Steering Wheel Off track?

Topics relating to Lift Kits, Suspension, Steering...

Moderator: volvite

Popdodle
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2022 5:09 am

Steering Wheel Off track?

Postby Popdodle » Fri Apr 22, 2022 6:57 pm

Hello
So I bought a 2008 Nissan pathfinder a little over a year ago and when I bought it I knew the suspension was going to need to be replaced. So after buying a small lift kit and running into alignment issues and control arm replacements I finally got the car all done with wheels, tires & alignment around December of 2021. But now as of the last month or so occasional ill hear a pop noise ( can be during driving over bumps or slow on flat) and my steering wheel will go off-angle. I can still drive straight but the steering wheel is at an angle to do it & it does not wander but then a few days of driving like that I'll hear a thud and the steering wheel will go straight again and the car drives straight as well at that angle. When this first happened I thought I hit a bump and threw the alignment off but it has since multiple times bumped back into place and back & forth about 4-5 times now. The tie rods are good I checked that right away. my question here is this a rack & pinion issue or a steering column issue? I'm not sure which would cause this and have found little info on it & I've already dropped so much money into this thing I don't want to replace something that's not the issue.

Any help or insight would be much appreciated.


User avatar
palmerwmd
Site Admin
Posts: 1986
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:45 am
Location: Mid Atlantic

Re: Steering Wheel Off track?

Postby palmerwmd » Fri Apr 22, 2022 6:59 pm

Sir,
welcome to the NissanPath.
I could make an educated guess I will leave the answer up to our experts.

User avatar
VStar650CL
Posts: 152
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2020 6:19 pm

Re: Steering Wheel Off track?

Postby VStar650CL » Fri Apr 22, 2022 8:25 pm

If your clunk is in front, my first guess would be a loose rack or one bad rack bushing. Having both bushings bad would probably send you all over the road, but loose bolts or a bad bush at one end would clunk around and cause an off-center wheel with little or no change in toe-in-toe-out. Nothing in the column can really cause those symptoms, it has to be something shifting side-to-side without affecting the basic steering geometry.

If the clunk is in the rear then it can be a lot of things. Changes in thrust angle will affect the wheel, but you may not notice that you're "parallelogramming" down the road with the whole vehicle slightly off center.

Popdodle
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2022 5:09 am

Re: Steering Wheel Off track?

Postby Popdodle » Sat Apr 23, 2022 9:12 am

The clunk is 100 percent in the front. I was possibly thinking bad bushing but I honestly didn't know if it would cause something like that. But that should be a cheap thing to replace though prob a pain in the butt.

TooMuchControl
Posts: 144
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2020 4:41 pm
Location: Torontah

Re: Steering Wheel Off track?

Postby TooMuchControl » Sat Apr 23, 2022 11:07 am

I must have typed and deleted three possibilities while doing this. Deleting after thinking it through.
What gets to me, is the steering continues to be dead-on, but the wheel is off C.

This has to be a seized tie rod. Has to be.... Would think anything else would be constantly loose and cause wandering on the road?

No play may be evident...and appear "tight"...have they actually been disconnected and checked of they move smoothly without being attached to the knuckle?

It would be interesting to see once you find it, what it winds up being.

silverarrow27
Posts: 328
Joined: Sat May 02, 2020 1:40 am
Location: Banning, CA

Re: Steering Wheel Off track?

Postby silverarrow27 » Sat Apr 23, 2022 3:38 pm

I'm also thinking loose steering rack or maybe it's just CBC since you have a lift and probably using factory uca's. Bad inner tied rods? Although, it could be electrical, perhaps SAS?

User avatar
VStar650CL
Posts: 152
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2020 6:19 pm

Re: Steering Wheel Off track?

Postby VStar650CL » Sat Apr 23, 2022 5:23 pm

TooMuchControl wrote:
Sat Apr 23, 2022 11:07 am
I must have typed and deleted three possibilities while doing this. Deleting after thinking it through.
What gets to me, is the steering continues to be dead-on, but the wheel is off C.

This has to be a seized tie rod. Has to be.... Would think anything else would be constantly loose and cause wandering on the road?
I guess it could be tie-rods, but that would affect the toe quite a bit if it was severe enough to off-center the wheel. That should make the steering feel tight or loose, and the OP doesn't mention anything. The rack moving around wouldn't do that, it would just off-center the wheel with no effect on toe. It also doesn't need to mean the rack is flapping in the breeze, just that it's loose enough at one or both ends to shift position when loaded up.

TooMuchControl
Posts: 144
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2020 4:41 pm
Location: Torontah

Re: Steering Wheel Off track?

Postby TooMuchControl » Sat Apr 23, 2022 6:46 pm

Makes sense..when you state it.

Those are three of the biggest bolts on the truck for a reason. I'm stuck trying to imagine how it slips out of position, keeps the position under load. I would figure every bump would self correct the wheel back.

The idea was to go under the truck, have it started by someone, and have them turn it side to side. Something has to be evident there.

User avatar
VStar650CL
Posts: 152
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2020 6:19 pm

Re: Steering Wheel Off track?

Postby VStar650CL » Sat Apr 23, 2022 7:05 pm

TooMuchControl wrote:
Sat Apr 23, 2022 6:46 pm
The idea was to go under the truck, have it started by someone, and have them turn it side to side. Something has to be evident there.
Agreed. If it's anything in the tie-rods or the rack, turning it hard to the stops should get it to do something.

Popdodle
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2022 5:09 am

Re: Steering Wheel Off track?

Postby Popdodle » Mon Apr 25, 2022 5:49 am

VStar650CL wrote:
Sat Apr 23, 2022 7:05 pm
TooMuchControl wrote:
Sat Apr 23, 2022 6:46 pm
The idea was to go under the truck, have it started by someone, and have them turn it side to side. Something has to be evident there.
Agreed. If it's anything in the tie-rods or the rack, turning it hard to the stops should get it to do something.
I had someone move the steering wheel while I went under and looked at everything and it all seems normal. Only thing I did find is the inner tie rod boot has a small leak of what I'm assuming is power steering fluid but the leak isn't terrible because it's barely any and it's also not coming out of the boot. But everything else looked fine (steering wheel was off centered again when I was looking )

TooMuchControl
Posts: 144
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2020 4:41 pm
Location: Torontah

Re: Steering Wheel Off track?

Postby TooMuchControl » Tue Apr 26, 2022 1:27 pm

Interesting! I certainly don't want to have you chasing to no end.

if it were me, and I was bored...this is just for information more than anything.
I'm not saying to do this or that...but...

Mark points where the steering rack is attached, to the frame.
Maybe around the three connecting bolts.
Something to mark it's current position.

Once your steering drops back into place, check that mark (or make two or three), and see if the rack has moved from the lines you marked.

If it doesn't move, then we would probably be able to isolate this down.
If it does move, we nailed it down.

TooMuchControl
Posts: 144
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2020 4:41 pm
Location: Torontah

Re: Steering Wheel Off track?

Postby TooMuchControl » Sat May 07, 2022 8:52 am

I'm wondering if there was an aha moment to this interesting issue?

User avatar
VStar650CL
Posts: 152
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2020 6:19 pm

Re: Steering Wheel Off track?

Postby VStar650CL » Sat May 07, 2022 9:19 am

TooMuchControl wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 8:52 am
I'm wondering if there was an aha moment to this interesting issue?
I dunno, but your notion of paint-marking the rack was excellent and I hope the OP tried it.


Return to “R51 Suspension and Steering”

cron