View Full Version : Did my struts, now alignment isn't taking - could I have bent something?
04-15-2008, 08:46 PM
I did my struts last weekend, and am afraid I did something bad that is causing the car not to "take" alignments. I just had Tires Plus do a 2nd alignment and the car is still slightly drifting to the left...
When I took the rear struts out, it was difficult to get the strut/spring assembly out of the wheel well. So I had someone press down on the brake/hub with their foot, to depress the wheel hub and make room to get the strut out.
Would this have bent any of the components? It didn't take too much force. Maybe 30 pounds. I assume the hub can travel down a few inches past its normal "fall" as the car is on jack stands. When reinstalling, I again had to push down the hub to make room for getting the strut into the wheel well.
I also had a hard time getting the rear struts back into the steering knuckle. The bolt holes were misaligned. I had to push really hard upwards with my body weight on the hub so I could install the bottom knuckle bolt. The top bolt went in pretty easy after that.
The fronts dropped right in. I used QuickStruts in the front and Delco struts in the rear. In the rear I re-used the springs and installed new mounts.
So is there anything very delicate that has to be done, or else you'll bend things enough to throw off alignment??? I went on a bunch of DIY sites (as well as the spring tutorial here) and did everything everyone said to do. Are there finer points that I missed?
04-15-2008, 09:05 PM
tire pressure? i know its simple but it could be it...
04-17-2008, 07:16 AM
I agree...definitely couldn't hurt to check the tire pressure.
04-17-2008, 08:03 AM
Sorry I haven't replied.
Yes, I plan on doing that as soon as I get to my car today.
kind of OT but...is there a HT on replacing struts/springs on here? I havent seen any floating around
04-17-2008, 12:05 PM
I have taken my struts out many times. Rear ones are challenging and yea, I had to push the hub down really hard to even get the bolts in half way. I don't think that can damage anything.
04-29-2008, 04:49 PM
OK, I have been closely watching how the car behaves and have more info!
The car actually tracks straight enough when you "put" it straight and let go of the wheel.
But one small bump or expansion strip, and the car starts to drift left. Never right.
Also, the steering wheel will center itself after yanking the wheel about 1/8 turn to the right. But if the wheel is yanked to the left, it won't return to center.
04-29-2008, 04:58 PM
Do you have the variable assist steering option? Could be a problem with the valving in the pump and/or rack.
05-01-2008, 04:10 PM
i took out my stock struts for air bags, and got it aligned. then i took off the bags and put the stock struts back on and the shop couldn't get it completely realigned without putting on after market struts or drilling out the adjustment hole bigger on the strut itself
05-01-2008, 08:39 PM
Yeah, I do have variable assist steering. Is there a safe DIY to get at that?
I suppose if the tires wont get chewed up then I will leave it alone.
05-01-2008, 10:05 PM
I guess you can just keep an eye on the tires and find out. The VES (variable effort steering) has a steering wheel position sensor, which feeds into the EBCM (electronic brake control module, which in turn feeds to the power steering pump actuator....if I'm not mistaken...I'm sure someone knows more than I do and will correct me if I'm wrong. In any case, troubleshooting it isn't all that easy I don't think. Probably something for a dealer who understands what VES is and has the ability and know-how to deal with it. I'm guessing most tire shops and mechanics probably don't even know it's there.
06-05-2008, 08:07 PM
OK - after a third aligment, the car still pulls. BUT if you "set" the steering wheel correctly, the car essentially goes straight. Only when I hit a bump, does the steering start to turn left.
Also, when I yank it to the left, it doesn't return to center. But if I yank it right, it will return.
Front struts were brand new Quickstruts. Rear struts were new mounts & struts, and re-used springs & isolators.
It seems like I have memory steer, but the classic cure (new strut mounts) has already been tried.
06-05-2008, 08:30 PM
Just out of curiousity....how do your tires look? Are they wearing evenly? And have you ever ran them flat?
06-05-2008, 09:20 PM
The alignment shop said the tire wear was consistent with a pull. The front left toe was out of alignment, but then again it (and some other things) was out of alignment the last time time too.
Air pressure was way off on all four tires when I checked it this afternoon, so I am surprised the shop didn't correct the tire pressures. They did a rotation, however, to try and even out the wear. Same symptoms after the rotation.
They suggested I buy two new tires but I won't until the problem is solved.
06-05-2008, 09:26 PM
Did they do a balance on the tires with the rotation?
06-05-2008, 09:59 PM
No, no balance.
06-05-2008, 11:46 PM
Balance won't cause pulling. At most it'll cause vibrations and poc marks in the tire.
Check your air pressure and make sure everything is even as having different pressures will cause pulls under braking and bumps. When it comes to the wheels returning to center, that's typically a caster adjustment, but seeing as how it's probably been messed with a few times, I don't know if its suspect or not.
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