more easily than the other? Because that caster of 6 is what you would find on a drift car where return to centre is essential.
I used to do jig repairs with the auto robot measuring system and it looks like things are not as they should be.
Short of getting on a jig and pulling it straight I'd say your stuck with it, got any pics of the front suspension turrets? Does the seam sealer look factory? Are there any cracks in the seam sealer?
 

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Super Moderator
2001 Forester
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2,605 Posts
Since the camber
Camber does not affect it as much as toe in or toe out.
I have done my own wheel alignment on my Subaru for the last 5 years. I can tell you that camber affects pulling far more than toe. Toe affects tire wear and crispness when turning into corner.
 

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2001 Forester
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It's pulling to the left.
Then I would say you have the same caster issue I have with my 2001 SF. It too has too much left caster also from an accident my wife had years ago and ours has a slight left pull. Sadly caster is not adjustable on these vehicles, and I have lived with this slight pull. Several things can be done: caster/camber plates installed on the strut top, adjust the LCA, have frame shop look at the frame to see if anything can be done with respect to the frame to compensate.
 

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2003 Forester
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141 Posts
I have not done my own alignments ever but I was also under the impression that toe would affect pulling in a direction more than camber as well.

I recently took my front control arm rear brackets off to swap them out but I didn't move the arm to see how much slop is in there for "adjustment". I would probably err on more caster and to make them as close as possible so I usually shove the control arms as outward as possible then lock them down. On Subaru's the front mount in on the subframe so it's location in the chassis affects the caster as well. If you loosened it up and tapped it with a mallet you could split the difference.

If you want to go crazy you could look into rigid collars. They are basically bushings that give almost zero slop in the subframe to chassis mounting holes to really lock down the subframes. Fun side note BMW does this from the factory with their subframes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
The only caster adjusting parts I found in a search for the '09 model year were these,
Whiteline Anti Lift Kit
Could they work?
Yeah I've come across those as well, but not sure if they're suited for my goals, or if it's even a good idea.

If I did put it on, looks like it'd give me half a degree of improvement, which while it would help, it's only a third of the way in the right direction. Maybe if the right side one was mounted "backwards", if that's possible, that would bring it to 5°/5.5°? Much closer than 4.5°/6°, but still not quite where it should be.

I've seen a video on YouTube where a guy had a similar issue and he managed to shift the entire subframe, which corrected the issue mostly in his case, could be worth a shot if it simply hasn't been mounted/fixed properly when the car was repaired, as long as it's not bent/twisted of course.

I'm not familiar enough (yet) with the suspension mounting points to really know what I'm talking about regarding the subframe though, and what adjustments would do what.


Edit:
YouTube vid referenced:
 

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I was reading where the Rally Sport guys really like more caster, plus the negative 1/2 degree should be easily achieved via the stock cam bolt, bringing them very close to if not equal. Just a thought, and cheaper than a frame shop.
 
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