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New Rack/Pinion installed - now steering wheel is off center

This is a discussion on New Rack/Pinion installed - now steering wheel is off center within the Suspension and Handling forums, part of the General Help category; I just had a new rack and pinion installed yesterday and on the way to work this morning I noticed ...

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    New Rack/Pinion installed - now steering wheel is off center

    I just had a new rack and pinion installed yesterday and on the way to work this morning I noticed the steering wheel is approximately 10 degrees off center. I will not be able to 'live with it" - it is driving me nuts.

    I am taking it to have it aligned next weekend (although it is driving straight and not pulling). Should I take it back to the original mechanic and have him center the steering wheel (like he should have done originally) or just assume the alignment shop will take care of it as part of the alignment?

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    The alignment shop should be able to take care of that. Just remind them.

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    Exactly - unless you are able to speak with the mechanic performing the alignment in advance, maybe tape a note to the steering wheel asking them to ensure that the wheel is centered.

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    Centering steering is part of the alignment process. Also something to ask them is to not compensate for road crown, some techs do it and totally mess it up. I'd rather tilt the wheel a bit if the road has excessive crown than the alignment tech assuming a number and dialing it in and you having a cocked steering on a perfectly straight/flat road.

    I guess whoever replaced it didn't count threads/turns of the tie rods and just eyeballed it from the old rack to the new. I've replaced racks in the past and when the owners took the car to the alignment shop, they were like "why did you need an alignment? It's perfect"
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    Whenever I replace a rack, I count how many turns on the outer tie rods and I measure the bellows where they meet at the rack and inner tie rods. OR I will line both racks one on top of the other on my workbench and turn the steering shaft and line the new one with the old one. That way when everything goes back together, no headaches on the alignment rack.

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    New Rack/Pinion installed now steering wheel is off center

    Most likely you did not put the steering wheel back where it was before Simply remove it again, and put it back so its straight.

    If you want to do it right, in case it was messed up by previous mechanics/owners: turn the steering wheel all the way to one side and count exactly how many turns it takes to go to the other side. Now turn the steering wheel back half as much. You just found the center in the steering box, where there is the smallest amount of play. If not straight, take the steering wheel off and put it back so it is on straight. If it is off when driving, adjust the tierods to compensate.
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