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Tie Rod adjustment directions to Center Steering Wheel ? #5128799 06/08/19 07:45 PM
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Cressida Offline OP
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A car's steering wheel is in about 350 degree position when driving straight down the road. That means if you drive with the steering wheel in the 360 or 0 degree position the car will drift over to the right (USA).

I know I can adjust the tie rod's equally on both sides to center the steering wheel, but not change the total toe alignment. That is what I want to do. However, I can't seem to get it clear in my mind which way I should turn the tie rod's to make this adjustment - to turn the steering wheel a few degrees clockwise. In this vehicle, the tie rod ends are behind the center line of the axle.

I need to lengthen one side and shorten the other side by the same amount. I made a small adjustment that shortened the drivers side and lengthened the passenger side. Talking in terms of turning clockwise and counter clockwise of the tie rods can be confusing depending on your point of reference so I found that I just think in terms of turning my wrench the same way on both sides. In other words, I moved the wrench in the upward motion on both sides.

Since I couldn't really tell much difference I thought I'd check and see if you can help with which side I need to lengthen and shorten to get the steering wheel to move clockwise toward vertical position of 0 degrees.

I'm now so confused I've about determined maybe I was going in the wrong direction ?

Re: Tie Rod adjustment directions to Center Steering Wheel ? [Re: Cressida] #5128808 06/08/19 08:02 PM
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atikovi Offline
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Center the steering wheel and imagine where the wheels are pointing to, in your case, to the right. Next image what you have to do to get those wheels straight ahead, i.e. to move to the left. In your case shorten the left tie rod and lengthen the right. Doesn't seem like it needs much adjustment, many half a turn but it can take me 3 or 4 attempts to get it perfect. Make sure you mark reference points to know how much you've turned and it's not off by the movement in the end joint.

Re: Tie Rod adjustment directions to Center Steering Wheel ? [Re: Cressida] #5128819 06/08/19 08:11 PM
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eljefino Offline
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To add to the problem, you may have jam nuts. These will need to be loosened before you start cranking on stuff. On one side you'll have to crack them just enough to get moving then take up the slack at the end of the job. On the other side, you'll have to move them back a quantity of threads.

To start an alignment, you center (and lock) the steering wheel. The driver's side in your case is pointing right, which means the tie rod is too long, so you want to thread the end further up the rod. So rotate the rod counter clockwise as looking at it from the driver's tire POV, or turn the tie rod end CW.

For the passenger side, lengthen the distance by threading the tie rod end further out, eg, unthreading it.

Assuming right-hand thread, and not a front end style with "adjusting sleeves"-- barrel connectors in the middle.

Re: Tie Rod adjustment directions to Center Steering Wheel ? [Re: Cressida] #5128831 06/08/19 08:30 PM
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Chris142 Offline
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You won't ever get it close enough to not eat tires if you do this.


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Re: Tie Rod adjustment directions to Center Steering Wheel ? [Re: Cressida] #5128839 06/08/19 08:35 PM
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WyrTwister Offline
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I would do as eljefino has described .

Just do not loose count od the number of turns n each side .


Wyr
God bless
Re: Tie Rod adjustment directions to Center Steering Wheel ? [Re: Cressida] #5128975 06/09/19 12:53 AM
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mehullica Offline
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If the tire wear is good, take off the steering wheel & move it one tooth to the left.

Re: Tie Rod adjustment directions to Center Steering Wheel ? [Re: mehullica] #5128983 06/09/19 01:27 AM
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CrAlt Offline
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Originally Posted by mehullica
If the tire wear is good, take off the steering wheel & move it one tooth to the left.

Then the turn signals may not cancel correctly

Re: Tie Rod adjustment directions to Center Steering Wheel ? [Re: CrAlt] #5129002 06/09/19 05:33 AM
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eljefino Offline
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Originally Posted by CrAlt
Originally Posted by mehullica
If the tire wear is good, take off the steering wheel & move it one tooth to the left.

Then the turn signals may not cancel correctly


and it's not good for the airbag clock spring. Pretty sure the splines are set up for only one fit.

Re: Tie Rod adjustment directions to Center Steering Wheel ? [Re: Cressida] #5129022 06/09/19 06:35 AM
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Trav Offline
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Take it for a proper alignment unless you have roll over plates and a camber/caster gauge and know how to use them. In the end it will be cheaper than 2 new tires and the alignment.


