steering wheel pulling to the left when accelerating

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Thread: steering wheel pulling to the left when accelerating

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    steering wheel pulling to the left when accelerating

    my 2004 maxx lt regarding the steering pulling to the left when accelerating.

    the car was brought in a 4th time to a different dealer and they found nothing wrong. They told me the steering wheel pulls to the left when accelerating because of torque steer which is caused by a difference in the length of front wheel drive shafts. The left side is shorter.

    is this valid???

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    Re: steering wheel pulling to the left when accelerating

    Quote Originally Posted by dinosaur
    my 2004 maxx lt regarding the steering pulling to the left when accelerating.

    the car was brought in a 4th time to a different dealer and they found nothing wrong. They told me the steering wheel pulls to the left when accelerating because of torque steer which is caused by a difference in the length of front wheel drive shafts. The left side is shorter.

    is this valid???
    It happens quite often. It's a side effect of some front wheel drivetrains. The dealer isn't fibbing to you, but it shouldn't be too severe under normal use. Is it?

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    R2-D2 Astromech Droid Smaart Aas Saabr's Avatar
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    Re: steering wheel pulling to the left when accelerating

    The shorter side wheel will recieve more torque and tend to spin faster as a result.

    so it should pull right then!

    It is a fairly common trait, but a Malibu isn't a very powerful car and it's a pretty good chassis, so it should not be very noticeable, except under extremely hard acceleration, in which case it should be slightly noticeable!



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    Re: steering wheel pulling to the left when accelerating

    There are two types of torque steer:

    one from the drive axle angles, the steeper the angle (relative to the opposite side, steeper means engine higher than the hub), the more toe-in steering moment you get on that side. Generally, the shorter drive axle has a steeper angle and you will get a torque steer AWAY from the shorter side. A shorter drive axle on the left would imply a larger angle on the left, and a RIGHT directional torque steer proportional to throttle input.

    The other type is due to small differences in the tire rolling circumference. This variation can be thought of as small differences in the number of times the tires rolls (under load) per mile driven. You can't measure this with a tape measure, it's that subtle. A small difference in this rolling circumference (or revolutions per mile) is not enough to work the differential and allow different tire rolling velocities, so the front end acts like a solid axle.

    This is like putting a smaller wheel on one side of an wagon axle - then trying to make that axle roll straight (it's going to want to roll in circles, right?). If you put driving torque on it, the largerwheel gets the majority of the torque. This acts through the suspension and steering geometry to cause a torque steer toward the smaller tire.

    To summarize:

    A car will tend to torque steer toward the side with a longer drive axle, a smaller tire rolling circumference, or the tire with lower tire pressure. Got it?

    Also keep in mind that the second type of torque steer acting from the differential can play back into the first - operating a drive axle at any angle will cause a toe-in moment. In an ideal car, these angles and torques are roughly equal, but if you create a difference in the angles, or if you induce a difference in driving torque, you'll get a net steering to the car under torque.

    The drive axle angles can also change dynamically because of how the engine moves under torque - remember, it's mounted with isolation - so what you think might be one setup may change if you have a bad engine mount.

    Have the dealer swap the tires left-to-right, and see if the torque steer changes. If it does, then it's the second type of torque steer - the only way to fix it is through tire replacement. If not, it's likely to be related to something in the engine mounts.

    Good Luck!

    PS SM.A.Sabr: In any differential, limited slip or open (even open diffs have some inherent amount of friction that causes them to act like a limited slip), the input torque gets biased toward the slower spinning wheel. If the torque got distributed to the faster spinning wheel, you would never get off the situation where one wheel was on ice, as the faster spinning wheel would get all the torque... obviously, this doesn't happen, even with an open diff. Lucky for us.

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    Re: steering wheel pulling to the left when accelerating

    Might be some play between the Heiffer Joint and the Johnston Rod.

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    Re: steering wheel pulling to the left when accelerating

    Quote Originally Posted by marinerbc
    It happens quite often. It's a side effect of some front wheel drivetrains. The dealer isn't fibbing to you, but it shouldn't be too severe under normal use. Is it?

    if you test in an emtpy lot without holding the steering wheel, it pulls to about 10 o'clock. also, when i drive i can feel it pulling to the left and i have toi turn the wheel a bit to the right when im accelerating forward.

    overll my concern is that ever since my dealer replaced the steering column that is when i started having this problem. they claim it's normal torque steer, but how can it be normal when i didn't have this issue before?

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    Re: steering wheel pulling to the left when accelerating

    Quote Originally Posted by Smaart Aas Saabr
    The shorter side wheel will recieve more torque and tend to spin faster as a result.

    so it should pull right then!

