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Thread: Weird/loose steering

  1. #1
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    Question Weird/loose steering

    Hello all,

    My 03 P5 has started to have steering issues. Driving down the road, it randomly seems to dart to one side or the
    other. Have not been able to correlate the movement to one-wheel bumps or road irregularities.

    The history: I recently installed a set of Eibach Pro-Kit springs all around and new KYB strut mounts in the front.
    It appeared that the lower ride height increased the negative camber, so I assumed that was the problem.

    Took it in for an alignment, and it still does the same thing. The tech who did the alignment test drove it, and thought it
    was bump steer since the tie rods are no longer parallel to the ground since it was lowered. I mentioned the fact that it
    does it randomly (even on a smooth road going in a straight line) and he said yeah, it's not bump steer.

    Removed the PS/AC belt and drove it to see if maybe the PS pump is putting out fluctuating pressure; other than increased
    steering effort, it didn't change the darting. Re-installed the belt.

    Jacked the front end up and put it on jack stands to look for looseness. There was some play in the steering rack that wasn't
    in the tie rods/ends, so I replaced the rack and pressure hose (PITA, had to drop the crossmember!). The play is gone, but
    the car still randomly moves around. The outer tie rod ends and swaybar links were recently replaced and have no play.
    Lower control arms were replaced a couple of years ago and still seem to be tight, couldn't feel any play in bushings, ball joints
    or wheel bearings. I've replaced the front wheel bearings a couple of times so I know what those sound like when they go.

    Starting to wonder if something is going on in the rear, since I changed the rear springs too. Time to put it up on a lift and
    go looking for something loose back there. I'm going to kick myself if I find a loose rear strut mount bolt or something similar.

    Anybody else encountered behavior like this?

  2. #2
    Registered Member Derty_rabbit's Avatar

    2002 Protege5

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    I had something similar and it was a blown strut. Would randomly not hold pressure and on a jounce it pulled the front. Similar to bump steer. Wasn't till one day I turned hard left (weight shifts right) that the car bottomed out and strut finally failed.....struts were two month old Kyb on eibach springs.....go figure


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  3. #3
    Registered Member MrTPoops's Avatar

    2002 Protege5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derty_rabbit View Post
    I had something similar and it was a blown strut. Would randomly not hold pressure and on a jounce it pulled the front. Similar to bump steer. Wasn't till one day I turned hard left (weight shifts right) that the car bottomed out and strut finally failed.....struts were two month old Kyb on eibach springs.....go figure


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    Dude that sucks. Did they have a warranty?

    Sent from my LGMS550 using Tapatalk

  4. #4
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    I got brave and started driving it a little harder to isolate the issue.

    There is a distinct torque steer reaction going on - throttle on, it goes
    left. Throttle off, it goes back to the right. It still randomly skips right
    and left on occasion.

    I'm changing the front struts this weekend and maybe installing my
    greaseable front sway bar bushings. I'll check the LCA bushings with
    a prybar while I'm under there. Running out of things to look at...

  5. #5
    Registered Member Derty_rabbit's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrTPoops View Post
    Dude that sucks. Did they have a warranty?

    Sent from my LGMS550 using Tapatalk
    Yes they did....but after failing within two months.....I didn't want em any more. I switched to some basic bitch Monroe and haven't had an issue since


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  6. #6
    Registered Member Derty_rabbit's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by tlott01 View Post
    I got brave and started driving it a little harder to isolate the issue.

    There is a distinct torque steer reaction going on - throttle on, it goes
    left. Throttle off, it goes back to the right. It still randomly skips right
    and left on occasion.

    I'm changing the front struts this weekend and maybe installing my
    greaseable front sway bar bushings. I'll check the LCA bushings with
    a prybar while I'm under there. Running out of things to look at...
    I had a car so this at work last week.....blown ball joints.


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derty_rabbit View Post
    I had a car so this at work last week.....blown ball joints.


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    I'll see if I can get them to move when I get it up in the air.

    Was it vertical or horizontal play on that car? I tried moving
    them with a pry bar horizontally, but didn't try vertical.

    Maybe put a floor jack under the ball joint and watch for
    movement between the LCA and steering knuckle as I
    raise it?

  8. #8
    Registered Member Derty_rabbit's Avatar

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    Picture a camber adjustment, under acceleration the car throws weight back and front kinda "floats" if that makes any sense and the ball joints wandered. When braking it weighed on em and the ball joints would settle on any position and roll so within one drive the pull was not the same within every stop and go situation. So yes horizontal left to right


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  9. #9
    Registered Member Derty_rabbit's Avatar

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    And yes that would work. Also an old trick I learned from an old steering instructor was to grab a big pair of channellocks (big enough to grab the ball of the joint and the stud or threaded portion) and squeeze them together. If they compress, then it's shot


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  10. #10
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    The strut mounts on the front are eccentric and allow for camber/caster adjustment when rotated. How are yours adjusted?

    There is a diagram somewhere, but I can't find it. The factory mounts have white dots that show their orientation.
    2002 Protege5 5 Speed, Pure White, FSZE Swap, Konig Incident 17's
    1998 Ford Ranger 2.5 5 speed
    1987 Mazda RX7, SBC swap in progress
    1998 Honda CBR900RR
    2013 Honda CB500F

  11. #11
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    The strut mounts on the front are eccentric and allow for camber/caster adjustment when rotated. How are yours adjusted?

    There is a diagram somewhere, but I can't find it. The factory mounts have white dots that show their orientation.
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  12. #12
    The Diagram Dude pcb's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrGiggles View Post

    There is a diagram somewhere, ...








    Some aftermarket struts are not eccentric... They mount the same in all four positions.

    One guys mechanic had to grind out the four strut mounting holes to allow for adjustment.

  13. #13
    The Diagram Dude pcb's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derty_rabbit View Post
    ...grab a big pair of channellocks (big enough to grab the ball of the joint and the stud or threaded portion) and squeeze them together....
    Don't forget to try your pry bar too...
    I'm pretty sure (but not positive) when I replaced my control arms they were always pushing up.

    Any movement all all on the ball joint is bad... In fact you're supposed to check the rotational torque of the ball joint... (let alone any movement).


  14. #14
    Registered Member Derty_rabbit's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcb View Post
    Don't forget to try your pry bar too...
    I'm pretty sure (but not positive) when I replaced my control arms they were always pushing up.

    Any movement all all on the ball joint is bad... In fact you're supposed to check the rotational torque of the ball joint... (let alone any movement).

    Good looking out!!! that's why we work as a group


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  15. #15
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    Hello All,

    Finally got to work on my P5 today, and found the problem.

    It is indeed ball joint related, but not a ball joint.

    Right steering knuckle broken where it clamps the ball joint stud!

    Had this happen on the left one a few years ago, guess it was
    just time for this one to follow along.

    I'll take pretty pictures when I get the knuckle pulled out,
    maybe tomorrow. Gotta order a new one right now...

    tlott01

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