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2015 Forester XT Touring CVT
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Discussion Starter #1
I was reading a lot about benefits of upgrading to 19/20mm RSB and PERRIN Steering Dampener Lockdown (together with better tires). It makes sense, 2015 XT definitely needs some improvements.
I am mostly concerned with on center sloppy steerring feel at highway speeds, sharp cornering at low speeds doesn't bother me that much. I drive 80% in Chicago (with 3rd world driving surface quality, with kids in the back seat) and for the start, I would install only Steering Dampener Lockdown without upgrading RSB. Tires will be next, than if that doesn't help, I would do RSB.
If steering feel and highway tracking is priority, would I see major improvement without RSB?
What would be reasonable labor cost to instal Steering Dampener Lockdown?
 

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2015 Forester XT Touring CVT
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I just put on the Perrin Steering Dampener Lockdown a few weeks ago. It's not too difficult to do if you can get under the car (if you can drive the front up on some ramps, it helps a lot to get it a few more inches up). It shouldn't take more than an hour's worth (probably could be done in 30 minutes). Here's a video of a guy installing on his Forester.

 

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2015 Forester XT Touring CVT
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Discussion Starter #3
@bgyen
Thank you for video, it looks pretty straightforward.
But I still prefer to pay professionals do it, especially dealing with steering.
 

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2017 XT Touring
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I have a independent mechanic who does all my maintenance. He started and completed my Dampener Lockdown installation while the oil was draining. Since it added no time to the oil change he didn't charge me for the install.
From personal experience, The 20mm swaybar/ steering lockdown combo is an absolute necessity to improve the handling on a SJ Forester. The effect on handling is dramatic with no degradation in ride quality.
 

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2018 X3 M40i / 2016 X3 xDrive35i
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I installed the Torque Solutions version of this last night. Install took about 30 minutes, it's really not bad at all if you approach it the right way with the right tools. Use two 10" extensions with metric hex sockets and a swivel. I lined up the steering wheel to give me an angle to drive the bolt at from driver's side up top. Jacked up the driver's side and got underneath to get the lockdown started. The bushing was loose enough to get it started but I found midway through tightening that one side was going in at an angle and I needed to loosen the two bolts on the ends of the connectors to decompress the bushing enough to allow the lockdown to straighten out. Then just tighten down and swap to the shorter bolt.

My impressions are there's no increase in NVH at speed. I was worried this would transfer any driveline wobble into the steering and maybe if you had some it might transfer more but in my case no vibrations at all. The slop is gone and steering is much more direct but didn't feel twitchy like I've heard some folks mention.

At real low speeds like turning in parking spaces the feel is way different, the squishy feeling as the bushing REALLY soaked up the resistance your tires give then is gone. I suspect this will greatly help with alignments where I've suspected this car is so hard to get steering straight because the steering slop on the alignment rack makes it hard to get the wheels to actually turn that extra little bit to get straight when you think it is and toe is zero'd in just a hair off center as a result.

I have the 20mm RSB and STI Pink Springs and I wouldn't say the lockdown contributes to handling in any way...it doesn't HANDLE different...it just has a more direct steering feel so I would consider the Lockdown a separate class of product with separate benefits entirely from the RSB.
 

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I’m really disliking highway drives with my new 2020 forester. I need to concentrate so much. It’s really twitchy. Do you think this fix will work on the 2020? Would Subaru install it for me?
 

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2017 Forester XT CVT
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I’m really disliking highway drives with my new 2020 forester. I need to concentrate so much. It’s really twitchy. Do you think this fix will work on the 2020? Would Subaru install it for me?
a steering dampener lock out would likely make this worst. As others have noted the lock out removes ”slop” from the steering system giving you a more direct connection to the wheels from the steering wheel. That said, before installing mine I was worried it would make the car too sensitive above 80mph. But it did not.
 

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2018 Forester Blk Edition Lineartronic CVT with X-Mode
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I bought the Perrin lockout but haven't even installed it. I found the rear sway bar upgrade and the front strut tower brace to benefit that twitchy feeling. Coming from a BMW 335i, it was a truly different driving experience but the RSB and strut brace really helped and they were simple to install in comparison.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
 

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2015 Forester XT Touring CVT
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Discussion Starter #9
At the end, I upgraded tires 1st (Michelin Crossclimate SUV vs stock Bridgestone Dueler) and both steering feel and highway stability are improved a lot. I don't doubt that steering dampener lockdown + RSB will potentially improved it even more but just changing tires helped so much (especially for cross winds) that I am ok as it is.
 

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I find the car jumps all over the place particularly with any crosswinds. And I’m constantly moving the steering left and right slightly to correct it. The steering doesn’t feel solid at all on highways with speed. My xtrail didn’t have this issue. I wonder if the lock will make it feel more normal.
 

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will it make the steering feel more normal like other cars? More responsive? I don’t mind correcting the movements but it feels like my movements are delayed and it’s frustrating.
 

