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2018 Forester CVT
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I bought a Legacy station wagon new in 1997, replaced it with another new Legacy station wagon in 2003 and replaced that with a new Forester in April 2018. I would have bought another Legacy station wagon if they still made it but the Outback after 2009 has become ridiculously big. I live in the Toronto, Ontario region and a month ago was coming back from about an hour north on the highway where I encountered some strong crosswinds. I couldn't safely control the car above about 85/90 kph and yet was being passed by loads of other cars especially SUVs at the usual speed of 120-130 kph. Two weekends ago I had a similar problem with crosswinds. Does anyone else encounter this? is it normal for the Forester? The dealership say its just because its an SUV - really? If so, I won't be keeping on to it. Is the Crosstrek any better where this is concerned or do i have to drop down to an Impreza? I'm been very happy with Subarus for years now but this is a disappointment. I had new Michelin X3 Ice tyres on it but have just had the regular tyres put back on yesterday.
 

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2019 3.6R & 98 Forester Atlanta, GA
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7,248 Posts
I foresee a rear swaybar upgrade in your future. I've done it on every one of our Subaru's. Did it at less than 200 miles on the 2019 Outback.

BTW, welcome. When you get a chance fill in your details in your user CP. Helps us out helping you.
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 Forester XT
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14,796 Posts
Yup do the sway bar. Simple to install.

But truthfully I did not have a problem even before I installed it.
 

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2016 Forester
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898 Posts
When you say you couldn't safely control the car, was it actually being blown off course or was it just what you feel? Different people just have different tolerances, and knobbier tire tread like winter tire will be grabbed more by wind too.

I can definite feel the wind more than a sedan, but never unsafe to drive.
 

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2018 Forester CVT
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I had to constantly correct the steering all the time, there was no way I could safely go over 85/90 kph. And yet other SUVs were flying pass me. Normally this is not a problem on the highway with the car. My feeling is the suspension is too soft but that is the way the car has been designed. I shouldn't have to do anything on a brand new car. I was just wondering if other owners of 14-18 Foresters have had a similar problem. My Legacy station wagons had incredible road holding. I'm loathe to move to another car manufacturer as Subarus are so well made and reliable.
 

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2018 Forester CVT
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re fitting upgraded rear sway bars - is this the sort of thing I can get the dealership to do or will they frown upon this sort of thing? Can anyone suggest a part number from an aftermarket supplier?
 

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2016 Forester
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898 Posts
I had to constantly correct the steering all the time, .
Sounds normal in strong crosswind, but I'm not driving so can't say with definity.

Maybe have your alignment checked, I've heard a few instances when it's out of spec from factory.
 

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2017 Outback
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122 Posts
"...is this the sort of thing I can get the dealership to do ..."

Yes, your Subaru dealer can remove the 16mm rear sway bar and install a 20mm rear sway bar that will improve handling. The part is about $75 and it takes less than a half hour to install.

SUVs are taller than wagons and will catch more cross winds but it shouldn't feel dangerous. Have the dealer check the tires for a broken steel belt, air pressure and the wheel alignment before you add a bigger sway bar.
 

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2017 XT Touring
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87 Posts
Like many others with the OEM 16 mm sway bar, I found the body lean on my '17 Touring model to be completely unacceptable, if not downright frightening at highway speeds, especially when performing an evasive maneuver. With the smaller bar the car had clown car quality handling.

The sloppy and imprecise OEM steering dampener makes the handling problem seem even worse.

The fix is easy and comparatively inexpensive.

The 20mm STI RSB and the Perrin steering dampener lockout completely cured the body roll/lean and vague steering without any resultant decrease in ride quality.

20451VA000 is the 20 mm sway bar
2920464VA000 (x2) are the bushings.

Link to where many here have purchased the bar and bushings:
https://subaruonlineparts.com/subaru...mm-p-3919.html
They sell the sway bar and bushings as a kit.

You also want to install the Perrin Steering Dampener Lock Down:
https://www.perrin.com/shop/drivetrain/steering-dampener-lockdown

You can find it at lower prices all over the 'net. I paid $60 for it via eBay.
These two items will allow your car to handle like you think it should.
 

