1990 Delta 88 alignment problems

I recently bought a nice '90 Delta 88 with 65K miles. It pulls to the right while driving on a straight highway. The steering wheel is constantly about 20 degrees to the left to keep it going straight. I’ve had it aligned 4 times at 3 shops and the problem persists. The tires are brand new Goodyear Assurance, so it’s not a tire problem. One opinion I’ve gotten is that this is normal for an older FWD car due to torque steer. It’s also been suggested that I should replace the struts (for some reason it has different brand struts on the left and right sides). My question is, (1) how much pull should I consider normal on this car and (2) would struts potentially fix a problem like this? I used to drive RWD wagons so I’m not used to the feel of a FWD car. Thanks,

-Andrew L

This doesn’t seem right to me. I had a 1993 Oldmobile ‘88’ with a similar problem. I had a 4 wheel alignment done and this cured the problem. If the shops just did a 2 wheel alignment, this might not solve the problem.

My suggestion is to find a good independent shop that specializes in wheel alignment. I have an independent tire dealer who has a good alignment specialist. Years ago, I traded with an independent shop that only did alignments. The owner showed me his appointment book and many new car dealers who had alignment racks made appointments with him. If a customer at the dealer complained enough, this man got the car.

In 2002, I picked up a 93 Caprice that was pulling to the right with nearly new tires (~4k). A front to back tire rotation and 2 alignments had no effect. I rotated the front tires side to side and the car tracked straight after that.

Try rotating the front tires side to side to either fix the problem or rule out the tires entirely.

Ed B.

This is not torque steer. The next time you’re stopped on wet pavement with lots of open space on both sides of you, hit the gas hard. The front of the car will probably jump to the left or right. That’s torque steer.

The four-wheel alignment is a good suggestion. One worry - the different struts make me wonder about if this had been in a crash - have you gotten a Carfax?

I just re-read your OP and find it strange that you have different brands of struts from right to left. It wouldn’t be unusual to have different brands from front to rear, but from left to right is unusual. Years ago, a garage changed the front shock absorbers on a Ford Maverick that I owned. The shock absorbers were supposed to be Monroe heavy duty. One of the shock absorbers was noisy, so I asked for a replacement. The proprietor of the garage claimed he didn’t have time to change the shock–it was too big a job to tackle, but he finally gave me a new shock when I said I could do the work myself. At any rate, the shock he gave me was a heavy duty, but the the ones he had put on were the cheap ones. I replaced the noisy shock with the new heavy duty and the car did not steer correctly. I finally went to an auto parts store and bought another heavy duty Monroe to replace the other shock and that cured my problem.

My son had a spring break on a Mercury Sable when he was in a remote area. The nearest Ford dealer said that he had two options: replace both springs on the front, or the dealer would try to locate a used strut and spring to replace the defective spring. The dealer’s mechanic reasoned that if he could find a strut assembly with the same amount of wear, the car, with an alignment, should drive o.k. My son chose this latter method and it did work out.

Maybe the shop that did the alignments will give you a break on the price if the unmatched struts are causing the problem.