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  1. #1
    Rafkoo's Avatar
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    Odd steering problem..

    I took my A3 to have the tracking/alignment done last Friday as the steering wheel wasn't central when driving stright (slightly to the left) - and when I did have it straight, the car pulled slightly to the right.

    They adjusted the tracking as it was slightly off, but the car still pulled to the right when the steering was straight.... so I took it back to them today to have another play and see what they could come up with. Left it with the the whole afternoon and they said that they had tried 5 different setting, even throwing the alignment out by 4mm, yet all the time the car would only drive straight with the steering wheel slightly to the left. They said they then went the other way - and as luck would have it, they could make the problem worse - i.e the car could only drive straight with the steering wheel a lot to the left, but they couldn't get it to go the other way, no matter what they tried.... said that they are a bit stumped by it...

    I know these chaps quite well and trust that they did everything they could... so does anyone have any ideas of how to rectify the problem? Can the the steering wheel be taken off and fractionally adjusted to the right and replaced, or is it on specific slots with the steering column...?

    The car hasn't been in any accidents, and tyre wear across the front tyres is even.... so I and them are at a bit of a loss....

    Cheers
    Raf
    A3 3.2Q Sport DSG

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  3. #2
    DaveS3Turbo's Avatar
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    I had this when I had a new steering rack. It seemed as though the steering wheel was a notch off.

    It was resolved by audi adjusting the rack.
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  4. #3
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    Righto... so it's likely that rather than fiddling with the steering wheel, I'll have to take it to Audi to sort out.....?

    Any way possible to qadjust the the steering wheel to avoid having to see a dealer....
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  5. #4
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    the wheel alignment place should be able to centre your steering wheel for you.

    I know when I get my alignment done every 6 months or so the dude puts a clamp thingy on the steering wheel to keep it centred before he sets the alignment.

    By the way, the reason I get the alignment done every six-ish months is because 40 euro twice a year over three years is cheaper than paying over a grand for a full set of tyres.

  6. #5
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    Yip, they did all that, even so far as having two chaps working on the car, one sitting inside holding it level, while the other did the adjustments. The car is aligned perfectly now, just that the steering wheel is off centre....

    Raf
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    "Knowledge is power, tuning knowledge is horse power"

  7. #6
    mattandrew's Avatar
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    It might need the steering wheel removing and moving slightly on the splines
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  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattandrew
    It might need the steering wheel removing and moving slightly on the splines
    Thanks mate - is there a guide anywhere for removing the steering wheel? I'd like to try that before handing it over to Audi...

    Cheers
    Raf
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    "Knowledge is power, tuning knowledge is horse power"

  9. #8
    mattandrew's Avatar
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    Basically turn the wheel half a turn to the right, remove a torx screw which holds airbag in (its at the back of the wheel) then half a turn the other way and remove the other screw. HOLD THE AIRBAG IN POSITION. Turn back to the centre, remove ignition key (dont turn the ignition back on or you will get an error light on airbag. Move air bag away slightly and unplug it. You will then see a big torx bolt in the middle, undo this and you can then remove the steering wheel and replace on the next spline around. Dont pull the steering wheel to far off as there is a plug still on the slip ring. You can then refit in reverse order, It is recommended to use a new bolt, but if you put some locktight on the treads that will do the trick.

    Hope this helps
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  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rafkoo
    Thanks mate - is there a guide anywhere for removing the steering wheel? I'd like to try that before handing it over to Audi...

    Cheers
    Raf
    NO ,NO,NO you don`t want to move steering wheel unless you had some accident.
    I had the same problem trackong was right but stering wheel not leveled.
    It needs correction on steering rods probably or somebody adjusted tracking but forgot to get steering wheel to the centre position before.
    If you never removed your steering wheel and never had any accident DON`T moved there is no way it moved it self!!!!!!

  11. #10
    mattandrew's Avatar
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    Has the steering ever been straight, like kanievsky says it probably needs correcting on the steering rods.

    Just been re-reading and dont remove the steering wheel, I would get it checked by another garage. Was it lazer aligned?
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  12. #11
    RWD sucks!

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    Is the car new? How are the tyres? Some time, unever-wear tyres will cause some steering issues which alignment will not solve!



  13. #12
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    Thanks for all the input guys, in answer to some of the questions:

    The car is an 05 reg, only 17K miles, never been in an accident. I cannot answer whether it was ever 100% correct as I've only owned it this past week.

