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Old 05-13-2003   #1
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How do you center the steering wheel?

Steering wheel centering. That's what I'm after. Anyone have a clue how to get started? What do I disassemble? Anyone taken out their airbag before? Maybe someone with an aftermarket steering wheel knows the answer?
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Old 05-13-2003   #2
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maybe you need an alignment?
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Old 05-13-2003   #3
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The car is aligned properly. I want to know how to center the steering wheel itself.
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Old 05-13-2003   #4
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try talking to a body-shop and ask them whats all involved...i dont believe that its too complex...well, maybe the srs is
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Old 05-13-2003   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by CivicHX01
maybe you need an alignment?
. . . .wut u said! maybe you need an alignment?
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Old 05-13-2003   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Grey
The car is aligned properly...



anybody else have something informative to add besides telling him to align the car lease:
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Old 05-13-2003   #7
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cant you just remove it and center it? I remember on my old Honda that the steering wheel could be romved and placed correctly on the hub since an alignment wasnt needed. NOt sure if the Civics respond in the same way. Were you hit?
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Old 05-13-2003   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by FALKEN
anybody else have something informative to add besides telling him to align the car lease:
Exactly! Thank you.

Quote:
Originally posted by RedDragon333
cant you just remove it and center it? I remember on my old Honda that the steering wheel could be romved and placed correctly on the hub since an alignment wasnt needed. NOt sure if the Civics respond in the same way. Were you hit?
I don't know? Probably. Thing is, how do I start? That's what I'm asking.

Here's the whole story so that nobody else tells me to get an alignment... I got into a frontal accident a long time ago when the car was practically stock. The bodyshop fixed the damage and they did an alignment. Everything with the suspension was fine.

Then I got into another frontal accident. This time with my new wheels. I only hit the wheels on a low curb and there was no visible damage to the car. However, after a while I noticed... The front camber was was off. One wheel was negative, one wheel was positive. I dented the rims. One of the spokes on the rims cracked in half. The steering wheel shook and the car pulled slightly to the left.

I then rotated my tires/wheels. No more vibration up front. That means the wheels are off-balanced (the ones that were up front). I then changed out my shocks for brand new ones. This solved the camber issue (almost entirely). Now the left side is perfect camber and the right side is slightly negative. Way less than before though.

Anyway... What I think happened is that after my first accident the suspension was pretty screwed up and they didn't replace anything. All they did was an alignment and they centered the steering wheel. Now that I partially fixed my suspension up front the steering wheel is crooked again. That's why I need to know how to center it.

The slight negative camber on the right side is probably due to the second accident with the curb. The front lower control arm is probably bent. I'll be replacing both of those control arms with the Type-R forged aluminum ones anyway... That should fix it. If not, then I'll be getting coilovers with camber plates up front later. Adjusting the camber should fix things for sure and for positive.

Anyway... Anyone know the answer to my original question? I'll write up a DIY when I do this when I know how to start. If nobody comes forth, then I'll start on it anyway. It shouldn't be too tough.
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Old 05-13-2003   #9
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Be a little careful in what you do. The problem you have could be caused by the frame being off and you might have steering axis inclination problems. This could only be checked on an alignment machine. HOWEVER, if all you want to do is center the steering wheel, you could loosen both tie rod ends and turn them each the same number of turns in different directions, do one or two turns and then drive the car on a level surface to see if you are turning them the right direction. Continue until you have the wheel straight. It is important to turn them exactly the same number of turns so as to not screw up your toe settings. If you need more help let me know?

Jim

Last edited by Alignment Man; 05-13-2003 at 05:37 PM.
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Old 05-13-2003   #10
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I asked my buddy who dirves lifted trucks so his suspension is always messed up.

Sorry I don't know the right word but- If your alignment is fine check the bar that's attached to your pitman arm. You maybe through that off. The bolt that attaches those two components has a threaded rod that adjusts. Tighten it and your steering wheel will be straight.

This obviously might not be the problem and you'll have to look over all the suspension components. Hope that helps
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Old 05-13-2003   #11
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you do not take the wheel off to center it. it is adjusted by adjusting the steering rack. take it to an alignment shop and tell them the steering wheel is off center, and they will adjust the end links on the steering rack to center it.
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Old 05-13-2003   #12
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^^^ excatly what he said the accidents u got into made ur stearing come of line. has happend to me in the past with other car's.
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Old 05-13-2003   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alignment Man
Be a little careful in what you do. The problem you have could be caused by the frame being off and you might have steering axis inclination problems. This could only be checked on an alignment machine. HOWEVER, if all you want to do is center the steering wheel, you could loosen both tie rod ends and turn them each the same number of turns in different directions, do one or two turns and then drive the car on a level surface to see if you are turning them the right direction. Continue until you have the wheel straight. It is important to turn them exactly the same number of turns so as to not screw up your toe settings. If you need more help let me know?

