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How to correct off center steering wheel?

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Old 12-04-2008, 06:13 AM   #1
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How to correct off center steering wheel?

I have a maddening problem and search of the threads didn't yield a match.

I've had my 2000 4Runner SR5 V6 aligned a billion times by several different shops and my steering wheel is always off center. I make it a point to tell them before they do the work to make sure the wheel is straight or to look for problems where it prevents them from getting it level. When the work is done, there's absolutely no pull one way or another but the wheel slants from left to right - about a half inch off level.

What are my options? Can the steering wheel be removed and reset? I don't think there's an mechanical impact or wear and tear - it's just my OCD that I'm trying to satisfy.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-04-2008, 06:46 AM   #2
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inner tie rod ends. you screw one in and unscrew the other out, to go right or left. then tighten locknuts. pretty simple really

half inch is maybe a 1/4 turn. I don't know for sure

it is usually alignment first, and the last step is balance the wheel. so if your alignment is good you can do this yourself

just make sure to count exactly the number of turns you screw, and match the unscrew, and lock them both down.

Last edited by BigBallsMcFalls; 12-04-2008 at 06:49 AM.
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Old 12-04-2008, 08:08 AM   #3
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I have the same problem. It happened after I put my body lift on. I assume it had to do with the steering extension I installed.

After I get my lift installed, I am going to take it to the dealership for an alignment, and see if they can straighten the steering wheel too.

Let us know if you were able to fix it.

Good luck.
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Old 12-04-2008, 10:32 AM   #4
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Any good alinment shop should make the wheel stright. I had this problem in my RX7 and had it alined just the other day and they got the wheel perfectly stright.

Now i need to get new tires and then do that same for my 4runner. The steering wheel on it is also off.
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Old 12-04-2008, 12:17 PM   #5
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Yea, a good alignment shop is worth their weight in gold.

If you are sure the buishings in the rack are good,and inner tie rods are fine and
If for some reason you are fed-up and want to wrench on your truck you can do a "road alignment"

I would not move the steering wheel,You can,but just one tooth will throw the steering off about 10-15 degrees,about an 1-1 1/2 inches....your's does not sound that extreme.

For the road alignment,do at your own risk,but I have done this several times,for myself and friends...

We want to set the toe,just a little,also we want to set the toe evenly for both sides.this way the "toe spec" stays where it is now,just a differant spot on the rack,which will then straighten up the steering wheel.

you say left to right,so the steering wheel is pointing at 1 O'clockish....11O'clock would be the other way.

For straightening the wheel that is pointing towards 1 O'clock:

So if we held the steering wheel perfectly straight the truck would pull/veer to the left...

We want to adjust the tie rods,outter that is,evenly on both sides..

Mark the outter tie rods,nut and rack rod with a line of paint,white touch up works good,make one pass with the paint so that tie rod,nut,shaft has a nice clean line of paint,let the paint dry...This is going to be where the toe is set now.

Next we need to loosen the jam nut(can adjust one or both sides at the same time,MUST DO BOTH)

ON the right side we want to turn the rack shaft INTO the tie rod,(clockwise)
On the left side we want to turn the rack shaft OUT of the tie rod(counterclockwise)

Do each side evenly,like 1/8-1/4 of a turn evenly,then lock the jam nut down....Test drive vehical,steering wheel is better,but not straight,do again this time turn each side a little more EVENLY...Too much,and the steering wheel will point the other way(towards 11 O'clock)

So procedure: (steering wheel off towards 1 O'clock)
-set steering wheel straight,turn off truck,set e-brake
-Mark left and right tie rods,nut,rack shaft w/ line of paint
-let paint dry
-Right side (pass),break jam nut loose(22-24mm?I forget),adj wrench/vise grips on steering rack shaft,turn clock wise(tighten dirction)..1/8 of a turn(revolution)..Use line of paint for judgement....lock down jam nut while keeping paint at 1/8 of a turn..
-Left side(drivers),break jam nut loose,turn steering shaft counter clockwise(loosen direction)....1/8 of a turn ,lock down jam nut while keeping 1/8 of a turn.
-Test drive.....perfect your are done

-better,but not quite?..loosen jam nut and turn rack shaft a little more,same direction as before,right clockwise,left counter clockwise..SAME AMOUNT BOTH SIDES
Test drive....perfect your done
-Too much?..loosen jam nut and turn rack shaft back a little..oposite direction as before..right counter clock wise,left clockwise...SAME AMOUNT BOTH SIDES

If for some reason it gets all screwed up,just Line the paint lines back up to start over.
Another word of caution you should not have to do more that one full revolution of the steering rack shaft,unless the steering wheel is way off,or you have bad parts,like inner tie rods going bad,buishings worn out.
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Old 12-04-2008, 03:34 PM   #6
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Awesome guys. I have printed for reference! I hope to get this knocked out.
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Old 12-04-2008, 03:39 PM   #7
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Well maybe my english is not good and i did not understand what's on the previous advises but look too complicated.Stop the truck with the wheels straight go under the truck behind the front wheel driver side, loose the two 13mm bolt where the steering column shaft come down from the steering wheel and join to the rack and pinion's input shaft.Once it is loose push it upward get it off the input shaft.Turn it to the required direction(best thing if you get somebody to turn the steering wheel straight for you,otherwise you might will turn too much).Push it back to the input shaft,tighten the two bolts and done.
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