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Thread: Steering wheel not returning to center

  1. #1

    Steering wheel not returning to center

    This isn't your normal not returning to center issue. Before I tore the car all apart to replace the clutch the steering wheel sat slightly rotated in the CW direction because I didn't put it straight on the splines I guess. Now what happens though is if I turn left, to drive the car straight the steering wheel has to stay rotated CCW, if I make a right turn, now the steering wheel has to stay rotated CW to drive straight. The car doesn't wander or pull otherwise. I never removed the tie rods, the ball joints are bolted to the knuckle, the lug nuts are tight, there doesn't seem to be any play back and forth on minor steering corrections.

  2. #2
    turbo addict
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    Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

    Upper strut mount(s) or ball joint(s) are siezed.

  3. #3

    Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

    I'm not calling you wrong, but I'm not seeing how that would cause my symptoms

  4. #4
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    Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

    Too much toe out or the rack is loose.
    Ian Adams Function>Form 1990 shadow scrapped, too rusty:( 1991 Spirit R/T Scrapped, parts sold:( 1989 Turbo Caravan Daily beater with built-[I]ish [/I]​engine slowly evolving into weekend turbo beater.

  5. #5

    Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

    Quote Originally Posted by shackwrrr View Post
    Too much toe out or the rack is loose.
    Wouldn't the toe stay the same if I kept the tie rods in? I guess I'm not seeing the toe change from a stuck strut bearing. Again, not saying you're wrong, I just want to learn.

  6. #6
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    Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

    Quote Originally Posted by turbodaytona87 View Post
    Wouldn't the toe stay the same if I kept the tie rods in? I guess I'm not seeing the toe change from a stuck strut bearing. Again, not saying you're wrong, I just want to learn.
    Theoretically they would but cars do some weird stuff. did you have the K frame out?
    Ian Adams Function>Form 1990 shadow scrapped, too rusty:( 1991 Spirit R/T Scrapped, parts sold:( 1989 Turbo Caravan Daily beater with built-[I]ish [/I]​engine slowly evolving into weekend turbo beater.

  7. #7
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    Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

    I vote for a loose rack. I would expect binding joints to behave the exact opposite; wheel ending up being turned the opposite direction of the last turn since an over-correction would likely be needed to go straight.
    “If the people of the nation understood our banking and monetary system, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” -Henry Ford

  8. #8

    Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

    Quote Originally Posted by 86Shelby View Post
    I vote for a loose rack. I would expect binding joints to behave the exact opposite; wheel ending up being turned the opposite direction of the last turn since an over-correction would likely be needed to go straight.
    I think I'll check the rack first. It also occurred to me that the tow truck driver that towed the car home wasn't the most adept :/ I wonder if his shitty driving damaged anything

  9. #9
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    Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

    if you rolled the car without axles while the motor was out it might have damaged the wheel bearings

  10. #10

    Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

    Quote Originally Posted by Fox View Post
    if you rolled the car without axles while the motor was out it might have damaged the wheel bearings
    I didn't. The car was supported, I took off everything I needed, then I put it back. The k-frame was also kept in place.
    Last edited by turbodaytona87; 08-05-2013 at 08:52 AM.

  11. #11

    Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

    I had a chance to take a look under the hood. While my brother steered back and forth, I saw the entire rack assembly moving too. I ordered some bushings from Autozone (since they had to be shipped in) and I will find out what the actual cause is tomorrow after work.
    Last edited by turbodaytona87; 08-05-2013 at 11:55 PM.

  12. #12
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    Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

    Quote Originally Posted by shadow88 View Post
    Upper strut mount(s) or ball joint(s) are siezed.
    +1 to this. Positive caster is what returns a steering wheel to center. When something starts binding, then the normal amount of caster can't overcome it.

  13. #13

    Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

    Quote Originally Posted by RattFink View Post
    +1 to this. Positive caster is what returns a steering wheel to center. When something starts binding, then the normal amount of caster can't overcome it.
    Please read my post above yours, the entire steering rack is moving with a steering wheel change.

