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Got Wheels Aligned & Now Steering Wheel Is Off

JaeTheDev

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jun 28, 2020
1,039
1,745
Westerly, RI
As stated, got my wheels aligned and now the steering wheel is a little to the right, about 3 degrees or so when going directly forward. I was told Model 3s are smart, lol, so to take the vehicle for 30 minutes or so without stopping, then have it go into a deep sleep, and it’ll reset itself. So…. That hasn’t worked. Anyone ever heard of this way of doing such a steering wheel alignment? Earliest SC apt is over a month out for me.
 

JaeTheDev

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jun 28, 2020
1,039
1,745
Westerly, RI
Where you did your wheel alignment screwed up. They are supposed to lock the wheel dead center before they start, but it was obviously 3° off. You need to take it back there and have them fix it. The tie rods need to be adjusted.

The place I went to services Tesla’s all the time. They told me exactly what I just found on another post.


The model 3 has an adaptive steering rack. I had an issue after the Tesla service center did an alignment on my car.

you need to drive the car WITHOUT autopilot on the freeway for 30+ miles. then let the car go in to deep sleep and it will re-calibrate the adaptive steering racks 0 center.”

Perhaps im just doing something incorrectly and it’s not allowing it’s self to center. I’ll follow up with my SC In any case and see.

Post where quote is from
 

brkaus

Well-Known Member
Jul 8, 2014
8,504
7,132
Austin, TX
You need the car re-aligned. They messed up.

There is a hard connection between the wheel angle and the steering wheel angle. No number of reboots will fix it.

There is a steering wheel angle sensor that the car uses for autopilot. That may get calibrated with driving. But everything I have read says the tie rods need adjustment.
 
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TLLMRRJ

Active Member
Dec 19, 2019
2,093
2,535
Houston
The place I went to services Tesla’s all the time. They told me exactly what I just found on another post.


The model 3 has an adaptive steering rack. I had an issue after the Tesla service center did an alignment on my car.

you need to drive the car WITHOUT autopilot on the freeway for 30+ miles. then let the car go in to deep sleep and it will re-calibrate the adaptive steering racks 0 center.”

Perhaps im just doing something incorrectly and it’s not allowing it’s self to center. I’ll follow up with my SC In any case and see.

Post where quote is from

You have it wrong. It won't fix a crooked steering wheel, but it will correct for a drift. I even had one of the SC guys tell me that the steering wheel will magically re-center. What a maroon!

The steering wheel is mechanically linked to the wheel direction. There's nothing for any computer to do to change that. If the computer were to re-center the steering wheel with your 3 deg offset, then the car would abruptly change lanes every time you took your hand off the steering wheel.

I have done my own alignments on my Teslas, and I can confirm 100% that you need to go back and tell them to fix their mistake. They were very sloppy.
 
Mine came this way from the factory. It bothered me for a couple of days (when I was looking for problems) but I let it go. I'll add it to the list the first time I need actual service. It's not hurting anything other than my OCD in the meantime.

Tim
Exactly my scenario. I have had my car for 18 months now and honestly don't even notice it now!
 
Mine came this way from the factory. It bothered me for a couple of days (when I was looking for problems) but I let it go. I'll add it to the list the first time I need actual service. It's not hurting anything other than my OCD in the meantime.

Tim
Same, about 3° to the right. It still bothers me two years running, but not enough to address before needing an actual alignment.
 
This would really really bother me. My car goes dead straight with a centered steering wheel. On a good road i can center it and let go and it will pretty much go straight forever.

Sounds like autopilot to me... 😜

But in all seriousness, a well aligned wheel is just one of the little things that you take for granted until you don't have it anymore.
 

AAKEE

Member
Jan 8, 2021
800
1,049
Sweden
Same, about 3° to the right. It still bothers me two years running, but not enough to address before needing an actual alignment.
Mine showed about 3.7 deg to the right with scan my tesla data from the Canbus when I got it. I lowered it with a set of springs and did get a wheel alignment but I had the same 3.7 degree right after the alignment, which is a bit strange.
Right now at the wheel alignment shop doing backjob to get the steering wheel straight.

I have seen a lot of posts about the steering wheel being of to the right.
The caster angle is of both left and right side, too much on the left and too little om the right side. My collegue has a ’19 Model 3 which shows the same fault as my ’21.
Is the rig for welding the M3 togheter at the factory not ok?
 

holmgang

Active Member
Sep 9, 2019
1,389
1,531
eu
Here is a cartoon illustration of the steering system. The tie rod is in purple.

