1999 Ford Contour Bent Steering Rod

Tiny
JCORTIZ13
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 FORD CONTOUR
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 118,000 MILES
Hi, I had a four wheel alignment performed. When leaving the lot I noticed issues in turning left, and steering wheel off center to opposite side as it was prior to alignment work. Called shop immediately and took the car back next day, they "straigtened the steering wheel" (not really) shop said steering problem 'may' be issue with rack and pinion, quoted $ to fix. Husband determined over weekend that steering rod is bent and rubbing against the brake pedal when turning left. When brake is depressed, turning is easy. Returned vehicle again to the same shop. They found problem w/steering rod this time, insist they had nothing to do with bent steering rod. Say vehicle must have been wrecked. It was wrecked in 03 per carfax, which I knew prior to purchase, I bought it in 07. I have had absolutely no issues with steering this vehicle in the 2 years I have owned it. Can you please help solve mystery. Why is rod bent and an issue now after having this shop work on the car. Could this have been existent prior but not an issue with alignment off? The only other work done by them was replacement of 4 tires. Thank you VERY much!
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Wednesday, April 8th, 2009 AT 7:27 AM

6 Replies

Tiny
RACEFAN966
  • EXPERT
Ok my first question is how did a shop do an alignment and leave the wheel off center and call that done right. I use to do alignments and that is not how it is done. Now before I can help with you question I need some info ok. You say a steeing rod what bent which steeing piece was bent? Why did you take it to get aligned? Have you hit any pot holes (big ones). Steeing pieces don't just bend they are bent by force like hitting a curb hard or hitting a large pot hole and so on. If the steeing wheel was off center before you took it in then something happened like hitting a curb or something. Get back to me with the history I asked for so I can better help with answering your question.
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Wednesday, April 8th, 2009 AT 10:35 AM
Tiny
JCORTIZ13
  • MEMBER
First, I noticed the steering wheel out of alignment, it was off to the right by about 1/4 inch for several weeks. This I noted and planned to have the vehicle aligned. Given my minimal knowledge of alignment indicators, I had heard that if the steering wheel was off center the alignment is off. I did notice too a flapping sound from one of the tires, and thought this was related to a tire patch I had done a few weeks earlier (roofing nail), or an alignment issue. To my knowledge there have been no big pot holes or curbs hit with this car since I have owned it. On the contrary, my husband is an avid pot hole indentifier. Meaning he helps enhance my already diligent nature in avoiding holes. I drive the car easy through dips, etc. The shop said the car was badly out of alignment and that three of the tires were worn badly on the inside. So I purchased four tires at the same time they did the alignment work. When I left their lot with the vehicle I had trouble turning left, meaing it felt I was hitting something or having a hesitation in turning. The part that is bent is being called the steering shaft, or rod, and inorder to replace you have to replace the entire steering assembly. Currently this rod is rubbing against the brake pedal because of the bend in it. When you depress the brake upon turning left, the steering wheel turns easy because the petal is out of the way of the bend.
Since writing to you earlier, I have now learned through communication my husband has had with the shop that they have purchased the entire steering assembly from a salvage yard and are giving it to us. I am to pick it up tomorrow. This part through Ford is 933.00. I cannot figure out why I had absolutely no indication of an issue with steeriing until this alignment. The car returned to straight upon completing turn, and the steering wheel turned smoothly.
Thank you for your help!
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Wednesday, April 8th, 2009 AT 12:50 PM
Tiny
JCORTIZ13
  • MEMBER
One more thing which may help identify part. My husbands explained it as a rod that extends from the steering wheel? To a universal joint which connects to another universal joint. As the wheels turn and the steering wheel turns, these joints rotate, turning the steering rod. When you turn right you have no issue, but because of where the bend is located, issues arrise with left turns. Again, I honestly cannot remember hitting anything major ie pot hole, curb, etc. I cannot say anything major has been hit with this car. A deer hit me a year ago in the front right fender, but it only barely dented the fender with no other damage to the car, the dents were popped out. Car was examined, no alignment issue noted at that time.
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Wednesday, April 8th, 2009 AT 1:10 PM
Tiny
RACEFAN966
  • EXPERT
OK it sounds like the sector shaft inside the car. The only thing I can figure is that it has been bent from a previous accident and when you finally had it aligned it changed the geometry of where this shaft was therefore making the problem evident at that time. I also would get a 4 wheel alignment on this care as you said it had 3 bad tires indicating that maybe this car is bent somewhere so have them look for any differences in wheel placement. For example that the right wheel base is shorter the the left side kind of thing. Let me know how it goes.
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Thursday, April 9th, 2009 AT 10:44 AM
Tiny
JCORTIZ13
  • MEMBER
Great, thank you! I did have a four wheel alignment this time. They did not check for any of the things you mention, so whatever issues that still remain to be discovered. Thanks again!
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Thursday, April 9th, 2009 AT 12:42 PM
Tiny
RACEFAN966
  • EXPERT
Ok great. If there are any other problems just let me know.
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Friday, April 10th, 2009 AT 10:19 AM

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