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Troubleshooting lead/pull issue


hot_sd
03-30-2011, 12:10 AM
I wonder if anyone can help me with some suggestions on trouble shooting this. Vehicle is a 2000 Metro 1.3L. The problem has been around for a few years but I don't drive the car much and so never really got around to figuring this out. I'm in the process of fixing a bunch of small issues and just got around to this.

Anyway this started a few months after an adventure on an unpaved sand filled road in the high desert thanks to my GPS. The vehicle pulls to the right. If I shift into neutral and take my hands off the wheel it quite rapidly pulls to the right. So I have discounted torque streer.

I've jacked up the car and inspected all the suspension components - nothing looks obviously bent or damaged. I tried swapping the front tires between the left and right - still same result. Engine mounts look okay although I cannot really see the whole thing.

I just took the car in for an alignment check and everything is within spec.

I also looked for play in the streering rack and wheel bearings but again nothing seems to be loose.

I'm not sure what to check next. My suspicion is that something is bent but I cannot figure out how to spot it. Any tips on what to look for?

Metro Mighty Mouse
03-30-2011, 04:39 AM
Has the alignment of the rear tires been checked? Did you swap them as well? The rear alignment can make the car pull as well. Are all the tires the same and are they inflated to the same pressure?

MMM

hot_sd
03-30-2011, 10:29 AM
Has the alignment of the rear tires been checked? Did you swap them as well? The rear alignment can make the car pull as well. Are all the tires the same and are they inflated to the same pressure?

MMM

Yes the alignment check was for all 4 wheels. The rear left tire shows an out of spec toe at -0.1 deg. The toe on the right rear is +0.11 deg so the alignment rack shows the total toe as 0 and th thrust angle as -0.11 deg.

I was assuming if this was the problem it would pull to the left since the neg toe is on the left. But it pulls to the right. The readout also shows the thrust angle in green so I assume the measuring computer thought there was no issue.

I have not tried swapping the rear tires. That's a good point - I will do that and see if it makes a difference.

As far as I know all the tires are inflated to the same pressure (32 psi cold).

Scrapper
03-30-2011, 11:43 AM
Yes the alignment check was for all 4 wheels. The rear left tire shows an out of spec toe at -0.1 deg. The toe on the right rear is +0.11 deg so the alignment rack shows the total toe as 0 and th thrust angle as -0.11 deg.

I was assuming if this was the problem it would pull to the left since the neg toe is on the left. But it pulls to the right. The readout also shows the thrust angle in green so I assume the measuring computer thought there was no issue.

I have not tried swapping the rear tires. That's a good point - I will do that and see if it makes a difference.

As far as I know all the tires are inflated to the same pressure (32 psi cold).

even if tires look good there still can be a belt broke or it came out of round neither of thse are your falt. i wold switch right to left see if it pulls the other way and sometimes it will not pull at all. so if it pulls other way you have a bad tire. i was alignment man for about 18 years and i know they can change that print out so i'd have it checked again some where else but if you do what i told you on tires and quits pulling or pulling the other way i don't think he changed print out. i would not do this to people it gives us alignment men a bad name. on more thing i wouldn't had toe set at zero i would go to 1/16th. in atleast.

hot_sd
03-30-2011, 11:56 AM
even if tires look good there still can be a belt broke or it came out of round neither of thse are your falt. i wold switch right to left see if it pulls the other way and sometimes it will not pull at all. so if it pulls other way you have a bad tire. i was alignment man for about 18 years and i know they can change that print out so i'd have it checked again some where else but if you do what i told you on tires and quits pulling or pulling the other way i don't think he changed print out. i would not do this to people it gives us alignment men a bad name. on more thing i wouldn't had toe set at zero i would go to 1/16th. in atleast.

Thanks for that - I was not aware that they can change the printout although I was suspicious. Probably a good idea to have it checked somewhere else. The place I took it to was offering a free check and then I think it was $80 to have the alignment done. However, the store manager was busy so I spoke with the assistant manager who was not happy when I told him I wanted to see the printout before I authorized any repair - I guess he wanted to fix something regardless of whether the alignment was good or not. I got annoyed and then spoke to the shop manager who oversaw the rest of the test.

Just reminded me why I usually do all the repairs on my cars myself.

I have one of those cheap alignment tools with a sliding gauge - it only checks toe. Not sure how accurate they are but using that I could not find any toe problem.

Scrapper
03-30-2011, 12:25 PM
Thanks for that - I was not aware that they can change the printout although I was suspicious. Probably a good idea to have it checked somewhere else. The place I took it to was offering a free check and then I think it was $80 to have the alignment done. However, the store manager was busy so I spoke with the assistant manager who was not happy when I told him I wanted to see the printout before I authorized any repair - I guess he wanted to fix something regardless of whether the alignment was good or not. I got annoyed and then spoke to the shop manager who oversaw the rest of the test.

Just reminded me why I usually do all the repairs on my cars myself.

