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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 04 fxt sti.. vf43 etc..

Suspenion-

07 wagon struts
STI pink wagon springs
STI control arms
STI sway bars/Kartboy links
STI lateral links


The problem lies in that the steering doesn't feel "solid" I feel safer in my ford focus because the steering just feels solid and in control.

The car feels very stable except for the steering, which like I said doesn't have a reassuring feel to it..

The car is currently a little out of alignment, is that the problem or is that the effects of another problem.

I am going to get it aligned, but would like to take suggestions on how to tighten things up incase I need to take stuff on/off.


Help would be great, thanks!!:Banane14:
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Also,

I have 24mm whitline sway bars, do you think these would be much of an improvement over the STI stuff?
 

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Pleiads' biggest leghumper
04's 2 FXT's.
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Sounds like you might need to change out your steering rack bushings maybe & get an alignment.


joe r
 

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yeah get an alignment.. a performance alignment to be exact and you will notice a difference. if you're too sensitive at the moment, try less negative camber. but remember your stiff sway bars also make a huge difference. i'm running a 25mm rsb and my car twitches at -1.4F, -1R camber. also depends on your tires.. my tread pattern really makes me tramline badly if i'm not careful.
 

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Ol' Timer
2006 WRX Spec-C 6MT
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6,091 Posts
"Solid" is kinda tricky to fix.
Things that come to mind in order from cheapest to most expensive, not most important or effective as that's a pretty subjective thing:

-Subframe bolts. These make a big difference in the feel of the rear. Cheap, like $30.

-Alignment. Get an alignment from someone who has experience with performance alignments. Not Joe-schmo at Goodyear.

-Bracing. The more the merrier. The Subie chassis benefits greatly from the rear, under, and cowl. I don't have the cowl done, but the front, rear, and under H done and they are a big help.

-Bushings. Again, the more the merrier. Changing the rubber to UR really takes the vague feeling from steering.

-Look into a STi or WRX rack and swap bushings while at it.

-Tires, no brainer. Lower sidewalls and stickier rubber can completely transform a car.

-Unsprung weight. Reduction in unsprung weight will have a great effect on steering. You get more direct and quicker steering as well as better feedback. Of course there's the added benefit of better acceleration.

-Differentials. Yeah, very pricey but can really make a huge difference in how the car will handle.

*And yes, the 24mm bars are a HUGE improvement over STi stuff if you are looking to control body roll. Do it!
 

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Steering rack bushings or the rack itself.

My steering feels terrible lately and i noticed i'm missing almost 1 entire bushing, its just worn away.
The stock steering rack already sucks pretty bad, its a variable ratio (very very loose at the center and gets to about the WRX rate at the very edges)

The alignment also greatly affects stability, especially toe. Also if its not even side to side it will feel funny.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Is there a huge difference in the STI rack over the stock rack?

I've driven lots of foresters and this feels worse than many. It could be just the alignment, otherwise at 60k do you think the rack is worn out? what about tie-rod ends, they could be getting loose?
 

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if you steering wheel is off center, tie rods are probably off a bit, or even bent. sti rack turns much quicker than the forester rack and the resistance is higher (more effort to turn). usually the rack bushings go and you get this memory steer/dead zone in the center but the rack itself is fine.
 

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2017 VW Golf SportWagen 5MT
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STi steering rack is awesome.

So, your front sway is stock size and rear is the 19mm STi? Manual or auto (auto car is heavier in the front)?

I upgraded the stock steering rack bushings to the Whitelines -- bit of a change, not much. Then, I upgraded the front sway bar to a 25mm Whiteline with Kartboy endlins -- steering feel improved greatly. Then I got "new" 18" wheels with 225/45 Advan AD07s on them -- now the steering feels awesome, even with the stock rack. Night and day, I hated the way my front end felt before. My alignment is nothing crazy, maybe -1 on the front, even less on the rear.

Try a bigger front sway, if you already have 24mm bar but haven't installed it yet -- do it, you'll be amazed.

Stan
 

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Discussion Starter #13
if you steering wheel is off center, tie rods are probably off a bit, or even bent. sti rack turns much quicker than the forester rack and the resistance is higher (more effort to turn). usually the rack bushings go and you get this memory steer/dead zone in the center but the rack itself is fine.
Wheel is off center and there is that dead zone. I suppose I should buy some new bushings then eh?

I own to SF's ones a 2004 (my race-wagon) and the other's a 2007 which is also speedy but not as modded.

Can I swap from the 07 to the 04?

How hard is it to replace the rack?

Does the STI rack fit perfectly or do I need to do mods to fit it?

What do you need to do to replace just the bushings?
 

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2017 VW Golf SportWagen 5MT
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To replace the steering rack bushings you need to unbolt the rack, move it around to get the old bushings out, then squeeze the new ones in. It's a PITA, but doable.

Don't reuse bushings. New Whitelines are $30.

STi rack is awesome, but is expensive -- $700 brand new. You can get a used one for $300/$400, but how do you know it's good unless it gets rebuilt? Chances are it came out of a wrecked car.

Other possibilities are you have bent strut(s) and/or bent tie-rod(s). Alignment rack would show that though, that's how I found out my strut was bent.

Stan
 

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to replace just the bushings, it's a matter of moving aside some rack lines and undoing the brackets, then you have to pull the old ones out and slip on the new ones WITHOUT GREASE. it's harder than it sounds because trying to do it under the car without much leverage is a PAIN, but it's doable.

04 STI racks bolt right in. 05-07 STI racks require the cross member too but the design is improved a bit from the 04 one.

haven't done the rack myself yet as i haven't picked it up yet from the seller but a few guys here have done it and i'll let them chime in.

as for stock racks, it looks like all 03-08 Forester ones are pretty much the same.
 

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2004 Forester XT Premium 4EAT
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Wheel is off center and there is that dead zone. I suppose I should buy some new bushings then eh?
Check the obvious first... i.e. tires and alignment can have a huge impact on the issue you're describing.
 

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'09 STI
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The car is currently a little out of alignment, is that the problem or is that the effects of another problem.
That is most likely the problem. What were your alignment settings? Tire pressures?

Check the obvious first... i.e. tires and alignment can have a huge impact on the issue you're describing.
:icon_idea: Before you start throwing money at it...
 

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2004 FXT
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*back from the dead*

I'm having some issues w/ steering as well on the freeway. In a straight line, the car will "shift" slightly to the left and/or right. My roommate was in the car w/ me last night and I asked him about it. He mentioned that the tie rods might be bad.

This all happened after I had the alignment done by the shop that put my new tires on.

This is the printout they gave me.

F/L: camber -0.1, caster 2.8, toe 0.02
F/R: camber -0.3, caster 2.8, toe 0.00
R/L: camber -0.08, toe: 0.16
R/R: camber -1.1, toe: 0.04

This is a 04 FXT on stock struts + springs (which will be upgraded to Swifts soon)

Any input is appreciated.
Thanks.
 
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