    As for the competance of the guys who did the work, I'm 100% sure that it's been done correctly. They did the tracking initally on Friday and checked it again today - it was still fine. They then proceeded to change the alignment to try to correct the steering - tried 5 different combinations this afternoon, but all either made no difference, or in one case made it a lot worse. They used laser alignment at all times, and had the steering centred at all times.

    With regard to tyre wear, the fronts are more worn than the rears, but not unevenly across the tyres. Both have 3mm left across the face, the rears both have 5mm. I might swap the front and rears around to see what effect that has.....?

    As for removing the steering wheel, what's the issue with doing that? A while back I had an 03 reg Ford Focus on which the proceedure outlined by mattanddrew was identical, and I had the steering wheel off that at least twice in it's ownership (I'm quite handy with a few spanners, but this would be the first time I'd be doing it on an Audi, so wanted to make sure...) Could I not disconnect the battery to prevent the airbag fault light coming on?

    Lets say if the tracking was spot on, what could be causing it not to be straight (or to put it another way, to pull slightly to the right when the steering wheel is straight on a level road)?

    Cheers for the input guys, thoroughly appreciated!
    Raf
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  14. #13
    kanievsky's Avatar
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    Try other garage I think it must be the steering rods. There is no way steering wheel moved it self so it MUST be something else, most garagges which are only tyres and exhaust places nows nothing about correcting it on steering rods. I would only touch my steering wheel if I knew somebody else has done it befor me. The case with moving it is simple it won`t fix enything it will be leveled but again that is not the cause of this problem the problem will still be there. I had the same problem with garages that do tracking as they usually are tyre shops and know f...k all about adjusting steering rods or problems with tracking. Believe me or not but as I`m Polish after trying couple garages and hearing "...sorry mate remove steering wheel or something..." I had it fix by my mate who is mechanic in Poland. He told me never ever touch steering wheel unless somebody else has done it before.

  15. #14
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    If you just move the steering wheel I think you may get 'bump steer' as the rack is effectively slightly off centre

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    (I'm quite handy with a few spanners, but this would be the first time I'd be doing it on an Audi, so wanted to make sure...)
    If the tracking is now correct, all you need to do is adjust each steering rod by the same amount to get the steering wheel back in line. If you do it bit by bit (and remember to turn in the right direction) you will eventually get it right. No need to take it to Audi.
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  17. #16
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    bump steer has nothing to do with the position of the steering wheel versus the rack, rotating the steering wheel will not cause bump steer.

    bump steer is caused when the steering rods move in a different arc to the road wheel, when the road wheel goes over bumps, causing the road wheel to effectively turn as if you had turned the wheel.

    The posters orginal problem should be easily solvable by a competent garage, assuming something significant like chassis alignment is all ok. Take it to a different garage, or even your dealer, they should be able to sort. Get the alignment of the rear wheels checked at the same time.
    Last edited by julians; 5th March 2008 at 09:34.

  18. #17
    windsurfer

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    Don't attempt to remove steering wheel by your self... airbag might not work correctly afterwards..

    Also its trhe rods that need adjustment... it might be a pain for the garage but they have to put it right..

    I so hate a steering wheel slightly off the centre when driving on a straight line...

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  19. #18
    3.2 Ju's Avatar
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    I had this with my old LCR. After having the tracking aligned my steering wheel was off centred. It took 4 attempts by the garage to get it right and they had to make an allowance on the settings to get it right. Get it right they did though just takes a bit of thought when adjusting the track rod ends.
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  20. #19
    Rafkoo's Avatar
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    Ok, thanks again guys, I'll go back to them and make sure that they have a go at the steering rods (although they may have tried this already... not 100% sure on that)

    Cheers again
    Raf
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  21. #20
    Rafkoo's Avatar
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    Took it back ot them today, letting them know all the advice from you chaps about adjusting the steering rods, and although they had another go to sort it, they didn't want to touch the steering rods in-case it all went pear-shaped .....

    So I'm back to square one and may need to try another garage that would be willing to play with the steering rods.... or is this something I can do myself? Althought the steering and suspension system is something I'm not overly familiar with....

