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Steering wheel not returning to center

Posted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:43 pm
by peter0991
Hey guys,

I bought an altezza a few months ago, it was already dropped on k-sport coilovers. Here's my intro thread for those might need it viewtopic.php?f=14&t=9308
So basically here is the problem i have been having.
After turning into a 90 degree corner and if you let go of the steering wheel (and allow it to slide though you hands) to straighten out it returns only to about 1 and 11 oclock, depending which direction you turned in. After this point it returns to center really slowly. I dont know if i am making this clear to be honest, hope you understand :roll:
I have been driving a few other cars over the summer and the steering wheel on those returns to center pretty quickly.
I would like to see if anyone else has experienced the same problem. And what could be the cause of it. And how can the suspension be adjusted in order to correct this?
Just to add, my car runs on 18" alloys (et35 8.5j)

Thanks in advance :wink:

Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

Posted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:02 pm
by MUS26C
I had similar problem when I replaced my front ball joints, the steering wheel will not turn back to position while turning, I had to manually steer it back. I fixed it by wheel geometry alignment and problem was solved. Check your front tyre pressure as well, the above is based on my own experience, other members might have other opinions.

keep us updated

Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

Posted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:10 pm
by peter0991
Yea that sounds exactly the same as what im having. The last adjustment to center the wheel has to be done by hand.
I thought it could be something to do with alignment. i heard that when the car is lowered the not only you get more camber, but also the toe angle changes. Could this be the cause of the problem?

Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 7:35 am
by mlcoolj
Get your car aligned, this should solve the problem...

Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 5:15 pm
by peter0991
Hey guys,

I went to get my alignment checked and it all seemed fine and within limits. Except the camber ofcourse :)
Here' s what ive done afterwards. I have flushed and changed the power steering fluid today and while i was doing it i noticed a buzzing sound coming from what i think was the p/s pump. It happened every time i turned the wheel from lock to lock. I made sure that there was no air in the system and took the car out for a test drive. The steering still seemed to be the same as before.
So i was wondering, does the p/s pump always makes the buzzing sound( not very loud, cant be heard from inside the car) or does that mean that the pump is on its way out and that could be the cause of my steering problems?

Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:47 pm
by tomo
Well if you have had all the geometry etc checked which it sounds most like. then Possibly the UJ on the steering column or the rack or even a tight ball joint. It's very hard to say without seeing it first hand to be honest. If the cars jacked up does the steering feel tight in that middle section?

Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:16 pm
by peter0991
tomo wrote:Well if you have had all the geometry etc checked which it sounds most like. then Possibly the UJ on the steering column or the rack or even a tight ball joint. It's very hard to say without seeing it first hand to be honest. If the cars jacked up does the steering feel tight in that middle section?

Not quite sure what a UJ is tbh :( . I haven't really paid attention to the steering while the car was jacked up, but it does fell stiff to turn while driving in a straight line tbh. Another thing is, if I am going around a small bend( 5degree bend) then if I turn the wheel slightly it will stay in that positing until I return it to centre. As I said earlier this problem only occurs between 11 and 1oclock on the steering wheel.

Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:05 pm
by yamahatezza
Unless your car is high mileage or rusty can't see it being steering coupling etc. I'd go with lack of caster(self centre effect) if you lower your caster you will lower the cars ability to self centre it's own steering.

Failing that top mount bearing not turning freely on one of your front coilovers.

Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:34 pm
by tomo
yamahatezza wrote:
Failing that top mount bearing not turning freely on one of your front coilovers.


If it was any other car I would say that but tezzas don't have a bearing in the top mount, the strut doesn't turn, the hub/wheels pivot on the upper and lower ball joints.

Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:38 am
by peter0991
yamahatezza wrote:Unless your car is high mileage or rusty can't see it being steering coupling etc. I'd go with lack of caster(self centre effect) if you lower your caster you will lower the cars ability to self centre it's own steering.

Failing that top mount bearing not turning freely on one of your front coilovers.


But surely if it was a caster problem then the steering wheel return would be affected throughout the whole range. And that would not explain the steering feeling stiff while even turning slightly in a straight line (or would it?).
I wish that someone with a tezz from south wales could try it out and see if it actually feels any different from their car, maybe its just me and im being picky. But im pretty sure that the steering should not feel that tight.
Im gonna check the ball joints tomorrow and oil them. But im pretty sure they are in good condition.. after all the car has only done 70k miles

Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:29 pm
by tomo
Being the car is lowered the mileage is a bit irrelevant to the ball joints as lowering it puts more stress on the joint. To check them you need to have the car lifted up on the lower arms otherwise spring tension will be on the joints. Not sure if that makes sense. Also you can't grease or oil the joints they are sealed.

Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:14 pm
by yamahatezza
Ok well lets make this easier on a car park moving steering left to right lock while going forward is the steering at all stiff or sticky(like tight slack then tight again)? If its a joint or steering knuckle then it's all the time not when leaving junctions. My car struggles to self centre and it down to the caster mostly. Camber maybe causes that bit more resistance too as am running on my inner edge more to a certain degree.

Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:59 pm
by peter0991
yamahatezza wrote:Ok well lets make this easier on a car park moving steering left to right lock while going forward is the steering at all stiff or sticky(like tight slack then tight again)? If its a joint or steering knuckle then it's all the time not when leaving junctions. My car struggles to self centre and it down to the caster mostly. Camber maybe causes that bit more resistance too as am running on my inner edge more to a certain degree.


Yes, if you look at it that way then it is stiff when turning it left to right. If you turn the wheel a few degrees left or right, it will stay in that position.
Saying that it does seem to return better now that i flushed the power steering fluid. Seems like adjusting the caster is the only way to make this better.
Guess im gonna have to live with this little problem for now.

Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

Posted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 9:46 am
by nivek
those sugar k-sport coilovers are prob fu*king up your KPI

Re: Steering wheel not returning to center

Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:31 pm
by peter0991
nivek wrote:those sugar k-sport coilovers are prob fu*king up your KPI

Yea i would not recommend k-sport coilovers to anyone. I have my rear springs turned all the way up and the shocks are set on full hardness, and it still manages to bottom out. New coilovers will be ordered as soon as i have some funds.
On the bright side, ever since i had the welded diff fitted i am more than happy with the steering. It springs back to center so easily, ive even forgotten that i had a problem with it in the first place.