steering wheel not center

Land Speeder

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After the first day at GSMTR, I'm driving back to camp and notice the steering wheel is 45 degrees more clockwise than it should be. I realize something is either bent or twisted, but a once over has shown nothing to be so. Other than the steering wheel visually being off, it drives as normal as usual. I've searched the archives but can't find anything 80 related. Where do I start with a fine-tooth comb? Aside from literally putting a straight line on my tie-rod, it doesn't appear bent. Pitman arm looks fine. steering shaft looks good. I noticed yesterday that my front driver side is slightly lower than the the other now (it wasn't when I left for the trip).
I want to do as much as possible on this before I turn it over to the pros.
Ideas???
 

Land Speeder

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semlin, you're saying that nothing looked wrong but by replacing the relay rod, it corrected the problem? And by having it out, you could see the bend?

Pardon my ignorance guys, but I'm not familiar with the relay rod, time to break out the FSM!
 

Land Speeder

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Land Speeder said:
Pardon my ignorance guys, but I'm not familiar with the relay rod, time to break out the FSM!
I found it. OK, so I'm wondering if I'm refering to the tie rod as the relay rod, or vice versa. Either way, I should pull btoh to see if one is bent huh? Good project for tomorrow evening.
 

Darwood

 
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The relay rod or drag link is the rod that goes from the steering box to the knuckle. The tie rod goes from knuckle to knuckle. Actually the wheel can be misaligned if you bent either rod. The tie rod would probably be the worse of the two to bend since bending that one will tow out your tires making steering more erratic.

Now that I think about it you can easily eliminate the tie rod from being the bent rod by paying attention to the steering wheel. Bending the tie rod will toe out the wheels which will in effect shorten the drag link. This in turn will cock the wheel to the right when you are going straight.

Hehe of course now that I think about it even more, bending the relay rod will in effect shorten it as well which will in turn cock the wheel to the right when you are going straight.

Now if the wheel had turned counter-clockwise then I would say something was loose.

Seeing as the wheel is now 45 degrees clockwise, then yeah either rod is bent. ;)
 

CharlieS

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My relay rod was also bent pretty good too and required some straightening before alignment.

Charlie
 

semlin

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i didn't say I replaced it :D The rod looked straight to me until I pulled it and looked straight down the shaft. then I could see a bow at one end. Depending on how bad the bend is you can address the problem by adjusting the threads that attach the relay rod to the relay rod ends to compensate for the shortening from the bend. That said, a bend causing a 45 degree steering misalignment at the wheel might mean a rod that needs to be replaced. sleeoffroad seels a good set of replacement heavy duty rods and rod ends at a price very competitive to OEM.

you will need a tie rod end puller to remove the relay rod. I highly recommend an OTC part I bought to do this which is listed in a recent thread about my relay rod removal.
 
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