Steering wheel not returning to center at low RPM's

Tiny
BLAYNERTFM
  • MEMBER
  • 2006 FORD FUSION
  • 2.3L
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 190,000 MILES
The power steering seems to work fine at higher speeds but when going really slow like parking or maneuvering around objects slowly etc. Where the RPM's are low, the steering wheel has to be turned back to center manually. It won't move on its own at all. Sometimes when making a turn on the road, I have to make sure I finish the turn by accelerating a little faster than normal to make sure the steering returns to center. I've not noticed any leaking power steering fluid. The reservoir is full and there is not squeaking or squealing but I've only had the car for a few days. Any help someone can give would be appreciated. Not sure if it's low pressure in the power steering pump due to a leak in the pump or if it's the steering rack. I've no idea how to check a steering rack and I'm guessing a new steering rack would be worth more than the car. The only thing done for certification was the replacement of two front lower forward arms and joints. The car seems to stay straight when it does return to center, no noticeable wandering to the left or right.
Do you
have the same problem?
Yes
No
Saturday, May 11th, 2019 AT 7:22 AM

3 Replies

Tiny
KASEKENNY1
  • EXPERT
Hi,

This could be a low power assist situation but lets test that first.

When sitting still, vehicle in park, and the engine running. Can you turn the wheel from lock to lock (left and right full travel) with little effort? Basically, can you do it with one hand or does it feel really tight?

I suspect this will be okay and it feels like you have power assist. If this is the case then most likely when they did your lower control arms they did not set the alignment back to the best setting. When you replace a lower control arm and ball joints, you need to perform an alignment because these new components will change your alignment angles.

The alignment angle that helps with steering return or "memory steer" is caster. I suspect the caster is set to low or negative. For your vehicle each side should be set at 4 degrees positive. If set lower then the vehicle does not return to center very well.

I would suggest taking it back to who performed your service and ask them for your alignment specs when the did the alignment. I included what they should be so you will be able to compare them and see if this is the issue. Feel free to send them over to me if you need help reading them and I will assist translating. Thanks
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
+1
Saturday, May 11th, 2019 AT 12:44 PM
Tiny
BLAYNERTFM
  • MEMBER
I tested the car while in park with the engine running and while it seemed a bit stiff, I could turn it all the way with one hand. It seems my last vehicle turned easier but it's not like I have to work to turn it, just a little stiffer than I expected. I'm not sure if the garage did an alignment or not. They did the minimal required for safety and it doesn't say anything about an alignment on the work order. Would out of alignment cause the symptoms I described? It just seems everything works fine with my foot on the gas. The wheel goes right back to center on a turn if I'm going at least 5-10 mph and it drives straight as an arrow on a level surface. Its just when I'm going really slow like in a parking lot or driveway or making a really slow turn on the road that it doesn't return to center. The only other thing I noticed is that it makes a bit of a clacking, grinding noise when I have the wheel fully turned and driving in reverse - again only when going very slow. I'll have to ask the garage and see if they did an alignment or at least checked the alignment and decided it didn't need adjusting or maybe didn't bother doing either.

Thanks.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
-1
Sunday, May 12th, 2019 AT 10:26 AM
Tiny
KASEKENNY1
  • EXPERT
Yes. An alignment issue of low caster will cause poor steering return. Unless you bought the exact same vehicle you had, you cannot expect the steering or driving characteristics to be the same between vehicles. They will drive different.

It doesn't sound like you have an issue with the steering but I would just keep an eye on it. As for the noise, you are going to have some noise when holding the wheel at full lock (left or right) and moving. This is the position that has the most strain on the steering system so some noise is okay. However, if you are describing a metallic grinding noise when turning, that needs to be checked out because you may have an issue in a half shaft (axle) or the rack and pinion.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/symptoms-of-a-bad-cv-axle-joint
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Sunday, May 12th, 2019 AT 1:01 PM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Sponsored links