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changed the track rod end, now the steering wheel is wonky

146 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  ST56
very quickly, i had to change the near side track rod end after it was shown to me in the mot in november (the car has barely moved since then) and having done so, the steering wheel is now sitting at 17/47 minutes
seeing as this is the only bit i've changed due to the boot being cracked, but not actually letting anything in or out, which way am i supposed to turn the spindle to make the wheel straight again?
i should turn it inwards yes?
but it's a right palava getting the car into the garage to do the adjustment and then taking it back out onto the road again so i want to get it right first time
got to change the tca boot on the other side and then i'll go and spend £40 getting the tracking done properly but just need to get the wheels sitting more straight than they are
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Counting the turns needed to remove the track rod end can give you a rough setting but getting the alignment done is the only way of getting it set correctly
If you held the steering wheel in the correct position, the car would steer to the left. The self-centering effect is correcting this and turning the steering wheel slightly clockwise. It looks like the near side track rod length is a little shorter than it was, turning the left wheel left. I reckon you need to lengthen the track rod, but by how much is anyone's guess - one turn, less, more?
When I changed mine, I did count the turns, replaced with the same and nevertheless, the steering was straight at around 5 mins passed central. Took forever to try and get it right, got my knickers in a twist as to which way I should be turning the tie-rod end and on which side and eventually went to the alignment place.

For you to get it close, use a length of string attached to axel stands at the front and rear. Put the steering wheel in the 12 o'clock position (straight ahead) and reposition the axel stands so the centre of the road wheel front and back are equal distance from the string. Then measure from the rim to the string to determine if your alignment is toe in or out. If for example it is toe in, then the tie-rod needs to be screwed in a little (shorten) to align the wheel. If toe out, then unscrew to lengthen the rod. You can find plenty of how to vids on You tube.

But how much? Very good question to which I do not have an answer. My experience is that it is total trail and error until you have lost count of how many clock/anti-clock turns you have made. Then go for a test drive to 'stabilsie' things and check the steering wheel position. Then do it all again and again and again, then go to the garage!!!
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I marked the track rod itself counted the turns of t.rod end 23 but replacing i had to give it a quarter 45 degrees more turn to fit, should have loosened lock nut kept track rod in position turned tr.end and tightened locknut.
When making fine adjustments to the steering wheel position, it would be useful to know what one full turn of the track rods (i.e. equal but opposite amounts each side) equates to in terms of degrees at the steering wheel.

I was eased into the ditch when I owned my MK3 ST late one winter evening. This wrecked a wheel as being on a country road I had to find that piece of hedge hiding a rather large piece of granite. This knocked wheel out of alignment moving steering wheel off to the side. Fortunately close to home and was able to limp home.

To make a temporary adjustment i strapped 2 pieces of straight timber I happened to have on to outside of wheels. These were long enough to project out in front of car. I then adjusted nearside track rod until timber was parallel. Then visited local dealer for alignment check, who reported no further adjustments needed. Car drove fine and steering wheel was true. Never did find out what moved or bent to allow wheel.

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