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  1. #1
    joshs78sleeper
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    Default Wandering front end...

    oK...i just picked up my 78 about a month ago from my grandma (Family heirloom). I drove it home from reno to the bay area cali, and noticed pretty much the whole way that the steering on it seems to wander. What i mean by this is it seems to jerk left and right on the road when just driving down the freeway. Now at first it really worried me, it was jerking so bad that it was scaring me thinking i was gonna hit a car in the next lane. I learned to deal with it after a while, and I just really have to relax my grip on the wheel and let the car do its own thing, whereas before i was trying to control it.

    Well the tires were at least 8 years old and the car had been sitting for a long time, so i thought that this might be a part of the problem. I put more air in the tires, and made sure they all had the same pressure...this seemed to help a little bit.

    The whole front end suspension was just completely rebuilt a week before i picked the car up. Im just wondering what might be causing this??

    My grandma said the cars always been like that and you just have to get used to it...anybody elses c3 drive like this? Is it just old? Or is there something wrong?

  2. #2
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    Bob Chadwick's Avatar
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    2006 Velocity Yellow Roadster

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    It's called recirculating ball. I have just had the front end on mine rebuilt as well and have the same problem. As long as you have some left or right pressure on the unit, the steering is crisp. Get it in the middle with a little play in either direction and it feels like you are driving a truck.

    Do a search on steering and you will find that you are not the first to post about this complaint.

    The solution is rack and pinion steering and a kit called "Steeroids".

    ...and welcome to the CAC.

    Bob

  3. #3
    joshs78sleeper
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    Default

    Yup, thats totally how it is...on turns the sucker holds good and handles great....but when im just cruising its all over the place. Im just glad to hear im not the only one with the problem.

    The only thing that concerns me is how its gonna react with 400hp behind it. When i put this new engine in, which will be soon, I hope im gonna be going straight down that quarter track.

    Is there a cheaper solution then $985 for rack and pinion? Or should i just not worry about it and wait untill i get the money for that?

  4. #4
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    Bob Chadwick's Avatar
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    The mechanically handicapped, I admit I am one of those, use Steeroids. Others have put rack & pinion from other cars in for about a third of that price as I recall. Search the forum for steeroids or rack and pinion and you will see what some others have done

  5. #5
    78SilvAnniv
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    Default Jerky steering...

    ...I haven't experienced that. Am I just lucky?

    ps system has been replaced three times, the third time I finally did everything at once and now I have no leaks.
    Heidi

  6. #6
    Administrator Yoda's Avatar
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    1981 UL5

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    josh,

    Before you shell out some big bucks for the steering mods..

    What kind of tires are on your 78?

    Have you had the car up in the air and inspected the idler arm, power steering unit (control valve, pump and slave cylinder), rubber bushings in the stablizer bars?

    What is the wear pattern on the tires, and when was the last time the car had a 4 wheel alignment?

    The 60 series tires caused some 78-82 cars to wander a bit, but most of my experience has been with OLD tires, esp.. the Good Year Gator Backs..

    Just a few more ideas for you to check, if you haven't already.. and If you have a buddy with a good set of tires.. try a 4 wheel swap for a drive and see if that makes any difference..
    "Quality, not quantity"
    "The American people will never knowingly adopt "SOCIALISM." But, under the name of "LIBERALISM," they will adopt every fragment of the "SOCIALIST" program, until one day America will be a "SOCIALIST NATION," without knowing how it happened.
    (Norman Thomas, U.S. SOCIALIST PARTY CANDIDATE PARTY presidential candidate 1940, 1944 and 1948)


  7. #7
    joshs78sleeper
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    Default

    Well, like i said the tires are very old. I am putting new rims and some good rubber on next week so i guess ill see then if that helps.

    I did check out the steeroids set....it was $985....thats where i got that figure from. Thats why i was asking if there was anything cheaper as a solution.

    The bushings on the front end were all replaced no more then 300 miles ago....so thats why I was asking. Once i get the new tires on if i still have the problem then i guess ill have to check it out more.

    But at least i know its a somewhat common problem.

  8. #8
    sscam69
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    Default

    Yeah things get really interesting at 110mph!!

  9. #9
    MLGower
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    Default

    Did you replace the idler arm? I've heard that can give you this kind of problem.

    Michael

  10. #10
    Dave L.
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    Default

    My car tracks straight and true. I can let go of the wheel at 75mph and it does not pull at all. There is a small amount of play in the gear box,but it is very minimal. The front suspension has been completely rebuilt and all the wheels profesionally spin balanced. Do you know if the car had a complete front and rear alignment recently? I would have this checked for starters. That wandering all over the road business would drive me nuts!
    I am thinking about that Steeroid system down the road,but I would like to see the price come down somewhat.

    Dave

  11. #11
    Member Pepe Le Pew's Avatar
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    1980 White

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    Josh,
    My 1980 also has the same problems that you discribed. I have been beating my head against the wall trying to figure this problem out too! I checked my whole front end and cannot find any play. I'll also be using the advise that you get here.

  12. #12
    Member cruzer99's Avatar
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    99 Navy Blue Pearl Vert. NCRS Member

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    Sounds like a "toe-in" problem....
    The front-end shop may not have set the toe (around 1/8" toe-in) if there is no toe-in the car will want to wander all over the road. Have a front-end shop check it before you spend a lot of money.

  13. #13
    rbyrne
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    Default

    Some have had that same problem with 255/60/15 tires on the front and changed to 235 or 225/60/15 front and the problem went away. If you now have 255's maybe you could borrow a pair of 235 or 225 and see what happens.

  14. #14
    vmrod
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    Default

    ...it may also be that there is too much play in the steering box. You could always loosen the lock-nut and tighten the lash-nut a little. That would get some play out of your steering.

    When I first got my car, the steering was horrible! Very scary to drive. I have replaced a ball-joint, tie-rod end (or 2), new sway bar bushings, power steering pump, and recently rebuilt the power steering rod and control valve.

    The steering is right-on now, and I cannot complain at all about the way it handles.

    -Vic

  15. #15
    Member cruzer99's Avatar
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    99 Navy Blue Pearl Vert. NCRS Member

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    I agree vmrod, but if the steering is that worn it should be replaced. You need to be carefull about tighting the lash-nut because while you way take some play out of the center of the rack, the ends (left and right side), will tend to lock or tighten up. This is not good, in fact scary, when you are making a sharp turn. Try to solve the problem with the least expensive solution first.

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