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2018 Forester XT Limited CVT
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912 Posts
I was just wondering if other owners of 14-18 Foresters have had a similar problem.
I drive over the Rocky Mountains about once a year. I used to do it in a 2007 Forester and now do it in a 2018. Sometimes I have a rooftop box on the car (I think the name is Yakima Blacktop but I don't remember) and sometimes I don't. Yes, the car does blow around in the crosswinds, especially those areas where the crosswinds are strong (and there are signs at the side of the road warning you about the crosswinds). And yes I do need to be attentive to keep the car in the lane. Tires and alignment are fine on both cars.

For those who have the 20 mm sway bar: Does the thicker bar make the ride harsher, or compromise performance or vehicle reaction in emergency avoidance situations?

Other data: I used to have a 1987 Mazda 626 sedan. On straight roads with no crosswinds at 140-160 km/h that car was all over the road. It sounded like lots of buffeting. Later I had a 1990 Civic hatchback. At the same speeds on the same piece of road, that car felt glued to the road and was straight as an arrow.

Am I going to trade the Forester XT for a sedan? Not a chance. :)
 

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2017 Outback
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122 Posts
"For those who have the 20 mm sway bar: Does the thicker bar make the ride harsher, or compromise performance or vehicle reaction in emergency avoidance situations?"

Sway bars don't have any effect on ride, only the amount of body lean in a curve. They're hardly noticeable at low speeds but are a step up in high speed handling....particularly on curvy highways.

Subaru brand sway bars are less expensive than after-market brands. The after-market brands are painted and stickered to appeal to performance enthusiasts.
 

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2018 Forester CVT
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Lakewalker - very many thanks for your comments and advice. Just what I needed to know. And nice to know it isn't just me that has problems with the handling in crosswinds. There is certainly a LOT more roll on the Forester than my old 2003 Legacy Station Wagon that had fantastic road holding. I'd buy another in a shot if they were still made. Or imported the Subaru Levorg as available elsewhere in the world.
 

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2014 Forester Ltd. CVT
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1,779 Posts
I have the 19mm and it is a bit harsher than the stock 16mm. But it's far from intolerable. The handling improvement is worth every bump.
 

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2018 Touring CVT
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173 Posts
I have a 2018 with the 19mm sway bar and I absolutely love it! Also we have a ton of wind here all the time, a mild day is a 40k/h wind and never feared for my life :) I put the sway bar on at around 1500 km. It helps on the highway and added bonus if you like to take city corners a little faster it help with that also!
 

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2018 Forester XT Limited CVT
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912 Posts
Stupid question: What tire pressure are you running? If it's too high, you will get pushed around more by crosswinds.
I think the door pillar says to put in 33 front and 32 rear (I'm not at the car right now) and I usually put 3 PSI higher than that (cold) because my 2007 Forester used to get wear on the tire's shoulders at the factory recommended 29/28 or whatever it was. Putting a few PSI extra in got rid of that problem.
 

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2014 Forester 2.5i CVT
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453 Posts
I think the door pillar says to put in 33 front and 32 rear (I'm not at the car right now) and I usually put 3 PSI higher than that (cold) because my 2007 Forester used to get wear on the tire's shoulders at the factory recommended 29/28 or whatever it was. Putting a few PSI extra in got rid of that problem.
Okay. Well, you have a 2018 now.

On my 2014, I keep the PSI to what the factory says. I have no unusual tire wear. And I don't have a problem with crosswinds. May or may not work for you.
 

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2018 Forester XT Limited CVT
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912 Posts
On my 2014, I keep the PSI to what the factory says. I have no unusual tire wear. And I don't have a problem with crosswinds. May or may not work for you.
There's a post somewhere that said the pillar pressures might be the same for all of North America and you might get different results depending where you are. I would get different results than someone in Arizona, and I may need to run slightly different pressures than someone in Arizona.

Having said that, I do have a few more summers to go on the stock Duelers, so I guess I could see what happens if I use the pillar pressures during the summers.
 

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2014 Forester 2.5i base CVT
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After I got my '14, there were a lot of posts from performance oriented owners about sway bars. I found the ride already a bit harsh stock unless tire pressures were kept at door pillar numbers. I did have wind drift, and added a front strut tower bar (Cusco, not rigid SSI). That improved wind resistance a bit and seemed to steady the front end in sharp turns - my impressions.
 
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