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Issues centering a steering wheel on a 56 Dodge
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56D500boy
Posted 2017-07-30 6:25 PM (#545195)
Subject: Issues centering a steering wheel on a 56 Dodge



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This past Thursday, I had a shop install new old stock inner and outer tie rod end, center link and idler arm on my 56 Dodge. Naturally, they did an alignment after.

When I picked up the car, he told me everything is tight and that the car drives/steers real well. HOWEVER, he did say that I will have to adjust the position of the steering wheel to suit the new "center" position. I said no problem

I went out to do that today. Pulled the wheel (needs a gear/steering wheel puller even with being splined), I tried to re-install the wheel in the needed position (about 2 splines to the left) and could not do it. Then I noticed that the steering wheel and the steering column shaft both have wide spot which effectively becomes a key-way. Merde.

I assume that the correct way to center the steering wheel involves the tie rod end adjustment. (That even sounds familiar from back in the day (1967-72) when I had a 1955 Canadian Dodge.

He did such a nice job on the work and the alignment that I am going to hate break it to him that the alignment will have to be redone to center the wheel.



Edited by 56D500boy 2017-07-30 6:28 PM
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wizard
Posted 2017-07-31 1:52 AM (#545208 - in reply to #545195)
Subject: Re: Issues centering a steering wheel on a 56 Dodge



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The first check when doing toe-in adjustments is to ensure that the steering gear is in the center (straight). So, the guy made a mistake - tell him or he will keep on doing this.
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60 dart
Posted 2017-07-31 4:48 AM (#545211 - in reply to #545195)
Subject: Re: Issues centering a steering wheel on a 56 Dodge



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not centering the steering wheel is a rookie mistake that needs to be addressed ------------------------------------------------later
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grunau
Posted 2017-07-31 7:28 AM (#545219 - in reply to #545211)
Subject: Re: Issues centering a steering wheel on a 56 Dodge


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Hi
Major peeve with me ....I don't know what it is with these guys and centering the wheel .... I've had a number of instances where I had to go right back to the shop and sit on their bumper until it was done right. Standard practice was the use of a double "J" bar that hooked under the bottom edge of the front seat and the lower rim of the steering wheel in order to hold the wheel in place while adjusting the tie rod end sleeves. That was after the sector shaft adjustment was checked/completed. A road test was a standard thing prior to releasing the car......
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Shep
Posted 2017-07-31 9:04 PM (#545264 - in reply to #545219)
Subject: Re: Issues centering a steering wheel on a 56 Dodge



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When I do an alignment in my shop first I check the steering wheel turns lock to lock to assure centering the box, then drive to check the wheel position when driving straight.ahead. If everything matches up I mark the wheel in the straight position. Then do the tie rods or what ever, with the wheel locked ahead, on our cars the the toe in must be set with the car running to eliminate the play in the gear box, if it has p/s. Using laser head modern equipment, you can easily center the wheel using the 4 head set up, if possible.

Edited by Shep 2017-07-31 9:05 PM
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Chrome58
Posted 2017-08-01 4:21 AM (#545277 - in reply to #545195)
Subject: Re: Issues centering a steering wheel on a 56 Dodge



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If you absolutely want to keep the alignment job, you can center the steering wheel by creating a new "wide spot" on the shaft with a small precision grinder.
You only have to grind one spline, and it'll do the job.

I had to do it on my car, because as I replaced the steering box, I had lost the correct position.
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wizard
Posted 2017-08-01 1:17 PM (#545299 - in reply to #545195)
Subject: Re: Issues centering a steering wheel on a 56 Dodge



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This is not a good advice. The wide key is indicating the center position of the steering gear. The screw in the steering gear is made for to have the least free play in the center position. If one Changes the position of the steering Wheel for to compensate for a wrongly toe-in alignment/adjustment it means that the steering gear will be off the center position when driving straight ahead - this of course with a more sloppy road feeling. It's easy to adjust the sleeves in opposit direction, each exactly the same measurements for to keep the toe-in and adjust the steering Wheel centering.

This is basic knowledge for any technician....
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LostDeere59
Posted 2017-08-01 3:33 PM (#545313 - in reply to #545299)
Subject: Re: Issues centering a steering wheel on a 56 Dodge



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wizard - 2017-08-01 1:17 PM

This is not a good advice. The wide key is indicating the center position of the steering gear. The screw in the steering gear is made for to have the least free play in the center position. If one Changes the position of the steering Wheel for to compensate for a wrongly toe-in alignment/adjustment it means that the steering gear will be off the center position when driving straight ahead - this of course with a more sloppy road feeling. It's easy to adjust the sleeves in opposit direction, each exactly the same measurements for to keep the toe-in and adjust the steering Wheel centering.

This is basic knowledge for any technician....



Ayup.