ASE L1, Master. Deutsch Meisterbrief.
Re: Tie Rod adjustment directions to Center Steering Wheel ? [Re: mehullica] #5129039 06/09/19 07:11 AM
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atikovi Offline
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Originally Posted by mehullica
If the tire wear is good, take off the steering wheel & move it one tooth to the left.


It's not the 70's any more. Steering wheels are indexed to the shaft and only attach one way.

Re: Tie Rod adjustment directions to Center Steering Wheel ? [Re: Trav] #5129044 06/09/19 07:14 AM
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atikovi Offline
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Originally Posted by Trav
Take it for a proper alignment unless you have roll over plates and a camber/caster gauge and know how to use them. In the end it will be cheaper than 2 new tires and the alignment.


The guy's steering wheel is off center. It's a tie rod adjustment issue. Caster and camber have nothing to do with it especially if the latter isn't adjustable.

Re: Tie Rod adjustment directions to Center Steering Wheel ? [Re: atikovi] #5129063 06/09/19 07:50 AM
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bmwtechguy Offline
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If your tie rods are behind the front axle, then you need to shorten the right side tie rod starting with one full turn and lengthen the left side tie rod by one full turn. This will cause the wheels to actually be turned even MORE to the RIGHT slightly and in response, you will now center the car by turning left slightly. I always start with one full turn, but you could go with exactly half turn on both if yours is only off by a few degrees.

Ignore the naysayers on this. I have done this for years and never ever had bad tire wear if the wheel alignment and current tire wear were ok.

Re: Tie Rod adjustment directions to Center Steering Wheel ? [Re: bmwtechguy] #5129164 06/09/19 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by bmwtechguy
If your tie rods are behind the front axle, then you need to shorten the right side tie rod starting with one full turn and lengthen the left side tie rod by one full turn. This will cause the wheels to actually be turned even MORE to the RIGHT slightly and in response, you will now center the car by turning left slightly. I always start with one full turn, but you could go with exactly half turn on both if yours is only off by a few degrees.

Ignore the naysayers on this. I have done this for years and never ever had bad tire wear if the wheel alignment and current tire wear were ok.


^^agreed. I've done this on quite a few cars as my Audis only have a toe adjustment and I couldn't get into a shop to get it aligned right away.

You can also get a helper and use a tape measure and measure from the same point on each tire front and back trying to get the measurement the same rolling the car forward and back after each adjustment. Its time consuming and a proper alignment is the way to go but it works in a pinch, I had over 40k km on one and had zero tire wear issues.

Re: Tie Rod adjustment directions to Center Steering Wheel ? [Re: atikovi] #5129198 06/09/19 10:49 AM
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Trav Offline
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Originally Posted by atikovi
Originally Posted by Trav
Take it for a proper alignment unless you have roll over plates and a camber/caster gauge and know how to use them. In the end it will be cheaper than 2 new tires and the alignment.


The guy's steering wheel is off center. It's a tie rod adjustment issue. Caster and camber have nothing to do with it especially if the latter isn't adjustable.


Wrong answer. Camber can effect toe, toe cannot effect camber or caster. All angles are adjustable one way or another, hole elongation, camber bolts, shims, control arm plates, etc. If the cradle has been dropped for repairs eg rack repair and suspension components are located on it the cradle may require shifting to correct some angles.
It may be just a tie rod adjustment but all angles still should be checked as they can contribute to an off center wheel (caster not so much but camber).

An easy way to tell if the off center steering wheel is cause by camber is even with the toe correct and the steering wheel straight on the rack the car still has a pull and the wheel is off center driving. Too many shops don't bother trying to correct camber if there are no strut through bolts, they just write it off as nonadjustable as happens a lot with VW/Audi, they are but it takes time and sometimes parts to do it.

For those who don't know, there is about 1/2 a degree total in the lower ball joint bolts on older VW/Audi that use the donut style top strut mount.

Last edited by Trav; 06/09/19 11:11 AM.

ASE L1, Master. Deutsch Meisterbrief.
Re: Tie Rod adjustment directions to Center Steering Wheel ? [Re: Cressida] #5129305 06/09/19 01:08 PM
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They have machines, some use lasers, to take the guesswork out of these type of situations. Unless you are stranded in the outback and it's some type of emergency, why not just do it right?


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