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Peter.N.
Hi All

My son has been complaining that the steering pulls to the right, I had noticed that if you let go of the steering wheel it drifts into the middle of the road but thought he was just making a fuss, until today that was. I have just fitted a new o/s steering balljoint and when I took it for a test drive, admittedly over our rough track, the steering pulled quite violently to the right. Once I got onto the tarmac the effect was less dramatic, but it definitly has a tendency to want to cross the road. It has always had this since I bought it, but every time I do something to the suspension it seems to get worse. I recently changed the strut, that made it worse and changing the ball joint seems to have done the same. Had he not mentioned it I may not have noticed, but now I am getting paranoid! Suggestions please.

Just a side issue. the replacement balljoint from GSF seems to be slightly longer than the original, screwed into the track rod as far as it will go I can only just get it to track, anyone else had this problem?

Peter.N.
onthecut
Hi Peter.

Is it possible that you have been setting the tracking such that although the rims are parallel they are not in the dead ahead position ? This would certainly give the prospect of the steering pulling, with even maybe the rack valve coming into play. On other vehicles I've had with PAS, it has been possible to positively centre the rack before doing the tracking --- can this be done on the XM ? A very basic check of course is to accurately count how many turns of the wheel from full lock to full lock and then exactly halve it, which should be ahead. Another bogey issue I've come across with regard to pulling is a duff tyre, where the rims may be correctly set, but there is an issue with the tyre carcase, which runs out of true.

Mike.
DrTim
My old one did tat for a while before new steeringrack was required/. Tracking adjustment and other investigations didn't fix it.
Peter.N.
Hi Mike

I have today checked the rack centering and there are exactly one and a half turns + 45 degrees each side - almost to the degree! I did that because of having to screw the track rod end on all the way, I thought, ah, rack out of centre! but not so, definitly strange track rod end though. I have set the tracking exactly as I do on the other car and I have re tracked it each time I have changed anything.

The tyre issue I have met before and I must admit, although I have thought about it, I havn't changed the front tyres - at least I don't think I have, but then I didn't think I had changed the drop link on the other one, but there's a new one on there!
The tyres both look OK and have the same pattern. I have experienced this problem with unevenly worn tyres, but these look fine.

DrTim - I hope not, I changed the one on my last car and then found it was the universal joint at the bottom of the column that was worn! I dont think its the rack as the steering is perfectly weighted when stationary and the tyres on a fairly slippery surface.

It feels as though the camber or castor angle is out, but I cant see any signs of damage or wear that could cause it. I have measured the fore and aft location of the wheels and they appear to be spot on, I have tried checking the camber angle which does look a little awry but its almost impossible to find a piece of level ground here!

Thanks for your comments anyway.

Peter.N.
demag
Peter,

It would appear you've ruled more or less everything out to do with tracking and geometry now. How about that old Xm favourite the binding front offside caliper. After a run my offside front wheeltrim is always warm but the others are cool.
rosspa
Are you sure that the problem isn't caused by worn/broken-up lower wishbone rubber bushes? I would think that pulling to the right could be caused by play in the N/Side bushings. Jack the front up with the wheels on and get someone to lever the wheel (with a fairly hefty lever or scafold pole) fore and aft. You should be able to see any play at the inner end of the lower wishbone
rosspa
Are you sure that the problem isn't caused by worn/broken-up lower wishbone rubber bushes? I would think that pulling to the right could be caused by play in the N/Side bushings. Jack the front up with the wheels on and get someone to lever the wheel (with a fairly hefty lever or scafold pole) fore and aft. You should be able to see any play at the inner end of the lower wishbone
Peter.N.
Hi Dave and rosspa

I had to replace the n/s caliper for the MOT but there is no indication of a problem with the o/s one as the car will run backwards (or forwards) at the lights a few seconds after releasing the pedal, also no signs of heating.

Wishbone bushes I have not checked as in ten years + of ownership I have never had to replace any, I know that doesn't necessaraly mean they are not worn! I will check. It has recently been MOTd and they didn't pick anything up there, execpt a caliper and strut top!

Thanks for the suggestions - keep them coming.

Peter.N.
rowanmoor
You have checked tyre presures I presume.

Also are they the same make of tyre as your other XM or are they some strange make?
DerekW
You could always swap the front wheels around and see if the pulling transfers to the other side.

Derek
techmanagain
You will get the same effect on a Range Rover if the the brake pads on one side are dangerously close to touching the disc. It will be worth checking both sets of pads to see if one side is not sliding across as it should do, so wearing one set of pads only. This has always been a common failure on several of my XMs. I have a stock of part-worn pads on the shelf that I really must throw away ! And I can tell you what to do to eliminate that fault !
Peter.N.
Thanks all for your further suggestions. Tyre pressures have been checked but I will try swapping the front wheels. Dont know what make the tyres are but I usually only use cheap ones anyway, they are a matched pair though. I dont think that there is a problem with the brakes as the pads are wearing fairly evenly and both wheels turn easily when jacked up.

The pull is not constant but greatly affected by the road camber. It feels a bit like a Viva my son had which would suddenly decide to turn right, that was due to the suspension falling apart and changing the camber on the o/s wheel.

Rosspa mentioned worn bushes, would that not cause a change of direction on accelerating/decelerating? this goes to the right regardless.

Peter.N.
demag
Just out of interest Peter, is this the new car or the old one?
Peter.N.
Hi Demag

Its the last one I bought, the red one, Jan '96 the same as the other one.

Peter.N.
xmexclusive
Hi Peter

I dont supose the nearside rear cylinder has gone a bit limp or leaky as this could skew the load balance on the front wheels.

Regards

XMexc
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