Front end alignment but now steering wheel is "off" - Chevy Impala SS Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-10-2018, 12:41 PM Thread Starter
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Front end alignment but now steering wheel is "off"

Just had the front end aligned on my bone stock 96 BBB with 123k on the odo. Center link was replaced due to excessive play at the Pitman arm. Now the steering wheel is not centered - steering wheel is skewed slightly to the left in order to keep the car straight. It's not bad, just slight, but one of those things that drives a perfectionist like me nuts. Do I just go back to the shop and have them adjust the SW so that its straight or is this something I can do myself? Just thinking out loud (and maybe I'm way off base) but if the large nut at the Pitman arm is loosened, can the arm be turned slightly so as to straighten out the steering wheel?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-10-2018, 12:49 PM
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Just had the front end aligned on my bone stock 96 BBB with 123k on the odo. Center link was replaced due to excessive play at the Pitman arm. Now the steering wheel is not centered - steering wheel is skewed slightly to the left in order to keep the car straight. It's not bad, just slight, but one of those things that drives a perfectionist like me nuts. Do I just go back to the shop and have them adjust the SW so that its straight or is this something I can do myself? Just thinking out loud (and maybe I'm way off base) but if the large nut at the Pitman arm is loosened, can the arm be turned slightly so as to straighten out the steering wheel?
idler arm may have been loosened / moved only takes a small amount .. also center link will not be exact as the old ..

probably the tie rods need some tweaking ..

place steering wheel straight get two fishing poles run lines from rear to front tires see if the space on forward edge of tires the same if not then tie rods need adjusting due to the center link fabrication ...[china]..

need 1/4 inch space each side between the tire sidewall and the line,,,.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-10-2018, 02:14 PM
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Take it back to the shop and have them reset it. That's a sign of crappy work. Why did you leave the shop with it that way? BTW, that is part of a proper alignment and don't pay a cent for them to reset it.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-10-2018, 03:12 PM
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-10-2018, 09:22 PM
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Turning both tie rod adjusters the same number of turns in the same direction will move steering wheel. While preserving toe settings...
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-11-2018, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fbi9c1 View Post
Take it back to the shop and have them reset it. That's a sign of crappy work. Why did you leave the shop with it that way? BTW, that is part of a proper alignment and don't pay a cent for them to reset it.
x2
Crap work, take it back. If toe is off can/will wear tires rapidly.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-11-2018, 10:50 AM
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Part of an alignment is to center the steering wheel. As mentioned, this can be done by adjusting the tie rods equally to do so. I think the shop just overlooked this for some reason and should adjust properly at no charge. Did you contact them yet to mention the issue? They should just tell you to bring it in for a quick adjustment.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-11-2018, 12:59 PM
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If they moved the camber/caster, it could be causing the steering wheel to be offset. Are you putting any pressure on the wheel to keep the car going straight? If no pressure, it is a simple toe change. If you must put pressure on the wheel to keep the car straight, they changed the camber/caster incorrectly.

The Pittman arm is keyed to the output shaft of the gear box. You can only put it on in one position. Furthermore, it is a PITA to remove and replace. It is not a wear item, so you should never have to remove it unless you get another steering box.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-15-2018, 09:41 AM Thread Starter
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Front end alignment but now steering wheel is "off"

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Originally Posted by 4DoorSS View Post
Part of an alignment is to center the steering wheel. As mentioned, this can be done by adjusting the tie rods equally to do so. I think the shop just overlooked this for some reason and should adjust properly at no charge. Did you contact them yet to mention the issue? They should just tell you to bring it in for a quick adjustment.
I re-adjusted the tie rods with one full turn of the tie rod adjuster and it biased the steering wheel exactly in the other direction. Then reversed the adjustment one half turn and the steering is now perfectly straight. Was careful to adjust in the same direction with an equal amount of turns. Question I have is how sensitive is the toe setting to the amount of rotation on the adjusting sleeve? Will the slightest rotation (say 1/10thof a turn) throw off the toe? As I said, I was extremely careful in marking the amount of rotation of both adjusting sleeves (such that the rotation was the same for both sides) so that I wouldn't (hopefully) mess up the toe settings.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-15-2018, 11:39 AM
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The toe is not especially sensitive, but it is better to have a tiny bit of toe in rather than toe out.

1991 OCC 461 (.030 over 454) BBC, 3.23 posi, flash to pass, drop spindles & springs, Impala rims, Hydroboost, Recaros, MOMO/wood SW w/QR, custom wood shift knob, Pioneer DEH P77DH
1992 OCC now with 5.7 tbi, DEH P77DH
For a parts list, check https://www.impalassforum.com/vBulle...ion-parts.html
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