What do YOU mean by feedback? Is the steering wheel trying to push back against your turning it, is it hard to turn to the side, or do you just feel every bump in the road?
There are three basic alignment angles that are checked on every alignment. "Camber" is the inward or outward tilt of the wheel as viewed from in front of the car. It affects pulling to one side and tire wear. Unlike almost every other car built in the world, only Ford designed almost all of their front-wheel-drive cars with no adjustment provided for front camber. What you got is what you get, and you get to buy lots of tires as they scrub off the edges of the tread. The Taurus has probably the least trouble with this compared to other models, most notably the Tempo and Escort.
"Caster" is the angle that is most likely to affect steering. It is not adjustable on most front-wheel-drive cars, and it has very little affect on most front-wheel-drive cars. It IS critical on rear-wheel-drive cars and trucks. Basically, it has to do with the upper and lower pivot points the wheel turns on as viewed from the side of the car. (Think of the fork on a bicycle or motorcycle. It never goes straight down. The bottom is forward of the handlebars). Caster affects how the pair of tires pull to one side or the other. All that is important is it is the same on both sides of the car. Besides that, caster causes one corner of the car to lift up when you turn. When you let go of the steering wheel, the two corners want to balance out by coming back to center. THAT is what makes your steering wheel self-center when you let go of it after turning a corner. When you start talking about feedback, we have to wonder if you mean hard steering. That is caused by caster that is adjusted too high. Caster was increased on all cars in the 1960s to make cars more stable at higher highway speeds, then power steering was added to offset the much harder steering. Like most front-wheel-drive cars, caster on yours is not adjustable, so unless it was crashed and has bent body sheet metal, start by looking somewhere else.
You also may just be experiencing the "nature of the beast". If you've never owned a Ford product before, the steering will take some getting used to. It will feel much heavier compared to most other cars. That's normal. I notice the hard steering right away when I test drive one because I drive a different brand daily.
Low tire pressure will also cause hard steering. Check the really tiny numbers on the sidewalls to see the maximum inflation pressure. Holler back with that number, and the numbers on the sticker on the back of the driver's door or door opening.
If you feel a pulsing affect and the steering wheel is trying to push back against you, there could be air in the power steering fluid. That is common if anything in the hydraulic system was recently replaced, including the rack and pinion assembly. That air can be very hard to bleed out on Fords, especially the newer ones in the mid 2000s.
If the tire pressure is too high you're going to feel every bump in the road. That can be more noticeable when cornering because, thanks to caster, the wheels lean in the direction they're turning. Each tire will be riding on one edge. That makes bumps more noticeable because the entire contact area hits it. When driving straight ahead, a small bump only hits a part of the tire tread so its less noticeable.
Monday, February 20th, 2012 AT 12:30 AM