Steering wheel crooked when going straight - ZDriver.com


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Old 04-09-2014, 11:47 AM   #1
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Steering wheel crooked when going straight

I'm guessing something broke or wore out, which makes me have to compensate for the broken part. Car has 276,000 miles.

I am ordering a full set of polyurethane bushings, plus subframe bushings and motor mounts. What else do I need to replace to correct the steering?
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Old 04-09-2014, 12:26 PM   #2
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Is\was there wiggle in the steering column? There is a piece connecting the upper steering column to the lower. If that is worn you should replace to get it back showroom new feeling.
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Old 04-10-2014, 02:43 PM   #3
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What Donn is saying is there are 2 universals in the steering column. If they wear out (and they do), you get excessive play in the steering wheel, and it can go off center. If that is not it, I would get the front end checked out immediately as something is broken in the suspension or the alignment got wacked way off. Either one means visually inspect the front end. It may be as simple as needing an alignment, suspension parts, or steering column universals.
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Old 04-10-2014, 03:09 PM   #4
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crooked steering wheel means what? did it suddenly not be level when driving straight or what else happened. I agree with flying T take it to an alignment shop see what they say. If you took the steering wheel off then you may not have gotten it back in the correct orientation. there is a universal but only one that I recall. there maybe a rubber coupling or I'm thinking of 280zx. you didn't bother to tell us what car you are asking about. anyway you should do this:
Replace outer tie rod ends, and ball joints. replace the bushings with poly (don't forget to lube them as directed unless you like squeaky things). New shocks. Get new boots for power steering. all those things will make you think you are driving a different car. doing them piece meal is a waste you won't see a great improvement until you do the complete job. You need to get the car realigned after messing with the front. Have your tires in good shape and rebalance. Rear bushings nice too but more work and you won't notice as great an improvement. Rear shocks also because if the fronts are gone so are the rears. if car squats when you jump on the gas the rears are gone. If you have the electro adjustable shocks they are DEFINITELY GONE.

If you are doing a turbo car shocks (electro adjust I think may be only on the turbos) then you need the adapter plates to fit modern shocks to the car. Easiest way is find an n/a at the junkyard and take the mounting plates. They may be available thru NAPA (listed) but I had the n/a plates.


if you would really like answers that would help you and avoid flames give the following info when you post: year of car, n/a or turbo engine, stick or slushbox. Most of us can tell by the year what model you have ie 85T is a turbo z31. Z cars come in many flavors and they are all different. example 84,85,86 Z31's pretty comparable. there were changes in 87,88,89. in addition 300ZX can refer to two completly different cars the Z31 and the Z32. No mindreaders here the more info you can post the more likely you get a cogent useful answer
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Old 04-11-2014, 09:49 AM   #5
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I figured it'd be common sense that I'm posting about a Z31 in the "300ZX (Z31) Forums"

Anyway, the car seems to steer and turn like normal, but there is definitely some play in the column. I'll look at it today, I just have seen a few cars in the past with crooked steering wheels.. and I have no idea how it is even possible (except if some idiot just didn't put the wheel back on straight)

Can these U-joints be purchased new? I had a 240sx, and you had to buy an entire new column when I looked into it. (This was a few years ago)
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Old 04-11-2014, 10:48 AM   #6
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Pull and put back on

Pull the wheel and put it back on strait, the key is to be able to get the car going strait and then not moving the wheel, I back out of my garage to the end of the drive, head back to the garage without turning the wheel, stop when I know I am going strait, lock the wheel, remove your keys. When it locks, be mindful if it goes slightly one way or the other, the splines on the wheel will give you enough room to get it right. Unless you have a lot of slop and its a real issue, then rebuild or replace it, and yes parts are available. if you need a wheel puller, do it in the parking lot of an oreilly or autozone, that's where I installed a new wheel on my mini truck, got it strait ! rented the tool and took it right back in 10 minutes. I have a wheel puller now, they are really cheap, 15 bucks.
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Old 04-11-2014, 06:46 PM   #7
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If the wheel was straight, and now it is not, and you have not removed the steering wheel before, do not remove the steering wheel and put it straight. Find out why it went crooked to begin with, don't hide the problem by putting the wheel straight. Something caused it to change.
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Old 04-12-2014, 06:25 AM   #8
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common?

I figured it'd be common sense that I'm posting about a Z31 in the "300ZX (Z31) Forums"

and yet still no year ? please pay attention, hard to help a knucklehead who makes a statement like that, are you paying attention and fully reading the posts, we always ask that you preface you question with a little info on your car, all z31's are not alike, but you assume that is so. So what year, what engine option, what have you modded on the car etc. No two 30 plus year cars are going to be alike, so please help us out.


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Old 04-12-2014, 10:36 AM   #9
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Enough...

Quote:
Originally Posted by todd5854 View Post
I'm guessing something broke or wore out, which makes me have to compensate for the broken part. Car has 276,000 miles.

I am ordering a full set of polyurethane bushings, plus subframe bushings and motor mounts. What else do I need to replace to correct the steering?
Previous posts by TODD5854 indicate this is a 1985 NA 2+2 acquired in March of this year. All Z31 models used the same steering mechanics for at least the first three years, and may have done so for the entire Z31 series. Realigning the steering can be done by rotating the splined yoke on the u-joint bolted to the input shaft of the steering rack. Given the high mileage but otherwise good steering characteristics, I suspect a previous owner replaced the steering rack and did a poor job of aligning the steering wheel during reassembly.

