Steering issue

Posted by DSM B, Oct 8, 2017

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  1. DSM B

    DSM B Probationary Member

    6
    0
    Joined May 22, 2012
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Hello All,

    Build Background:
    I have just completed a major front end overhaul on my 96 eclipse GSX. This included replacement of all lower ball joints, tie rods, hub and bearing assembly, poly urethane bushings, and solid subframe bushings. I have also installed adjustable Tokico Illumina with Skunk 2 coilovers and adjustable upper balljoint. I performed a front end alignment using the string method and have the toe adjusted. I have the camber adjusted pretty straight as far as my eye can see as I have lowered the car by 1.5".

    Problem Statement:
    My steering wheel will not return to center on it's own at any speed.

    Further Information:
    Since I removed the Rack and Pinion to clean it and paint it, after re-install I had to bleed the power steering system as per the Factory Service Manual. I even replaced the power steering pump with a reman unit and bleed it again after the first instance of steering wheel not returning to center.

    At this point I am unsure if I have a mechanical alignment angle issue or a hydraulic assist issue not allowing it return to center. I do seem to have power steering assist as my steering wheel is easy to turn at low and no speeds, it just won't return to center on its own.

    Any help, advice or input is welcome.

    Thank you!
     

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  2. Bo0sTeD 4G63

    Bo0sTeD 4G63 Proven Member

    165
    11
    Joined Aug 31, 2008
    Miami, Florida
    Take it in for an alignment check it probably needs to be realigned since you took everything out.
     
    My DSM:
    1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX

    Street Build

      automatic
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  3. DSM B

    DSM B Probationary Member

    6
    0
    Joined May 22, 2012
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    I think you're on to something. I checked the alignment myself again just now and it was 0.5" in toe in on the passenger side. I re-aligned it, but will still bring it in to have checked and adjusted.

    I'll follow up with the results.

    Thanks
     
  4. 95blackGsTurbo

    95blackGsTurbo DSM Wiseman

    3,985
    72
    Joined Aug 10, 2003
    Cottage Grove, Minnesota
    I would remove the knuckle and make sure the ball joints are in good shape and were not damaged or over-tightened during installation. Also this is a serious problem with a lot of chinese knock-off suspension parts that have 0 quality control. Typically on non-DSM cars, this is hte #1 cause of a steering wheel not returning to center. Alignment won't be affected by that it will just throw your steering wheel off center. It is most likely a linkage binding issue. Since the front end on these cars is pretty standard, I would learn towards the ball joints binding when returning.
     
    My DSM:
    1991 Eagle Talon TSi (sold)

    Street Build

    14b   manual
    1998 Eagle Talon TSi (sold)

    Street Build

    T28   manual
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  5. DSM B

    DSM B Probationary Member

    6
    0
    Joined May 22, 2012
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Hey thanks for the reply. I bought Dorman ball joints and they seemed as a quality component, having said that, I torqued them to the factory spec but I didn't check if Dorman had an alternate spec for their parts. I will look into that and also check the binding as I feel the alignment can be ruled out as root cause of the issue and I am starting to lean towards a binding issue.

    Thanks
     
  6. DSM B

    DSM B Probationary Member

    6
    0
    Joined May 22, 2012
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    I checked for binding in the ball joints and I did notice with the wheels off the ground, they were incredibly difficult to turn back and forth. I loosened the ball joint nuts and the ball joints and found the wheels turned easier. I visually checked the ball joints and they seemed fine. I torqued them to factory specs the first time around, but I will torque them again and check to see how difficult it is to turn the wheels.
     
  7. PlanZero

    PlanZero Proven Member

    1,174
    181
    Joined Aug 13, 2013
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    Sometimes when the BJs are new they are extremely stiff. Not sure if its the nature of the chinese BJ or the fact they usually only put a small smear of grease on them and it has to work its way into the joint. If the dormans have zerk fittings add some grease. I had this happen with new compression arms once and they took a few days to loosen up a bit. Of course in that time I kept tweaking the tie rods and my adjustable sway bar thinking it was something else. Scared the crap out of me at first. Try spending a lot of time turning the wheel lock to lock even at stop lights to try to loosen them up.
    Also don't waste your money at an alignment shop until they're loosened up.
     
    My DSM:
    1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GST (sold)

    Street Build

    T25   automatic
    1996 Eagle Talon TSi

    Street Build

    16g   automatic
    1997 Eagle Talon TSi AWD

    Street Build

    T25   automatic
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  8. 1990TSIAWDTALON

    1990TSIAWDTALON Proven Member

    2,470
    660
    Joined Nov 14, 2013
    Independence, Kansas
    If your Caster is off, I believe, it will cause the wheel to not return to center. My son just graduated from Tech and he has told me if my wheel doesn't come back to center on its own that the caster is probably off. He did 5 alignments for our cars while he was in class and all of them drive perfect.

    Here is a pretty good explanation from Tire Rack:
    https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/techpage.jsp?techid=4
     
    My DSM:
    1992 Eagle Talon TSi AWD

    Street Build

    14b   automatic
    1990 Eagle Talon TSi AWD

    13.620 @ 108.460 MPH
    1990 Eagle Talon TSi AWD

    13.612 @ 107.760 MPH
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