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steering wheel alignment

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gskrills
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steering wheel alignment

Post by gskrills » Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:00 pm

I had to take my steering wheel off to get at the instrument cluster and now I am following the Bentley manual for reinstalling it in the correct position. The manual says to line up the mark on the steering column shaft to the mark on the steering gear housing. When I move the steering wheel, the steering gear housing mark moves as well. Am I missing something here? I assume that it shouldn't move when the steering wheel moves.
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TN_M6
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Re: steering wheel alignment

Post by TN_M6 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:44 pm

That ring with the pointer sort of thing on it is a dust shield and it is attached to and moves with the steering column. While there is no definitive mark on the steering box you line it up with the center of the casting the best you can. It may fall slightly to one side or the other but get it as centered as possible.

There is a much more lengthy procedure to determine the true center of the steering box which should match the dust cover but always the possibility the dust cover is off slightly or has been moved. I would assume for starters it is where it belongs if everything feels right when you are done.

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603racing
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Re: steering wheel alignment

Post by 603racing » Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:52 pm

I go to a large parking lot or unused road. I put the steering wheel on with the nut finger tight, then drive the car straight, then move the steering wheel on the splines accordingly. Obviously you come to a stop before you move the steering wheel on the splines. :)
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hornhospital
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Re: steering wheel alignment

Post by hornhospital » Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:11 pm

603racing wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:52 pm
Obviously you come to a stop before you move the steering wheel on the splines. :)
What fun is that? \:D/
Ken Kanne
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TN_M6
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Re: steering wheel alignment

Post by TN_M6 » Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:34 am

603racing wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:52 pm
I go to a large parking lot or unused road. I put the steering wheel on with the nut finger tight, then drive the car straight, then move the steering wheel on the splines accordingly. Obviously you come to a stop before you move the steering wheel on the splines. :)
That is the wrong/lazy way to do it, Sorry. If you ever move the wheel you are probably moving it off center where it is meant to have minimal play. Ok with R&P but a no no with recirc ball. The recirc ball box needs to be dead center where the lash is minimum then adjust the wheel to that then align the car (tie rods) to that. People complain about the on center vagueness of these cars after someone has done this a few too many times.

There is a lengthy method to do it really right but let's assume the dust shield is correct. Then you line up the dust shield and put the steering wheel on dead center and then you must balance the position of the tie rod ends while keeping the toe correct to get alignment right. More work but proper.

If you are unsure where dead center of the steering box is or it is worn you must get all the load of the steering and measure torque to turn the wheel while adjusting the lash. You will find dead center this way where torque creeps up as you adjust the lash and then should align the steering wheel to dead center of the higher resistance mid point, then after all that align the car so the wheels stays in the middle again.

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603racing
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Re: steering wheel alignment

Post by 603racing » Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:17 pm

TN_M6 wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:34 am
603racing wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:52 pm
I go to a large parking lot or unused road. I put the steering wheel on with the nut finger tight, then drive the car straight, then move the steering wheel on the splines accordingly. Obviously you come to a stop before you move the steering wheel on the splines. :)
That is the wrong/lazy way to do it, Sorry. If you ever move the wheel you are probably moving it off center where it is meant to have minimal play. Ok with R&P but a no no with recirc ball. The recirc ball box needs to be dead center where the lash is minimum then adjust the wheel to that then align the car (tie rods) to that. People complain about the on center vagueness of these cars after someone has done this a few too many times.

There is a lengthy method to do it really right but let's assume the dust shield is correct. Then you line up the dust shield and put the steering wheel on dead center and then you must balance the position of the tie rod ends while keeping the toe correct to get alignment right. More work but proper.

