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Old 12-20-2009, 06:58 PM   #1
justinchristie
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Default Is there a How-To on recentering the steering wheel?

I think i came across this before, but I did a few searches and can't find anything. Is there a how-to on how to re-align or re-center the steering wheel? I think i remember seeing a couple of pictures showing how to take the wheel off, and just move it over a few teeth on the spindle. Anyone know? or does anyone have their own how-to on how to do this?

Just to clarify, my alignment is just fine. the car doesn't roll to one side or the other - just the steering wheel is off.

Both my 99 SW1 and 99 SL1 have this problem.

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Old 12-20-2009, 08:01 PM   #2
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Default Re: Is there a How-To on recentering the steering wheel?

I have removed my (non airbag) 92 SC steering wheel and it is splined so you just need to rotate it one way or another before pushing it back on. make sure you have the front toe set and the wheels are really straight ahead.

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Old 12-20-2009, 08:08 PM   #3
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Default Re: Is there a How-To on recentering the steering wheel?

Don't know about a How To...

There are no splines. I (carefully) took mine apart for that reason and only ended up turning on the airbag light.

Centering wheel is with the tie rods.
With Channel Lock pliers, you can grip the tie rod so it doesn't move when you loosen the lock nut.
Then, turn rt and lft tie rods the same fraction of a "flat" on the hex.-All the while keeping an eye on the position of the tie rod end.
Hold the tie rod end with a box end wrench to keep it in position.
Three hands would be helpful.

At least that's what I did.

Make sure the car isn't dog-legging down the road. You can see the dog-leg if you carefully inspect your tracks in the snow.

4-wheel alignment (AKA: perls before swine)
My guess is the alignment guy lines up the passenger side tires and then sets toe...without a clue that the front and rear track might not be exactly the same. PRESTO! Wheel isn't straight ahead
(the best part is when they brag about how expensive their alignment equipment is, and then do a crummy job)

Last edited by bumpdraft; 12-20-2009 at 08:15 PM..

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Old 12-20-2009, 08:21 PM   #4
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Default Re: Is there a How-To on recentering the steering wheel?

Four wheel alignment.

If the steering wheel is off center then the wheel alignent is not fine. Part of a wheel alignemnt is centering the steering wheel. The wheel off center may not cause tire wear, The toe can be dead on and the wheel can still be off center.

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Old 12-20-2009, 09:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: Is there a How-To on recentering the steering wheel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssicarman View Post
Four wheel alignment.

If the steering wheel is off center then the wheel alignent is not fine. Part of a wheel alignemnt is centering the steering wheel. The wheel off center may not cause tire wear, The toe can be dead on and the wheel can still be off center.
Exactly.

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Old 12-20-2009, 09:54 PM   #6
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Default Re: Is there a How-To on recentering the steering wheel?

For gripping and holding, take a look at Vice Grip 10LW
Works well.

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Old 12-21-2009, 12:19 AM   #7
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Default Re: Is there a How-To on recentering the steering wheel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssicarman View Post
Four wheel alignment.

If the steering wheel is off center then the wheel alignent is not fine. Part of a wheel alignemnt is centering the steering wheel. The wheel off center may not cause tire wear, The toe can be dead on and the wheel can still be off center.


Hmmm, this makes sense because I pulled off my all seasons last week and put on my winter tires. I took a look at the all seasons and there was no uneven wear on them. so the alignment on the road is fine, just the alignment-from-tire-to-steering-wheel is off.

But having said that, my original question remains - how do i center the steering wheel?

I would rather tackle something like this myself, rather than paying $100 per car to fix it - when i can do it myself. also, the cars do have airbags.

But, i'm only asking because I want the steering wheel to "look" proper in the interior - if it is more of a pain-in-the-arse to fix this, just so it looks proper, then i can leave it.

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Old 12-21-2009, 12:33 AM   #8
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Default Re: Is there a How-To on recentering the steering wheel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by justinchristie View Post
But, I'm only asking because I want the steering wheel to "look" proper in the interior -
if it is more of a pain-in-the-arse to fix this, just so it looks proper,
then I can leave it.
Pappy always said, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

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Old 12-21-2009, 12:37 AM   #9
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Default Re: Is there a How-To on recentering the steering wheel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssicarman View Post
Four wheel alignment.

If the steering wheel is off center then the wheel alignent is not fine. Part of a wheel alignemnt is centering the steering wheel. The wheel off center may not cause tire wear, The toe can be dead on and the wheel can still be off center.
+1.


OP: What is happening currently, is that your equilibrium point for straight line driving does not equal your power steering mid point (point at which the extensions of both hydraulic arms are the same length). You currently have one arm extended more then the other, while the tierod ends are extended more then other to compensate for the difference. Does it hurt anything? Not that I know of.

