Subaru’s power steering system contains a pump, hydraulic line, and a gearbox (rack). The hydraulic pump is a vane-type pump driven by the engine. It provides pressurized fluid for the system.
Oil Pump Operation
The pump has two internal valves: a flow control valve and a relief valve. The flow control valve regulates the volume of power steering fluid delivered to the rack. During high engine rpm, the pressure in the pump overcomes the flow control valve spring. The control valve slides back to close off an oil passage to the rack and to open an oil return port to the pump inlet. This reduces the power assist to the rack during high speeds, improving the steering wheel feel and response.
Subaru steering systems utilize a rack and pinion steering mechanism. As the pinion gear rotates, the rack moves left or right. Rack and pinion steering gives the driver precise control over the wheels. The simple, compact design is easy to service.
CGR – VGR Ratios
Two manual steering racks are used in Subaru vehicles: a constant gear ratio (CGR) rack and a variable gear ratio (VGR) rack. The teeth on the CGR rack are equally spaced so the turning effort is equal throughout the turning range. The teeth on the VGR rack are spaced closer together on the ends of the rack than in the middle. The turning effort decreases as the turning angle increases so sharp-radius turns are easier to make.
Several different power steering racks have been installed in Subaru vehicles. The racks used in the L-series, XT, Legacy and SVX vehicles are similar. All have a one-piece gearbox and lack the external air vent distribution tube found on the rack in pre-’85 and carryover vehicles. However, the XT rack differs from the L-series rack in several ways.
The XT rack is made of aluminum and has a different control valve. Different types of hydraulic seals are used in the two racks, and each has its own unique special service tool. The power steering rack in the pre-’85 model year vehicles and the Brat has a two-piece gearbox and an air vent distribution tube. It also has seals, service procedures and special service tools that differ from the other racks.
Rigid Steering Column
Three types of steering columns are used in Subaru vehicles: a rigid steering column, a tilt steering column and the XT and SVX tilt and telescoping steering column. The rigid steering column is found on L-series DL models, the Legacy standard model, and Justy vehicles. The rigid steering shaft does not tilt or pop-up, but is collapsible (a safety feature). The shaft is connected to the gearbox by universal joints.
The common causes for overboost or underboost: This is a basic guide on the possible causes and some solutions to those causes of a overboost or a underboost situation in a turbocharged subaru.
1.) Decat + High flow induction – Cure: Reduction of the solenoid duty cycle or alteration of restrictor size will help return boost output to its normal level.
2.) Split, poor fitting, or disconnected pipes – Cure: Replace or refit pipes, the pipes that will cause this issue are between the wastegate actuator, solenoid, and the turbo. Including up to the restrictor on the return pipe of the 3 port solenoid.
3.) Manual Boost Controller – Electronic Boost Controller set too high – Cure: Don’t be so greedy and back the boost duty/adjuster off to a safe level.
4.) Restrictor Pill not fitted / size incorrect – Cure: Ensure restrictor pill is fitted (3 port) if so on a 3 port reduce the restrictor size and on the 2 port increase the restrictor size to reduce the boost to a safe level.
5.) Clogged 3-port solenoid: It is possible that the flow of air through the 3-port solenoid could be restricted between the turbo outlet port and the wastegate actuator port if the solenoid is very dirty (usually oil vapor from the intake system), this allows the wastegate to remain clamped shut longer than it should be causing a potential overboost situation. Cure: Clean with carb or clutch/brake cleaner.
6.)Loss of solenoid funcation: Although this is not bverboost it shows itself with very simmilar symptoms, its an interesting scenario. It is possible for the solenoid to fail or even stick shut while under boost. This will result in a rapid reduction of boost pressure to wastegate pressure approx 0.5 BAR. So if you were running at full boost 1.0 BAR for example and the solenoid was to fail shut it would feel just like overboost as the wastegate rapidly opens due to the solenoid blocking off the spill from the wastegate. Cure: Either clean the solenoid with carb or clutch+brake cleaner or replace the solenoid.
ABS 5.3 Antilock Brake System for Early Subaru Part 5:
Beginning in approximately December of 1996, a new antilock braking system called ABS 5.3 was installed on Legacy vehicles equipped with ABS. This system uses a Bosch hydraulic control unit and a Nippon electronic control unit. ABS 5.3 is a four channel control design which can independently control the front wheels and utilize select low control to control the rear wheels (a system which provides the same fluid pressure control for the two rear wheels if either wheel starts to lock up).
Although similar to other Subaru ABS systems, there have been enhancements to component operation and location. Diagnosis has also improved because of the ability of the 5.3 ABS system to communicate with the Select Monitor. The hydraulic control unit or HCU is located under the hood on the right side of the engine compartment. The size of the HCU has decreased by approximately a third from that of the ABS-2E system, used on previous model year vehicles.