  14. #14
    Supporting Member Turbo Mopar Contributor supercrackerbox's Avatar
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    Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

    Daytona steering wheels/columns have a blank spline in them, so you couldn't have installed it wrong. Sounds like after you get the rack bolted back down you're due for an alignment.

  15. #15
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    Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

    The entire rack shouldnt move back and forth. Even with bad bushings, the rack shouldnt really move at all. The strap on the passenger side has a rubber isolator that wraps around the rack and snaps into the metal strap, from underneath the rack. The driver side has two ears cast into the rack, that bolts go through to fix it to the k frame. I would check and make sure the bolts arent loose, or missing. If it were me, and if there is dirt all over the rack, id pull it, clean the k frame, install a new rubber isolator on the passenger side, then go get it aligned. I sure as hell wouldnt drive it again till the rack is secure.

  16. #16

    Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

    Quote Originally Posted by supercrackerbox View Post
    Daytona steering wheels/columns have a blank spline in them, so you couldn't have installed it wrong. Sounds like after you get the rack bolted back down you're due for an alignment.
    I have an aftermarket steering wheel, and I'm pretty sure it didn't have a blank spline. The car was aligned by The Shop at one point after putting the steering wheel on and the steering wheel was slightly off.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by turismolover22 View Post
    The entire rack shouldnt move back and forth. Even with bad bushings, the rack shouldnt really move at all. The strap on the passenger side has a rubber isolator that wraps around the rack and snaps into the metal strap, from underneath the rack. The driver side has two ears cast into the rack, that bolts go through to fix it to the k frame. I would check and make sure the bolts arent loose, or missing. If it were me, and if there is dirt all over the rack, id pull it, clean the k frame, install a new rubber isolator on the passenger side, then go get it aligned. I sure as hell wouldnt drive it again till the rack is secure.
    Good to know, I'll check for missing or broken bolts. It was driving fine before the clutch broke, and then I had it towed home, replaced the clutch, and now this.

  17. #17
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    Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

    I could see the rack or rack bolts being damaged when towed. Those wheel lifts are pretty harsh on cars when turning. I could see the alignment being off from that too.

    If the steering wheel was off after an alignment then the alignment was done wrong. Even if the splines are off. The wheel is centered during the alignment.
    Ian Adams Function>Form 1990 shadow scrapped, too rusty:( 1991 Spirit R/T Scrapped, parts sold:( 1989 Turbo Caravan Daily beater with built-[I]ish [/I]​engine slowly evolving into weekend turbo beater.

  18. #18
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    Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

    Ive found nowadays you have to specify you want your wheel centered during an alignment or they just toss the car on the rack and go,

  19. #19

    Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

    Quote Originally Posted by shackwrrr View Post
    I could see the rack or rack bolts being damaged when towed. Those wheel lifts are pretty harsh on cars when turning. I could see the alignment being off from that too.

    If the steering wheel was off after an alignment then the alignment was done wrong. Even if the splines are off. The wheel is centered during the alignment.
    I've always wondered about that though. Let's say the steering wheel is off center (for example, it was removed and put on one spline CCW), to fix that you'd have to set the rack travel off it's center-line, correct? So there would be slightly more travel one direction than the other right?

    I'm seriously suspecting the tow truck driver broke the bolts, or the rack itself (which is luckily under warranty, but I'd still have to get it aligned), we were making some sharp turns with that thing.

  20. #20
    Supporting Member Turbo Mopar Contributor supercrackerbox's Avatar
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    Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

    Quote Originally Posted by turbodaytona87 View Post
    I have an aftermarket steering wheel, and I'm pretty sure it didn't have a blank spline. The car was aligned by The Shop at one point after putting the steering wheel on and the steering wheel was slightly off.
    Ah.



    Quote Originally Posted by turismolover22 View Post
    Ive found nowadays you have to specify you want your wheel centered during an alignment or they just toss the car on the rack and go,
    Usually Chad (The Shop, Inc.) is really good about that. He's one of only a few mechanics in Lincoln I'll trust my cars with.

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