Subaru Forester Owners Forum banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
1999 Forester S, 330i ZHP
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So first off I have searched but haven't found anything specifically related to my problem as described. I've only had the vehicle for about two months, it's a 99' Forester S if that matters.

Recently I've noticed that the steering is very stiff and what I would describe as "notchy". It is very hard to start turning the wheel, then gets a little easier, then gets harder again, same in both directions. Almost like when you begin to turn the wheel you have to overcome some unseen force, then it starts turning, only to meet resistance again and release again. There is no difference in symptoms whether I'm moving or sitting still.

The tire pressure is OK, the power steering fluid level is fine and the pump appears to be working ok. Ideas? Steering rack? Tie rods? PS pump? The symptoms actually began after I had Krown Rust control done but this might be a coincidence. I read in another post that older Foresters do have some steering assist, does anyone know where this electical connector is, maybe it came off?

The vehicle is still drivable it's just very annoying. Just looking for some input. Thanks.
 

·
Registered
none none
Joined
·
9,011 Posts
Subscribed. Describes the problems i've been having recently as well. It feels like when you first turn it in one direction theres pressure on the wheel like you're turning against a curb but then if you move back a little and turn again it moves very easily. Might try changing all the PS fluid.
 

·
Premium Member
2014 Impreza Ltd CVT
Joined
·
3,363 Posts
First, I would change the PS fluid.

Then check belt tension.

Also I haven't seen it on a Forester, but some Legacys/Outbacks did have a problem I saw where the power steering pulley was loose on the shaft giving the same symptom. You will only notice it if someone is turning the wheel while you watch the pump shaft and pulley.
 

·
Registered
1999 Forester S, 330i ZHP
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, I'll try searching for a DIY for changing the fluid and start there. It is like steering against the curb, it's an odd sensation, almost like the tires don't want to turn but then they do. Then they change their mind and don't want to again.:confused:
 

·
Registered
none none
Joined
·
9,011 Posts
Thanks, I'll try searching for a DIY for changing the fluid and start there. It is like steering against the curb, it's an odd sensation, almost like the tires don't want to turn but then they do. Then they change their mind and don't want to again.:confused:
I've been trying to think of a way to describe it on here for weeks lol. Hopefully we can figure this out. Its been bothering me for a while. However my axle is now failing as well and I'm replacing all the bushings etc in the front end soon, well see if that helps anything.
 

·
Registered
1999 Forester S, 330i ZHP
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Well just as an update, it appears to be directly related to the outside temperature for me. I haven't put my car in storage for the winter yet so the Forester's home has been outside. The temp's been dropping below zero here at night and I find when I first start driving it is most symptomatic. However once the vehicle is warmed up, or on days it is actually parked underground, it doesn't seem to be a problem. I haven't got around to changing the fluid yet. I didn't notice the pulley shaft moving at all when someone was turning the wheel but thanks for the suggestion.
 

·
Registered
2003 Forester 2.5x 6 MT DCCDPro!
Joined
·
87 Posts
Hey guys,

I noticed the exact same issue this morning when I took off with my 03 X. It was around -4 C here and very humid. Are there any updates on this?

Keven
 

·
Gone but not forgotten. RIP.
2005 XT 4EAT
Joined
·
261 Posts
Bump for same problem. Just started occurring last week.

*Hard/ sporadic/ jumpy steering assist*

Attempts:
- Re-tensioning belt
- Check and rechecking fluid
- Bleeding power steering lines
- Check and rechecking tire pressure

I'm going to try checking the bearings on the PS pump. I wouldn't be happy if it turned out to be the rack.
 

·
Registered
2003 Forester XS auto
Joined
·
640 Posts
Your descriptions sound like belt slip. Take a white marker and put a line across the power steering pulley, then have someone turn the steering wheel backwards and forwards with the engine idling.

Also check the reservoir has no air bubbles. If you have air bubbles you have a suction side leak.

If you want to check the pump, just drop the belt and spin by hand. It should spin freely but with all your might you probably can't get more then one revolution with a good flick.
 

·
Registered
2015 Forester XT CVT
Joined
·
217 Posts
Sorry for reviving an old thread

Happened to me in the weekend when I was in Yosemite (8-9 months old '15 XT). It was ok when I did the initial turning, then when I tried to fine tune my steering in a corner, there are some resistance, and wasn't able to turn smoothly because of that.

