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      06-14-2018, 03:09 PM   #1
BarryJI
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Very slight off-center steering bias: what to do?

Gents, I'd appreciate your advice. I have always sensed a very slight rightward bias in the steering wheel position (i.e. it's at 12:03 instead of 12:00 when tracking straight). It's not a huge deal but I was hoping that the alignment done at the dealership yesterday when I got four new PSSes would fix it; it hasn't.

I'm not sure I want to take it to my tuner for another (probably more expert) alignment. I wonder if there is a "one click" solution, i.e. some adjustment that can be made in five minutes; it's an electronic steering rack after all. The steering ratio seems very finely calibrated to me, so it's not like a quarter-inch offset has any practical effect on the car's tracking but like a lot of you, when it comes to my cars, I can be somewhat OCD. Any suggestions? Many thanks.
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      06-14-2018, 03:11 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryJI View Post
Gents, I'd appreciate your advice. I have always sensed a very slight rightward bias in the steering wheel position (i.e. it's at 12:03 instead of 12:00 when tracking straight). It's not a huge deal but I was hoping that the alignment done at the dealership yesterday when I got four new PSSes would fix it; it hasn't.

I'm not sure I want to take it to my tuner for another (probably more expert) alignment. I wonder if there is a "one click" solution, i.e. some adjustment that can be made in five minutes; it's an electronic steering rack after all. The steering ratio seems very finely calibrated to me, so it's not like a quarter-inch offset has any practical effect on the car's tracking but like a lot of you, when it comes to my cars, I can be somewhat OCD. Any suggestions? Many thanks.
I am pretty sure I observed the same thing with mine, I actually wondered if the seating position makes it just appear that way.
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      06-14-2018, 03:16 PM   #3
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Yeah, plus my right hand rests a tiny bit lower on the wheel but still...
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      06-14-2018, 03:56 PM   #4
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Every road is crowned for drainage sloping slightly right from the center line, are you sure it's not what you are feeling?
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      06-14-2018, 04:32 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Pray for Mojo View Post
Every road is crowned for drainage sloping slightly right from the center line, are you sure it's not what you are feeling?
I thought about that but the offset does not seem to vary on very crowned roads vs. flat.
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      06-14-2018, 04:53 PM   #6
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I could be wrong but I thought I read somewhere that cars are set up with a slight bias away from oncoming traffic so specific to the location the car is sold in. Reason being if you fall asleep or have a stroke or something while driving drifting away from oncoming cars is preferable to into them.
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      06-14-2018, 05:08 PM   #7
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As your post suggests the car does track straight, the alignment specs are likely correct. I’d visit the dealer and respectfully suggest that they didn’t have the steering wheel straight when those correct specs were set. That should be remedied by them having you agree the wheel is straight when the car is on the rack and then re-setting the original correct specs. I’ve been through this before.
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      06-14-2018, 05:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sportstick View Post
As your post suggests the car does track straight, the alignment specs are likely correct. I’d visit the dealer and respectfully suggest that they didn’t have the steering wheel straight when those correct specs were set. That should be remedied by them having you agree the wheel is straight when the car is on the rack and then re-setting the original correct specs. I’ve been through this before.
Ah - I agree with you I misunderstood the first post.

Pulling the wheel you can break all kinds of shit, definitely have the shop do it since this would be a no cost repair.
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      06-14-2018, 06:56 PM   #9
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This is a fairly common problem after an alignment. Some techs aren't quite as concerned about getting the steering wheel positioned exactly right as some drivers are about it.

I haven't had a look at my M240i, but on every car I've owned this was an easy fix. The front wheels are turned by rods that come out of the steering rack. There is an obvious way to adjust the length of those rods. If you make exactly the same adjustment on both sides (shorten one the same number of turns as you lengthen the other), you don't affect the alignment at all. The only thing you change is where the steering wheel is turned for a given position of the wheels.

