1991 doesn't want to go straight - Team Camaro Tech
Brakes, Suspension & Steering Conversion questions, Steering & Handling

 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old Feb 10th, 06, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
 
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Question 1991 doesn't want to go straight

I'm new to this online car stuff, and I noticed most (all?) of the other discussions here are about 1st gen camaros. Should I be posting somewhere else for my 1991? Anyway, here's my problem, if anyone is interested.
I drove my 1991 305 rs for two years with a bent spindle which made the steering wheel stay at a 45 degree angle, and I didn't worry about it because the car handled fine. Then one day after a snowstorm, the car starting wandering all over the road (no, I was completely sober). Now I've had the spindle replaced, and two shops have checked out the front end and say it is sound. But it still doesn't like to go straight. Cornering seems fine, but coming back from a lane change to go straight again, it wants to wander. What should I look at next?

Last edited by stansherman; Feb 10th, 06 at 10:31 PM. Reason: am I in the right place?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old Feb 11th, 06, 04:36 AM
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Re: 1991 doesn't want to go straight

Steering box need adjustment ? I would think if everything is good with the suspention and steering linkage, plus no leaks ?

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old Feb 11th, 06, 02:14 PM
 
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Re: 1991 doesn't want to go straight

lower control arms on rear bushings prob shot. or front sway bar end links maybe? good luck, are the doors and everything lining up ok? maybe you twiked the unibody lol hope not
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old Feb 11th, 06, 02:21 PM
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Re: 1991 doesn't want to go straight

I'll answer your first question. This is indeed primarily a 1st gen Camaro site, but we have folks that own all different years of Camaros as members. There is however, another site that is primarily for your generation of car. You might go ask over there also. http://www.thirdgen.com

Best of Luck,

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old Feb 11th, 06, 06:20 PM
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Re: 1991 doesn't want to go straight

If the front is OK then check the rear.
If your rear tires are new and fronts are half-worn or more, then the car will wander due to the taller tread on the rear tires. New tires should be on the front.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old Feb 11th, 06, 09:24 PM
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Re: 1991 doesn't want to go straight

How did the wheel spindle get bent? Hit any curbs? Try checking the wheel struts for possible damage.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old Feb 11th, 06, 09:36 PM
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Re: 1991 doesn't want to go straight

The shops are missing something. Or the alignment is wacked. Perhaps way too little caster, or it is toed out. Did you get a printout of the alignment? What re the readings? Here is a stupid question, how is your air pressure?

Dave, I have never heard of new tires in the back causing an issue. In fact, I have always been taught new tires go in back, FWD or RWD. Reason is good tires in front and old tires in back can create an oversteer situation, esp. in the wet, which the average driver can't handle (which is why OE cars are setup with understeer). And o/s in a FWD car is weird.

Scott from NJ. Stay thirsty, my friends


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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old Feb 11th, 06, 11:41 PM
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Re: 1991 doesn't want to go straight

Years ago we put 2 new tires on the back of our 79 Z/28. This was years ago in the early 80's. My (first) wife drove the car back from the tire shop and SPUN THE CAR OUT!!! I drove it, and the car needed constant attention or it was headed for the weeds. We swapped front for rear and it was fine. The rears had about half tread depth.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old Feb 12th, 06, 01:04 AM
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Re: 1991 doesn't want to go straight

Tires first. They cause over half of alignment issues that I see, rather than the alignment itself. Many times just a rotate will do it if they look OK. New tires go in front. Front does majority of braking and steering. Pulls sometimes I swap left/right fronts and it straightens up, or pulls the other way.

If I didn't learn it from my my mentors, I learned it as a result.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old Feb 12th, 06, 12:55 PM
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Re: 1991 doesn't want to go straight

David, were any of those bias plies? I have never experienced anything like that except when mixing tire types, and based on when you say that happened, I believe could have been the case. I will say I have seen 2 new tires with 2 old tires trip ABS lights. But that is ultra rare. AWD Volvos would have trouble with only 2 new tires too. IIRC, Volvo used that as an excuse for their AWD unit failures (some kind of vicious coupling or something, I don’t remember anymore). All due to overall diameter differences.

I spent 7 years managing a tire & related service business. A busy shop, we moved around 150 tires a week. It also included a good deal of training from Michelin (we were official M.A.S.T. dealers). It was Michelin who drove home the point about new tires in the front causing oversteer issues. They did demos for us to prove the point. Because, as noted, it seems counter intuitive.

From the Uniroyal website:
If I only purchase two new tires, where should they be mounted?
For front or rear wheel drive vehicles, we recommend mounting the new tires on the rear axle, in order to prevent an oversteer condition. When purchasing a single new tire, it should be paired on the rear axle with the tire having the greatest remaining tread depth. When radial tires are unavoidably used with bias-ply tires on the same vehicle (not recommended), the radial tires must ALWAYS be placed on the rear axle. NEVER mix radial and bias-ply tires on the same axle.


I’ll go further with real life experience. My 82 Trans Am had 16” Goodyear gatorbacks out in the rear. I put Michelin MXXs in the front. Whoo-we, did that create an oversteer issue, especially cold. Those MXX were soft & sticky – the exact opposite of the hard as nails gatorbacks. It took some playing with air pressure and learning to drive in the cold to help that out. I didn’t have enough cash for all 4. But my training backed up my personal experience.

I understand the theory that front tires do most of the steering & braking. But IMO, if the tires are not good enough for the front, they are not good enough at all. Oversteer is the hardest thing for a regular driver to handle, and I would never consciously create it (again, we are talking about regular, retail customers). And think about it, rain compounds the issue. If the new front tires grab the wet roads better, you are creating even more oversteer since the worn rears will slide that much easier. What’s going to happen with the ½ worn tires up front? Spin in the rain pulling from a light. Ok, so what. Sliding? Welcome to understeer, slow down – ABS makes understeer even less of an issue to Soccer Moms. But oversteer? I hope Mom knows how to drive. Most people don’t (ask Ford & Firestone). Understeer is a compromise I am willing to take. All 4 tires touch the ground, not just the front.

Back to topic….I also agree on tire related pulls. If swapping front tires changed the pull that is a radial pull – a factory defect covered by warranty. That is also why I called out air pressure. Based on what sounds like a unidirectional pull, something is being missed. Something bent, out of align or loose.

Scott from NJ. Stay thirsty, my friends


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Feather-light suspension, Konis just couldn't hold
I'm so glad I took a look inside your showroom doors


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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old Feb 12th, 06, 09:20 PM
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Re: 1991 doesn't want to go straight

The front tires were OEM tires that came on the car new, I think they were BFG, they were definately radials, the rears were the same brand, I think identical to the fronts. The car might have stabilized after a fiew hundred miles, but the car was almost undriveable that way. I believe she "lost it" coming off a stoplight, so may have been accelerating when it happened.

Check my web page for First Gen Camaro suspension info:
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 06, 05:40 AM
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Re: 1991 doesn't want to go straight

Dave, I'm gonna think out loud and say you experienced what I did - odd compounding issues. Tread design, especially way back then (almost like computers to a lessor degree, tires have evolved so much), really was more aesthetic than anything and I can't imagine it had anything to do with what you experienced. JMPO.

Scott from NJ. Stay thirsty, my friends


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Feather-light suspension, Konis just couldn't hold
I'm so glad I took a look inside your showroom doors


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