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'Play' in the steering wheel.

Discussion in 'Subaru Sambar' started by mael, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. mael

    mael Member

    I don't drive the car much because my wife uses it all the time. It's a Subaru 'Transporter.' I gather it is just about the same as a Sambar.

    Yesterday my wife said three things about the car.

    She said the battery seemed weak. - So I changed it for a better one today.

    And she said there was a one-time clunk coming from the back where the engine is. I don't know what to do about that, but it is true I changed the timing belt a couple of weeks ago and since it was my first, I might possibly have overlooked something. Anyway, the car runs just fine and I have no idea what that could have been.

    The other thing was the steering. She said it was difficult to explain, but it seemed - well - sorta - um! - well y'know..." I couldn't understand what she was going on about so I drove it round the block and reported it steered just fine.

    - Then she rocked the steering wheel with the engine off and sure enough it has a bit of 'play' in it. As I said, I didn't notice it. But she knows her car and she says it's not the same as it always has been.

    * So I tried to find some info on the steering system and my efforts were in vain. I couldn't find anything here and my wife tried to check in Japanese and came back with nought.

    It's power-steering. But I don't know if it is electric or if it requirres fluid and neither do I know where the reservoir is (if there is one).

    My plan of action is to put some fluid in the reservoir if it is low and see how it goes.

    But having wobbled the steering wheel myself I wonder if perhaps the nut holding the steering wheel on the column is loose (very unlikely I would imagine).

    Anyway. Could someone please point me in the right direction to remedy this?

    And one more thing before I forget again. - When the engine has been switched off, there is some sort of fan which continues for up to ten minutes after the ignition switch is off. I suppose it's a cooling fan. But I wonder if it is necesssary and whether or not it presents an unnecessary drain on the battery? It's the first car I've had which has a fan which keeps going for ten minutes after it's parked.
  2. anthill

    anthill Member

    The engine fan seems to behave the same way in my Domingo. If it reliably turns off after 5-10 minutes I don't think it's anything to worry about.

    The steering wobble on the other hand... The Sambar has electric assist power steering, so no reservoir. However there are a few rubber bushings down below that according to the german libero owners here can wear down and lead to play in the steering and extreme crosswind sensitivity (Enorme Seitenwindempfindlichkeit).

    Google Translate doesn't work all that well on their text, but maybe you can make sense of it?
  3. mael

    mael Member

    Thank you for your response Anthill. And thank you for the link.

    The translation is ghastly and I don't understand much German at all.

    But I have a lot more info to go on now.

    So basically I ought to be looking at the linkages and seeing where there's movement where it shouldn't be.

    Theoretically it sounds accomplishable but I am sure the job will be much easier for a little Japanese man with a 4-jointed arm. Anyway, I'll be thinking about it. And I feel a little reassured that in all likelihood the problem is a worn bit of rubber and not necessarily a joint which is going to come flying out whilst my wife is whizzing up and down the mountain roads.
  4. anthill

    anthill Member

    Hey, I never said it wasn't a joint! :eek::eek::eek: ;)
  5. hilbert

    hilbert New Member

    My European "Libero" stearing systema has a similar behavior, but it isn't powered.
    I had a look below, and I found the red highligted block in the picture (nr. 10) with a small vertical movement, which is transferred to wheels.
    I ordered all the components green circled, but the important one to replace is nr. 13.
    I will write a comment here after the replacement, to inform you how much it improves the issue.
  6. Maximal

    Maximal Member

    Sambar steering is super simple to take apart. especially KS4 which are non power steering. just remove the skid plate up front and right behind the front bumper is the steering box, its probably play in what hilbert circled but you should be able to have someone wiggle the steering wheel and you look for play.
  7. hilbert

    hilbert New Member

    In my case you can't feel anything just wiggling the steering wheel. The best way is to lay downl under the car, and try to move the piece with hands. Better if you lift the front axle (at least), in order for the front wheels to be free from vehicle weight.
  8. Jigs-n-fixtures

    Jigs-n-fixtures Active Member

    If you are skinny you can do a good job with it on the ground. If you’re not buy a set of ramps.

    You want to set up a dial indicator on the tie rods, #4 in the drawing, and measure to the knuckle they bolt into. Have someone turn the wheel to the right and load the tie rod end, zero the dial indicator, and then have them load the system to the left. You should have less than a couple of thousandths of movement in the tie rod ends. If it is more they are wearing out.

    Just keep checking things with the indicator. To check the ball joints, ou jack up the truck to get the wheel off the ground and drooping, then put the dial indicator on the steering knuckle, zero it, and try to lift the tier with a lever, to load it upwards and check the distance between droop in lift. Again a few thousandths is normal, more than that it’s wearing out.

    The rag joint, part #20 can wear out. Basically you need to track down and eliminate play in the system. Under inflated tires can feel like a worn suspension because the sidewalls are soft and spongy.

    There are whole books and classes on suspension troubleshooting. but basically it comes down to figuring out how the forces get transferred around, and checking the moving parts for excessive wear.

    You can pick up a dial indicator kit with the magnetic base for around $35 on Amazon or eBay. A digital unit is about $40 buy itself, and the magnetic base around $25 to $35.

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