2008 Honda Civic steering pull

Tiny
COOKY101
  • MEMBER
  • 2008 HONDA CIVIC
  • 1.8L
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • MANUAL
  • 80,000 MILES
I have a UK honda civic - 8th generation - this is to do with steering pulling.

My car seems to favour the right hand side crown of the road. On a flat road it drives straight - on a left hand crown it will hold a turn but not continue to turn into it, but on a right crown - it seems to want to continue turning.

The steering effort feels slightly biased to the right - more effort required to hold a left drifting corner than a right drifting corner.

Tracking is fine - runs dead straight on a flat road, but as soon as the road leans right, it wants to keep going that way. Never the left.

Directional tyres mean I can only rotate front to back, which I have done and I can still feel it - perhaps not quite as much.

Could it still be a tyre doing this or are we more likely to be looking at camber/caster specs. Or other problem?

Grateful for ANY advice on this!

Regards,
Paul
UK
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Wednesday, November 5th, 2014 AT 5:56 AM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Tires can cause a pull but so can a misalignment problem. Caster is not adjustable on your car and changing it won't cause or correct a pull.

The first question is did this just start suddenly or has the pull been there for a while? The only way to know if the alignment is off is to have it checked. The mechanic is going to inspect the steering and suspension system components first. Worn struts and lower control arm bushings will cause a pull too due to changed alignment. He will also "read" the tire wear patterns for clues to the cause of a problem.
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Wednesday, November 5th, 2014 AT 6:27 AM
Tiny
COOKY101
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the response.

I took the car to a specialist in alignment on the weekend.

He did adjust it - very accurately - but even he accepted that there was some bias to the right hand side. He checked the bushes and the suspension and the rack.

He noticed there is a little play in the rack, suggested that this could be the issue?

The main issue is the steering effort - it is biased to the right! Only slightly, but I can feel it all the time.

These things have EPS - could the torque sensor or rack ecu have any input in this? - I am stumped - so are all the mechanics I've tried :-(
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Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014 AT 9:14 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
One thing to try is to disconnect everything electronic associated with the steering. It doesn't matter which circuit or system it is, adding a computer to it greatly increases the cost, diagnostic time, unreliability, and frustration, but the engineers have somehow determined that's what we want. With the electronic portion disabled, treat the steering just like on any other car. It would be helpful if you would post the readings for "caster" and "camber" for both front wheels. Normally caster is not adjustable on front-wheel-drive cars because it has such little affect on pulling compared to on rear-wheel-drive cars, but still, as it increases, steering effort gets harder. That is what provides the road feel and stability too.

Unequal caster, which causes a pull on rear-wheel-drive cars, can be offset by a similar offset of camber. While the car will go straight on level roads, the two tires will be pulling equally in opposite directions to offset each other, but for different reasons. (Think of putting a ten-pound weight on your right shoe, and a ten-pound weight in your left hand. You'll be in balance as long as you're standing still with your hands to your side). Your steering will be in balance as long as you're on a level road with no bumps. No roads are level. Most slant down to the side you're driving on so rain will run off.

Since caster is non-adjustable on your car, if it is not equal on both sides, the mechanic may need to adjust in a little difference in camber to offset it. While that can make the car go straight most of the time, you'll still have a higher steering effort in one direction. (In this case, think of a 50-pound child at the end of a teeter totter, and a 100-pound person halfway out on the other side. That will also be in balance, but to move either one of them individually, it would take more effort to move the 100-pound person up and less effort to pull him down).

I'm not sure what you mean by "bias". If you're experiencing a difference in steering effort from one way to the other, observe how the steering wheel returns too. When caster is unequal, you will typically find, (for example), the steering wheel turns easier from centered to the right than from centered to the left, but you would also find it RETURNS from left to centered easier than from right to centered. If you find it turns harder from centered to the right AND from left to centered, that points to a problem in the rack and pinion assembly.

Other things to consider are a tight ball joint and binding upper strut mounts. Most of the time those just cause harder-than-normal steering at all times, but that can be aggravated by having more weight on one side of the car.
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Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014 AT 3:54 PM

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