The HCU controls brake fluid flow by utilizing eight solenoid valves. There is an inlet solenoid valve and an outlet solenoid valve for each wheel. Mechanically, the inlet solenoid valve is open during normal braking, and the outlet solenoid valve is closed. The HCU also contains a motor and pump assembly, which operates only while ABS is actively controlling the brake fluid flow–preventing a wheel lock.
Externally the HCU of the ABS 5.3 has a relay box attached. This allows troubleshooting of the valve and motor relay area to be kept separate from the troubleshooting of the solenoid valves and pump motor. There are four modes of operation for the ABS 5.3 system. They are normal, pressure-drop, pressure-hold and pressure-increase. When wheel lockup is sensed, Mode Two, Mode Three and Mode Four may be activated. They are described as follows:
Boost creep is a situation where your wastegate port is not large enough to allow the exhaust gas to bypass the turbo. What happens is the exhaust gas will choke the wastegate port preventing further gas flow through the port. Then, the exhaust gas has to take the path of least resistance which is through the turbine of the turbo. This will spool the turbo ‘uncontrolled’ beyond your normal controlled max boost level.
The turbo will be spooling past wastegate spring rate pressure even though the wastegate is fully open thus it is uncontrolled. The best way to check for boost creep is to connect the turbo outlet port directly to the wastegate actuator port and go for a drive. In 4th gear you should normally get a stable boost level of about 0.5 BAR, if you have boost creep the boost will hit 0.5 BAR and will continue to rise with rpm until you either back off or hit overboost fuel cut.
Boost creep should only be present on a turbo that has very little restriction. For example a fully de-catted and high flow induction. It’s been found that the fast spooling IHI VF35 is very prone to boost creep. The cure is to remove the turbo and enlarge the wastegate port. Then, fit a stronger actuator 0.75 BAR the reason for this is because you have made the wastegate port larger. The effective size of the wastegate plate acting against the exhaust gas flow is larger which allows the exhaust gas excert more force on the wastegate plate.
This in effect weakens the effectiveness of the actuator. Before the increase in size of your wastegate port the actuator would open at 0.5 BAR, after the increase the actuator would open earlier at 0.3–0.4 BAR. After these changes are made to the turbo either a boost controller or a remap (to adjust solenoid duty cycle) should be sought to control the boost to a safe level.
This guide covers most boost related issues including a short introduction on how your boost systems work. This information is based on the Classic Impreza’s, but will cover the newer WRX/STi cars to a certain extent.
Safe boost levels:
When modding your car without mapping (full de-cat and high flow induction etc) you increase the efficiency of your turbo which could result in engine damage due to lean running at high rpm / max boost. To prevent damage always try and keep your boost level as close to standard as possible until your car is mapped for the increase in boost pressure.
TLDR: Don’t screw with your boost levels until you get the car tuned by someone who knows what they are doing. Otherwise you’ll probably end up with a blown up Subaru.
Front stub axle seal replacements require special precautions. The seals are pressed into a side bearing retainer, which must be removed to replace a leaking seal. The side bearing retainers also control front differential side bearing preload, as well as ring and pinion backlash.
When replacing a stub axle seal, mark the position of the side bearing retainer before un-threading the retainer. Remove only one side bearing retainer at a time, or you’ll risk disturbing the differential adjustments. If you’ve marked the position before removal, the correctly installed position of the side bearing retainer will be obvious, as you will be unable to turn the retainer another complete turn.
The driveaxles on some Subaru vehicles are pressed into the wheel hub with a light press fit. Blasting the axle out of the hub with an air chisel, center punch or other implement of destruction invites damage to the wheel bearings. All of the force brought to bear by these methods finds its way to the wheel bearings, possibly damaging their races or balls. Special tools are available for removing and installing press-fit driveaxles. Ignoring these cautions invites a comeback for noisy wheel bearings shortly after your CV axle repair work.
If you want to own a really cool and really rare piece of Subaru history you should take a look at this XT6:
I have a 1989 Subaru XT6 5 speed with full time all-wheel drive and low miles. It is a 2.7 liter flat six cylinder engine and functioning air ride suspension. I’ve had the car for two and a half years now and it looks completely different from when I bought it. I’ve spent more hours working on it than I would probably like to admit. It has a new water pump, new timing belts, new fuel pump, new radiator, new plugs, new tranny and rear diff fluid, and four new tires, new exhaust. Over this previous summer the whole car was sanded, cleaned up, dents removed and straightened the whole body. It has a fresh coat of factory Subaru red and it looks awesome, you need to see it in person to really appreciate it. Countless hours put into it. I really don’t want to sell this awesome car but it is a historic subaru that deserves to be kept clean and taken on the occasional cruise. I’d accept trade offers preferably a subaru or truck but shoot me an offer.
Is this 1989 Subatu XT6 a good deal or something that should be skipped? It’s from Wisconsin so I would be weary of rust, but it looks pretty rust free to me. I would inspect underneath the car however to be sure. What does everyone else think? Comment below!