Front wheels bind when turned to extreme

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by mailbox, Jun 19, 2007.

  1. mailbox

    mailbox Guest

    My 2001 manual-transmission Forester
    feels like the front wheels are
    binding when I turn the steering wheel
    to either extreme. At first I thought
    it was the tires rubbing on the wheel
    wells, but inspection proved otherwise.
    The symptoms were most pronounced on
    Sunday after a long drive that heated up
    the engine. I couldn't reproduce them
    to the same degree yesterday after my short
    commute to work. There is plenty of
    fluid in the steering reservoir.
    What's going on?
    mailbox, Jun 19, 2007
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  2. mailbox

    David Guest

    Turning the wheels 'til they lock is very stressful on the steering
    David, Jun 19, 2007
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  3. mailbox

    .._.. Guest

    Make sure the air pressure in all tires is the same. (Front the same on
    both sides, back the same on both sides)

    I run 31 in front, 30 in back. (A bit up from the recommendation)

    Get a real gauge, not one of those garbage "blow the stick" ones. A real
    one with a dial and needle on it. Subarus do not like different air presure
    in tires and require more or less even wear on all tires to make
    circomfrence very close to the same.
    .._.., Jun 19, 2007
  4. Do you mean when parked you feel something odd or during tight, slow
    speed maneuvering as when parking?

    Carl 1 Lucky Texan, Jun 20, 2007
  5. mailbox

    mailbox Guest

    I should have gone into more detail.
    The symptoms occured when I was turning
    sharply to maneuver at slow speed.
    I use the past tense now, because
    I couldn't reproduce the symptoms on Monday
    doing tight circles in an empty parking lot
    near where I work. But they were definitely
    there on Sunday with the car hot after driving
    20 miles on the Beltway. From inside the
    car, it felt and sounded as if there was
    a flat area on the tires flapping on the pavement.
    But the tires are nearly new, and I had
    checked them that morning; both at 30 psi.
    Anyway, I'm not going to worry about it.
    The fact that the symptoms weren't there
    on Monday tells me at least that I don't have
    something that's coming loose or deteriorating.
    mailbox, Jun 20, 2007
  6. This is a classic symptom of 'torque bind' which can occur due to 2-3
    problems ranging from use of mixed size tires (a 'donut' spare, a spare
    which is almost new mixed with 3 worn tires, 2 new tires mixed with 2
    worn or different brand tires,etc.) to an automatic transmission that
    has gummy deposits, or bad Duty C Solenoid, to a bad center differential
    in a manual transmission.
    Basically, the car is in $WD mode but has no chance to relieve stress in
    the drivetrain since it is on dry pavement and not water, gravel,etc.
    where there would be some tire slippage.

    Investigate your tires first. Search the term 'torque bind' here ,at ,etc.

    Carl 1 Lucky Texan, Jun 20, 2007
  7. mailbox

    Chicobiker Guest

    Your symptoms are exactly the same as mine were about a month or two
    ago. Mine is a 2003 Outback Sport with 140,000kms. Took about a 10 or
    15 minute highway drive for the symptoms to show up. Prognosis was a
    center differential (viscous coupling unit) at about $1000 parts plus
    5.5hrs labour.

    check the tires of course to make sure they are all the same, same
    amount of wear, etc, but your symptoms sound like mine!!
    Chicobiker, Jun 21, 2007
  8. mailbox

    mailbox Guest

    I read your other recent threads on this
    and, yes, our symptoms are identical.
    Well, to paraphrase Samuel Johnson,
    the prospect of a $1500+ repair bill tends
    to concentrate the mind wonderfully. On
    this news, I did a Google search of the
    Web (not the newsgroups) on "torque bind"
    and also "viscous coupling". It seems that
    the problem, if the result of a bad
    viscous coupler, is causing the rear wheels
    to bind, the VC being at the rear of the
    transmission. On the other hand, Subaru's
    tolerance for tire circumference variation
    seems really tight: 1/4 inch was stated in
    one forum. This weekend I'll do some highway
    driving with the tires very carefully equalized
    in pressure and get a feel for how long I
    can postpone the repair.

    Incidentally, "torque bind" seems to be
    almost synonymous with Subaru, if the Google
    results are indicative! I get 953 references,
    but when I exclude "subaru" I get only 232!.
    However, most of the chatter has to do
    with older models with automatic transmission,
    and my Forester is a manual 2001 (with
    75K miles)....oh well, it must have been
    the way the original owner drove it...
    mailbox, Jun 21, 2007
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