I haven't check anything beside the PS fluid, but does anyone with a newer model that experience similar situation?

Will probably visit the dealer and maybe do the diy mentioned above.
 

·
Registered
2002 Forester S 5MT
Joined
·
296 Posts
Sorry for the resurrection, but has anyone found a solution to this? I'm having the exact same problem described by the OP and first response (feels like turning against curb, but sometimes it decides to cooperate for 1 second at a time) and it's been YEARS and nobody has posted a successful fix for this?

I have a 2002 Forester S as well, 2.5NA should be the same stuff in there... Cold seems to make it worse, but when I read reports of checking belt, fluid, tires, etc, and no improvement? Not hopeful!

If I don't get a response here, I will start a new thread (and apologize)!
 

·
Registered
SG9 Forester XT Stick Shift
Joined
·
1,670 Posts
The power steering suction hose is the culprit on mine. They got hard and would not seal around the reservoir and pump intake. The colder the temperature the bigger the leak.

The mechanical binding you felt came from the air in hydraulic system. My steering shakes really bad and feels like the wheel is coming off the car before I fix this.
 

·
Registered
2000 Forester S Turbo Manual
Joined
·
922 Posts
I fixed this issue recently on mine with a new power steering belt. It was a lot more noticable when cold. The belt had a lot of tiny cracks in it and it was very easy to replace yourself. It cost me 10 quid for the belt, so its not crazy expense to start with this.
 

·
Registered
2002 Forester S 5MT
Joined
·
296 Posts
The power steering suction hose is the culprit on mine. They got hard and would not seal around the reservoir and pump intake. The colder the temperature the bigger the leak.

The mechanical binding you felt came from the air in hydraulic system. My steering shakes really bad and feels like the wheel is coming off the car before I fix this.
What do you mean by "suction hose"? Do you know what the part number is, or point it out on a diagram?
 

·
Registered
2002 Forester S 5MT
Joined
·
296 Posts

·
Registered
2002 Forester S 5MT
Joined
·
296 Posts
Update: I started with the belt (easiest first), and the old belt was smaller, and maybe too tight, either way - the new belt gave room to tension up with the alternator, and it's working great. Still a bit of squeal at either lock (one more than the other) so I'll track down a leak to see if it's PS fluid, but for now it's pretty much as good as new!

PSA: If your steering gets weird, change the belt for $10 and see if it helps before doing anything else, and don't go stupid and put LucasOil StopLeak power steering fluid without diagnosing first. Change belt without diagnosing first, though - it's probably the solution ;)

Thanks all!
 

·
Registered
2005 Forester
Joined
·
19 Posts
Sorry for the resurrection, but has anyone found a solution to this? I'm having the exact same problem described by the OP and first response (feels like turning against curb, but sometimes it decides to cooperate for 1 second at a time) and it's been YEARS and nobody has posted a successful fix for this?

I have a 2002 Forester S as well, 2.5NA should be the same stuff in there... Cold seems to make it worse, but when I read reports of checking belt, fluid, tires, etc, and no improvement? Not hopeful!

If I don't get a response here, I will start a new thread (and apologize)!
Does this happen when you're parked? Or is it when you are driving and taking a hard turn? (like a u-turn to be specific)
 

·
Registered
2002 Forester S 5MT
Joined
·
296 Posts
Does this happen when you're parked? Or is it when you are driving and taking a hard turn? (like a u-turn to be specific)
It happens at low speeds, so if I do a U turn at 5mph then it happened. If I try to turn going 25mph it could be a bit heavy, but not stuck/clunky.

Still getting some torque bind at the locks (full left/right) but that's probably the center diff. When that happens, I get a bit of belt squeal even with the new belt, but it was easy enough to do that I'm not worried if I have to replace it again.
 

·
Registered
2005 Forester
Joined
·
19 Posts
It happens at low speeds, so if I do a U turn at 5mph then it happened. If I try to turn going 25mph it could be a bit heavy, but not stuck/clunky.

Still getting some torque bind at the locks (full left/right) but that's probably the center diff. When that happens, I get a bit of belt squeal even with the new belt, but it was easy enough to do that I'm not worried if I have to replace it again.
So, not sure if this would be your specific problem but it could be the transfer clutch solenoid. Duty C solenoid. If it is no longer working, what will happen is that the transmission won't not disengage the clutch at slow speeds causing that clunking, tire chirping issue.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top