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Steering wheel off to the right with only me. Hangs left when I have a passenger

1117 Views 12 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Flade
Hi all,
Have a rather complex situation going on. First I’ll start with the backstory. I took the car in for an alignment to a local shop that has a good rep among classic car owners. When I picked it up after the alignment tech said he pulled it into specs but wasn’t happy with it. Said the car was sloppy at higher speed and also informed me that he couldn’t set the right front camber where it needed to be because it was out of travel to be shimmed. He thinks the car might’ve been in an accident years ago and it might be bent up in the front right…. He said he did what he could and adjusted caster in a way to counteract the lack of camber on the right.




ok so at this point I head out and first the steering wheel is off center to the right, and then I notice that the car is super darty on the freeway. So darty that I was on edge to drive it. It had not been like this before the alignment. I decided to go to a friends who is into mustangs and he advised we change the power steering cylinder.

alright so we change that and it fixed the darty feeling on the freeway. Steering wheel still off center to the right.. that evening a friend and I take the car out to dinner and I notice the car still tracks straight but now the wheel is left of center… I’m really confused so when we get back I decided to drive the same route alone and sure enough the wheel is right of center again. It never used to be like this and I’m just trying to get it right since I’m a perfectionist. I’ll post a picture of before and after alignment specs from the shop.

few things to note
-Car has factory power steering
-Steering box is tightened so there’s no play but not so tight that it’s binding.
- track down the road doesn’t change only steering wheel position

So? What do you all think? I know that toe in should tighten the steering. Is that the thing that I need to change?
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Are you using radial tires? Is your alignment for the original bias-ply tires? Or vice versa?
Be sure there are no broken belts in the tires.
Try rotating the tires and making even pressure.
Inspect your springs, saddles, and shocks.
Remove the steering box and have it professionally rebuilt. Inspect and replace any other worn steering components. Inspect and replace any worn wheel bearings or spindles. Inspect and replace any worn strut rod or control arm bushings or ball joints.
Check the frame for square in each dimensional axis.
 

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That alignment guy is not very knowledgeable. He has simply set the adjustments to attempt to get everything in the "green" which is what his computer alignment machine is telling him. The 1965 factory specifications (notice the upper left corner of the screen) were for bias ply tires and I assume you have radial tires.
Are there any shims between the UCA and the shock tower on the right side? If so he was lying to you about damage from the past.
It's no wonder your car is all over the road. I'd be asking for a refund for this alignment and find another shop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That alignment guy is not very knowledgeable. He has simply set the adjustments to attempt to get everything in the "green" which is what his computer alignment machine is telling him. The 1965 factory specifications (notice the upper left corner of the screen) were for bias ply tires and I assume you have radial tires.
Are there any shims between the UCA and the shock tower on the right side? If so he was lying to you about damage from the past.
It's no wonder your car is all over the road. I'd be asking for a refund for this alignment and find another shop.
Ah ok, so since I do have radials it should be different. Do you agree with [email protected]? We’re my settings within spec pre alignment?
 

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Those settings are completely wrong. As others have said they were for a 60s Falcon driving on 60‘s roads on bias ply tires. A lot has changed in 50 years.

Do the Shelby/Arning Drop on the car then have the alignment set to the specs per Open Tracker.

Find an old school mechanic will to work with you to get it right. Most modern mechanics don’t know anything more than what the computer says. They blindly do what it says.

STREET SPECS *
Caster:
+2° to +3.5° Manual Steer

+2.5° to +4.5° Power Steer

Camber:
0 to -.5°

Toe:
1/8″ in


Also check your shock towers to make sure there are no crack and the they haven’t separated. I found out my car had been hit on the drivers wheel and cracked the tower And bent the rail. Could never get the alignment right. Had to replace the whole apron.

If you really want it to drive well I recommend you consider adding the following:

Export Brace & Monte Carlo bar and optionally a ZRay bottom brace will really help too.
These all ensure your geometry is correct So the alignment works as intended. If the body flexes it’s impossible for the alignment to keep the tires placed properly on the ground.

Then add Open Trackers Bilstein street shocks, roller perches and roller idler arm. These really improve the feel and response of the car.

The final improvements are GT springs front and back and a 1” or 1 1/8” sway bar.

You won’t believe how much better it drives with these changes. You don’t have to do it all at once, but you have to check the alignment after each change, so it’s cheaper in the long run to do it all together.
 
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Do you agree with [email protected]? We’re my settings within spec pre alignment?
Your pre-alignment settings were not in spec for the 1965 Ford Factory Specifications but they were in spec for modern radial tires. The alignment guy's machine is still programmed with the 1965 specs and he is apparently oblivious to modern specs. And the guys who recommended him are apparently oblivious to modern specs.
 

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Caster needs to be positive, not negative. Negative caster is very unstable and not a good idea for street use. As others have noted, radial tires require large amounts of caster vs the vintage bias plies.

Flade's post is 100% spot on. If you bring it back, have them try to get it into the range recommended by Opentracker.
 

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That's...one hell of a bachelor lean you've got going on there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi gang, I wanted to report that I used Flade's suggestion and had the Toe, Caster, and Camber set to what he recommended for street performance.

STREET SPECS *
Caster:
+2° to +3.5° Manual Steer

+2.5° to +4.5° Power Steer

Camber:
0 to -.5°

Toe:
1/8″ in

This seems to have fixed my problem! thank you very much!
 

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Hi gang, I wanted to report that I used Flade's suggestion and had the Toe, Caster, and Camber set to what he recommended for street performance.

STREET SPECS *
Caster:
+2° to +3.5° Manual Steer

+2.5° to +4.5° Power Steer

Camber:
0 to -.5°

Toe:
1/8″ in

This seems to have fixed my problem! thank you very much!
Glad to see it was a simple fix. Enjoy the ride..
 
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