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goormove 05-01-2010 06:32 PM

Updated - shimmy issues
I have some good news for folks - after 4 trips to the dealer, a visit from the SOA service engineer and regional service manager, I think much progress has been made on my shimmy issues.

I took the car in on Tuesday AM and met with the guys at the dealership. We went for a long ride on the highway and they saw and felt the shimmy. They asked a ton of questions - what the dealer had done, how it felt each time, what my expectations are, driving style and amount, and many more.

When we got back to the dealership, they outlined the work to be done - new lower control arm bushings on the front end, new & heavier steering lock nut and spring on the power steering rack, new rubber insert in a motor mount. Also new bushings on the rear subframe. The also smoothed out another set of bushing locations on the front end (not sure which ones) and replaced those with the original factory bushings.

Got a 4 wheel alignment and they road force balanced the tires at the Hunter training facility just outside of Philly.

I am happy to report that after about 50 miles of highway driving, ,he car feels great - no shimmy and much more planted. Steering feel is a bit reduced and it feels heavier in the front end, but it's most certainly better overall.

One caveat - last time I brought it in, it felt good for a few hundred miles and then started to go away again - so I am not yet completely sold - however, this is significantly better than it has been since I bought the car.

I am thankful that we seem to have found a solution - and a bit frustrated that it took so much work and time to get here. I hope Subaru makes the necessary changes going forward with production. Also - the guys from Subaru were extraordinarily professional - and very cool. They realized that I am a car person and would not settle - and they respect that. They were very knowledgeable and personable - and they worked on the car themselves at my dealership - essentially taking over a bay for more than a day.

For any of you who have not yet found a fix - I strongly recommend that you take the car to your dealer and ask your service manager to contact the Subaru engineer and the DPSM for you area so they can come in for a visit. the guys that did my car are from the Philadelphia area and travel several hundred miles to do this kind of work.

I hope this is detailed enough for everyone - if anyone has questions, please post of PM and I'll answer ASAP. Just so you all know - I am extremely anal about my cars and if this fix holds up - I'll be very happy. There are still some other nagging issues - mostly interior rattles and other build quality stuff in the interior, but this has made my happier with the car so far - and the car came back to me detailed and full of fuel.

808LGT 05-01-2010 07:26 PM

go to know there is a potential solution...even though i'm among the lucky who has not had this problem..good job goormove

Blizzard 05-01-2010 09:16 PM

When refering to the "shimmy" are you talking about how these cars drift all over the place at highway speeds?

sschmelcke 05-02-2010 06:47 AM

sway bar took care of that

minuccims 05-02-2010 07:13 AM

goormove - excellent update. Please keep us posted as you rack up milegage. As for my LGT, noticed a shimmy/vib in the first week of onwership. The dampening spring was just installed in the LGT last week. Over the last 1000 miles, the shimmy has increased. I have not has a chance to put enough miles on the car with the dampening spring, but I'm not convinced that is the final fix. Mileage will tell...

sschmelcke 05-02-2010 09:01 AM

what exactly is this shimmy. i have a 3.6r and dont think ive noticed it.

goormove 05-02-2010 11:42 AM

The shimmy in question is in the front end and makes the steering wheel shake - many folks have complained about it on here and the OB forums... I also felt it in the rear end (in the seat) and both are gone.

The highway sway is a different issue and I actually only get that when it's very windy - side winds definitely impact staight line rolling at high speeds.

Did about 50 more miles - but no highway - today and the car really does feel much more solid and planted.

More updates to come.

safdc 05-02-2010 01:34 PM


Originally Posted by goormove (Post 2934352)
The shimmy in question is in the front end and makes the steering wheel shake - many folks have complained about it on here and the OB forums... I also felt it in the rear end (in the seat) and both are gone.

The highway sway is a different issue and I actually only get that when it's very windy - side winds definitely impact staight line rolling at high speeds.

Did about 50 more miles - but no highway - today and the car really does feel much more solid and planted.

More updates to come.

I am curious if those "fixes" eliminated vibration in the steering wheel as well?

My Legacy 2.5i CVT Prem. now has 3500 miles on it. Initially, I was having significant concerns related to "wandering/swaying" with highway driving. Although the car remains a bit overly-sensitive to cross winds and/or tramlining, a 4 wheel alignment did help. The suspension and 16" OEM Bridgestone EL 400's also seem to have settled down or "broken in".

However my Legacy continues to have an annoying "vibration" that can be felt in the steering wheel and gear shifter. The "vibration" seems to pulsate or throb back and forth between the steering column and shifter. It causes some tingling in the hands with extended driving. These vibrations resonate with changes in RPM's and worsen with higher speed. The resonance also changes when revving the car in neutral, whether standing still or when moving.

Due to some of these concerns I replaced the OEM tires just 2 days ago with new Yokohama Envigors. Although the Yokos may be better tires, they do have a stiffer feel and the car does bounce around more over bumps. The vibrations also now feel more evident. Interstingly the car tracks better on the highway but does NOT feel as "planted", some road feel (not vibration) has been lost and the steering wheel feels somewhat numb or looser. I probably will be switching back to the original OEM Bridgestones which to me felt more desirable as the Yokos have a 30 day satisfaction guarantee.

