Car feels... loose
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  1. #1
    Registered User poly_poly-man's Avatar
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    Car feels... loose

    So, as my car gets older, I can just tell, every single little crappy rubber component is getting more and more crappy. When I go, the clutch doesn't just shudder, but when I'm off it, sometimes the whole car will shake back and forth instead of letting me put power to the ground (feels like the wheels are getting closer/farther rythmically) - this effect goes away pretty soon. Otherwise, although turning feels pretty good because of my kickass tires, it's not 100% solid - there's almost a little play in steering, that still turns the wheels, but almost doesn't really affect the car' path (the end result is that, not so much in hard turns, but a lot especially in straights), the car feels a little unstable, like it's not tracking consistently, but it does. Basically, to sum it up, although when I force myself to, I can throw it into corners pretty hard, everything sort of feels like I shouldn't - the car just feels unsettling, like it won't be able to handle the turn without turning to mush.

    So anyway, since it'll be near impossible to do anything to my car at college, I'm looking to get in anything that will really help me out now. I've done the rear diff mounts and outrigger bushings (made a HUGE difference in the first problem), and for reference, my struts feel fine (bumps are really np). I'm sure the answer is probably bushings and an alignment - which bushings/etc. are most likely to help out my problem? I'm on a rather limited budget, and I'd like to do the parts that are going to help out the most.

    One last thing - since my car feels *worse* than most stock wrx's (even gd/gg), I'm sure my problem lies mostly in the rubber components, so I'm more keen on fixing those than adding something like a fender brace.
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  3. #2
    Captain James of the SS Impreza has gone down with the ship Drews's Avatar
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    I think you should start with a new avatar. After that I'd get the car on a lift, if you have one available, and get under the car and start checking all your rubber components. Check for cracking and missing chunks of rubber. Push against pieces that are rubber and see if there is any play. If they move replace them.
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    Registered User Heide264's Avatar
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    Can always give TiC a call. They'd be able to help you out with some solid advice I bet.

    I'd look at the important suspension ones. The bushings in your end links, possibly the ones in the control arms (not a huge upgrade, but if they are worn away you'd be in trouble), your engine/tranny mounts/Crossmember bushings, and also look into some steering rack bushings.

    I don't have the wear that you have, but the bushings I have done made a very bold improvement on the issues you desribed. Particullarly the tranny mount / crossmember bushings upfront - on par with the diff/outriggers in the back.

    That being said, mounts are pricey. I'd check yours out, but look into replacing all the cheap bushings that you can find, as well as looking at your important suspension ones (endlinks specifcially). As suggested, getting the car on a lift or at least in the air and looking around may give you a big hint as to what to replace, and you may be taking shots in the dark until you do this.
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    Master Baiter EJ257's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heide264
    Can always give TiC a call. They'd be able to help you out with some solid advice I bet.
    Or you can not waste their time asking questions they've been nice enough to answer with an already-compiled list:
    Clint's thoughts on where to start with bushings - NASIOC

    Last edited by EJ257; 07-15-2011 at 02:08 PM.
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  6. #5
    Registered User poly_poly-man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heide264 View Post
    Can always give TiC a call. They'd be able to help you out with some solid advice I bet.

    I'd look at the important suspension ones. The bushings in your end links, possibly the ones in the control arms (not a huge upgrade, but if they are worn away you'd be in trouble), your engine/tranny mounts/Crossmember bushings, and also look into some steering rack bushings.

    I don't have the wear that you have, but the bushings I have done made a very bold improvement on the issues you desribed. Particullarly the tranny mount / crossmember bushings upfront - on par with the diff/outriggers in the back.

    That being said, mounts are pricey. I'd check yours out, but look into replacing all the cheap bushings that you can find, as well as looking at your important suspension ones (endlinks specifcially). As suggested, getting the car on a lift or at least in the air and looking around may give you a big hint as to what to replace, and you may be taking shots in the dark until you do this.
    My endlinks are alright - they're plastic, but they're each one piece of plastic.

    Funny you should mention control arm bushings - it occurs to me that some of this issue started right after my front LCA snapped in half, and I replaced it with a new OEM subaru one... I only replaced one at that point. Do I need an alignment for that, and do you think that could have something to do with it? I did the job myself under the guidance of my uncle, so there's no chance that job was botched.

    The best way to describe it is that the car feels... twitchy, just once in a while.
    My big thread: The Used WRX Buying Checklist - Please Contribute!

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  7. #6
    Registered User Heide264's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poly_poly-man View Post
    My endlinks are alright - they're plastic, but they're each one piece of plastic.

    Funny you should mention control arm bushings - it occurs to me that some of this issue started right after my front LCA snapped in half, and I replaced it with a new OEM subaru one... I only replaced one at that point. Do I need an alignment for that, and do you think that could have something to do with it? I did the job myself under the guidance of my uncle, so there's no chance that job was botched.

    The best way to describe it is that the car feels... twitchy, just once in a while.
    Above my area on expertise on that one. You'll have to see if somebody else can offer some feedback.

    Have you thought about getting your alignment checked? If it's too loose to align, they could at least give you an idea what's wrong with it.

    I still am standing firm on the 'check what's wrong' before taking shots in the dark - even though it's tempting in this case. Especially if you are tight financially at all.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trainrex
    He was throwing balloons filled with sulfuric acid and shrapnel at the swat team. They finally had to take him down with rubber bullets.
    2011 STi Build Log
    -Part 1 - Reading, Data Logging, and Analyzing Data
    -Part 2 - Turbocharger 101 & Basic Boost Control
    -Part 3 - EcuFlash, Experimental Defintions, and a Drive By Wire Intro

  8. #7
    Registered User poly_poly-man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heide264 View Post
    Above my area on expertise on that one. You'll have to see if somebody else can offer some feedback.

