Need Help! Steering Wheel Jerking Right and Left!


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Old 03-30-07, 01:54 PM
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Need Help! Steering Wheel Jerking Right and Left!

While I'm driving my steering is jerking right and left, and I know this has to do with the tires. What could be the possible causes for this? Alignment? The tire itself? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Old 03-30-07, 03:59 PM
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most likely it is the alignment. also could be worn suspension components. components should be checked as part of a wheel alignment
 
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Old 03-30-07, 05:12 PM
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I suspect bad tires, tie rods, or another front suspension part and not just an alignment.

A bad alighment will pull your car to one side 99% of the time, and not right and left.
 
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Old 03-30-07, 07:57 PM
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My Geo did this with a bent rim. Have you hit any big pot holes or anything?
 
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Old 03-31-07, 05:47 AM
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Talking Steering wheel jerks left and right

An alignment problem will not cause jerking unless you hit something really hard and knocked out the caster. Sort of like the front wheels on a shopping cart when you get it rolling along and the negative caster makes your cart wobble. The same thing could happen if you hit a curb or pot hole really hard and pushed in the bottom of the wheel assembly towards the back. Alignments have 3 angles. Camber,Caster and toe. Camber is the inward and outward tilt of the wheel at the top, while caster is the forward or backward tilt of the wheel at the top and toe is the total distance between the tires across the width of the vehicle. Camber will cause a vehicle to pull towards the side with the most positive camber. Caster will pull on the side with the least positive caster and toe will pull to the side with the most toe-out. Now, enough said about alignments. Tire balance will usually cause vibration at high speeds, say around 40-55 mph for light vehicles and 50-65 for heavy vehicles. It all has to do with harmonic vibration in relationship between the speed of the vehicle, the weight of the vehicle and the amount of imbalance. Now a bent rim or a tire that is out of round will start to wobble at a very low speed and just get worse and worse the faster you go. A really badly bent rim or out of round tire could start to wobble as low as 5 mph. Of course worn out or loose front end parts will cause pulling and drifting side to side but loose front end parts have nothing to do with an alignment per se, an alignment is an adustment to make up for bent parts which always happen when hitting such things as pot holes or going over speed bumps too fast and of course if you ram a curb and bent a rim then move that rim to the rear of the vehicle. Also, a bent frame could result in pulling and/or a loose rear end. Anything that causes the wheel base to change could cause tire pull. Even tires that haven't been rotated enough can cause tire pull because there wear too much on 1 side, such as making too many right hand turns. Also, the road conditions can cause tire pull. The convex or concave curvature in the crown of the road cause cause pull exspecially worse if you have loose parts. Not to mention too much play in the steering box lash or a worn out steering box. Plus, the rubber coupler that connects the steering box shaft to the steering wheel shaft sometimes wear out and could cause wandering. If you have alot of free play or travel in your steering wheel then you have something worn out. If a vehicle tires are out of balance than it will cause a vibration at high speeds in the steering wheel if the imbalance is coming from the front tires and the shaking will be felt in the seats if it is coming from the rear tires.
Now since your steering wheel is shaking back and forth and you didn't complain of pull, then you can rule out the rear tires and an alignment. Most likely it is a bent rim or out of round tire or loose parts. Rotate both front tires to the rear both for safety's sake and to rule out loose or worn parts. If the wobble then switches to the seats and not the steering wheel then it was the tires or rims. If the wobble still remains in the steering wheel then the problem is any of the parts I mentioned earliar unless I missed some, unless you have any bad tires or rims you moved from the rear to front. Also, with those rack and pinion power steering systems if you accidently switch the fluid lines that would cause rapid steering wheel jerking left and right and it could break your arm if you tried to start a vehicle by putting your key in hand in through the inside of steering wheel, so dont ever do this. I doubt if it is that since you wouldnt be able to drive the vehicle. Jack up the front of the vehicle when you decide to rotate the tires and spin the tires with your hand and see if any of the rims wobble or of the tire is bad. Next grab a firm grip on the whole tire assembly and push and pull top and bottom in and out then front and back in and out and feel if anything seems loose. If so look under the vehicle while you push and pull and see what has too much play in the front end. Also, remember the bearing play should be slight. Just a little play is good. Also, jack under the lower control arm to unload the ball joints and take a tire iron and lift up on the bottom of the tire to check the ball joints. 1/8 play is ok. Also, look at the upper and lower control arm bushings to see if the rubber has worn out and no longer there. After all this inspection, most likely it is just a bent rim but you learned alot...Hey?
 
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Old 03-31-07, 07:03 AM
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Newhomeowner,

Now that was an extremely long post. :-p
 
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Old 03-31-07, 08:19 AM
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Thats exactly what I did to figure out my problem rim. Swap them to the back.
 
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Old 04-01-07, 08:20 AM
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I had that kind of problem in my bronco about a year ago before i sold it. The wheel bearing went on the right side and it would jerk hard to that side and when you counter steered for it it would free up and you would get a liitle jerk to the left and then it would be fine again for alittle bit. Thats one thing i would check. If your vehicle isnt a 4x4 it should be a really easy fix if it is a 4x4 its still fairly simple. But thats one thing i would check out. (its not to expensive either).

Teen Mech
V8 swap chevy s10 age 17
 

Last edited by Teen Mech; 04-01-07 at 08:21 AM. Reason: spelling
 

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