* it is mechanically connected to the steering wheel
* it controls the angle of the wheel relative to the center-line of the car (i.e. the "toe")
* it has a thread which allows its length to be changed
* left and right tie rod are independent (in length)

ideally, the steering wheel is centered before the wheel adjustments and alignments is started. you can appreciate it is not immediately easy to gauge that the steering wheel is slightly off, when the car is static. the steering wheel also bounces a bit when you make small adjustments while the car is still. so most techs probably just "eyeball" it , and hence the bad end result.

it is possible to have all the wheels fully aligned -- symmetric and etc so that the car tracks properly -- but the steering wheel itself is off-center. (you can imagine if the wheels are perfect, but the steerng wheel was removed rotated and reattached).

the solution isnt to disconnect the wheel from its hub and reattach it (angles are not very fine), but rather to simultaneously adjust both tie rods lengths to move the wheel in parallel , symmetric to the car, when the steering wheel is perfectly centered.

i cant trust techs to do a great job at this. so if things are not perfect after a shop alignment, id probably go back and tweak the tie rods myself until its perfect






Fig-1-Rack-and-pinion-steering-mechanism-1-Steering-wheel-2-Steering-column-3-Rack.png



pic05-orig.jpg
 

AAKEE

Member
Jan 8, 2021
800
1,049
Sweden
I did get it fixed, they usually set the steering wheel slightly offset to the right with the help of a libelle. This to counter that roads aren’t flat but built leaned to the outer side to make rain float away.
This tine they set the libell straight( offered a look att SMT exakt value but they chose to use the libelle.)
This did get the steering wheel much better( good enough for me) but I still have a slight perceived right wheel when going straight ahead.

The caster ange is out of limit left ( too much) end out of limit right( too little).
I made a own adjustment before going to the backjob on alignment on the upper control arms, moving the whole upper assembly max forward( holes in chassie larger than bolts) on the left side and backwards on the right. Also move the max out to minimize the negative camber.
After that adjustment the steering wheel offset changed to about 2 degrees instead of 3.7 degrees. So I guess the many cars that have right wheel displacement going straight is coupled to the m3 body not having the bolt holes in the perfect position). I didnt bother to, but by enlarging the holes it would be possible to adjust the caster to get inside the limits, or even blueprint.



( I have done wheel alignments and also do modify cars as a hobby and my hobby car has a home built suspension on all four wheels)
 

holmgang

Active Member
Sep 9, 2019
1,389
1,531
eu
I did get it fixed, they usually set the steering wheel slightly offset to the right with the help of a libelle. This to counter that roads aren’t flat but built leaned to the outer side to make rain float away.

I've had shops use this as an excuse to dismiss having to fix the issue.

Firstly programming a car to track one direction or another to counter the road crown (or, another excuse is they want the car to drift away from opposite traffic for "safety") is independent of the centering of the steering wheel.

Secondly we drive on all sorts of roads with all different angles and direction of crowning. Most would prefer a car that tracks straight, with the wheels centered, exactly as it (often) comes out of the factory.
 
This is a pet peeve of mine: steering wheel not straight after an alignment. Not sure why this happens so often but now whenever I get an alignment, I tell them that my steering wheel had better track straight or I'm driving it right back in there for them to fix it. Seems to make them "care" a little more. I've fixed it myself before: same number of turns on left/right tie rods... but it's better to let them know up front that you expect a straight steering wheel so they'll take the time to do it right.

Mike
 

AAKEE

Member
Jan 8, 2021
800
1,049
Sweden
I've had shops use this as an excuse to dismiss having to fix the issue.

Firstly programming a car to track one direction or another to counter the road crown (or, another excuse is they want the car to drift away from opposite traffic for "safety") is independent of the centering of the steering wheel.

Secondly we drive on all sorts of roads with all different angles and direction of crowning. Most would prefer a car that tracks straight, with the wheels centered, exactly as it (often) comes out of the factory.
So, no they do not use it to make the car not go straight. They use it to counter the fact that some cars turn if the road leans as the roads mostly do. I come from >20 years with Audis and their fine suspension have been more affected to the inclination of the road then some other cars. As the car starts turning downwards(right if Right hand traffic as most countries) you need to turn the sterring wheel a little bit to the left to compensate and drive straight.
My M3 is lot less sensitive to the inclination of the road then my Audis(still have two). This calls for less displaced wheel if you should use any. This time they set my stering wheel straight by the libell. Now the steering wheel is straight enough to not notice unless I actually look for any displacement so its good enough I guess.(I could/might make an own fine adjustment for the last 0,5 degree or so).

As I have been buildning/modifying cars and made the wheel alignment myself a lot of times I’m use to make sure the steering wheel is straight, and maybe more sensitive to it then the regular driver. I haven used any inclination compensation when I have made my wheel alignments and havent feelt any steering wheel of to the center. On the other hand, It have never been a swampy Volvo with 80-profile tyres either.
 

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