The easiest way to think of this is that when your steering wheel is set for perfectly straight ahead the wheels are actually turned a bit to the left. You adjust the length of the rods to turn both wheels slightly to the right. For the discrepancy you see, a couple flats (1/3 of a turn) would be a good place to start. Look carefully at the threads to make sure you know which way to turn to get the length change you want. Use how hard it was to loosen the lock nuts as a guide to how hard to tighten them. It would be a good idea to mark the orientation of the rods before loosening the lock nuts in case you turn a rod at the same time, and also to let you check that you turned each one in the correct direction and turned both the same amount.

(My understanding is that the steering is assisted by an electric motor, but the connection to the wheels is still mechanical. Only one of the Infinities has a fully electric steering system. If I'm wrong about this ignore what I wrote.)
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Last edited by albertw; 06-14-2018 at 07:08 PM.
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      06-14-2018, 07:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BEM-S4 View Post
Pulling the wheel you can break all kinds of shit, definitely have the shop do it since this would be a no cost repair.
Not sure I understand this; in fact I don't...

No pulling involved; the offset is very small.
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      06-14-2018, 07:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albertw View Post
This is a fairly common problem after an alignment. Some techs aren't quite as concerned about getting the steering wheel positioned exactly right as some drivers are about it.

I haven't had a look at my M240i, but on every car I've owned this was an easy fix. The front wheels are turned by rods that come out of the steering rack. There is an obvious way to adjust the length of those rods. If you make exactly the same adjustment on both sides (shorten one the same number of turns as you lengthen the other), you don't affect the alignment at all. The only thing you change is where the steering wheel is turned for a given position of the wheels.

The easiest way to think of this is that when your steering wheel is set for perfectly straight ahead the wheels are actually turned a bit to the left. You adjust the length of the rods to turn both wheels slightly to the right. For the discrepancy you see, a couple flats (1/3 of a turn) would be a good place to start. Look carefully at the threads to make sure you know which way to turn to get the length change you want. Use how hard it was to loosen the lock nuts as a guide to how hard to tighten them. It would be a good idea to mark the orientation of the rods before loosening the lock nuts in case you turn a rod at the same time, and also to let you check that you turned each one in the correct direction and turned both the same amount.

(My understanding is that the steering is assisted by an electric motor, but the connection to the wheels is still mechanical. Only one of the Infinities has a fully electric steering system. If I'm wrong about this ignore what I wrote.)
Many thanks for this.
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      06-14-2018, 08:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryJI View Post
Gents, I'd appreciate your advice. I have always sensed a very slight rightward bias in the steering wheel position (i.e. it's at 12:03 instead of 12:00 when tracking straight). It's not a huge deal but I was hoping that the alignment done at the dealership yesterday when I got four new PSSes would fix it; it hasn't.

I'm not sure I want to take it to my tuner for another (probably more expert) alignment. I wonder if there is a "one click" solution, i.e. some adjustment that can be made in five minutes; it's an electronic steering rack after all. The steering ratio seems very finely calibrated to me, so it's not like a quarter-inch offset has any practical effect on the car's tracking but like a lot of you, when it comes to my cars, I can be somewhat OCD. Any suggestions? Many thanks.
I drove my E46 for most of its life like that thinking it was normal.

They should have fixed it when doing the alignment and the alignment comes with a warranty so if you demonstrate the problem the dealer should be able to fix it. Did you mention the steering offset problem when dropping it off for the alignment?
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      06-14-2018, 09:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sportstick View Post
As your post suggests the car does track straight, the alignment specs are likely correct. I’d visit the dealer and respectfully suggest that they didn’t have the steering wheel straight when those correct specs were set. That should be remedied by them having you agree the wheel is straight when the car is on the rack and then re-setting the original correct specs. I’ve been through this before.
I've had this happen once. I got about two miles down the road and turned around to bring my car right back. The car tracked perfectly straight, but the steering wheel was rotated about 5deg right. I couldn't believe they botched it so badly. They realigned it for free (aside from my wasted time).
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