Jim
Thanks. That sounds reasonable. Although if I don't adjust the nuts the same number of turns then I'll have toe in/out issues. I'de rather just adjust the steering wheel itself so that I am guaranteed not to throw off the settings that I have now (asuming that they're the right ones).

Quote:
Originally posted by greg2k1
I asked my buddy who dirves lifted trucks so his suspension is always messed up.

Sorry I don't know the right word but- If your alignment is fine check the bar that's attached to your pitman arm. You maybe through that off. The bolt that attaches those two components has a threaded rod that adjusts. Tighten it and your steering wheel will be straight.

This obviously might not be the problem and you'll have to look over all the suspension components. Hope that helps
That's not the problem. I don't think we have a pitman arm. Those are mostly on trucks. You have to buy a longer pitman arm on a lifted truck. That's why he's had that problem. He didn't torque it down properly when he bought that piece in the first place.

Quote:
Originally posted by Zzyzx
you do not take the wheel off to center it. it is adjusted by adjusting the steering rack. take it to an alignment shop and tell them the steering wheel is off center, and they will adjust the end links on the steering rack to center it.
End links on the steering rack? Hmm... This sounds a bit more complex than just taking the steering wheel off and putting it back on centered. I'de also have to pay for this service. I'de also have to trust someone else with my car. Sorry, not an option. I could do it myself, but I'de have to go into the steering rack to figure it out. You know how tight our engine bays are! I'de have to take off my front strut bar, then my air filter, then I'de have to figure out how to get inside the steering rack. I doubt that the alignment issue is within the steering rack itself, but I guess I'de find out if I centered the steering wheel and I couldn't turn as much to one side as the other, huh?
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Old 05-13-2003   #14
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I got into a little accident a it damaged my lower control arm.. After I got it replaced my steering wheel has been a little bit off balance so I'd like to figure out how to fix this also!
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Old 05-13-2003   #15
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Let me correct my self, they are not endlinks, but is the only word I could think of to discribe them. Basisally its the part of the steering rack that adjusts toe, you adjust them so that the steering wheel is strait, and Toe is correct. thats why I say take it to an alignment shop.


if the steering wheel is mis-aligned then it means that the guy that did the alignment last didnt bother to center the wheel first. You need to center the wheel, and then adjust the toe around that center point.

Its not something I would want to do my self.

Last edited by Zzyzx; 05-13-2003 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 05-13-2003   #16
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Quote:
you do not take the wheel off to center it. it is adjusted by adjusting the steering rack. take it to an alignment shop and tell them the steering wheel is off center, and they will adjust the end links on the steering rack to center it.
Everyone giving people **** about alignment when in fact I am 100% sure the car can be properly aligned w/ the steering wheel crooked. As the quoted one states if your alignment guy did not have the steering whel straight on the rack then it will not be straight while driving. Happened to me once and they said there is a +/- 20% of the wheel they are a loud to be off within the factory spec. But a call to the regional manager of whoever you went to will get it done for you for free if it has been within 6 months.

Hope you can geet it for free, and good luck
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Old 05-13-2003   #17
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U need to fix your suspension.... like if u have stock shocks.... change them and your alignment will go back. assuming u droppped your car
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Old 05-13-2003   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by hangoooknamja
U need to fix your suspension.... like if u have stock shocks.... change them and your alignment will go back. assuming u droppped your car
Huh? Explain what you mean... I do have stock shocks. I didn't drop my car.
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Not that it really helps, but I know that on my previous car, it was possible to have a perfect alignment and the steering wheel be off. If that is the case, I'm not too sure it's a job you would want to do yourself. I personally wouldn't want to mess with the airbags or anything. But on my old car, to fix it, you needed to make sure the wheels are straight, remove the bolts that hold the airbags onto the steering wheel (from the steering column), disconnect and remove the airbag module, use a steering wheel puller (the actual name of the tool), pull off the steering wheel from the steering shaft, make sure it's aligned and then put it back on in the reverse order. That was for a Nissan though.
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Old 05-14-2003   #20
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Most steering wheels can't just be pulled off and put back on straight because most have a "key slot" that pervents you from doing this. Plus if you are able to postion the wheel the way you want you might screw up the turn signal canceling switch. Which means that possibly when you have your right signal on it might click off with just a slight movement of the wheel and the left side may never cancel.

If a car is properly aligned the steering wheel should be straight.
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Old 05-14-2003   #21
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if u're really keen on taking your steering wheel off to do some adjusting, and I think that's a REALLY bad idea, make sure you at least yank the battery first so you don't accidentally fire the SRS!
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You can get an alignment with your steering wheels off, I've had it. But the soloution to this problem is not to take you sterring wheel off.
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Old 06-12-2003   #23
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It's done! See this thread for details: HELP: Adjusting Front Toe
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