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Ok guys, I have a question about our steering wheel. Is our whole steering mechanism really sensative to road conditions or what. Like my steering wheels sometimes is not straight as seen in the pic below. Now its not far off, but its not perfect. Sometimes its worse than other times, and sometimes its straight. I have had an alignment to try and get it straight, and the guy says my alignment is perfect!. I have no lift, or anything. Is this normal? Is it the crown in the road causing it? Has anybody else experienced this? Its easier to notice on the highway.

Here is a pic of what im talking about:
I was driving perfectly straight when i took this picture...

 

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M3Man02 said:
Ok guys, I have a question about our steering wheel. Is our whole steering mechanism really sensative to road conditions or what. Like my steering wheels sometimes is not straight as seen in the pic below. Now its not far off, but its not perfect. Sometimes its worse than other times, and sometimes its straight. I have had an alignment to try and get it straight, and the guy says my alignment is perfect!. I have no lift, or anything. Is this normal? Is it the crown in the road causing it? Has anybody else experienced this? Its easier to notice on the highway.

Here is a pic of what im talking about:
I was driving perfectly straight when i took this picture...

Your alignment could be perfect but they need to center the steering wheel. I am friends with a mechanic so he does my alignments and he has me get in the truck and turn the wheel until it is centered to me. The first time I did it, I had it off center a little and it really got on my nerves. To fix the problem, they need to adjust the tie rod in on the one side and out on the other to correct the steering wheel. If they do not know this, I would not take my truck back to them.
 

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A good alignment shop centers the wheel before even staring the alignment...As stated above, the alignment is probably correct it just needs to have the wheel position corrected..
 

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M3Man02 said:
Ok guys, I have a question about our steering wheel. Is our whole steering mechanism really sensative to road conditions or what. Like my steering wheels sometimes is not straight as seen in the pic below. Now its not far off, but its not perfect. Sometimes its worse than other times, and sometimes its straight. I have had an alignment to try and get it straight, and the guy says my alignment is perfect!. I have no lift, or anything. Is this normal? Is it the crown in the road causing it? Has anybody else experienced this? Its easier to notice on the highway.

Here is a pic of what im talking about:
I was driving perfectly straight when i took this picture...

you need to have the alignment shop set the tow. when your tow is out the wheel will not be centered.
 

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Like everyone above said, a good alignment shop SHOULD adjust steering wheel center when doing an alignment, but they dont always do it, just make sure they do it next time, or if you had the alignment done recently take it back and say they never centered the steering wheel.
 

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When I got my 98 the steering wheel was off that much. Alignment wasn't off, just the wheel needed to be centered. Toyota fixed it under warranty. Now I have to see if they will fix the rattle in my 05.
 

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I had mine aligned at a good shop, and they got the wheel dead straight. Then I went on some trails the next weekend, and now it's crooked again.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
k thanks guys!!
 

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When you have truck alignment they lock the steering wheel with a little tool that goes between the seat and steering wheel, when they do this they are supposed to center the wheel. Your truck simply needs the wheel recentered which is a simple toe adjustment. I noted you said its straight sometimes.....this is because of the crown built into the road, some roads have more crown, this explains your steering wheel problem.
 

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I think that you may find that your steering wheel IS properly centered even if you take it back for an alignment. At most alignment shops steering wheel centering is one of the first & most obvious things they check. I think a more plausable answer is the fact that in alot of areas...mine included...the roads are crowned, meaning slightly curved...to aid in the flow of water during a rain or snow storm. This makes vehicles driven on it.....especially vehicles with wide tires...want to pull to a specific side...especially while braking. Check your tire pressure & try to find a nice flat piece of concrete & test there. :xbeer1:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I will have to go find a flat piece of land to check it. Thanks guys!
 

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mine is the same way on my 04. has been like that since day 1. i took it in to get fixed and they said that for 12,000 miles this was under warranty. they fixed it, and now 2 weeks later, its off again.
 

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My truck really only holds an alignment for about 2 weeks, it never wears the tires funny, but it always pulls to the left and my steering wheel is a little off center too. But I cant complain too much because a few years ago my truck had a little incident that kinda shoved the drivers side tire back so far that it pushed the floor up to the bottom of the clutch pedal and did a helluva number on the frame!
 

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Uneasy Rider said:
I think that you may find that your steering wheel IS properly centered even if you take it back for an alignment. At most alignment shops steering wheel centering is one of the first & most obvious things they check. I think a more plausable answer is the fact that in alot of areas...mine included...the roads are crowned, meaning slightly curved...to aid in the flow of water during a rain or snow storm. This makes vehicles driven on it.....especially vehicles with wide tires...want to pull to a specific side...especially while braking. Check your tire pressure & try to find a nice flat piece of concrete & test there. :xbeer1:

What he said... is it always off center in the same direction, or does it vary from side to side? There is one particular highway in my town that if I am going west bound it is off center to the right, and if I am east bound it is off center to the left...turns out the whole road has a "bank" to it as opposed to being crowned...on other roads its dead on, and on others it seems off one way or the other ;)
 

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My 04 DCAB was not centered as well!
 

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M3Man02 said:
Ok guys, I have a question about our steering wheel. Is our whole steering mechanism really sensative to road conditions or what. Like my steering wheels sometimes is not straight as seen in the pic below. Now its not far off, but its not perfect. Sometimes its worse than other times, and sometimes its straight. I have had an alignment to try and get it straight, and the guy says my alignment is perfect!. I have no lift, or anything. Is this normal? Is it the crown in the road causing it? Has anybody else experienced this? Its easier to notice on the highway.

Here is a pic of what im talking about:
I was driving perfectly straight when i took this picture...

My 2000 is exactly the same. I had it aligned when I changed tires, it seemed to help. But a year later when I rotated them, it was off a little to the right again. I think part of the problem is the steering is so vague on center. I can move the wheel 2-3 inches before anything happens. I also notice if I have a heavy load in back the steering wheel seems to straighten out. 2000 SR5 2.7 5 sp. XtraCab. Other than the minor off-center wheel, absolutly no mechanical problems. p.s. It's paid off after 5 yrs. next week!
 

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I had my 98 aligned because of inner front tire wear and they had to adjust the toe. The steering wheel was never perfectly straight mainly on the freeway(wheel turned to the left a little) becuase of road crown. On a perfectly flat road my steering wheel is straight. Like you said I think the Tacoma steering is really sensative to the flatness of the road. I'm pretty sure that freeways and most roads are slanted down towards the right so the water runs off them and if someone falls asleep they won't drift towards oncoming traffic. The steering wheel on my moms 2003 Silverado with 30k miles is off all the time, so I guess the steering on trucks is not as refined as a car. When we did alignments in my highschool auto class with a top of the line machine you always made sure the steering wheel was straight before aligning. The computer told you when the wheels were straight with lazers, so it seemed as accurate as you can get.
 
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