Steering tracks/wanders BAD over rutted roads, need advise. - LS1TECH - Camaro and Firebird Forum Discussion



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Steering tracks/wanders BAD over rutted roads, need advise.

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Old 02-22-2017, 02:29 PM   #1
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Default Steering tracks/wanders BAD over rutted roads, need advise.

Got my 2000 Firebird a few months ago, love the car. LS 6 Speed 40,000 miles. Problem I'm having is the car wanders or follows the ruts/bumps in the highway or road I am on. It feels as though there is a ton of slop in the steering, even a little scary at highway speeds. I need to be paying attention and have my hands firmly on the wheel. Hit a big rut and it will dart around in the lane. On a nicely paved road you would never know, tracks strait, let go of the wheel goes strait. Nothing is worn or loose in the front end when I jack the car up and pry on the wheels. I mean zero slop. I am guessing that I have a problem with the steering rack?? The previous owner gave me an alignment sheet that was done just before I bought the car. All within stock specs. I have been reading and searching trying to find some possible causes for this and one thing I have seen is that wide front tires can contribute to what I have going on. I have 275 fronts on this car. What do you guys think? Could they be causing this problem? Seems strange to me that it would be as noticeable as it is due to wide tires. TIA -Patrick
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Old 02-22-2017, 05:18 PM   #2
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Got my 2000 Firebird a few months ago, love the car. LS 6 Speed 40,000 miles. Problem I'm having is the car wanders or follows the ruts/bumps in the highway or road I am on. It feels as though there is a ton of slop in the steering, even a little scary at highway speeds. I need to be paying attention and have my hands firmly on the wheel. Hit a big rut and it will dart around in the lane. On a nicely paved road you would never know, tracks strait, let go of the wheel goes strait. Nothing is worn or loose in the front end when I jack the car up and pry on the wheels. I mean zero slop. I am guessing that I have a problem with the steering rack?? The previous owner gave me an alignment sheet that was done just before I bought the car. All within stock specs. I have been reading and searching trying to find some possible causes for this and one thing I have seen is that wide front tires can contribute to what I have going on. I have 275 fronts on this car. What do you guys think? Could they be causing this problem? Seems strange to me that it would be as noticeable as it is due to wide tires. TIA -Patrick
Before doing anything else play with the tire pressure. Its supposed to be around 30-32psi, dont be afraid to go lower or higher than that to see if it makes a difference.
How worn the tires are makes a pretty big difference with this as well.
Worn bushings will contribute to this too, you may be low miles buy the bushings are now 17 years old if they have never been replaced. - replace with rubber, not poly.
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Old 02-23-2017, 06:25 AM   #3
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^ It's probably not your steering but your tires. The big front tires take some getting used to and they love to follow the ruts. (So having them properly inflated maintained is important.)

It would probably also be worth-while to raise the front wheels and check for any excessive play in the hubs, but I'd expect you to see other problems in other conditions with those issues.
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Old 02-25-2017, 08:41 AM   #4
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Mine did this when I first got it. The tires were pretty worn and very brittle. Replaced the tires and the car tracked much better. It still does it a little, but the tires are wide and the owners manual specifically states that some wondering/rut following is normal.
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Old 02-26-2017, 09:16 AM   #5
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Tramlining is common with cheap tires, especially when half the tread is gone. Larger tires don't help and neither does over-inflation.
A 40k miles car should not have suspension issues unless it was abused or driven daily over pothole type roads. My T/A now has over 50k miles and I have not had the issues you describe, but I have owned only Goodyear, and now BFG G-force tires over all the years. Never more than 34 psi, and usually in the 32 psi range. Without knowing more details about your tires and your psi, I hope your problems are as simple as getting quality tires (not too large) with the right tire pressure used.
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Old 02-27-2017, 09:16 PM   #6
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concurring, the issue is most likely your tires. Mine did this before I changed tires, then night and day difference.
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Old 02-28-2017, 08:13 AM   #7
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check the date codes on the tires. they might surprise (scare) you
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Old 02-28-2017, 06:47 PM   #8
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Most likely the only problem is the toe is set toed out. This will cause it wander all over the place.


Have it set 1/32- 1/16 toe in. The spec is 0 but it will wander with wide tires at spec.
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Old 03-03-2017, 09:27 AM   #9
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I've replaced every steering/suspension component on my car and found the lower ball joints to be the biggest improvement in steering play/wondering, so i'd look into that as well. 40k miles is a little low for that, but something to consider.
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Old 03-09-2017, 10:11 PM   #10
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Mine had tramlining when new with the original 275 SS tires. Switched to 245 (stock Z28) size tires, problem gone. Also, like the lighter weight of the smaller/narrower wheels and tires.
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:20 AM   #11
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80k miles on my ss and i'm original owner, my problem was in my steering rack.
get a front wheel off the ground and with hands at 9 and 3 o'clock see if you can wiggle the wheel and observe any movement on that side of the steering rack. If the steering rack where the inner tie rod connects is moving in and out 1/16" or more (mine was like 1/4" play) while the other side of the rack is not moving (wheel will be on the ground) then that is a definite problem. Tires and extra toe in won't help a sloppy rack allowing your wheels to have that much play.
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Old 03-14-2017, 04:22 PM   #12
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I agree with all the tire opinions.

you should also check that the bolts holding the rack and pinion are tight, and that the passenger side has the rubber bushing in it. Mine was missing the bushing, and one bolt was loose and the damn thing wandered around like no other.
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Old 03-15-2017, 08:28 AM   #13
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Update, I have played with the tire pressures as suggested with no obvious improvement or change. I have also checked for play at 3 and 9 with one side of the car on the ground and have zero play or slop. I checked the date codes on the tires, they were made in late 2015 so they are not even 2 years old, with that I am crossing age/brittleness off the list. As for the alignment attached are some pics that show the specs it was aligned to. Any comments?
Thank you, all who have replied very much!
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Steering tracks/wanders BAD over rutted roads, need advise.-alignment1.jpg   Steering tracks/wanders BAD over rutted roads, need advise.-alignment2.jpg  
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Old 03-15-2017, 08:30 AM   #14
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I agree with all the tire opinions.

you should also check that the bolts holding the rack and pinion are tight, and that the passenger side has the rubber bushing in it. Mine was missing the bushing, and one bolt was loose and the damn thing wandered around like no other.
I'll be checking this next, have not really looked at this yet.
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Old 03-15-2017, 09:05 AM   #15
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Update, I have played with the tire pressures as suggested with no obvious improvement or change. I have also checked for play at 3 and 9 with one side of the car on the ground and have zero play or slop. I checked the date codes on the tires, they were made in late 2015 so they are not even 2 years old, with that I am crossing age/brittleness off the list. As for the alignment attached are some pics that show the specs it was aligned to. Any comments?
Thank you, all who have replied very much!
Well I have ZERO faith in alignments because the alignment is only as good as the setup on the machine which is usually WAY OFF. I'll give you an example, my 99TA was wearing the inside of the right frt tire. I took it to 3 different shops, STILL INSIDE TIRE WEAR PLUS after the last alignment I picked up a slight pull to the right. I also had wandering issues. I heard every excuse in the book including the dog ate the alignment spec book. Finally I decided enough was enough and did the alignment myself in the driveway. No more tire wear on the inside right tire and no more wandering.


That positive camber AINT helpin ya any ZERO or just a hair negative is where you wanna bee with just a hair toe in 1/32, but good luck finding a high school drop out <yes those are the people doing your alignment> that understands anything much more than lunch is at 12.

Last edited by RockinWs6; 03-15-2017 at 09:12 AM.
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