Steering Systems on early Subarus Part 1:
Rack And Pinion Steering Mechanism
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.
Legacy and SVX Steering Racks
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.