Forester: sensitive steering wheel

Just got my first Subaru, a 99 Forester S :) Maybe because it's my first time driving a Subaru, I feel the steering wheel is very sentive to the road.
When the road is not flat, the wheel moves quite a bit. So I have to hold it quite tight otherwise I'll be changing directions if the road is a little bumpy. I drove some other cars before but I didn't feel this on other cars. When the road is a little bumpy, the steering wheel remain quite stable. Not sure if it's just this car or all Subies are more sensitive to road condition?
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Could be oversteer from tires being wrongly inflated... This effect is amplified by a taller stance in a car. My girlfriend's Saturn VUE used to handle like crap that way until we realized PSI was at 45 instead of the suggested 28. ....Give it a try and see how it works out for you.
Mike

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My 05 XT (USA) handles like a dream. No drifting or symptoms you describe.

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My 2000 Forest is not as you describe. Subaru's do however have "good road feel". What you have may be as suggested high tire pressure. Tire pressures should be 29 front and 26 rear although later Forester say 29/28. You may also have tires that are not tracking well due to funny wear pattern or last but not least is the alignment. I suggest a test drive in another Forester before spending much money.

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wrote:

Steering damper?
--
John Varela
(Trade "OLD" lamps for "NEW" for email.)
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Thanks to all. I'll check the tire pressure first. What is a steering damper, John?

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It's a device on the steering column, similar to a shock absorber, to suppress vibrations.
--
John Varela
(Trade "OLD" lamps for "NEW" for email.)
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Its not oversteer, it tramlining (Called so as the car tends to follow the lines of joined tarmac) and is usually caused by the type of tyres and or inflation pressures. Wider tyres tramline more than narrow tyres the bumps in the road actually cause one side of the tyre to reduce in circumferance as a result of the deflection (Causing a cone shape) while the other remains the same this causes the steering effect you explained.
It could be torque steer but youd need to be accelarating plus, Subaru's dont tend to suffer from this due to their superior AWD systems.
Check your tyre pressures and consider trying a new type of tyres next change...
Ross
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There is no steering damper. Good explanation on tramlining Ross. Eddie

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The tire pressures were around 32 PSI, a little higher than 29/28. I adjusted them to around 28-29 PSI. It helped but not a lot. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be like this...the car runs fine as long as I hold the wheel tight but it does steer a lot more than the other cars I drove before when the road is bumpy.

to
bumps
remains
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Like I said drive another as it doesn't sound right.

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What kind of tyres are on the vehicle? Are they matched ie same type of tyre on left and right side of each axle (Arguably as car is AWD you should have the same type of tyre all round and replace them all in one go and rotate them through their lifetime).
Are the tyres evenly worn at each corner (IE same tread depth all round)?
Are the tyres evenly worn accros the contact patch?
What about alignment, is the toe correct on front and rear, get it laser checked most places (In the UK anyway) will do this bit free? But make sure they know what they are doing with Subaru AWD transmission.
OK getting more serious now, what about your suspension bushings are they loose and worn? do you hear any subtle clunking/creaking noises as you go over bumps, the suspension arms could be moving in the bushings? Grab the wheel and firmly try to force it back and forward in directions it shouldnt go, it should NEVER move in any direction other than to steer and to roll, the bushings in my old WRX were gone in the rear and you could feel the rear wheel click if you done this.
R
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Hi Ross, thanks for the reply. Please see my answers inline.

should
They are all michelin tires 215/60-16, I didn't get the model but they look all the same, should be the same model.

Yes, they look to have similar, normal wear.

sure
Sorry, I don't really know what a toe is :-p Not sure if they do that here in US. The car goes straight though.

shouldnt
roll,
rear
I won't be able to answer these questions until I found out what suspension bushings are ... I don't remember hearing noise when it goes over bumps. The wheels seem tight but I'll double check. When it goes over a bump, it could turn the steering wheel by 90 degrees if I don't hold the wheel tight.
Thanks again!
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