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Old 15-03-2016   #1
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tracking

Hi guys,

I finally got around to having my tracking sorted today and I've been left a bit cold. I arrived, let them sort it out by aligning the wheels and they used a tool that sat on the seat and held the steering wheel.

Anyway, I got the car back and started to drive home when I realised the car drove straight, no trouble except for the steering wheel which is 45 degrees to the right (quite dramatic you would agree?) in order to drive straight. So I'm wondering what went wrong?! Anyway, I'm going to try and get it back to them, but if they used the 'steering locking tool' it should be straight ahead, rather than off-straight ahead.

Annoying, but the car does 'credit where it's due' drive track straight.

Matt.
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Old 15-03-2016   #2
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Re: tracking

Sounds like it's slipped off....get it straight back to them.
Shouldn't be an issue to have it put right.
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Old 16-03-2016   #3
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Re: tracking

Sounds more like they don't know what they're doing!
Any half awake tracking bloke will make CERTAIN that the steering wheel is exactly aligned before handing the car back to the customer.
Unless the car has hidden suspension damage, there is no excuse for this.
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Old 18-03-2016   #4
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Re: tracking

Hello,

This time I did the steering alignment whilst in college. They allowed me to use the tracking alignment system with help from my tutor and a ex-master technician. He basically couldn't get an even 0 on toe in/toe out so we had to have +1 nearside and 0 offside. On the scale (fitted to the rear wheels), 3.5 mm was applied to each side to even out the steering and track straight.

The steering was set - dead straight! However after sorting the tracking we removed the wheel locking mechanism and found the steering wheel was 'straight ahead', however after driving the car home a little while I noticed the steering wheel was off slightly to the right, but the car tracks straight and true. Not entirely sure why the steering wheel is off slightly, but both mechanics said everything under the car was fine and the slight off-centre steering is nothing to worry about as the car tracks straight.

Matt.
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Old 18-03-2016   #5
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Re: tracking

simple enough to move the rack along 0.5 mm to get it all in balance now
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Old 18-03-2016   #6
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Re: tracking

Hi Varesecrazy,

When you say 'move the rack across', if the steering wheel angle wants to go right, does that mean I adjust the left wheel thus dragging the steering wheel into centre? But in total, would I not be causing more harm than good as the car 'despite a crooked wheel' tracks straight and true and would pulling the left wheel, leave the right wheel, or would the right wheel be dragged inline too?

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Old 18-03-2016   #7
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Re: tracking

If you've got that close, surely it's worth a bit of fine tuning to get everything 100% ?
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Old 19-03-2016   #8
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Re: tracking

If the wheel is slightly to the right, for instance, then the left track rod needs to be adjusted a tiny bit longer, and the right track rod the same amount shorter. The tracking will remain the same but the steering wheel will move anticlockwise. The only way to find out how sensitive the adjustment is, is by trial and error.
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Old 20-03-2016   #9
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Re: tracking

Hi,

Thanks for your replies. I'll have to sort it next weekend. I'll jack it up, loosen the track rod bolt and extend the nearside (left) trackrod and shorten the offside trackrod slightly.

The only worry is that by moving the front wheels into alignment with the steering wheel, would that not throw the whole tracking off? Or would it remain aligned, as the tracking at the minute is spot on with the exception of the steering wheel centring.

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Old 20-03-2016   #10
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Re: tracking

Ideally both track rod ends should be the same length. This preserves the steering geometry that allows the inner wheel to turn the correct smaller diameter circle than the outer wheel when negotiating corners. One rough and ready way of checking this is to measure - as accurately as possible - the exposed thread on each track rod end.

However you adjust the tracking there is no substitute for measuring the toe-in/toe-out afterwards.
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Old 20-03-2016   #11
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Re: tracking

When we did the tracking on Friday, the car sat on turntables which gave the 'turn in - turn out' degrees and showed offside (when turning left) at 22 degrees and nearside at 19 degrees. The rear lined up to 3 1/2 mm and the the offside was toe to 0 with nearside +1.

It's just the steering wheel is off centre, I was told by the tutor and ex-master tech to ignore the off centre steering as it won't cause any trouble. That might be so, but I find it annoying.

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Old 20-03-2016   #12
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Re: tracking

Last time I had the tracking done at a tyre firm, the steering wheel was about 15 degrees off, I took it back and they corrected it, no charge, their mistake. I bought a diy laser tracking kit, Guyson, I think and do my own, straight or not more than 8 minutes toe in. I have found that Pandas will wear the inside of the tyres if any toe out is present.
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Old 20-03-2016   #13
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Re: tracking

So if you slacken off both track rod end nuts, (I normally wrap a strip of masking tape around each rod and end and mark a line across both before I slacken off - this gives you a baseline to work from. Tippex works as well) then twist one rod, say, quarter turn inwards and the opposite rod quarter turn outwards, then tighten the nuts and test the car on the road, see how the steering wheel lines up.
Adjust in tiny increments as above until you're satisfied. The baseline is important, because you can always reset the track rods back to original position if you need to. Doing it this way you maintain your tracking settings.

As has been said before, there is no excuse not to get it right unless there has been suspension damage.
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Old 20-03-2016   #14
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Re: tracking

Hi,

Thanks everyone, it's just annoying because the steering wheel was locked, even my tutor said 'you make sure it's locked' and then we completed the tracking. What I have noticed though is that at very slow speeds, say under 10mph keeping the steering wheel straight allows the vehicle to do just that, however above 10mph (very slow speeds) the car then begins to wander left, causing the wheel to counteract and go right.

Anyhow, I'll be using all your tips and I'll be having a look next weekend. Can't get hold of a 20mm spanner, so I'll be using an adjustable wrench and molegrips. Wish me luck! Haha

Matt.
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Old 21-03-2016   #15
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Re: tracking

Often a moving car will have a tendency to drift ever so slightly to the left (with the tracking correct), because the road 'camber' means the tarmac slopes down from the centre of the road towards the gutters and drains on the left side.
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