Gregg
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Chrome58
Posted 2017-08-02 7:30 AM (#545354 - in reply to #545299)
Subject: Re: Issues centering a steering wheel on a 56 Dodge



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wizard - 2017-08-01 7:17 PM

This is not a good advice. The wide key is indicating the center position of the steering gear. The screw in the steering gear is made for to have the least free play in the center position. If one Changes the position of the steering Wheel for to compensate for a wrongly toe-in alignment/adjustment it means that the steering gear will be off the center position when driving straight ahead - this of course with a more sloppy road feeling. It's easy to adjust the sleeves in opposit direction, each exactly the same measurements for to keep the toe-in and adjust the steering Wheel centering.

This is basic knowledge for any technician....


Well, I didn't know that.
And if it's written somewhere in the FSM, it's not clear at all ...

I thought that the centering of the gear assembly was done by the exterior valve position, and that it could be adjusted.

Edited by Chrome58 2017-08-02 7:33 AM
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LostDeere59
Posted 2017-08-02 12:53 PM (#545367 - in reply to #545354)
Subject: Re: Issues centering a steering wheel on a 56 Dodge



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Mechanical centering of the box is based on the gearset inside the box - there is a definite centerpoint which is not adjustable and should always be used as the defining foundation of the alignment.

Mechanical centering of the linkage and subsequently the spindles/wheels is done by the sleeve adjustments in the linkage.

The valve adjustment on a Chrysler steering box has to do with the operation of the power assist. To the best of my knowledge only Chrysler left this as an adjustment that could be changed in the field - I don't recall any other domestic or foreign steering gear or rack offering this adjustment. In almost 20 years of aligning Chrysler products I had to tweak that valve only twice - once on my first car which was running non-stock wheel/tire combinations far removed from stock, and the second on a customer car that had been involved in a severe front end collision and may well have had an underlying tracking issue that I was covering up.

In both cases the tweak was so small that there was no visual change, and the purpose was to offset a lead or pull that no other correction would address.


Gregg

On edit - By the way, while our FSM's are a wealth of information, as a professional who has used many brands of and sources of technical information I can say that there are significant "holes" in the information in Chryslers manuals. Other manufacturers suffer the same fate as well, which is why a resource like this board and various clubs are invaluable. Thank you to everyone who is willing to share their experience and knowledge - I know even after almost 40 years in the field I've learned quite a bit here in the last month



Edited by LostDeere59 2017-08-02 12:57 PM
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rockerarm
Posted 2017-08-05 12:44 PM (#545633 - in reply to #545195)
Subject: RE: Issues centering a steering wheel on a 56 Dodge



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56D500boy -  He did such a nice job on the work and the alignment that I am going to hate break it to him that the alignment will have to be redone to center the wheel. :(

 

The alignment does not need to be "redone". Just a simple adjustment of the tie rod link. By turning the left and right links the same amount needed to center the wheel will not effect the tow adjustment.

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Shep
Posted 2017-08-05 5:20 PM (#545640 - in reply to #545633)
Subject: Re: Issues centering a steering wheel on a 56 Dodge



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You are correct, it must be done carefully of course, and should be on turn plates, engine running. Boy , waiting for challenges on this bit. Lol
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56D500boy
Posted 2017-08-05 8:04 PM (#545647 - in reply to #545640)
Subject: Re: Issues centering a steering wheel on a 56 Dodge



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Shep - 2017-08-05 5:20 PM
You are correct, it must be done carefully of course, and should be on turn plates, engine running. Boy , waiting for challenges on this bit. Lol


Why engine running?

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Shep
Posted 2017-08-05 8:22 PM (#545650 - in reply to #545647)
Subject: Re: Issues centering a steering wheel on a 56 Dodge



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Lotta play in a p/s gear box , engine off. This makes any tie rod adjustment difficult.
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56D500boy
Posted 2017-08-05 8:24 PM (#545651 - in reply to #545650)
Subject: Re: Issues centering a steering wheel on a 56 Dodge



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Shep - 2017-08-05 8:22 PM
Lotta play in a p/s gear box , engine off. This makes any tie rod adjustment difficult.


Thanks. I will pass that along.

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LostDeere59
Posted 2017-08-05 8:46 PM (#545652 - in reply to #545640)
Subject: Re: Issues centering a steering wheel on a 56 Dodge



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Not to be argumentative, but . . .

On a regular basis, if after completing an alignment it is found that the steering wheel is off-center (meaning that the vehicle tracks straight, has no lead or pull, but the wheel is simply not on center when driving straight) the techs in many shops simply pull the vehicle on a regular lift (not the alignment rack) and with the wheels hanging in the air and the engine off, turn the tie rods an equal but opposite amount to center the wheel. Fast, easy, effective. No need for turntables or the engine running since you are not really performing an adjustment.

Now, keep in mind that equal means the same on any car, but opposite may not. You want to inspect the threads and shorten one side while lengthening the other. Experimentation is needed to determine how much, but for the product I currently work on, most times 1/2 turn will do it.


Gregg
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