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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Noobs 95 Impala SS hunts or wonders in lane *problem found*

First time poster for a long time lurker. I have a all sock green 95 SS with just over 75,000 miles. I have owned ther car since 1996. I am a former automotive tech, who hasn't been doing tune up/driveability repairs in over 25 years except on my own stuff. The car is VERY pampered but has a bad habbit of wondering within its lane ONLY on uneven or grooved road surfaces. The steering is tight when driving and there appears to be no play in the wheel. I just replaced the original BFG's at 64,000 miles, so tire wear is not an issue. I did replace a worn Idler arm with a HD Mooge unit, but the problem didn't improve. I have inspected all steering components and can't find any worn/loose parts and toe in is spot on. I did find a leak in one of my front original shocks, I will replace them soon.

I am stumped as to the cause of my Impala's wondering front end. I just can't find anything wrong, but obviously there is something wrong. Any ideas what I'm missing here?

Any help would be much appreciated.

It appears that my center link has play in the joint that connects to the pitman arm.
 

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First time poster for a long time lurker. I have a all sock green 95 SS with just over 75,000 miles. I have owned ther car since 1996. I am a former automotive tech, who hasn't been doing tune up/driveability repairs in over 25 years except on my own stuff. The car is VERY pampered but has a bad habbit of wondering within its lane ONLY on uneven or grooved road surfaces. The steering is tight when driving and there appears to be no play in the wheel. I just replaced the original BFG's at 64,000 miles, so tire wear is not an issue. I did replace a worn Idler arm with a HD Mooge unit, but the problem didn't improve. I have inspected all steering components and can't find any worn/loose parts and toe in is spot on. I did find a leak in one of my front original shocks, I will replace them soon.

I am stumped as to the cause of my Impala's wondering front end. I just can't find anything wrong, but obviously there is something wrong. Any ideas what I'm missing here?

Any help would be much appreciated.
Did you replace it with original BFGs? They are known to wander...
 

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Possibly bad sway bar end links? If the front shocks are leaking, maybe the front end just isnt stiff enough and small bumps "Take you" when driving.

Have you had a "True" alignment and not just a "Toe and go" as most places do? Maybe some camber or caster problems??
 

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Did you replace with factory size tire 255/50/17 IIRC ? If you went bigger, say 275/40, you may get wander issues. Nothing against buying new parts, but before you drop hundreds on a new steering gear, find an alignment shop that will align it to these specs:
http://capricess.com/tech/alignment_specs.htm


These have been known to fix the problem that you are having. I don't personally think that the steering gear is bad, you would have slop side to side with it and also wander, not just one, at least this is what I have seen, it could be the idler arm as mentioned above, you won't physically see or feel a problem with it. Hell the whole front suspension in mine is brand new, including the steering gear, and with 275/40's mine wanders, I haven't found a shop to align it to the spec's that are listed at the site above.

Hope this helps.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone. The Mooge Idler arm I installed 3 months ago. The tire size is stock. The steering box is tight with no play, the control arm bushings also look good. I did find and repaired a faulty sway bar bushing, that shouldn't affect my problem. I need to find a GM front end tech for his advise. I will keep you all posted.
 

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Sometimes its just the simplelest of things.................
Did you check your front wheel bearings? Need repacked and adjusted??
 

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Thanks everyone. The Mooge Idler arm I installed 3 months ago. The tire size is stock. The steering box is tight with no play, the control arm bushings also look good. I did find and repaired a faulty sway bar bushing, that shouldn't affect my problem. I need to find a GM front end tech for his advise. I will keep you all posted.

As I said get it aligned to these specs

http://capricess.com/tech/alignment_specs.htm

Not what the computer readout says to align it to, you maybe surprised as this may fix it. At least it is only 50-60 bucks to get it aligned.

You could always pm Navy Lifer (Bill), he is one of the God's of these cars, he should be able to help. And I am pretty sure he wrote the specs on the alignment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Thanks for the info. I will check the caster/camber/toe setting to see where its at and see about adjusting to specs. I will have to think hard about changing anything for fear on loosing my excellent tire wear. Thanks again for the help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
problem found!

The center link is bad. When I finally got someone behind the wheel while I looked at the steering components in motion, I seen play in the joint that connects to the pitman arm. As soon as Christmas is over, I will change it out.

Thanks everyone.
 

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Please keep us posted on the center link, if it fixed it or not. My car is doing exactly the same thing. New idler arm, shocks are OEM at 51K miles, but show no signs of leaking. Alignment is to OEM specs except for an extra 1/16" of toe on each side. I do have 18" wheels and new BFG tires. Car wanders in the lane and bump steers.
 

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Please keep us posted on the center link, if it fixed it or not. My car is doing exactly the same thing. New idler arm, shocks are OEM at 51K miles, but show no signs of leaking. Alignment is to OEM specs except for an extra 1/16" of toe on each side. I do have 18" wheels and new BFG tires. Car wanders in the lane and bump steers.
BFG's are known to wander, what size? If they are wider than factory this will cause a problem also. Go to link I posted previously that shows the alignment specs that work best for our cars. Get a shop to align it to them and see it that helps.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I first need to fix the loose steering parts before even thinking of adjusting the alignment. You must remember, until recently, my car never drove this way with the existing (stock) alignment specs, that tells me it should be able to drive normally again without wondering if I fix the worn parts. Alignments don't fix worn or loose suspension/steering parts.

I'll keep you guys posted on the outcome.:)

Wandering Dudes, seriously, try these specs...http://capricess.com/tech/alignment_specs.htm

Major improvement on my cars. Haven't noticed any adverse tire wear issues.
 

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I have a 1996 civilian caprice model (70,000 miles) that I cloned to an exact Impala SS. I have new kyb shocks, new impala springs, new kumho stock size tires, repaced idler arm, lubbed front suspension, and have a lifetime alignment at Firestone car care service centers. My car also wonders when I hit a bump, driving in uneven pavement, even when I'm just going straight on a straight road. Ive also noticed when I hit the brakes. before I converted to an Impala, I still had a pull but not so bad. Any help will be much appreciated. Is there a front end specialist in Norwalk/Cerritos, CA. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I found a worn idler arm and a worn center link that's causing my problem. I've replaced the idler arm and trying to get the bucks together to replace the center link. I'm sure once I do this, my Impala will return to its stable self.
 

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Handling Woes

I have a 1996 civilian caprice model (70,000 miles) that I cloned to an exact Impala SS. I have new kyb shocks, new impala springs, new kumho stock size tires, repaced idler arm, lubbed front suspension, and have a lifetime alignment at Firestone car care service centers. My car also wonders when I hit a bump, driving in uneven pavement, even when I'm just going straight on a straight road. Ive also noticed when I hit the brakes. before I converted to an Impala, I still had a pull but not so bad. Any help will be much appreciated. Is there a front end specialist in Norwalk/Cerritos, CA. Thanks
I too have had the wandering and bump steering and general instability for quite sometime now, even after a complete front end suspension rebuild, including new gearbox and new 255/50/17 bfg's. OEM impala ss front springs were installed too. I haven't done anything with the rear suspension for more than five years though. Could worn rear springs and or shocks cause this prob? Or maybe something else in the rearend? The springs and shocks in the rear, would have been the only rear suspension parts that I ever replaced. My car has 225,000 on it. Oh, also, original factory rims are still present. I noticed this problem started somewhere around 200,000 miles. To say the least, it isn't real fun to drive anymore, but I still love it! Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Spencer in PA. 1994 Impala SS
 
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