Secure the front end of the car on jack stands. The steering rack is mounted to the back of the front end cross member. Look under the car from the driver's side just behind the front tire. The steering shaft has only one u-joint of concern at the rack, held in place by a cross bolt. The exposed shaft is in two sections. The bottom section is solid and slides into the top section about 8" or so inches above the u-joint. The slide joint is secured with it's own cross bolt. First, turn the steering wheel to point the front tires straight forward. Second, index (mark) the current alignment of the yoke on the input shaft and the alignment of the bottom shaft with the upper section. Remove both cross bolts. Use a small pry bar, large flat blade screw driver or crow's foot to apply force to loosened yoke. As the yoke slides off the input shaft, you will need to giggle the bottom steering shaft section to slide it into the upper shaft section. Liberal use of WD-40 or similar lube may be needed. Once the yoke clears the input shaft, the whole bottom shaft with the u-joint attached will slide out. I suggest you clean the assembly and inspect the u-joint for excessive wear.

To straighten the steering wheel, have someone hold the wheel in the center position as you reassemble the steering shaft. Insert the bottom shaft into the upper shaft aligning the index marks. Slide the splined yolk of the u-joint onto the nearest splines on the input shaft. The index marks will not be aligned, but will indicate how far off center the yolk was previously installed. Once the u-joint is in place, reinstall the cross bolts and torque to the values found in the FSM.

If this procedure does not solve the problem, I wouldn't drive the car anywhere until the steering has been sorted out.

Last edited by ken99; 04-12-2014 at 11:57 AM. Reason: spelling and diction corrections
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Old 04-12-2014, 06:47 PM   #10
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you never answered is this a sudden occurence but was that way since you got the car????
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Old 04-13-2014, 09:24 PM   #11
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Sorry, yes, the car has been this way since the purchase a few months ago. No sudden change. The vehicle is also 100% stock to the best of my knowledge. Steering seems to be normal in both directions, no odd noises at all. I have not taken the steering wheel off, but maybe the previous owner has. Probably unrelated, but the power steering does not work very well either. It was low on fluid when I bought the vehicle, so I added more. All on top and around the reservoir is wet, so there's a leak. Still, I don't think the power steering could cause it to act like that. I planned to do this anyway, but looks like I'll get full-poly bushings, new tie rod ends, and a few other suspension parts and see if its the exact same.. maybe the previous owner just put the wheel back on crooked or something. who knows!

Vehicle is a Maroon 1985 300ZX 2+2 n/a 5 speed with a Maroon interior and an analog dash! Sorry I didn't realize an important vehicle component would be so different amongst the Z31 chassis. I'm used to saying "S13," those cars are all the same more or less.

Last edited by todd5854; 04-13-2014 at 09:28 PM. Reason: More information
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Old 04-14-2014, 04:50 PM   #12
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Most likely the pervious owner had to fix the headlight switch or steering rack (very common problems) and did not pay attention to putting the wheel back on straight.

Still would be a good idea to get the car aligned so they can check out the front end.
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:21 AM   #13
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I'm going to be stripping the car down very soon for the turbo motor, all new poly bushings, tie rods, sway bar links, etc. After that, I'll get the alignment. Im hoping the problem resolves itself (maybe a bad bushing or something) but seeing as it's the project I want it done right, because I can afford the time.
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Old 04-16-2014, 04:04 PM   #14
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ball joints, shocks and boots for steering rack. you don't want to realign the thing every time you do something so do it right the first time. alignment around $80 where I am.
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:26 PM   #15
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I haven't bought a brand new car since my '86na. I get away with it because I have convinced myself that nobody sells a used car with zero problems. I set aside at least a grand above the purchase price and hope that will bring the car back to where I need it. It usually needs more when I get into everything.

But your 'new' baby is worth the extra time and bucks. And forget about getting that extra money back when you sell it. Just think about driving it in the improved condition you yourself brought it to because you wanted to. That's repayment enough. And Z31s will love you back for it.
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Old 04-20-2014, 05:02 PM   #16
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Roger, where do you recommend buying poly bushings at? The steering rack boots I can probably buy at my local parts store.

I saw a full kit here: Motorsport! Master Urethane Bushing Kit, 84-89 300ZX - The Z Store! Nissan-Datsun 240Z-260Z-280Z-280ZX-300ZX(Z31/Z32)-350Z-370Z Parts
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Old 04-20-2014, 06:48 PM   #17
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All you need is the Motorsport kit you mentioned and the rear subframe bushings.

Motorsport! Subframe Bushing Kit, 84-89 300ZX - The Z Store! Nissan-Datsun 240Z-260Z-280Z-280ZX-300ZX(Z31/Z32)-350Z-370Z Parts

And while you are at it, check the transmission mounts and rear differential mounts.

Transmission mount
http://store.acadianasportscars.com/z31plymnt

Rear diff.
http://www.z31parts.com/

Doing all the above will significantly tighten up your suspension and driving experience.

Last edited by FlyingT; 04-20-2014 at 07:00 PM.
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