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Old 11-11-2011, 01:25 AM   #1
FCSEL
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steering wheel slightly to the left

Since day 1, I've noticed that to keep the car straight, the steering wheel needs to be pointed ever so slightly to the left. If I center the steering wheel, the car will move slightly to the right.

Is this normal? Is there something off about my alignment?


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Old 11-11-2011, 01:51 AM   #2
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The steering wheel is attached to the steering rack by a very simple bolt and clamp right at the point where the connection is through the firewall.
IT can be moved anywhere around and the alignment of the wheels is unaffected.

However it should be fully checked on the four wheel alignmeent machine at a dealer, to get the steering wheel perfect.

(a way to do this one's self is drive, and stop with the wheels perfect straight. Then without moving the wheels loosen the pinch bolt and align the steering wheel then retighten the bolt.
(i have done this) but remember this is a critical item. wrong/loose and oops crash...

With the warranty, your dealer should be willing to do this for you.
Putting it on the four wheel alignment machine , and checking that it is within spec.. will also ease your mind about the alignment.

Added: this is a fit and finish, which you should have gone straight back to the dealer ten seconds after driving out of dealer with car to mention.
Fit and finish are harder to get the dealer to fix, usually.
So you will find out if they are a good dealer when you show up and ask.
If they start trying to get out of doing it, they suck.If they set up an appt and do it on the alignment machine and apologize for the car being left going out that way, they are good.
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Old 11-11-2011, 02:04 AM   #3
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Now hang on, I thought the focus had electric power steering with automatic compensation for road crown. Both in which case manually moving the rack might not be such a great idea as it will figure out where the wheels are and re-adjust.

IF it really is electronic, sounds like they need to get it up on a rack and check out the alignment on it, and reset the parameters when they're done.
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Old 11-11-2011, 04:33 AM   #4
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You are right.
I forgot about the steering being electric. the connection may not even be mechanical through the firewall as the usual power steering is...
Still the rest is right on, and the dealer should get it straightened out for the op.
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Old 11-11-2011, 09:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth View Post
The steering wheel is attached to the steering rack by a very simple bolt and clamp right at the point where the connection is through the firewall.
IT can be moved anywhere around and the alignment of the wheels is unaffected.

However it should be fully checked on the four wheel alignmeent machine at a dealer, to get the steering wheel perfect.

(a way to do this one's self is drive, and stop with the wheels perfect straight. Then without moving the wheels loosen the pinch bolt and align the steering wheel then retighten the bolt.
(i have done this) but remember this is a critical item. wrong/loose and oops crash...
It doesn't appear that this is possible on my 05. The shaft and the socket into which it fits each have a flat, and the bolt goes through the shaft and socket.
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:04 AM   #6
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A slight drift to the right is common in all cars, I think it might actually be a government regulation. I've heard the reason is so if you fall asleep or are otherwise disabled, you won't drift into oncoming traffic and instead crash on the shoulder.
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:25 AM   #7
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A slight drift to the right is common in all cars, I think it might actually be a government regulation. I've heard the reason is so if you fall asleep or are otherwise disabled, you won't drift into oncoming traffic and instead crash on the shoulder.
If this would be real, I'd say it is the dumbest thing I ever heard. Not implying that you are dumb, but the government regulation !! Don't get me wrong, please.
The reasoning behind it is not valid. A car should steer straight, without drifts. The road itself is the one that, by its design and alignement, will guide the car to the right or to the left when the car is not controlled anymore. This is why, if you let go the wheel on a straight line, you'll feel the car drifting to the right side of the road (depending on the speed, of course).

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Old 11-11-2011, 12:06 PM   #8
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some people say it's normal because of the crowning on the roads.. i'm not so sure. i picked up the car on 9/29/11 and i have set a 90 day appointment with the dealer so they can "check up" on everything.. which i think it's something the dealer does with all of its customers...
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Old 11-11-2011, 12:15 PM   #9
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FCSEL, do the following test: go to a free parking lot and drive your car at 15-20 mph without controlling the wheel. If you observe any slight drifiting, it is either the presure on the tires or something wrong with the steering mechanism. It should not drift at all in these conditions.
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Old 11-11-2011, 02:37 PM   #10
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My wheel too is slightly to the left. If I hold the wheel straight where it should be, the car will be headed slightly to the right. Not from road crown, but from the wheel being misaligned.

Not a big deal, but I will have it looked at when I have a 6mo. alignment done.
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