I first became convinced that something was unusual with the steering on a 600 mile road trip driving on pristine smooth highway. In retrospect, the smoothness of the highway appears to have brought out the worst of all these steering/vibration/wandering/swaying symptoms.

I have talked to my dealer about my concerns and these "issues" which appear to trouble many Legacy/Outbacks owners. They said that they have sold 400 new Legacy/Outbacks without having one "shimmy/vibration" complaint to date. About 10 days ago they put me in touch with the SOA Service Rep and I had the opportunity to discuss "troubleshooting" steps available. I was told the next step for me would be road force balancing. We also discussed the "spring fix" as well. The SOA Rep seemed unaware of any other available "fixes" beyond re-balancing, swapping tires/rims, alignment, RFB and the greasy spring dampener. He said he was unaware of bushings or steering rack switch outs, or even the vehicle replacements / buy backs that have been reported on these forums.

Due to the persistent "vibration" issue that I am experiencing I am about to pursue some of these additional "fixes" although based on reviewing the following threads I am not convinced that a "final fix" has been issued and/or devised.

The following threads from are must reads for any Legacy/Outback owner who is experiencing "shimmy/vibration" and even "handling" related concerns:

The relevent threads for follow:

808LGT 05-02-2010 04:52 PM

is there a videos on how severe the vibration on the steering wheel is? if not someone should...

minuccims 05-02-2010 06:00 PM

I don't have a video. However an experiment anyone can do ... Take a green Starbucks spill stopper (tapered plastic, about 4" long). Put the base of it (portion that secures into the lid) loosley between two fingers, just below the knuckles, and drive with that hand at 1200. Specific to my LGT - starting at about 68 mph the top of it vibrates back and forth and gains in intensity as speed increases. 75-78 mph seems to resonate the most. I'm sure it doesnt go away at higher speeds, I just don't get to drive 80+ for extended periods of time.

I actually think it is front/back as well as left/right occilation, maybe even up/down but can only see L/R while driving. Also, at the "sweet spot" of speed (75-78 mph) that vibration, driver and passenger can feel it in the seat of the pants. The vibration shakes the butt and extends down both legs. Where the seat ends is where it's felt the most.

I have never experienced a numbness in the hands on the LGT. However, I had an OB loaner last week while the dampening spring was being installed. After about 30-40 minutes of highway driving @ ~75 mph, I did notice my left arm and hand (the hand I drive with mostly) was numb.

The Legacy and OB steering assembly do differ. Could not find the differences, but here's the Legacy:

goormove 05-02-2010 06:36 PM

I can only share what I felt/experienced and can agree that the "shimmy" was both l/r and u/d in the wheel. It was a vibration in the seat and I could see it distinctly in the center console cup holder. I took the divider out and I put my cell phone in the holder and it was visibly shaking at highway speeds.

Again, it seems like the changes made have fixed the issue for me... for now. I still want to put some more miles on the car before I have a final perspective.

I have not experienced the tramlining or wandering or any other vibrations at idle or the numbness as expressed by others above - and sincerely hope I don't. If I do – the car will go back to Subaru until I am either happy or fed up.

My only advice is to work closely with your dealership and SOA - the guys that came to my dealership and worked on my car were great - and my sales and service manager are doing what they can to help me. I have sold a few cars "for" them and I don't think they want me to be disappointed - so that I share that disappointment with others. My statement all along has been - I am a car guy and I want to love the car I drive - if I am not happy, we'll continue down whatever path is necessary up to and including getting me out of the car.

I really hope I can help anyone else - either find solution or get out of the car. Please let me know if I can help in either way.

goormove 05-07-2010 07:38 PM

Check out some updates...

goormove 05-13-2010 05:24 AM

Well - no good news to report at this point. I took the car back to the dealership on Tuesday. The shake is coming back - but it's different, and at different speeds.

What I am getting now is a vertical (up and down) shake in the wheel at about 70 MPH. I can feel the vibration in the wheel and the seat - and I can see it when I put my phone in the center console cup holder (separator out, laying flat).

Not sure what it is, but I stopped at the dealership and the regional service manager was there. We talked and he put a note into the engineer and let me know he'd call when he wanted to have the car.

At this point, this is SOA's last chance to fix this issue and then I will start pushing hard to get out of the car. It will be 6 months and only 2900 miles - plus the car will have been in the shop for at least 10 days over that period.

I wish this "fix" would have solved all my issues as I really want to love this car - but with this not fixing the concerns, and all the other annoying problems I feel like SOA did not do this car (or some of these cars) justice in build quality.

I strongly urge anyone who is having the issue to talk with their dealership and place a claim with SOA as well - it will only serve to help me - and everyone else who is having the concerns.

Please PM or post with any questions or other thoughts - and thanks for reading.

BMA44 05-13-2010 07:39 AM

i went to the dealership yesterday in cherry hill, NJ to get my oil changed and to have my steering wheel shake issue checked out. come to find that I have 2 bent rims, both on the drivers side... i'm sure the dealership checked your rims for bends right?

goormove 05-13-2010 10:31 AM

Yep - when they took the car to the Hunter training center, that was one of the items on the check list. They also check for run out, out of round and lug pattern issues.

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