Steering feeling is off + noise.
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This is a discussion on Steering feeling is off + noise. within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Hey all, I have a 2002 stage4 WRX w/ basic suspension mods. About 2 weeks ago I was taking a ...

  1. #1
    Registered User DTR rex's Avatar
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    Steering feeling is off + noise.

    Hey all,

    I have a 2002 stage4 WRX w/ basic suspension mods.

    About 2 weeks ago I was taking a turn hard and heard a funny "clunk".
    Ever since I have a clunk that occurs when I am taking a turn SLOWLY. It almost sounds as if something is stuck and then due to tension "pops" out.

    I was convinced I blew a strut.

    Fast forward 2 weeks and this morning I am on my way to work. For some reason while cruising on the highway around 75mph my steering starts to feel strange.
    The steering felt very loose, inaccurate, sloppy, and whole front end was "floaty" when jerking the wheel back and forth.

    I've never had my car feel this way.

    I thought it was a flat tire but my tires are perfectly fine

    It still drives, but feels very off and there is definitely something wrong. I'm unsure if it's tied to to the incident 2 weeks ago of the "clunk" but I am sure it is.

    I called my buddy who is a mechanic and he stated that a blown strut will not likely affect my steering feel like that. I agreed because I have had a blown strut before and this feels different.

    He suggested it's likely:

    1) Broken tie-rod
    or
    2) Broken sway/broken sway mounts/bearing.

    He's going to take a look at it tomorrow, but I'd like to collect some input here on what I should be looking out for.

    The amount of attention my car is starting to require in minor repairs and maintenance is getting really annoying. In the last year I've had to do struts/spring, timing belt, all other pulleys and belts, brakes, AC compressor, and now whatever this is. It's beginning to near that point where it's going to cost me nearly what a new car would per month.
    It's so strange. The car gave me literally ZERO problems up until 100k miles and ever since it's been one small annoying thing after another.

    Thanks for any help!
    Just call me Clark Kent
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  3. #2
    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Yes check the tie rod and check the joints, maybe a boot tore a while back.
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  4. #3
    Registered User DTR rex's Avatar
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    Is this all stuff my buddy should be able to easily check with the car on a jack in his garage. He's pretty competent with cars, but I am unsure of the difficulty in tackling these issues.

    Thanks!
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  5. #4
    Administrator Trainrex's Avatar
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    It could be a bunch of things.

    1: Bad ball joint. Picture a wheel with constantly variable camber. Can clunk.
    2: Bad inner/outer tire rod. Will make a car wander and or feel numb, but usually won't clunk.
    3: Snapped end link. Doubtful. Normally won't cause a dramatic feel change like this, but possible.
    4: Steering rack bracket. Can snap, cause clunk and make the car wander and feel numb.
    5: Lower control arm bushings. Will cause wandering, numb feeling, clunk.

  6. #5
    Registered User DTR rex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trainrex View Post
    It could be a bunch of things.

    1: Bad ball joint. Picture a wheel with constantly variable camber. Can clunk.
    2: Bad inner/outer tire rod. Will make a car wander and or feel numb, but usually won't clunk.
    3: Snapped end link. Doubtful. Normally won't cause a dramatic feel change like this, but possible.
    4: Steering rack bracket. Can snap, cause clunk and make the car wander and feel numb.
    5: Lower control arm bushings. Will cause wandering, numb feeling, clunk.
    FUUUUUUUUUUU

    Would a decently trained eye be able to identify which of those issues it likely is by driving the car and getting under it?
    Just call me Clark Kent
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    Administrator Trainrex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTR rex View Post

    Would a decently trained eye be able to identify which of those issues it likely is by driving the car and getting under it?
    Yup!

  8. #7
    Subaru Newb MainFrame's Avatar
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    I had a weird thing going on around 100k where I would hear a clunk when making left turns. Got the car up on some jack stands and started pulling around on the driver's side front wheel and it was immediately evident that the ball joint was bad. I ended up replacing both front ball joints and IIRC it cost about $40.

  9. #8
    Registered User DTR rex's Avatar
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    So I finally got the car up on some jack stands today. My front, driver's side sway end-link was snapped in half. So yeah, that's definitely the problem.

    On the stockers right now, so I'll change that.

    Hopefully get them in next weekend.
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  10. #9
    Administrator Trainrex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTR rex View Post
    So I finally got the car up on some jack stands today. My front, driver's side sway end-link was snapped in half. So yeah, that's definitely the problem.

    On the stockers right now, so I'll change that.

    Hopefully get them in next weekend.
    I'm thinking you have another issue. Shouldn't cause a wander on the highway.

  11. #10
    Registered User DTR rex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trainrex View Post
    I'm thinking you have another issue. Shouldn't cause a wander on the highway.
    Well that sucks.

    Myself and my buddy (who is a mechanic) inspected both sides, front and rear, with the wheels off and didn't notice anything else.... but who knows.

    I'll replace the endlinks and then see how it feels. If I am still having issues I am going to assume it's likely a ball joint.

    Thanks for your help!
    Just call me Clark Kent
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  12. #11
    Administrator Trainrex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTR rex View Post
    Well that sucks.

    Myself and my buddy (who is a mechanic) inspected both sides, front and rear, with the wheels off and didn't notice anything else.... but who knows.

    I'll replace the endlinks and then see how it feels. If I am still having issues I am going to assume it's likely a ball joint.

    Thanks for your help!
    Ball joints are easy to check. Jack up under the control arm as close to the wheel as you can get. Once the wheel is off the ground, grab the wheel from the top and bottom and wiggle to check for play.

  13. #12
    Registered User DTR rex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trainrex View Post
    Ball joints are easy to check. Jack up under the control arm as close to the wheel as you can get. Once the wheel is off the ground, grab the wheel from the top and bottom and wiggle to check for play.
    Great.

    When I throw in the endlinks this weekend I'll be sure to check for that again.

    Hopefully it's just the endlinks. Wandering is not that terrible now (or maybe I just got used to it), just at high speeds and basic instability when turning. I have not done a mod to my car in a while due to general maintenance issues popping up and I'd like to start allocating maint money towards mods again!

    Thanks for the help Drew.
    Just call me Clark Kent
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    Offical Body Guard for the Bugeye Mafia.

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