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Unread 02-25-2004, 12:58 AM   #1
TribalJeeper
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: MA
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Steering Wheel alignment

My gf just bought a '96 GC. When driving straight down the road, the steering wheel is not centered, it's off to the left about 2 inches. How can I get the steering wheel centered? There is an air bag present. Thanks.

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Unread 02-25-2004, 07:07 AM   #2
ccyoder
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A cockeyed steering wheel may be a sign that the wheels are out of alignment. If it also pulls to one side or the tires sqeal when turning at low speed (like in a parking lot), that's your problem.
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Unread 02-25-2004, 10:58 AM   #3
900Steve
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TribalJeeper
My gf just bought a '96 GC. When driving straight down the road, the steering wheel is not centered, it's off to the left about 2 inches. How can I get the steering wheel centered? There is an air bag present. Thanks.
its pretty simple, but you should get a Haynes manual so you know how to disable the airbag circuit. i wouldnt try it without it.

you will also need a steering wheel puller to do the job.

-steve
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Unread 02-25-2004, 11:07 PM   #4
TribalJeeper
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Two new front tires were put on before she picked the GC up. Is there a way I can check the alignment myself before bringing it to a shop and paying them to check it ?
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Unread 02-25-2004, 11:42 PM   #5
whitevette
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 900Steve
its pretty simple, but you should get a Haynes manual so you know how to disable the airbag circuit. i wouldnt try it without it.

you will also need a steering wheel puller to do the job.

-steve

Bull-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=. It's a FEA problem and nothing more.

Road crown will pronounce any problems. If you get into the left lane you'll probably notice the wheel straighten out.
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Unread 02-26-2004, 03:41 AM   #6
Meerkat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TribalJeeper
Two new front tires were put on before she picked the GC up. Is there a way I can check the alignment myself before bringing it to a shop and paying them to check it ?

Short answer: Yes, you can check it yourself.
Long answer: You probably aren't equipped to do it yourself. First, you need to know what the specs are. Then you'll need to be able to create a straight line from the back of each wheel to the front of it, and be able to accurately measure the distances between the wheels. I once read the proceedure in some DIY book years and years ago, and decided it was just easier and more economical to take it in.
Find a flat place to park. As you are rolling forward, keep the steering wheel oriented in the "straight up and down" position. Stop the Jeep completely and turn it off. Get out and, standing back a bit from the front of the vehicle, eyeball the front wheels. Do they look like they are pointing straight ahead? If the previous owner (PO) worked on the front end himself, such as the steering arm or the steering wheel. It is possible it was re-assembled improperly so that the wheel is not straight when travelling straight. However, since only two tires were replaced, rather than all four, I am willing to bet the PO didn't bother rotating tires, and didn't spend the extra money for an alignment, which btw, makes other maintenance (oil changes, lube job, filter, plugs, etc.) highly suspect. I recommend putting your Jeep through a full service cycle, including the front end alignment. You'll only benefit in the end. BTW, make sure the proper fluids (such as ATF) are used. Don't let them tell you another kind (e.g. DEXRON) is "good enough".
HTH
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Unread 02-26-2004, 07:41 AM   #7
ZickZJ
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Well this is what I did to center my steering wheel, not sure if this is correct but I can't think of anything its hurting.
I had to change my tie rod ends on my suspension anyways. Basically after I popped the end off the pitman arm, took out the old end and replaced it. I just adjusted in/out whatever was needed to recenter my steering wheel.
First time I was way off and my wheel was about 90* cockeyed... Took it off again, adjusted it and now my wheel is perfectly straight and no noticable side effects.

I don't see why you just can't do this, as long as you keep the adjustment within reason of course.
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