steering wheel - alignment

Suspension, Steering and Chassis

  1. moparstud440

    moparstud440 Well-Known Member

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    I took my car for its first drive last week and my steering wheel is off. When going straight the wheel it turned about 2-3" to the left. The previous owner drove the car and I didn't do anything with the front end alignment. I had the steering wheel off when I was troubleshooting the turn signal switch and I though it was keyed so it only when on at one position, but can't remember for sure. Before I tear it back apart can anyone confirm if it does only go on one way or if it can be reposition? If not than I'll just have to have the front end aligned.
     
  2. supertruck

    supertruck Retired Old Fart stock car racer FABO Gold Member

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    Tell us your year, make, and model.
     
  3. moparstud440

    moparstud440 Well-Known Member

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    1969 Plymouth Barraucda
     
  4. MileHighDart

    MileHighDart FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    1970
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    I believe the steering wheel is keyed and will only go on one way. I know my '68 Dart is that way cause I just had it off.
     
  5. TrailBeast

    TrailBeast Slightly Twisted Member

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    Even if it isn't keyed if you just move the wheel it screws with your canceling cam for the signals.
    For example, it may not cancel the signal going one direction or the other.
    The best way is for the alignment shop to set your wheel centered and then move the tie rods to center the wheels.
    I have in some cases had a steering wheel a bit off even after that, but moving one tie rod 1/4 turn and the other side 1/4 turn for example can straighten the wheel exactly without screwing up your new alignment.
     
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    • RedFish

      RedFish Well-Known Member

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      The steering shaft did have a master spline as OEM. That doesn't mean the master spline is still there today. Many alternative wheels and/or adapters require filing away the master spline from the shaft.
       
    • moparstud440

      moparstud440 Well-Known Member

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      The car still retains it factory steering shaft and steering wheel. I'm 99.9% sure it's spline so it only went on one way, because I took a mental note for when I reassembled it, but that's be a while and I can't remember for certain. Guess I'll just have the front end aligned.
       
    • Go Mango

      Go Mango I drive it like I stole it

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      I can tell you without a doubt that its splined in 1970. I straightened the one on my dart just last week.
       
    • moparstud440

      moparstud440 Well-Known Member

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      Was it as simple as adjusting the tie rod ends or is it more involved than that?
       
    • KosmicKuda

      KosmicKuda FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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      If the car drives straight to your satisfaction, you can center the wheel yourself by turning the tie rod sleeves equal amounts on both sides.
      For instance, loosen skeeve screws, turn sleeve 1/2 turn, tighten sleeve screws, repeat on other side.
      Drive to check results and repeat as needed.
      Keep an eye on tire wear.
       
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      • Go Mango

        Go Mango I drive it like I stole it

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        I pulled the steering wheel off and put it back on straight. Easy peasy!
         
      • TrailBeast

        TrailBeast Slightly Twisted Member

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        I can be.
        What you want to do is shorten the drivers side and lengthen the passenger side the same amount.
        For 2-3 inches at the wheel I would try 1/2 turn shorter on the drivers side and 1/2 turn longer on the passenger side.
        Of course it pretty much requires a test drive to verify.:D
         
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        • ZMan67S

          ZMan67S FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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          When I recently pulled my wheel off I went to O'Reilly's and checked out their steering wheel puller.
          Had to leave a deposit which was fully refunded when I brought it back.
           
        • MoparLeo

          MoparLeo NRA PATRON LEVEL LIFE MEMBER

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          Get under the front end and look at the outer tie rods. Are they adjusted to the same number of threads on the left and right sides ? If not, they should be adjusted to be equal on both sides. This will assure the same number of turns lock to lock and also help with bump steer problems.
           
        • Go Mango

          Go Mango I drive it like I stole it

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          Autozone has the same deal. However, after having way too many beers to drive to autozone, I discovered that it would come off fairly easily just by wiggling it as you pull. If you do it this way, don't take the nut all the way off! You need it to catch the wheel or you might bust yourself in the face when it comes loose!
           
