Steering Wheel on Straight

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Edwin Ek
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Steering Wheel on Straight

#1 Post by Edwin Ek » Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:41 pm

Is there a definitive way to tell? Something more definitive and easier than trial (driving) and error?
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John Lindstrom
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Re: Steering Wheel on Straight

#2 Post by John Lindstrom » Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:02 pm

If you get a straight edge and hold it against the sides of the rims, the front tire on each side should be toed in 1/16-1/8”. That would be center of steering wheel.

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C J Murray
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Re: Steering Wheel on Straight

#3 Post by C J Murray » Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:04 pm

ZF steering boxes have a mark on the box and a light chisel mark on the input shaft. The steering wheel must be put on straight when the marks are aligned. Then the toe in is set with the tie rod adjustment and the wheel will be straight when driving.

VW steering boxes are just put at the center most point of their rotation but it is not critical where the input shaft is relative to the box so you can be off center a bit without problems.
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Wes Bender
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Re: Steering Wheel on Straight

#4 Post by Wes Bender » Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:14 pm

CJ beat me to it. Line up the marks on the steering shaft and the box and then mount the steering wheel. Later, on a test drive, if the wheel is not centered when you are going straight, the tie rods need adjusting. The marks on the steering box and shaft are intended to be used to keep the center position where the worm groove is tightest. It gets looser an you turn in left or right.
Some days it just isn’t worth the hassle of chewing through the restraints......

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Mike Wilson
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Re: Steering Wheel on Straight

#5 Post by Mike Wilson » Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:06 pm

If the front suspension has been rebuilt then you'll need to have it realigned anyway and the steering wheel can be set at that time.

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Ron LaDow
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Re: Steering Wheel on Straight

#6 Post by Ron LaDow » Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:43 am

C J Murray wrote:ZF steering boxes have a mark on the box and a light chisel mark on the input shaft. The steering wheel must be put on straight when the marks are aligned. Then the toe in is set with the tie rod adjustment and the wheel will be straight when driving.
If you are to adjust the various controls on a 356, and avoid chasing your tail all over the map, you need to start at a baseline and make adjustments otherwise to retain that datum.
Cliff's got this one; get the steering gear box shaft correct, fit the wheel normal to that, adjust all else to match.
Ab T's got the throttle linkage figured (don't know how to find or link it); start from that dim on the front of the fan shroud and adjust all else to that.
Vic's covered adjusting the shifter; start there and all else should fall in place.
Tune ups are started from known, specified values; the other adjustments are altered to suit, and there are good reasons for doing so.
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jim nelson
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Re: Steering Wheel on Straight

#7 Post by jim nelson » Sun Jun 10, 2018 9:18 am

Ed, if you know your steering box is properly aligned and it’s just your wheel that’s off, take a ride down one of those lonely country roads (after you’ve pulled the horn button off) with your favorite 27mm socket, and you should be able to get the wheel lined up pretty quickly.

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Vic Skirmants
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Re: Steering Wheel on Straight

#8 Post by Vic Skirmants » Sun Jun 10, 2018 9:33 am

Jim; the steering wheel HAS to be put on straight in relation to the steering box to begin with. If it's not, then you should ONLY adjust the tie-rods to get the car to go straight.

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jim nelson
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Re: Steering Wheel on Straight

#9 Post by jim nelson » Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:12 am

Vic Skirmants wrote:Jim; the steering wheel HAS to be put on straight in relation to the steering box to begin with. If it's not, then you should ONLY adjust the tie-rods to get the car to go straight.
Vic, I agree, but if you’ve swapped out your wheel for any reason after you’ve made the installation you might not get it back on exactly straight. I’ve used a Moto Lita wheel while getting my original redone, and first shot back on was maybe 11:30. Didn’t take long to set it right.

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C J Murray
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Re: Steering Wheel on Straight

#10 Post by C J Murray » Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:40 am

Hi Jim,
The wheel should be installed with the steering box cover removed and the 2 marks aligned with the car parked. Tighten the wheel when straight with marks lined up and then replace the steering box cover and never move the steering wheel on the spline again. If the wheel is not straight then change the tie rods, never the wheel on the splines.
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Re: Steering Wheel on Straight

#11 Post by Geoff Fleming » Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:07 pm

...as the others have implied, the steering wheel is placed on the shaft with the steering box centered. Never try and correct an off-center steering wheel by removing the steering wheel and putting it back in a more cosmetic alignment. There is only one correct position as C.J. has emphasized.
On earlier cars, with the VW box, you can replace the wheel on the shaft without aligning it to a center position but with the ZF box it takes more care.

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Re: Steering Wheel on Straight

#12 Post by jim nelson » Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:23 pm

Guys, wasn't saying that the box wasn't correctly centered--just that if you remove the wheel when you replace it, it might not be exactly as you took it off. Not trying to imply that there is more than one correct position for the box.

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John Lindstrom
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Re: Steering Wheel on Straight

#13 Post by John Lindstrom » Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:12 pm

In the old days it was rare to see a car that had the steering wheel perfectly centered, so much so that when you did come across a car that had the steering wheel centered exactly perfect, it made you suspicious!

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Re: Steering Wheel on Straight

#14 Post by Dick Weiss » Sun Jun 10, 2018 9:59 pm

When R & R-ing a steering wheel from the shaft (if it's needed to be pulled), there's a ting called a marker pen to mark the correct position.

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C J Murray
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Re: Steering Wheel on Straight

#15 Post by C J Murray » Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:19 am

Dick Weiss wrote:When R & R-ing a steering wheel from the shaft (if it's needed to be pulled), there's a ting called a marker pen to mark the correct position.
Correct but only if the wheel was set correctly prior to the R & R.
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