Quite likely - wishbones (that was my case, first time re-fitted brand new odd ones (passenger side rear mount bush was different than driver's side), that's why this thread is so lengthy)
Car pulls to the left when accelerating.
In such case, driving straight is compensated by turning steering wheel to the right, so when no longer accelerating, it causes car to throw itself opposite (think going into neutral, changing gears, ...)
Car wanders more when at high speeds - increasing instability
REMEDIES, most-likely first, take one at a time and take time between each:
Check tyre pressure, wear and size
Replace wishbones if odd/worn (I got brand new but ODD wishbones replaced, that's how this story stretched so long -- one had front bush, the other had balljoint instead..)
Check brakes for binding
Inspect front and rear suspension components for wear/play
Do computerised 4-wheel alignment, obtain printouts
Inspect steering wheel column for wear/play
Presence of non-factory wheels (now running 15" alloys, will try to swap back to factory 14")
Inspect wheel hub for play/wear
Thorough inspection of inner steering joint (haven't done myself yet)
Inspect shock absorbers for being unevenly worn/gone (about to try myself)
Take it to the MOT station (haven't tried myself yet)
Differential going (inside gearbox)
LESS CREDIBLE CAUSES:
Gearbox mount (under battery)
Engine mounts going?
[END OF SUMMARY]
Might not be able to garage her in next couple of weeks, how urgent is this:
A month or so ago, all of a sudden steering wheel went off-centered by ~5minutes to the left.
Since then the car pulls to the left (of course), but mostly noticed when in neutral or low gear/speeds.
However, when applying more torque, and/or at speeds of ~60MPH, the steering wheel straightens itself, and the car drives fine, as long as the foot is on the accelerator!
I feel that wheel "wants" to steer bit to left or right depending if I accelerate or decelerate.
Also, a bit of play is felt in the steering wheel, if that's anyhow related.
Was inspecting brakes on Sunday, swapped front wheels together, same issue - so tyre pressure/offcentered wheels ruled out.
Wheel tracking/alignment was done 12 weeks ago.
Someone suggested an inside tie rod end bearing going, but I guess checking under those gaiters is not a DIY job..
Your tracking is way - way out.
The fact it was done 12 weeks ago unfortunately means that either it wasn't done properly (99% as usual), and/or it's gone again due to another problem with the setup which wasn't addressed beforehand.
It could also be the plastic damper-piston in the steering rack which takes-up the free-play, which you seem to describe.
Do not continue driving the vehicle as from the way you describe it, you will crash.
It's not just the pulling to the side being the problem. The way it is now it affects center-return of the steering-wheel, and you will have assymetric turning radius so it's not stable in cornering and emergency situations.
Sorry to appear alarmist but better safe than sorry.
1.4i, 2001, 3-door, China Blue
Repair safely - Drive safely
Last edited by V9977 on Tue May 07, 2013 2:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
Ok, you got me, not 100% fine , I get oversteer sometimes, but only when heavy cornering, e.g. making a u-turn.
Had this since months, never paid too much attention, nor rootcausing to the latest symptoms surely either
Try this, take a sharpish corner one way and see how 'hard' the steering wheel feels and then do the same the other way.
It is bound to feel and turn slightly differently, so the point of 'loss of control of the vehicle' in some situations is too close for comfort.
Purely as a matter of interest, how much thread is showing on each track-rod end.
Oh, and obviously DO NOT attempt to adjust them yourself - not even a tiny-bit.
With the 206 this could be rear axle not just limited to front so get full 4 wheel alignment done at a reputable location. Tell them to do a full check for wear before any adjustments are made. In fact a good mechanic should be trained to check everything first before adjusting anything and should refuse to set the tracking until a worn component is rectified.
The reason I suggest 4 wheel alignment is that while the rear is not adjustable 4 wheel alignment will check where the rear wheels are pointing and if there is a problem there. Also 4 wheel alignment equipment is more sensitive than the older cheaper front tracking kit that a lot of garages are still using and less susceptible to operator error or corner cutting.
You should get a paper print out from 4 wheel kit so make sure you get your print as that will show you what has been achieved and there is no reason why a patient operator shouldn't get your front toe (the only adjustable setting) spot on.
Thank you for tips! My friend mechanic just inspected everything, even drive with me around to convince, because he saw nothing visually.. Apart from worn front tires. He then balanced all 4 wheels -- no major errors found.
He then swapped over front wheels to the back axle, and put nice not worn ones to the front. I think the problem is gone! I'll confirm tomorrow after commute.
I Will tell you done horror stories from wheel tracking/alignment garages tomorrow.. Cheers!
News after this morning commute: now the car is slightly pulling to the right instead (pulled to left previously).
I was happy to see the steering wheel way more centred, and it does not want to "escape" when accelerating/decelerating/going in neutral.
But this morning on a motorway at about ~60MPH when applied accelerator pedal, car starts to pull to the left significantly more. Worrying bit is that the steering wheel stays in place! So there is a play in the system. (my commute is not on a motorway, I went on it just briefly, so no worries there )
My next stop: full wheel tracking and alignment. Because the mechanic inspected everything yesterday, the visible part of wheel column when car is lifted, inner parts of track rod ends etc - could not see any play or movement or any other suspiciousness
How much thread is visible on each of the track-rod ends (in mm) between the locking nut and where the threads stop?
I will measure that in mm, V9977, but for now here are the images (took them for you yesterday when car was elevated ), I counted about 7 and 7.5 visible thread loops respectivelly:
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