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Hi Msmithy,

Did you get anywhere with your Forester steering?

I am also in Australia and have a MY20 Premium Forester and agree with your comments. I really don't enjoy driving it up and down the Hume. I too used to have a X-Trail and have driven many other SUVs that were fine, so its not an SUV thing.

I always turn off the lane centering. It just makes things creepier.

It's really hard to put your finger on exactly what's wrong but something is. My wife in passenger seat asked "is it windy outside?" thinking that's what was moving the car around. I said, no that's the steering I was telling you about.

If I had to guess I would say its a combination of a responsive chassis with an electric steering gear with a fair bit of friction and a dead spot on center. If I take my hands off the wheel it tracks true. It doesn't seem to have much self centering effect (assuming the chassis has enough caster maybe that's another possible indicator of friction). It's like you have to keep moving the steering wheel in little increments then over-shoot rather than a continuous fluid movement where you are not even aware you are steering. Going around curves on single lane country roads is OK because the steering is usually loaded up to one side.

Occasionally a jorno will comment on it. CarAdvice has criticized the on-center feel.

The electric steering gear looks like it has the assist motor driving the pinion through a worm gear. This is not as good as rack assist (ball screw) but other vehicles are OK with it. It could be that the rack pad is done up too tight. They can be set quite tight when new to accommodate wear.

That Perrin Steering Damper Lockdown may be worth a try.
 

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I went ahead an installed a Perrin Steering Damper lockdown in my MY20 Forester Premium. I am in Australia and ordered it online from Carmods Australia.

I installed it myself and it was pretty straightforward following the instructions. I did it from underneath and access was good. All I needed was a helper to hold one side of it from above so I could get the long screw started. A T-handled 5mm hex tool helped. I went and bought a 5mm hex socket before starting the install but didn't need it.

I am a mechanical engineer and I am very impressed by the design. It doesn't squeeze the damper as I have seen some posters suggest. Instead it bypasses the damper by locking the input and output sides together. It has a small amount of interference with the heads of the pins on the damper, which ensures there is no free play and is why you need to use the long bolt first to pull both sides together. Including the thread locker was a nice touch.

I have only driven it about 100k after the install including a short motorway drive and so far so good. I think it really has helped. I often come back from a drive thinking there is something not quite right with the steering, or thinking I need to get a wheel alignment, or thinking it must be windy today. This time I didn't and the steering felt like it was actually connected to the wheels, at least to the extent that the steering of an upright SUV should be. It's still a bit of a nervous chassis on the motorway but at least I can now correct in small amounts without that initial free-play dead feel then overshoot. I now need to go for a long highway drive to see how much it helps, that's when the standard steering really bugged me.

I can't think of any downside except if you leave the lane centering on then you will feel it kick in more abruptly (I always turn it off). There's no vibration that comes back through the steering wheel.
 

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no unfortunately. I even took the Perrin out as it made mine worse. It’s terrible and going to trade it in. I can’t find the centre ever. It’s always either right or left. Doesn’t track straight at all. Had 8 alinement and been to multiple places. So I just twitch the whole drive. And I drive 2 hours a day on freeways. That’s the issue. Hardly notice just around the suburb. I get so fatigued. But the new xtrail in the USA has complaints exactly the same. So can’t get the new xtrail. Will probably try and join the wait list for a rav4.
 

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Hi Msmithy,

I have found the Perrin Steering Damper Lockdown makes my Forester better to drive on the highway because there is less of that vagueness and dead-band that the standard steering has on-centre. However, it doesn't fix the underlying problem that the chassis response is quite sensitive. I still need to concentrate more than driving other vehicles to travel in a straight line and I have to keep correcting the steering but at least with the damper lock-down installed I find it easier to make small direct corrections without overshooting. Subaru seemed to have biased the chassis response towards sharp handling rather than straight line stability. I didn't have this problem with my previous Outback.

Maybe higher profile tires would help a bit. I have the 225/55 R18 tires. For a vehicle that is supposed to have off-road credentials I think 55 profile is too low anyway. Many years ago I put lower profile wider tires on a Commodore and the tramlining made it terrible in a straight line on the highway.

Just thinking about it now, I should try running exactly the recommended tire pressure. The recommended pressure is 32-33 psi but I have been running 36-37 psi. This is mainly out of habit (I always tend to run a bit higher than recommended). If that makes it better I guess I owe Subaru an apology!
 

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2014 2.0 XT Touring
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personal preference and feedback would be to install the RSB first before any new tires or steering dampeners. you will also need new sway bar end links and bushings. a newer, thicker RSB will not solve your steering dampener "issues" but it will help you decide if you really need/want it. these are very "sensitive" underbodies. in my opinion, it is always better to "stiffen up" what you can (in this case "stiffen up" the rear flex/sway with the thicker RSB) before fine tuning things like your steering rack and such. just my $0.02

i opted for the 20mm RSB and really enjoy it
 
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