    Have you thought about getting your alignment checked? If it's too loose to align, they could at least give you an idea what's wrong with it.

    I still am standing firm on the 'check what's wrong' before taking shots in the dark - even though it's tempting in this case. Especially if you are tight financially at all.
    I've been trying to find a good shop for alignments around here, and I'm definitely going for an alignment soon (I'm thinking of grabbing some camber bolts just for the rear first).

    The times recently I've been under the car, stuff generally seems pretty solid (although I haven't been to the middle area of the car recently to check tranny mounts/crossmember/etc.). I can grab on to the rear diff and shake it, and nothing I do can make it move, for example. I think at this point my main *problem* is probably the alignment, although any bushings I do will improve things.

    Also, I wonder, what's a good way to check struts, springs and top hats? I think my suspension is in "alive" shape at least (I'm not getting clunks, bumps are reasonably smooth, etc.), although I'm wondering about the top hats, since they're old rubber. What would I experience if the top hats were going?

    At this point I'm taking shots in the dark for diagnosis; I'm going to (as always) be careful about the money I spend.
    My big thread: The Used WRX Buying Checklist - Please Contribute!

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  9. #8
    Registered User oguitar's Avatar
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    You need to get the car on a lift and inspect everything. There is no reason for your car to feel loose. This is an indication of an undiagnosed issue. What happened to the control arm? If I remember correctly you crashed the car. Am I correct? I would inspect that other control arm because there have been reports of them rusting from the inside out. Seriously man the car needs to be inspected on a lift. Last thing you need is a steering rod coming loose while you are driving down the highway. If everything checks out fine then bushings will help. Good luck.

    Take pics if possible and post them.
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  10. #9
    Registered User poly_poly-man's Avatar
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    control arm and the accident are two unrelated issues. I hit up the front right of the car, and that gave me some pretty nasty fender damage, but I can assure you, myself and several other good mechanics looked over EVERYTHING in the car many, many times right after that. Zero frame deformation, zero strut deformation - it was pretty nice, actually (considering it was $1500 worth of repair, there was really very little to do). Plus, my uncle sent it to his alignment guy right after that just to make sure it was alright - it was no worse than it had been previously (which wasn't great, but wasn't awful).

    Much later in the winter, my left control arm rusted out from the inside. I got a huge klunk when I was going about 2mph backing into my spot, and didn't diagnose until I couldn't figure out why I couldn't go more than about 40mph before the car starting shaking violently. As soon as I figured it out, I left the front left corner up on a jack stand until my other uncle could come by with a trailer for the car. He and I did the control arm swap together, and believe me, we checked on the other stuff too. The right side control arm didn't look 100% pristine, but it looked so significantly better than the left one that I think maybe it had been replaced by a PO. Everything under my car is covered in rust, but it's all in okay shape (the only things I'm worried about rusting out at this point are things like the front subframe and the exhaust).

    Since then, I've been under the car a couple more times, not with the exclusive purpose of shaking things around to see what's up with them, but with that more or less in mind. I'll take a closer look at the steering mechanisms since that's something I haven't been 100% about, but I doubt I'm any more than out of alignment there.

    It'll be a little while before I can get the car up on a lift again, but I may take some time with jackstands and a dirty back today or tomorrow just for another check. And I might try briansmobile1's DIY alignment method to at least try to get front toe better than it is, then get a real alignment right after I get my clutch done.
    My big thread: The Used WRX Buying Checklist - Please Contribute!

    My current car: 2002 WRB WRX Wagon.
    Mods: GM BCS, Carberry SD rom, uppipe, AEM UEGO, Klunk Killer, F+R shifter bushings, head unit

  11. #10
    Registered User poly_poly-man's Avatar
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    control arm and the accident are two unrelated issues. I hit up the front right of the car, and that gave me some pretty nasty fender damage, but I can assure you, myself and several other good mechanics looked over EVERYTHING in the car many, many times right after that. Zero frame deformation, zero strut deformation - it was pretty nice, actually (considering it was $1500 worth of repair, there was really very little to do). Plus, my uncle sent it to his alignment guy right after that just to make sure it was alright - it was no worse than it had been previously (which wasn't great, but wasn't awful).

    Much later in the winter, my left control arm rusted out from the inside. I got a huge klunk when I was going about 2mph backing into my spot, and didn't diagnose until I couldn't figure out why I couldn't go more than about 40mph before the car starting shaking violently. As soon as I figured it out, I left the front left corner up on a jack stand until my other uncle could come by with a trailer for the car. He and I did the control arm swap together, and believe me, we checked on the other stuff too. The right side control arm didn't look 100% pristine, but it looked so significantly better than the left one that I think maybe it had been replaced by a PO. Everything under my car is covered in rust, but it's all in okay shape (the only things I'm worried about rusting out at this point are things like the front subframe and the exhaust).

    Since then, I've been under the car a couple more times, not with the exclusive purpose of shaking things around to see what's up with them, but with that more or less in mind. I'll take a closer look at the steering mechanisms since that's something I haven't been 100% about, but I doubt I'm any more than out of alignment there.

    It'll be a little while before I can get the car up on a lift again, but I may take some time with jackstands and a dirty back today or tomorrow just for another check. And I might try briansmobile1's DIY alignment method to at least try to get front toe better than it is, then get a real alignment right after I get my clutch done.
    My big thread: The Used WRX Buying Checklist - Please Contribute!

    My current car: 2002 WRB WRX Wagon.
    Mods: GM BCS, Carberry SD rom, uppipe, AEM UEGO, Klunk Killer, F+R shifter bushings, head unit

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