Alignment guys, I need your help please

Messages
3,714
Location
Clermont, Florida
I had a front end alignment done on my truck today and it seems the steering wheel is a little off center, turned slightly to the left when I am going straight. I found this procedure online and would like to hear from guys here who know much more about it than I do and can give me a straight answer. I am just wondering is this trick OK to do or can it cause problems with my alignment, tires, steering or anything else? http://www.ramforumz.com/showthread.php?t=46601 Thanks for any help.
 
Messages
72
Location
pa
Ya i would take it back. sounds like the steer ahead or thrust angle may be off but i am no expert. did they give you a print out of the specs? why no 4 wheel alignment? improper alignment will wreck tires too.
 
Messages
6,506
Location
Scruffy City
Take it back. If the guy didn't get the wheel straight, there is no telling what he did. The procedure you linked will work in a pinch, It can be difficult to loosen the jam nuts, move the tie rods evenly and tighten the jam nuts back up without things moving. You paid good money for an alignment and they should make it right, though.
 

Jimmy9190

Thread starter
Messages
3,714
Location
Clermont, Florida
I can take it back in but if this fix works with no ill effects I would rather adjust it myself. It is hard to get the steering wheel perfectly centered in my truck. I don't know why but it has always been like that. Before the alignment was done the steer ahead was off .53 degrees to the left and toe was .85 degrees off to the right. The after specs show the steer ahead is centered at zero and total toe is .10 degrees. Toe specs are between .04 and .16 degrees. It could be hard to center the wheel due to play in the steering shaft. It is original and the truck does have over 173,000 miles on it now. That is why I would like to try this fix myself, I can keep adjusting until I get it centered the way I want it. The guy in the shop is good but he only has so much time to spend on the job.
 

Jimmy9190

Thread starter
Messages
3,714
Location
Clermont, Florida
Thanks for the replies. I have had this happen before where I had to go back after an alignment was done. This time I would rather not go back if I can just correct it myself here at home. I may also wait until I replace the right front steering knuckle. The right front wheel had a bit of play in it when rocked at the 12 and 6:00 positions, I put new ball joints in that side yesterday which is why the truck needed an alignment. The new ball joints did not solve the problem of play in the wheel. Bad ball joints was what I thought was caused the truck to wear out a new Moog wheel bearing hub assembly in 6,000 miles. So the next thing I can think of to replace is the steering knuckle and spindle, everything else in the front end is OK and in good shape. I am kind of disconcerted with the whole thing right now but hope to get it fixed soon. One thing I do have a lot of is patience.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
46,293
Location
New Jersey
I know for my mercedes cars, the steering box is to be locked in a centered position before making any other adjustments. A spreader bar is also to be used. Perhaps where you took it did a generic toe and go job versus the FSM method?
 
Messages
17,501
Location
Clovis, CA
<span style="font-family: 'Verdana'">The guy didn't have the steering wheel straight when he did the alignment. There's a lock pin they're supposed to insert into the steering column to hold it on center.</span>
 
Messages
664
Location
Modesto,CA
Before you replace the spindle etc, have another person rock the wheel & look at the upper & lower control arm bushings where they mount to the frame. Sounds like there's something worn somewhere
 
Messages
36,523
Location
ME
Is this a 4wd (with steering box and oft-flaky idler arm) or 2wd (with tight rack & pinion)?
 
Messages
16,271
Location
N.H, U.S.A.
IS the wheel centered if you drive on top of the crown? When you drive on the right side of a crown, you will have to turn the wheel a bit to keep it going straight as the road camber will be trying to steer the car right. Add some steering play and the wheel can appear over 2deg off center. To verify. You can try driving on the left side of the centerline and see if the wheel is now a couple deg. clockwise. If not, the tech didn't get the wheel centered ADEQUATELY. caution! Be careful with accidental airbag deployment if you loosen steering shaft clamps! some BRAND ARE SENSITIVE TO gnd
 
Last edited:

Jimmy9190

Thread starter
Messages
3,714
Location
Clermont, Florida
Originally Posted By: ARCOgraphite
IS the wheel centered if you drive on top of the crown? When you drive on the right side of a crown, you will have to turn the wheel a bit to keep it going straight as the road camber will be trying to steer the car right. Add some steering play and the wheel can appear over 2deg off center. To verify. You can try driving on the left side of the centerline and see if the wheel is now a couple deg. clockwise. If not, the tech didn't get the wheel centered ADEQUATELY. caution! Be careful with accidental airbag deployment if you loosen steering shaft clamps! some BRAND ARE SENSITIVE TO gnd
Thanks. I will give this a try going home from work today. Truck is 2 wheel drive with its original R&P and original steering shaft still in place. The steering is actually very tight and precise for the age of the truck.
 
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