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Old 01-23-2022, 05:40 PM   #1
GreenWheels
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Steering pulls left, not alignment

I brought my 2013 Ford C-Max Energi in for an oil change and tire rotation, and they told me I had "swollen lug nuts", which they replaced and did the rotation. As I drove out, I immediately noticed the steering pulled left. I brought the car back for wheel alignment, but that did nothing. Then they said they replaced the "C-brackets" (I might have this part name wrong) and then the "tie rods", and still the steering pulls left. Now they want to replace the "steering rack" because they say the "sensor" may be at fault (they quote a price on the steering rack of over $1000). I'm guessing they might have bent something trying to take off the swollen lug nuts. Does anyone have a suggestion on what could be the problem?
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Old 01-23-2022, 07:16 PM   #2
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Thumbs down Re: Steering pulls left, not alignment

Rotate the tires back where they were.Also speak to someone in charge about the ineffective repairs you paid for. Especially since the car was ok when you drove in.
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Old 01-24-2022, 06:55 AM   #3
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Re: Steering pulls left, not alignment

Another test:

Swap front tires side to side.

If the pull completely changes direction, then it is in the tires - a property called Conicity. You can only fix it by replacing the tires.

If the pull doesn't change at all, then it is 100% in the vehicle - usually alignment.

If the pull disappears or does change, but only a little, then it is both tires and in the vehicle.

Good Luck!!
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Old 01-24-2022, 08:56 AM   #4
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Re: Steering pulls left, not alignment

On the money Capri.
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Old 01-25-2022, 03:29 AM   #5
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Re: Steering pulls left, not alignment

After checking all of that, if the car still drifts/pulls, Ill request a non-zero thrust angle from the aligner:

Pulls left? Negative thrust angle.

Pulls right? Positive thrust angle.

You gotta do what you gotta do to eliminate the problem!
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Old 01-25-2022, 09:16 AM   #6
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Smile Re: Steering pulls left, not alignment

Thank you very much for these responses! I took my car to a friend's who has a lift. We swapped tires back to before the problem. Result: drives straight as an arrow! As the respondents suggested, the problem was either in the tires or perhaps how they mounted the wheels -- and NOT in all the hardware the dealership wanted to replace. I'm very appreciative to my respondents for their taking the time to offer smart and expert advice.
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Old 03-07-2022, 05:58 AM   #7
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Checking tiers tread

Good day there,

I've noticed that my Europa isn't gripping as well as it used to (mainly when turning corners). I believe the tread is low, but it does not appear to be bald.



But I'd like to double-check it.



What low-cost gauges would be suitable for this task?



Thanks.
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Old 03-07-2022, 06:54 AM   #8
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Re: Steering pulls left, not alignment

Typical tread-depth gauge, can be obtained for under US$5
https://www.autozone.com/tire-repair...B&gclsrc=aw.ds
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Old 03-07-2022, 08:03 AM   #9
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Re: Checking tiers tread

Quote:
Originally Posted by davetroke View Post
Good day there,

I've noticed that my Europa isn't gripping as well as it used to (mainly when turning corners). I believe the tread is low, but it does not appear to be bald.

But I'd like to double-check it.

What low-cost gauges would be suitable for this task?

Thanks.
Be aware that tires age and the tread compound's grip level goes down.

Further, when tires are heatcycled, the grip usually goes down. Most tires have the best grip when they are new.
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Old 05-13-2022, 03:11 PM   #10
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Re: Steering pulls left, not alignment

Quote:
Originally Posted by RidingOnRailz View Post
After checking all of that, if the car still drifts/pulls, Ill request a non-zero thrust angle from the aligner:

Pulls left? Negative thrust angle.

Pulls right? Positive thrust angle.

You gotta do what you gotta do to eliminate the problem!
Although this solution would mask the problem? Todays modern vehicles you need to be very carful when adjusting thrust line. The adaptive cruise, lane assist as well as other ADAS systems on your vehicle will require that they are recalibrated when thrust line is changed. They rely on the factory thrust line being set after an alignment.
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Old 05-14-2022, 06:48 AM   #11
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Cool Re: Steering pulls left, not alignment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vanman1720 View Post
Although this solution would mask the problem? Todays
modern vehicles you need to be very carful when adjusting
thrust line. The adaptive cruise, lane assist as well as other
ADAS systems on your vehicle will require that they are
recalibrated when thrust line is changed. They rely on the
factory thrust line being set after an alignment.
Actually, with what is termed a 'thrust angle alignment', T/A is the first item to be peformed, at the rear. Then the front parameters are set based on that.

In my particular case, the front camber angles on my 2010 Accord are supposed to be zero, with up to, I think, half a degree tolerance either way. On my example, I have negative 0.3 on the right wheel, and positive 0.1 on the left, both in the spec window, but both leaning left.

Visually, from the drivers perspective, both front wheels are leaning ever so slightly to the left. And as you know, a tire rolls in the direction it is cambered. So even with a perfect 0.00000(!) thrust angle, my Accord drives slightly leftward with those two left-leaning wheels.

The aligner I used a year ago to correct this said he was "surprised" I even felt a drift. I told him, I'm the one driving the car, so I know what it's doing.

Using my knowledge of thrust angle directionality, I requested that he make the T/A slightly negative, while still in spec.

While not the complete solution, it has helped the car track as straight as it can, until the front cambers are addressed.

Again, this is on a 12 year old car, not a modern one with electric steering, lane assist, etc. Which is why any future cars I buy will also be low mileage pre-2012 examples. I am the final arbitator of how my vehicles roll down the road - not some computer or sensor
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Old 05-22-2022, 07:17 AM   #12
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Re: Steering pulls left, not alignment

Quote:
Originally Posted by RidingOnRailz View Post
Actually, with what is termed a 'thrust angle alignment', T/A is the first item to be peformed, at the rear. Then the front parameters are set based on that.

In my particular case, the front camber angles on my 2010 Accord are supposed to be zero, with up to, I think, half a degree tolerance either way. On my example, I have negative 0.3 on the right wheel, and positive 0.1 on the left, both in the spec window, but both leaning left.

Visually, from the drivers perspective, both front wheels are leaning ever so slightly to the left. And as you know, a tire rolls in the direction it is cambered. So even with a perfect 0.00000(!) thrust angle, my Accord drives slightly leftward with those two left-leaning wheels.

The aligner I used a year ago to correct this said he was "surprised" I even felt a drift. I told him, I'm the one driving the car, so I know what it's doing.

Using my knowledge of thrust angle directionality, I requested that he make the T/A slightly negative, while still in spec.

While not the complete solution, it has helped the car track as straight as it can, until the front cambers are addressed.

Again, this is on a 12 year old car, not a modern one with electric steering, lane assist, etc. Which is why any future cars I buy will also be low mileage pre-2012 examples. I am the final arbitator of how my vehicles roll down the road - not some computer or sensor
That's a great solution. Always great to know more about your vehicle so you can ensure you get a correct repair. I am sure when you talked to the person doing the alignment for you, they were probably confused at what you were asking for. haha
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