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          • Go Mango

            Go Mango I drive it like I stole it

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            No offense, but if its already aligned there's no way I would mess with the tie rods just to make the steering wheel straight.
             
          • 72bluNblu

            72bluNblu FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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            That’s not possible if the steering shaft still has a master spline. The wheel only goes on one way if the master spline is present and unaltered. If you just clocked the wheel differently on the splines your master spline has been filed off.

            If your steering wheel is that loose, the splines are damaged or worn out either on the steering shaft or the steering wheel/adapter. It should require a puller. If you can wiggle it loose, something is wrong.

            If you’re careful enough to adjust the tie rods the same amount on each side there will be no issue with the alignment. You just have to make one side longer and the other shorter by the same amount. You can literally check the toe with a tape measure if you’re careful.
             
          • Go Mango

            Go Mango I drive it like I stole it

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            Okay. Whatever. I'm done.
             
          • 72bluNblu

            72bluNblu FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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            No need to get upset, I'm just stating the facts. This isn't a "whatever", what you're describing could be a safety issue.

            If you can clock your wheel on the steering shaft, the master spline is not working. The whole purpose of the master spline is so that you can't do that, so if you can just re-clock the wheel the master spline is not working. Coupled with the fact that you can wiggle your steering wheel loose without a puller, I'd say you've got damaged splines either on the steering shaft or on your steering wheel adaptor. And that could also be why the master spline isn't working. Something's been modified on your car, either the master spline has been defeated or the splines on one end or the other are so worn that they no longer register the master spline.

            So you can get mad at me, or you can check your car to make sure it's safe. Based on your description, it might not be. If it's just that the master spline has been filed down, not a big deal. But the last thing you want is for your steering wheel to be loose on the splines. A steering wheel puller should absolutely be needed to remove the wheel on these cars unless you have a Tuff wheel or rimblow wheel. And if that's the case, the wheel can be removed with three nuts, but the crush can adaptor will require a puller. The splined part, whether that be the steering wheel or the adaptor, should take a puller to remove.
             
          • Go Mango

            Go Mango I drive it like I stole it

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            Not mad at all! And I do have a tuff wheel. I honestly could not give 2 shits how the problem is fixed, I was just trying to suggest an easier way. You obviously know more about it than me, so I'm done. Your suggestions are obviously better. No hard feelings!
             
          • RogerRamRod

            RogerRamRod The Older I Get, The Faster I Was

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            In high school me & 4 others were 2 hours from home & wheel came loose, splines shot. Luckily a hardware store nearby had 2 pairs of vice grips. Drove home BMX style
             
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            • RustyRatRod

              RustyRatRod 30 Degrees Outta Whack FABO Gold Member

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              I replaced the steering wheel on my 64 Valiant and there was no master spline. I've done the later cars too but it's been a while since I've had one so I don't remember those. But my 64 didn't have one and it was the first time the steering wheel had been removed, so I know there was never one.
               
            • 67Dart273

              67Dart273 Well-Known Member

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              The thing is it should not be done this way, master spline or no, because the steering box actually has a "center point" in the gearing. If you don't have an (old, etc) OEM wheel to use for a test dummy, you should do whatever you need to in order to line up the master spline
               
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              • toolmanmike

                toolmanmike FABO Staff Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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                If the 69 has a master spline think about how this works. The only correct way to center the wheel is to adjust the tie rod ends. Now, if there is no master spline, like on the early cars, the only correct way to center the steering wheel is by adjusting the tie rod ends. As far as the cancelling cam, the spring with the pin on the wheel doesn't change position, nor does the cam and the switch in the column. All you are doing is re-positioning the steering shaft in the wheel hub. Do whichever you think is right.

                20190415_184527.jpg
                 
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                • 69FBCuda

                  69FBCuda Life in the Fast Lane

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                  1969 are splined and keyed
                   
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