    It is a fairly common trait, but a Malibu isn't a very powerful car and it's a pretty good chassis, so it should not be very noticeable, except under extremely hard acceleration, in which case it should be slightly noticeable!

    see i accelerate an i'm going about 2-5 mph and it pulls to the left very slowly, is that normal?

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    Re: steering wheel pulling to the left when accelerating

    Quote Originally Posted by SolsticeMan
    There are two types of torque steer:

    one from the drive axle angles, the steeper the angle (relative to the opposite side, steeper means engine higher than the hub), the more toe-in steering moment you get on that side. Generally, the shorter drive axle has a steeper angle and you will get a torque steer AWAY from the shorter side. A shorter drive axle on the left would imply a larger angle on the left, and a RIGHT directional torque steer proportional to throttle input.

    The other type is due to small differences in the tire rolling circumference. This variation can be thought of as small differences in the number of times the tires rolls (under load) per mile driven. You can't measure this with a tape measure, it's that subtle. A small difference in this rolling circumference (or revolutions per mile) is not enough to work the differential and allow different tire rolling velocities, so the front end acts like a solid axle.

    This is like putting a smaller wheel on one side of an wagon axle - then trying to make that axle roll straight (it's going to want to roll in circles, right?). If you put driving torque on it, the largerwheel gets the majority of the torque. This acts through the suspension and steering geometry to cause a torque steer toward the smaller tire.

    To summarize:

    A car will tend to torque steer toward the side with a longer drive axle, a smaller tire rolling circumference, or the tire with lower tire pressure. Got it?

    Also keep in mind that the second type of torque steer acting from the differential can play back into the first - operating a drive axle at any angle will cause a toe-in moment. In an ideal car, these angles and torques are roughly equal, but if you create a difference in the angles, or if you induce a difference in driving torque, you'll get a net steering to the car under torque.

    The drive axle angles can also change dynamically because of how the engine moves under torque - remember, it's mounted with isolation - so what you think might be one setup may change if you have a bad engine mount.

    Have the dealer swap the tires left-to-right, and see if the torque steer changes. If it does, then it's the second type of torque steer - the only way to fix it is through tire replacement. If not, it's likely to be related to something in the engine mounts.

    Good Luck!

    PS SM.A.Sabr: In any differential, limited slip or open (even open diffs have some inherent amount of friction that causes them to act like a limited slip), the input torque gets biased toward the slower spinning wheel. If the torque got distributed to the faster spinning wheel, you would never get off the situation where one wheel was on ice, as the faster spinning wheel would get all the torque... obviously, this doesn't happen, even with an open diff. Lucky for us.

    wow great info! overall since they replaced the steering wheel i've had this "pulling to the left" issue. then my dealer claims this is normal although i never had this problem before they replaced it. isn't that funny?

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    Re: steering wheel pulling to the left when accelerating

    Quote Originally Posted by SolsticeMan

    PS SM.A.Sabr: In any differential, limited slip or open (even open diffs have some inherent amount of friction that causes them to act like a limited slip), the input torque gets biased toward the slower spinning wheel. If the torque got distributed to the faster spinning wheel, you would never get off the situation where one wheel was on ice, as the faster spinning wheel would get all the torque... obviously, this doesn't happen, even with an open diff. Lucky for us.
    I've had a great many situations with one wheel spinning at ~40mph and the other standing still...

    If the diff always transferred torque to the slower wheel, you would be unable to turn since the wheels would be turning you the other way, no?



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    Re: steering wheel pulling to the left when accelerating

    Quote Originally Posted by Smaart Aas Saabr
    I've had a great many situations with one wheel spinning at ~40mph and the other standing still...

    If the diff always transferred torque to the slower wheel, you would be unable to turn since the wheels would be turning you the other way, no?

    no no this happens as im moving forward on a green light, i can feel the wheel wanting to go left by itself. i tested it out in an empty lot and the wheel turns to about 10 o'clock and stops going between 2 to 5 mph

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    Re: steering wheel pulling to the left when accelerating

    Quote Originally Posted by Smaart Aas Saabr
    I've had a great many situations with one wheel spinning at ~40mph and the other standing still...

    If the diff always transferred torque to the slower wheel, you would be unable to turn since the wheels would be turning you the other way, no?
    Re-read it: all differentials have a certain amount of torque bias. An open diff may only allow a 15% difference in torque before allowing the wheels to spin at different speeds (or differentiate the wheel motion).

