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View Full Version : car veering to the left.



zmile06
07-17-2007, 12:40 AM
Well here is my problem, when i let go of my steering wheel the steering wheel sits slightly turned to the right, not perfectly centered like you would expect in a car. It was like this when i bought it im pretty sure. That wouldn't even bother me, but my car veers off to the left... So im like WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON.

I got an alignment done, and it fixed my tires wearing funny. I took it back and had the mechanic test drive my car and see if he could figure it out. My alignment is fine is what "he said", i didn't disagree because my tires were wearing fine. Needless to say he say 250k on the odometer, and figured it wasn't even worth trying to figure out. He said it veered to the left when accelerating, and veered to the right when breaking.

My ball joint on the drivers side is missing the little cup of grease on it, i havent really gotten around to replacing it...

My question is WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY CAR, i need to figure it out cuz im going crazy. I plan on taking my car to a sports tuning place which also does regular alignments. They got the top of the line machines, and even simulate the drivers weight to get a perfect alignment etc. I was wondering if the balljoint not being perfect will just mess up my alignment in a little bit so i should replace it before the alignment or what. Its a pain in the BUTT to do it because the nuts on the balljoint keeps turning with the balljoint even with something holding it.

So all suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys!

Mr Celica
07-17-2007, 12:44 AM
my car pulls to the right, got it aligned, the tow and camber are within spec, but it still pulls, really bad. reason- the car got totalled 3 years ago, and i'm pretty sure the caster is still messed up. i deal with it though, the tires aren't wearing that funny anymore because of the alignment, but when i do my 3sgte swap, im gonna pull the frame again.


this probably didn't help, but maybe your car was hit and its the caster thats messed up

Audi90Quattro
07-17-2007, 02:28 AM
If your tires are pointed straight and the wheel isn't centered after an alignment I'd go back to the place and get my money back.

Centering the steering wheel is one of the first jobs when doing an alignment. Personally it sounds like a toe adjustment problem because of the steering wheel not being centered and the car pulling. I wouldn't think camber would cause the steering wheel to become uncentered.

When its accelerating and pulling thats called torque steer. Sounds like either some bushings could be replaced or some suspension components are worn and need replacing. Like the ball joint you talked about.

vms4evr
07-17-2007, 02:28 AM
Here's a list for you:

1. FWD cars pull to the left on acceleration and dip to the right when you let off the throttle if you are running high revs. It's the nature of the beast. Some FWD cars are worse than others.

2. The ball joint cover may just be a dust boot. I'm not sure on the Toyotas but if the ball joint has no grease fitting then it is not serviceable. Just because the cover is missing doesn't necessarily mean you need to replace it.

3. Forget the guy who has been trying to align your car. His equipment and knowledge is limited. A good alignment shop will put your car on the rack and tell you if any of the parts are so badly worn that they can't do a proper alignment. The quickie shops will just align it anyway and charge you the $50 or whatever their discount alignment is. Waste of money. Pay the extra and get it done a good alignment rack.

4. Find a shop with a Hunter alignment rack. Preferably the DSP600. That is an absolutely top notch machine. It also requires a well trained person to use it. So if you have a tuner shop ask them what they use. With that alignment machine your car can be aligned dead on, period. As long as the car isn't fubar.

5. If you have frame or unibody damage then the Steer Ahead and Thrust Angle will never set to 0. Your alignment guy will let you know. That leaves you with the option of living with it or taking it to a body shop to get it straightened. That is big bucks.

6. There is more to alignment than caster, camber. toe. For a daily driver you want everything set pretty much at 0 except caster. So 0 toe front and rear. 0 camber front and rear. Caster it would be nice to get about 7 degrees. Then you want Thrust Angle and Steer Ahead as close to 0 also. This ties the front and rear of the car together as a unit. Old machines aligned the front and then the rear, but not the whole package. Also your steering wheel can be centered perfectly. Cocked to the left or right is plain BS. Again on that machine with a good tech it will be centered.

7. On my track car I do have them throw weights on the drivers seat to mimick my weight to set the alignment. They use barbell disks. That is being very fussy and works on a track car with a custom alignment. It's nice on a street car but not necessary.

8. If they tell you your car has badly worn parts that are not worth doing then alignment then don't. Go fix what they tell you too then take it straight to the alignment shop.

