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Old 07-23-2011, 09:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
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loose steering wheel feel

I have changed tires once on my '05 HL, 70k miles, but I hadan alignment 2 twice already. I am just about ready to get new tires, but one thing concerns me. My steering wheel feels very loose while driving and while at a stop light. I know it's not a Porsche, but it shouldn't feel that loose. Ok it might just be that I need an alignment, but for a 3rd time in 6 yrs?
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Old 07-23-2011, 10:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dinosaur1 View Post
I have changed tires once on my '05 HL, 70k miles, but I hadan alignment 2 twice already. I am just about ready to get new tires, but one thing concerns me. My steering wheel feels very loose while driving and while at a stop light. I know it's not a Porsche, but it shouldn't feel that loose. Ok it might just be that I need an alignment, but for a 3rd time in 6 yrs?

Loose steering feel (excessive play) is caused by worn out front end components, worn bushings, worn out ball joints, or a worn out steering box/rack. None of this is corrected by alignment.
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Old 07-23-2011, 10:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Maybe worn steering rack bushings (is there one on the HL?).
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Old 07-24-2011, 12:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The last alignment made it feel much tighter though. My dealer hasn't brought up any other concerns...
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Dino, other than loose steering (which needs some elaboration) you don't say why you've have had it aligned so often. Is it ruining tires? Doesn't rack straight? Wanders?

An '05 with lower miles *probably* isn't a candidate for my "bushing fix". Do note that the front alignment seems to need to be pretty spot on zero toe for these HL's to feel right.

Also hate to say it, but a lot of alignment guys seem to make adjustments to the toe and camber without bouncing the suspension and turning the wheel to remove built up tension in the bushings, between adjustments. In older cars with sloppier bushings, *IMHO*, it's important. Otherwise what looks like zero toe or correct camber may not be after it's driven.

If there are any alignment masters on the forum, would like to hear their take.
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Dino, other than loose steering (which needs some elaboration) you don't say why you've have had it aligned so often. Is it ruining tires? Doesn't rack straight? Wanders?

An '05 with lower miles *probably* isn't a candidate for my "bushing fix". Do note that the front alignment seems to need to be pretty spot on zero toe for these HL's to feel right.

Also hate to say it, but a lot of alignment guys seem to make adjustments to the toe and camber without bouncing the suspension and turning the wheel to remove built up tension in the bushings, between adjustments. In older cars with sloppier bushings, *IMHO*, it's important. Otherwise what looks like zero toe or correct camber may not be after it's driven.

If there are any alignment masters on the forum, would like to hear their take.
It wanders. Tires are always rotated. I guess I'll need to wait when I get new tires in fall to to the alignment again.
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Old 07-27-2011, 05:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Unless it has a case of toe-out at front wheels, the other causes of wander are suspension or steering rack related. No amount of alignment or tire rotation will fix that.

Someone has to start inspecting parts and eliminate what *isn't* bad and/or discover the smoking gun.
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Old 07-28-2011, 07:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by AVConsult View Post
Unless it has a case of toe-out at front wheels, the other causes of wander are suspension or steering rack related. No amount of alignment or tire rotation will fix that.

Someone has to start inspecting parts and eliminate what *isn't* bad and/or discover the smoking gun.
You have to remember I live in rough WI winters so 2 alignments in 6 yrs isn't that unusual. My worry is that I tell the dealer about something being wrong and they will magnify the problem to get more $$$$.
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Old 07-28-2011, 06:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by AVConsult View Post
Unless it has a case of toe-out at front wheels, the other causes of wander are suspension or steering rack related. No amount of alignment or tire rotation will fix that.

Someone has to start inspecting parts and eliminate what *isn't* bad and/or discover the smoking gun.
The main concern I have is when I am traveling at slower speeds (non-highway) when I turn left or right I feel that it's not responsive as it should be. Meaning I have to turn it a little bit more than what I think is normal to turn left or right. It also doesn't have that tight steering wheel feel that makes me feel comfortable when going faster on the highway. The last time I got an alignment it felt like it was brand new.
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