    In your spinning situation you described, you had an open differential, with little to no traction available on the low friction wheel. But you were still getting what little biasing was available biased to the non-spinning wheel. If you only had a possibility of 50 Nm on your spinning side, the non-spinning side was probably receiving only 55 Nm, in total you weren't going anywhere.

    If you were in the same situation with a heavy limited slip differential (say 70% threshold before differentiation), and they worked the way you think, then the limited slip would pour all the available torque to the spinning wheel and you would not go anywhere worse than if you had an open diff. But we know this is not the case, the more limited slip, the more it acts like a solid-connected axle.

    Check out howstuffworks, I'm sure they have some explanation of differentials there.

    DINOSAUR,

    Don't know what to tell you. You say this did not exist before, but came up after the steering column was changed? Perhaps the re-installation was incorrect.

    Has the dealership swapped front tires yet (put the left on the right and vice-versa). If so, did it change? if not, you should have them do it - it's supposed to be one of the first checks for a torque steer or lead/pull complaint.

    Also, if you travel on a level highway (if you can find one, or take into account road crown), and you check it, does it still pull left?

    If you can do this safely, AND YOU CAN DO THIS WITH YOUR TRANSMISSION (cause some transmissions are not allowed to switch like i'm about to tell you), pop the car into neutral and see if the left pull goes away when coasting. If it does, then it's for absolute sure you've got torque steer. If not, then you have an issue either with the new column, it's installation, or a traditional steering pull that's likely caused by the tires.

    Good Luck!

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    Re: steering wheel pulling to the left when accelerating

    Quote Originally Posted by SolsticeMan
    Re-read it: all differentials have a certain amount of torque bias. An open diff may only allow a 15% difference in torque before allowing the wheels to spin at different speeds (or differentiate the wheel motion).

    In your spinning situation you described, you had an open differential, with little to no traction available on the low friction wheel. But you were still getting what little biasing was available biased to the non-spinning wheel. If you only had a possibility of 50 Nm on your spinning side, the non-spinning side was probably receiving only 55 Nm, in total you weren't going anywhere.

    If you were in the same situation with a heavy limited slip differential (say 70% threshold before differentiation), and they worked the way you think, then the limited slip would pour all the available torque to the spinning wheel and you would not go anywhere worse than if you had an open diff. But we know this is not the case, the more limited slip, the more it acts like a solid-connected axle.

    Check out howstuffworks, I'm sure they have some explanation of differentials there.

    DINOSAUR,

    Don't know what to tell you. You say this did not exist before, but came up after the steering column was changed? Perhaps the re-installation was incorrect.

    Has the dealership swapped front tires yet (put the left on the right and vice-versa). If so, did it change? if not, you should have them do it - it's supposed to be one of the first checks for a torque steer or lead/pull complaint.

    Also, if you travel on a level highway (if you can find one, or take into account road crown), and you check it, does it still pull left?

    If you can do this safely, AND YOU CAN DO THIS WITH YOUR TRANSMISSION (cause some transmissions are not allowed to switch like i'm about to tell you), pop the car into neutral and see if the left pull goes away when coasting. If it does, then it's for absolute sure you've got torque steer. If not, then you have an issue either with the new column, it's installation, or a traditional steering pull that's likely caused by the tires.

    Good Luck!
    dealer didn't change or swap tire positions.
    when im slowing down it pulls to the left and also when im accelerating it pulls to the left off a gren light, i can feel the steering wheel move right and as im driving forward i have to straighten out the wheel a bit.


    btw, can a gm regional rep help in trade assistance if i were to trade in my malibu and not lose too much $$$ on it for the trade-in?

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    Re: steering wheel pulling to the left when accelerating

    You posted a bulletin on electric-power-steering and left pulls, but also the centering of the wheel is important (I think there's some sort of centering calibration they have to do when replacing the column, which contains the assist motor).

    The system is also a variable effort system, so you're going to get more assist at low speeds versus highway speeds - what may seem like a torque steer may in fact be the assist system is trying to "center" itself on a position that is not exactly "center".

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    Re: steering wheel pulling to the left when accelerating

    Quote Originally Posted by pistonpants
    Might be some play between the Heiffer Joint and the Johnston Rod.
    If you're not using Wilson Countersink Flanges, you could be losing valuable pranktens.


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    Re: steering wheel pulling to the left when accelerating

    Well, then, there is the Dorry flange - once it goes out, you'll get a back-wave tri-pulse that is sure to knock out the double-flux lumen switcher.

    Just hate it when that happens...

    You might try increasing torque on the lug manifold - and that goes for all the seismic rotors, too...

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