9. If your current tires are already worn badly, as in uneven. Then after an alignment your car may still pull or exhibit bad behavior. Cupped, out of round, worn edges, etc all make the tire not track properly anymore. Also if they are not balanced properly. Again, there is a Hunter Road Force balancer. On new tires, especially on my track car, I get them Road Force balanced.

Plan on paying a solid $100 for a proper alignment. If you don't go slamming curbs or diving into pot holes it will be fine for a year or more.

End of alignment lesson for today. Class dismissed :D

Mr Celica
07-17-2007, 02:51 AM
^^ good info.

zmile06
07-17-2007, 10:25 PM
Thanks for the info man! My car shouldnt have any badly worn parts, if there are any ill just have them replace it if it isnt too much, i dont feel like replacing alignment parts.

zmile06
07-17-2007, 10:30 PM
I just checked this shop real quick, this is what they use. Hunter R811 with DSP 600 sensors. =) The only catch is its 50 to mount my 4 tires, and 5 dollars each tire to dispose of the old tires. I'm trying to think of some place i could throw away my old tires at.

vms4evr
07-18-2007, 02:47 AM
I just checked this shop real quick, this is what they use. Hunter R811 with DSP 600 sensors. =) The only catch is its 50 to mount my 4 tires, and 5 dollars each tire to dispose of the old tires. I'm trying to think of some place i could throw away my old tires at.

Different states have different disposal fees. But they are all supposed to have them and the tire places are supposed to charge you that and then pay the state. You might not like it but it is a reality. $50 to mount/balance 4 wheels/tires is an excellent deal if they are balanced on something like the Hunter GSP9700. That's the one that does road force balancing and it is as good as it gets. It costs me $100 for that here.

The R811 with DSP 600 is about the best alignment machine there is. That is the one you want to get your car done on. Around here it costs me a flat rate by the hour for a custom alignment on my track car. About $90 for alignment to factory spec on my street car. That is with my discount. Those machines are very expensive so you are not going to get the $49.95 special with those. Like I said though. They'll get your car dead on to within .1 accuracy in measurements.

If they can replace worn parts and do the alignment right there then that's a good thing. You might have to leave it so they can chase parts that are needed. Ball joints can be a pain...

vms4evr
07-18-2007, 03:17 AM
my car pulls to the right, got it aligned, the tow and camber are within spec, but it still pulls, really bad. reason- the car got totalled 3 years ago, and i'm pretty sure the caster is still messed up. i deal with it though, the tires aren't wearing that funny anymore because of the alignment, but when i do my 3sgte swap, im gonna pull the frame again.


this probably didn't help, but maybe your car was hit and its the caster thats messed up

I'm not thinking caster. I'm thinking Steer Ahead or Thrust Angle. Especially if it was a hard hit on a unibody chassis. I'll bet the car itself doesn't sit square. The factory specs have a range so if the alignment shop says "it's within specs". That means all 4 individual corners are within spec. That is still enough so that the car won't track perfectly true. Do you have a printout? If it's done on a Hunter machine you'll get a before and after spec sheet. I'd like to know what it says.

Caster is the steering angle. Measured by drawing a line through the center of the lower and upper ball joint. As I said previously 7 degrees is about right. At least on the cars I'm used to. Caster affects steering effort, not whether the car tracks in a straight line. When caster is way off you either feel it in how hard it is to turn the car in say a parking lot at slow speed or how poor a feel you get at high speed. Depending on which way off it is.

For example. Look at the forks on a motorcycle from a side view. From where the fork connects to the center of the wheel and where it connects to the handle bars. That angle or rake is caster. If that rake was 0 degrees then the forks are exactly perpendicular to the ground. The steering effort at slow speeds would be horrible but at high speeds it would be stable. Now the opposite. Something like a chopper with high rake. Steering effort at slow speed is very easy but scary at high speed because it is too sensitive.

Screwed up tires can be the culprit if one or more have uneven wear on them. Also horribly worn out rubber bushings in control arms etc, will cause enough slop in the steering so the car wanders.

The 90 Celica I have with 195K on it tracks true. No wandering, no weird tire wear, no tramlining. Not bad considering all the bushings are probably original.