I put new struts on my 1998 Toyota Camry, then got new tires and an alignment. The car seemed to veer left after I put the struts on but I thought alignment would fix it. But it was still there. I brought it back to the shop 4 times and they have put in a camber adjusting bolt and also replaced a tire and switched it my spare tire rim. Their machine shows almost perfect allignment specs, but the pull to the left is still there when going down the highway. They say all the front end parts are tight. I even watched them check the alignment the last time. Does anyone have any idea what makes my car not go straight down the road ?
The only things I can come up with would be a worn steering rack or a dragging brake caliper. ???
I will check the brake caliper dragging possibility.
You replaced “a” tire. Maybe tire bias is causing it. Try swapping the 2 front tires from side to side and see if the problem goes away.
I doubt this is the problem however check the pressure in all your tires.
you know how most roads have a crown in the middle. the crown will make any car pull.
have you made sure to try it on a road with NO camber? driving on a flat road or parking lot, with NO lean is a must.
I agree with OK4550. I had the same problem with my 93 Caprice, except it pulled to the right. The tires had about 4k at the time. I rotated the tires front to back and had it aligned twice and the pull didn’t change. Out of desperation I changed the front tires side to side and that fixed it. It’s been nearly 5 years since and the car is fine.
I don’t think it is the tires - the shop just put them on last week, and what they did when they couldn’t figure out why it keeps pulling left after they have done three alignments is to switch the front tires and blame it on being one them defective. They replaced that one. But who knows - maybe all their tires are defective ! I know one thing - I am so sick of sitting around their shop for hours while they can’t figure out the problem. And they tried to rip me off a bit by charging me for putting two camber adjusting bolts in but really only putting in one . I am no dummy , I looked !
If they have to replace a bolt with a camber adjusting bolt then this could mean the car has been wrecked or hit a severe pothole or curb. This could lead to a tweaked suspension part like a control arm or tweaked subframe or strut tower.
As to tire bias causing a pull, that can happen with brand new tires with zero miles on them. It’s happened to me several times. When I got home I just swapped the LF with the RF and problem goes away.
Something is wrong here that conventional thinking is apparently not revealing. Ask your alignment people when their equipment was last calibrated for accuracy. Is your rear wheel alignment causing the problem? Rear wheel alignment can cause steering pull. A crowned road will normally make the car pull to the right unless you are in England.
A small amount of caster difference in the front struts will cause a noticeable amount of steering pull. Caster with struts is normally not considered adjustable but there are ways to deal with that. Are your alignment people overlooking or not mentioning a potential caster problem because they believe that they can’t adjust it?
They gave me a print out each time the alignment .
First alignment says
Left front camber actual -.10 before -.10 Right front actual -.70 before -.71 specified range -1.36 to 0.16
left front caster actual 2.38 before 2.38 Right actual 2.88 before 2.88 specified range 1.42 to 2.92
left toe actual .01 before -.32 right toe actual actual -.02 before .04 spec range -.05 to .05
Last alignment says
left camber -.48 right -.51
left caster 1.86 right 2.33
left toe .03 right .02
Yes I wonder about the calibration of their alignment equipment - it is the type they put on each tire and read out on a monitor . Not sure if it is modern enough that it corrects itself on setup.
But I will try your advice of switching the left and right front tires tomorrow.
Thanks for all the advice
The upper strut mount on one of the front wheels was not installed correctly. There should be two ways that they can go in, the original design was for one position with power steering and one without, but I think all Camry’s have power steering.
Open the hood and look at the top of the strut towers. There should be three nuts and a fourth hole that is blanked off. If the blanked off hole is the most forward one on one side and the rear one on the other, one is wrong. I think the blanked off hole is supposed to be the front one.
I just got my flashlight out and looked but only see three holes - no extra holes. Both sides look pretty much the same. There is a shim that is under two of top stud bolts on both sides of the car. I was wondering if there was some way I may have put the struts on wrong to cause this. The only thing I could think of is there were two plates at the top of the spring and maybe the top one is in the wrong position but I don’t think the three studs in the top would have gone through the holes if they it wasn’t on correctly.
This past thread might help you: Click here. Towards the bottom of page four of the thread the problem is fixed but read from the first post which is similar to your problem.
They must have done away with the 4th hole since PS is standard. Alan Y found that old post (see below) and I think you should pursue it.
Thanks for that link ! I see that this was a common problem in years past. It might be that I did put the top plate on wrong when I reassembled the strut. I may have to take the strut back off and check it. Details details !
Why has no one suggested taking the front tires and swapping them side to side? This ought to be SOP in cases like this!!
If the swap produces no change in the pull, then the problem is 100% alignment.
If the swap produces a pull in the opposite direction, than it’s the tires.
If the swap eliminates the pull, then it is both tires and alignment.
I removed the strut on the left side and checked it to make sure I had put the top plates on correctly - it all looked okay. I also swapped the front tires. After all that I took it out for the test ride and - darn - same pull to the left ! I think my only option is to take it again to a dealer or front end shop and ask them if they can promise a fix .
Still try swapping them left to right and see what happens.