    Raf
    A3 3.2Q Sport DSG

    "Knowledge is power, tuning knowledge is horse power"

  22. #21
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    you cant adjust the tracking without adjusting the steering rods (or track rods as they're commonly known). You need to find somewhere that knows what they're doing.

    Just take it to your audi dealer, they should charge about 100 or so for a full 4 wheel alignment, that should sort it.

  23. #22
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    This has been one of the most entertaining threads I've read on here for quite some time. With a couple of exceptions 'the blind leading the blind' springs to mind. I've conjured up an image of something resembling Fred Karno's circus as the tyre changers etc wrestle with the mind-blowing complexity of it all.
    If the steering wheel is to the left with the tracking correct and the car going straight then straightening the steering wheel will make the front wheels point slightly right. So, how do you correct this little problem? You add a little length to the offside track-rod and reduce the length of the nearside track-rod by exactly the same amount. Simply turn the flats of the adjuster nuts by one or 2 flats each time until alignment is correct. Then thank your lucky stars the guys took up car repairs and not surgery.
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  24. #23
    Rafkoo's Avatar
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    I really did think it should be as simple as something like that - but who am I to tell someone their job.....

    I'll let you know how it goes - thanks twizzler.
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  25. #24
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    Righto, think we're getting somewhere - as at the end of todays efforts (and me physically setting the steering wheel fractionally to the right, clamping it, and letting them level everything up) - the car now drives straight… when the steering wheel is fractionally to the right! So the problem can be corrected.

    The guys that had worked on it said that they had a similar issue - with it set to the right, the car would drive stright when wheel to the right (as you'd expect) - however, then when setting the steering wheel in the centre, and aligning it stright - it would always fall to the left to make it drive straight….
    Also measured distance from centre of wheels to front and rear. Nearside are 5mm furtehr apart than offside.
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  26. #25
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    Ok, well I've had it with the guys every day this week, and on most occasions, I've been with them, checking the readings on the flags, trying different combos, (including twizzlers suggestion - where we didn't use the lasers and just lengthened/shortened the track rods.... ), using the same ramp every time,and the result... we can always get the steering wheel just off centre - either to the right or to the left... we can never get it bang on!!

    So I've given up now... there is just something about it that will not let the steering wheel be dead central to drive straight...... Any other ideas what could be causing this would be appreciated...

    Cheers
    Raf
    A3 3.2Q Sport DSG

    "Knowledge is power, tuning knowledge is horse power"

  27. #26
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    After you lengthen one rod and shorten the other by exactly the same number of flats on the adjuster you drive the car and note the difference you've made. You then make a judgement regarding the number of flats you should next rotate. Forget ramps and clamps.
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  28. #27
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    ...and never adjust more than 1 or 2 flats at a time. As you've discovered it's a fine adjustment, which is why clamping the steering wheel only gives a ball-park setting.
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  29. #28
    Rafkoo's Avatar
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    Thanks Twizzler, I know what you mean... and at times I thought we were adjusting them a bit much... one way or the other. I might just have a go on my front drive myself - and turn it one flat at a time - I don't think I can handle taking it to them ... again....

    Wish I had those swivel pads to rest the tyres on though!

    EDIT: Actually, I have got axle stands - whats the safest place on the front of the underside of an A3 to rest them on?
    Last edited by Rafkoo; 8th March 2008 at 18:26.
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  30. #29
    3.2 Ju's Avatar
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    Mate, I took mine to be done on friday, because the last set of tyres I just changed, had tracked off on the front. Anyhow when mine was done, the steering wheel was 5 degrees out (had to turn left slightly to straighten it). I just took it straight home and adjusted the rods 1/2 turn on each. It's back spot on again now.

    I got to mine just putting the wheels on full lock one at a time and reaching under
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  31. #30
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    Thanks Ju, good idea RE putting them on full lock.

    Methinks I'm gonna have another go....
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  32. #31
    3.2 Ju's Avatar
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    Just be careful when you undo and tighten the locknut that you don't move the thread!. I was lucky in that I got it right first time.
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  33. #32
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    3.2 Ju You have just described my car's symptoms off to a T, I collected it today and it is irritating the poop out of me!! Don't have a ramp or the venue so going to take it back to the dealer and request 1/2 turn as you describe.

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  34. #33
    3.2 Ju's Avatar
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    Yeah, irritates the hell out of me too while driving, nearly as much as "skilled" technicians who don't have a clue when things go a little pear shaped!
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