Subaru Legacy Forums

Subaru Legacy Forums (
-   First Generation Legacy (1989 - 1993) (
-   -   Trying to diagnose a 91 Legacy with a tilted wheel (

Arker 10-14-2012 10:28 AM

Trying to diagnose a 91 Legacy with a tilted wheel
Hello to all,

I have a wonderful 1991 Subaru Legacy but I have noticed a problem with it. The right rear wheel deviates significantly from all the other wheels, the bottom tilts inwards. There are, at present, no other symptoms except from the obviously expected excessive tire wear on the outside. It's a new tire so that's not an immediate problem, and I have actually had one mechanic tell me not to worry about it, but you can take one look at this car and see there is something wrong and it is making me very nervous to drive it until I figure out the problem. The other mechanic I took it to agreed it was obviously wrong but was unable to give me any options other than bring it in to be aligned and hope they would figure out the problem while trying to align it, with an estimate afterwards. I love this car but major repairs on it at this point could easily exceed the value of the car, and I just got working again after a layoff so I cant afford to throw around any more cash than I have to.

So far I have asked several people more knowledgable with cars (I am a computer repairman, not technically helpless, but not particularly knowledgable with cars either) for help and gotten a couple of suggestions. I have crawled back under the car and inspected it visually several time. It appears from what I am told that the only explanation for this tilt would be the strut or the bearing. If it were the strut, I am told that the suspension on that side would be noticeably weaker,and/or there would be evidence of movement where it attached to the wheel, neither of which is the case. But if it were the bearing, I am told, then I should be experiencing strange noises, grinding... none of that is happening. At most I might detect a bit of roughness from that wheel on corners, and even that might be me being oversensitive since others have driven the car and detected no problems, smooth and perfect.

To recap, the right rear wheel is tilted, the bottom inward, no noises, no whining, no other obvious symptoms, aside from tire wear. Anyone seen this before? Or have a theory? I would love to hear it.

mnstrmech 10-14-2012 07:47 PM

i bet the lower control arms are bent.......that would be the first place id look.

Arker 10-16-2012 06:28 PM

I appreciate the ideas.

I was hoping to get it up on a ramp yesterday and it didnt happen.

Will post good pics as soon as I have em. In the case of the strut it's fairly long and I can sort of see how that could get bent enough to have a noticeable affect at one end without it being real obvious to the naked eye, but the control arms, unless I am mistaken, are fairly short and look very sturdy, could that be bent enough to do this without it being visibly messed up in some way?

Bdubs 10-21-2012 06:52 PM

The control arms bend fairly easily. They are designed to give so the damage to other suspension parts or the frame wont be so major.
Hitting a curb could bend one, so you wouldn't even have to be going that fast.

The nice part is control arms from 93-01 Imprezas are exactly the same as the Legacy, and you can find a used one for $30.

Arker 11-12-2012 05:40 AM

Finally got it up on a ramp and underneath to get a better look and took some photos.

And I think I found the problem. Is this the "control arm?" It seemed that the one on the other side was straight, the one on this one subtly bent, I didnt notice it until I laid a truly straight piece next to them for comparison.

Arker 11-12-2012 05:58 AM

It's a lot harder than I thought it would be to get a good picture showing the tilt in the wheel - several shots from different distances from behind wound up being unclear but this one from close behind with the wheel off and the jack in view is very clear:

I took a bunch of photos but I think most of them are worthless unfortunately. This shows the whole area from underneath:

The rubber boot between the wheel and axle here is the other thing that seems strange. It is hard to see but if you look close here it seems like something inside of there is bent? It is subtle but it is tight on the bottom side here, the one on the other side of the car is perfectly symmetrical.

The friend that had been telling me he was sure the bearing had gone out changed his mind immediately when we jacked up the car and he tried moving the wheel. There is no inappropriate play, but possibly a little drag.

Arker 11-12-2012 07:20 AM

I went back through all of the pics for the 'sitting on the ground' shot for sqc151, I hope this works for you if not maybe give me some idea of how to setup the shot better?

Arker 11-17-2012 04:43 PM


Originally Posted by sqc151 (Post 4162095)
other than the control arm being a hair off. everything looks ok from the pics, you see the bolt all the way to the left in this pic? this moves the bottom of the wheel in and out for camber. try and move it so the bottom of the wheel is as far out as possible. also i didnt see any pics of the strut with the wheel off. just something to look at again. also the dragging of the rear can be a caliper or bad bearing. do you hear any noise from the rear when driving? if its a rubbing (humming sound) its the bearing, if it sounds scratchy and two pieces of metal rubbing, then its the caliper locking up. make sure you brakes are bled well also.

hope this helps, keep us updated.

So that is the control arm? I did several searches and still wasnt sure if that is the boxy arm in the foreground, which is slightly bent, or the round one in the background, which seems perfectly straight still. I will check that bolt tomorrow. The strut is so far buried into the body that it's impossible to see much of it - the parts that you can see look exactly like the strut on the other side.

The noise I hear occasionally from the back rear... after thinking a long time the best I can describe it is really a rattle. Definitely no humming or grinding, just a kind of a rattle and not very loud. Tends to happen when accelerating/cornering.

This is the bolt you meant?

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:33 PM.

vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise v2.6.3 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2018 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.