Steering wheel removal:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcOI0zFITB4

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Old 12-21-2009, 12:49 AM   #10
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Default Re: Is there a How-To on recentering the steering wheel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by justinchristie View Post
Hmmm, this makes sense because I pulled off my all seasons last week and put on my winter tires. I took a look at the all seasons and there was no uneven wear on them. so the alignment on the road is fine, just the alignment-from-tire-to-steering-wheel is off.

But having said that, my original question remains - how do i center the steering wheel?

I would rather tackle something like this myself, rather than paying $100 per car to fix it - when i can do it myself. also, the cars do have airbags.

But, i'm only asking because I want the steering wheel to "look" proper in the interior - if it is more of a pain-in-the-arse to fix this, just so it looks proper, then i can leave it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssicarman View Post
Four wheel alignment.
Two wheel alignment (if anyplace still does them) or four wheel alignment. The S-series steering wheels, if I rememer correctly, are all either master splined or flat sided. You can not just move them a notch/spline over.
How much off center is the steering wheel? Road crown can also make the wheel appear off if all you drive on is crowned roads.

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Old 12-21-2009, 10:45 AM   #11
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Default Re: Is there a How-To on recentering the steering wheel?

The best place/way to get the steering wheel centered is to put the credit card payment for the alignment in dispute (you DID pay with a credit card, right?), take the car back to wherever you got it aligned, and tell them that you'll re-authorize the payment when they complete the work.

If the wheel isn't centered, you can't say "it ain't broke". Cancellation of the turn signals depends on steering wheel position, and this is a critical safety component of the car. Removing the wheel and "re-clocking" it on the splines simply means you have too much travel before hitting the stop in one direction, and not enough in the other. The wheel should be centered, and the toe should be set, when the steering is exactly half way across the travel of the rack

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Old 12-21-2009, 10:55 AM   #12
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Default Re: Is there a How-To on recentering the steering wheel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssicarman View Post
The S-series steering wheels, if I rememer correctly, are all either master splined or flat sided.
My 98 has flat sides, no splines - absolutely no way to center / adjust the steering wheel from inside the car.

Looks like the drawing below
Attached Images
File Type: jpg steering.JPG (1.7 KB, 120 views)

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Old 12-21-2009, 11:36 AM   #13
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Default Re: Is there a How-To on recentering the steering wheel?

1995-1999 have the two flat sides, 2000-2002 have a splined shaft. The easiest way to correct this is an alignment. You could have them do a front wheel alignment only, that should not cost 100 bucks.

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Old 12-21-2009, 11:39 AM   #14
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Default Re: Is there a How-To on recentering the steering wheel?

I used a giant pipe wrench and a big pair of vice grips to fix the toe on my '95. I don't see how people do it w/o the pipe wrench... lol

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Old 01-12-2010, 04:18 PM   #15
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Default Re: Is there a How-To on recentering the steering wheel?

As a follow-up to people reading this thread, i took it into an alignment shop and had them take a look. Turns out my driver's side tie-rod was bent, causing the steering wheel to be off - but the car remained straight on the road while driving.

Just an fyi to anyone else that comes across this thread. I'd recommend getting it checked out by a pro.

thanks for those who helped out.

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Old 01-12-2010, 05:44 PM   #16
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Default Re: Is there a How-To on recentering the steering wheel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by justinchristie View Post
As a follow-up to people reading this thread, i took it into an alignment shop and had them take a look. Turns out my driver's side tie-rod was bent, causing the steering wheel to be off - but the car remained straight on the road while driving.

Just an fyi to anyone else that comes across this thread. I'd recommend getting it checked out by a pro.

thanks for those who helped out.
That's what you were recommended to do in the first place

Since no one that I know of personally owns an alignment rack, if your steering wheel is ever off center or your car is tracking weird, the ONLY OPTION is an alignment, either 2 or all 4 wheels.

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Old 01-12-2010, 06:33 PM   #17
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Default Re: Is there a How-To on recentering the steering wheel?

i pulled the engine out of my car, removed the subframe and somehow the rack must have came off the steering shaft for a moment or something because when everything went back together my wheel was off. i did not tighten or loosen the tie-rods.

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Old 01-13-2010, 09:12 AM   #18
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Default Re: Is there a How-To on recentering the steering wheel?

The OP had some damage that an alignment discovered.
IF the car is aligned and the wheel is off, you CAN fix it.
My steering wheel was 3/4 inch off, and the car was aligned OK, it is not hard to straighten it using the tie rod ends. Just make sure you adjust both sides the same amount, you can count the flats on the tie rods for reference.

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