Wheel Stiffness & Occasional Wandering

Discussion in 'Modifications & DIY how-to' started by TURBOH4, Nov 10, 2015.

  1. TURBOH4

    TURBOH4 Member

    So something I noticed the other day while sitting at a traffic light...occasionally, with the car running, it can be difficult if not impossible to turn the wheel lock-to-lock. Is this normal? I'm still on the stock tires. I've got 11K miles on the car so far (2014 STi sedan).

    Another thing that I noticed is that it sometimes feels like I'm riding on uneven pavement when I'm on the highway. I never noticed this before, and it's a little concerning. All lugs are torqued to 80lb-ft, but it almost feels like the wheels are "loose", if that makes sense. I've also noticed it at lower speeds.

    The sensation is akin to riding a motorcycle across a bridge that uses metal grates instead of pavement - the bike will sort of "wander" around on the surface due to the grooves in the grates.
  2. orndog

    orndog Member

    Those things are not good and indicate a problem. Not sure if it's a known issue or if you're alone on this but sounds to me like a trip to a dealer.
  3. ~The_Duke~

    ~The_Duke~ Member

    That almost sounds like what used to happen with my '04 that had the terrible steering rack bushings. As you would drive the rack would wander because the factory bushings had been warn to the point that I was able to pull them out with out taking the bolts out of the rack mounts.

    However with a very new car like your's, take it to the dealer and complain about it.

    My bet would be steering rack or wheel bearing related.
  4. crazyazn

    crazyazn I like naps Staff Member Supporting Member

    when my car had its PS pump on its way out it would feel tough to turn or drop pressure mid course at autox. While researching my car, I came across a lot of mention that the GR racks are prone to leaking quite early in mileage. Hopefully you can get it covered from the dealer being a newer car (its a pricey part)
  5. wrxin8or

    wrxin8or Mullitt Staff Member

    really soft sidewall? under-inflated tires? both of those could cause a floaty/wandering feeling
  6. The wandering feeling on the bike is the narrow contact patch of the tires 'following' the grooves in the bridge/road.If you have some cheaper or lower speed rated tires on your car it can cause some weird sensations when you are driving.But your car may still be on stock tires due to low mileage.Our cars can be a little more sensitive to road surfaces (like the previously mentioned motorcycle) due to the suspension setup and a.w.d.It sounds like this is a recent development so I would get some one to check car over..Still under warranty then take to dealer..Alignment may not still be covered..Not sure S.O.A. 's policy..
  7. LoveMyNewSoob

    LoveMyNewSoob Member

    Steering rack is a known issue with our cars. I had to get mine replaced last year. I was out of warranty, but did a claim with SoA and the ended up paying for half. If you're under warranty definitely check it out.
    On a side note, I was always told that turning the wheel that much without the car moving is very bad...not sure if that's true or not...
  8. Superdude

    Superdude Active Member

    I'd guess it's the tires catching the grooves in the road. Most cars now have a PS "bump" stop built into them. You really can't over turn a wheel like cars in the 70s-90s. And not being able to turn full lock sitting just sounds like the camber angle change from left to right might just need the tiniest amount of forward movement to pull the wheel all the way down to full-lock/max camber. If you let go of the wheel, does the car go in a different direction on every road? Not just crowned highways.
  9. TURBOH4

    TURBOH4 Member

    @Drooby - Yes, stock Dunlop tires as mentioned in my first post.
    @crazyazn - Well, it's only an issue when stopped. I have never noticed any difference in resistance while actually driving.
    @Superdude - I haven't noticed if the car changes direction on a flat road, but I'll see if I can find a place to test. On the highway it pulls slightly to the right as it should, but nothing serious.

    Interestingly, the wandering sensation seems to have gone away after I rotated the tires. I rotated them myself and I inspected the tires and what I could see of the hubs and axles. Everything looked fine as far as I could tell.
  10. How many times have you rotated the tires?
  11. TURBOH4

    TURBOH4 Member

    Every time I've changed the oil, using the X-pattern:

    - 1000 mi
    - 3000 mi
    - 6500 mi
    - 11,000 mi (current)
  12. jkershaw

    jkershaw New Member

    In regards to the hard steering feeling at a stop, here is a quick test you could do. While sitting still and you're turning the wheel, give the car a little throttle. If the steering gets easier, it's your PS pump, if not it's the power steering rack. I used to have 04 wrx that it would be a pain to steer at idle but as soon as I have it throttle it was easy.
  13. Trancetto

    Trancetto Active Member

    son of a subaru!!!! My power steering is officially on its way out....time to do some research.

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