If you are unsure where dead center of the steering box is or it is worn you must get all the load of the steering and measure torque to turn the wheel while adjusting the lash. You will find dead center this way where torque creeps up as you adjust the lash and then should align the steering wheel to dead center of the higher resistance mid point, then after all that align the car so the wheels stays in the middle again.
Perhaps I didn't explain it well, but I think the OP is talking specifically about his steering wheel, not an actual alignment. All I was explaining was getting the steering wheel aligned with the steering. If he is talking about an alignment, then you are correct. Otherwise, my method has been flawless for years. :)
'85 635csi - Dark Shark
'16 F150
'13 Subaru BRZ

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TN_M6
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Re: steering wheel alignment

Post by TN_M6 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:15 pm

603racing wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:17 pm
Perhaps I didn't explain it well, but I think the OP is talking specifically about his steering wheel, not an actual alignment. All I was explaining was getting the steering wheel aligned with the steering. If he is talking about an alignment, then you are correct. Otherwise, my method has been flawless for years. :)
I think the OP is asking the proper way to align the steering wheel to the TRUE center of the box. No offense but your method IS flawed. If you get the car aligned and then driving straight is NOT in relation to the TRUE center of the box so you keep moving the steering wheel to make it appear centered you may move far enough off center the steering gets a little loose. Enough off center and it will begin to feel tighter just off center. You are probably OK a spline or two but at some point if you are willing to lift the front end off the ground you will feel the steering snug up x degrees returning to center on one side and y degrees on the other. It's just the nature of this steering box and that is essential to do if you are going to try to restore a loose box by tightening the lash adjustment it has.

I mean no offense I will just argue your way is the lazy way to get the steering wheel to appear it is on center. Your car though.

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Re: steering wheel alignment

Post by Pod » Sat Mar 23, 2019 8:36 am

I agree with 603. All the guy wants to do is have the ‘wheel in the correct position. I’ve done this scores of times - it’s pretty obvious when the wheel is correctly installed when you drive down the road!

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TN_M6
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Re: steering wheel alignment

Post by TN_M6 » Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:02 pm

gskrills wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:00 pm
and now I am following the Bentley manual for reinstalling it in the correct position. The manual says to line up the mark on the steering column shaft to the mark on the steering gear housing.
Well even Bentley says NOT to do what you say. Your confusing visually cetnered position when driving as being correctly installed which may not be how the steering gear was designed and left the factory. I was trying to help the OP who I think wanted it correct as it left the factory and everyone here is free to deviate if they chose. As I also said a tooth or two probably never going to be noticed untill you put a torque wrench on your wheel and adjust the play out and find it is no longer in the center.

gskrills
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Re: steering wheel alignment

Post by gskrills » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:35 pm

Thank you all for the responses. TN_M6 is correct on what I was looking for. I recently replaced front tie rods, LCAs, and UCAs and my steering is out of alignment. In preparation of getting an alignment, I wanted to get the steering wheel in the factory middle position. I have done the 'straight road / move steering wheel' method before but I feel like that solution is not solving the inherent problem of alignment / steering box alignment and is just masking the problem for a later date. Since I couldn't figure out the steering box / shaft alignment before I put it in the shop, I have let the shop know of the issue and to resolve it during the alignment process. I'll let everyone know how it went when I get it back this week.

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Da_Hose
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Re: steering wheel alignment

Post by Da_Hose » Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:46 pm

Mechanical center is the most important aspect to worry about gskrills. If you turn lock-to-lock, counting turns, and final rotation angle, you split the turns in half, split the final angle in half, and center you steering wheel on that number.

Let's assume total turns are 3 full, with another 30 degrees, you turn to either lock to start.
Then turn 1 1/2 rotation, plus 15 degrees. Mount the steering wheel centered. The alignment mark should be good to go on the steering box. If it isn't, then someone re-mounted it incorrectly at some point. That isn't tragic. You just can't rely on the mark to help you get centered.

If you follow the procedure above, you can just go get the vehicle aligned, and explain that you have mechanically centered the wheel. The shop will get things set correctly. You can always re-align the linkage marks at a later time.

Jose
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