I have one of those cheap alignment tools with a sliding gauge - it only checks toe. Not sure how accurate they are but using that I could not find any toe problem.

thats what i would do on alignment another thing you can go watch them even if it sais employees only you just got to stand back away's or there hiding something if they tell you no you cant say drop it and ge it out. it's not all because of ins. i always ask if they wanted there old parts back if they said no i threw it in the iron barrel. for beer ofcourse when we had enough to buy with.

good luck........

brivers
03-31-2011, 08:54 AM
Might want to check for brake drag on the right side, front and back.

Scrapper
03-31-2011, 10:53 AM
Might want to check for brake drag on the right side, front and back.
i doubt a rear will will make it pull it might lockup on rear and that wont make it pull either.

hot_sd
04-01-2011, 02:28 AM
Might want to check for brake drag on the right side, front and back.

Brakes are fine as I just finished doing a full brake service. I had not checked the pads in a long time and for some reason the warning strip did not contact the rotor on the driver side to warn me so the first I knew I needed new pads was the sound on pad metal on the rotor. Needless to say I also had to replace the driver side rotor as there was scoring due to this although I stopped driving the car soon after I started hearing the noise.

So then I took some time to service the system. New pads, new rotor on the driver side, caliper pins greased with new grease, removed the rear drums and cleaned everything out and also inspected the shoes. Then replaced the fluid with new fluid - the old fluid was looking quite dirty and was several years old. In the process ended up rounding the nut on one of the bleed screws so had to get a new one and replace.

But at no time did I find any dragging brakes. I've yet to try swapping the rear tires - will do that this weekend.

brivers
04-01-2011, 08:51 AM
May want to look at the lower control arm bushings, At rest it all may appear fine. Try using a pry bar to see if they're worn. You can also put it in park or 1st gear with engine and parking brake off and rock the car back and forth to see any play. If you have power steering you may also try jacking the front end up, starting the motor and see if the wheels turn to the right by them selves. If that happens you probably have a problem in your rack, like a bit of dirt.

hot_sd
04-01-2011, 11:18 AM
May want to look at the lower control arm bushings, At rest it all may appear fine. Try using a pry bar to see if they're worn. You can also put it in park or 1st gear with engine and parking brake off and rock the car back and forth to see any play. If you have power steering you may also try jacking the front end up, starting the motor and see if the wheels turn to the right by them selves. If that happens you probably have a problem in your rack, like a bit of dirt.

Thanks that's a good tip - I will try that. I did try pushing everything by hand but I was unclear if that would develop enough force to be able cause any movement. Nothing moves when simply checking by hand.

hot_sd
04-02-2011, 03:21 AM
Tried swapping the rear tires with no success - still pulls to the right. Also looked under the car and moved it back and forth as suggested but again I could not see anything moving or twisting. I did see the torque rod moving as I got to the point when the park lock engaged so I assumed that is normal.

At the moment the only idea I have is to get another alignment check.

Scrapper
04-02-2011, 04:57 PM
Tried swapping the rear tires with no success - still pulls to the right. Also looked under the car and moved it back and forth as suggested but again I could not see anything moving or twisting. I did see the torque rod moving as I got to the point when the park lock engaged so I assumed that is normal.

At the moment the only idea I have is to get another alignment check.

sounds like to me pinched line or front rubber hoses they colapse inside and wont let piston go back in.

inafogg
04-02-2011, 08:09 PM
hot sd,did you check the height of all 4 wheels??
maybe take a few measurements control arm to a
font/rear point & checkl it against the other side
Good luck

hot_sd
04-02-2011, 11:45 PM
sounds like to me pinched line or front rubber hoses they colapse inside and wont let piston go back in.

Were you referring to the brakes? I did not see any obvious problems with the brakes when I serviced the system a couple of weeks ago.

hot_sd
04-02-2011, 11:51 PM
hot sd,did you check the height of all 4 wheels??
maybe take a few measurements control arm to a
font/rear point & checkl it against the other side
Good luck

Yes I sort of did it for the front. The measurements are not going to be precise since I don't have an exact flat surface but I took measurements on the left and right front control arms at a fixed reference point and they are level to fractions of an inch. I did not check the ride height at the rear - I will check that.

I wanted to go back to my original post and the alignment readings I had. Can the thrust angle of -0.11 deg (due to the left - toe) cause the car to pull to the right due to a turning force? If so that could possibly be the problem. I could try adjusting the rear left toe inwards a bit and check the result.

hot_sd
04-25-2011, 01:13 AM
An update to this. I got busy with other things and did not investigate this much further since the last post as I was getting ready to service the a/c on the car. However, the compressor shaft seal did not arrive on time so I thought about looking at this again.

I went over everything again and could not find any obvious issues. I also checked online to see if I could find anything and came across an article in Popular Mechanics about troubleshooting these kind of problems. It suggested after swapping the tires at the front if it did not help to try moving them to the rear. Since I had not rotated the tires in quite a while I swapped the front and rear tires (without crossing although I crossed the front left and right as part of the troubleshooting as mentioned earlier). To my surprise this made a difference - now if you come off the gas and shift into neutral the vehicle stays in a straight line and sometime pulls slightly to the right. While driving I feel a need to correct slightly to the right (left before).

So I'm assuming one of the tires has become defective. I guess the solution would be new tires? They are quite worn so probably a new set would be a good idea.

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