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Discussion Starter #1
Ok. I've been having some issues with my steering for awhile now. I need some help solving a few of the last bugs, but i'm totally stumped.

Heres the problem:
The car drives perfectly fine most of the time.. The alignment is dead on now after all that crap with Midas. The car doesn't seem to pull in any direction on acceleration or braking. So everything is perfect most of the time. However I've been noticing that every now and then the car seem just refuse to drive straight. It seemed random at first, but then I started noticing that the car would always act funny at the certain spots. That is to say, the seemingly random shifty steering seems to always happen at the same spot, but for no apparent reason.

So tonight I was driving to a friends house today on the other side of town so I was driving a way I haven't gone in a long time. On the I-10 going through central Phoenix there is an underpass thats a good half mile long. It has a different kind of pavement than the rest of the freeway. It was late rush hour, traffic everywhere. As soon as my car hits the different pavement for the underpass, the car starts pulling all directions at once. The wheel wants to move right, then left, and I'm trying to keep the car driving straight but its really hard. And I'm just doing the best I can to avoid swerving into people when I notice I've slowed down to about 50 and people are getting pissed behind me. As soon as the regular pavement comes back, the car is totally fine.

So later on when I was driving back I was driving back at like 85MPH and when I hit the same spot the car started acting funny. This time I noticed as I slowed down, the problem got worse. Keeping my speed up to 85 made the pulling less noticeable and easier to control. But just to be sure I wasn't totally insane, after I'd made out of the tunnel I turned around and went back. Again, as soon as I hit the pavement the steering goes nuts. As soon as I get back to regular freeway pavement the problems cease to exist. The faster I go the less I notice it.

So I checked out my car when I got home tonight. I cant find any problems. The ball joints look good, the knuckles and tie rod ends look good. the control arms seem to be fine. The only things I did notice is that the sway bar end bushings are in need of replacement.

I tried disabling the powersteering by removing the belt. Then I drove around some spots that I've noticed seem to cause the problem. Without power steering it was noticeably better but still apparent. Doing a U-turn is a bitch, but I kinda like the feel of the road without power steering. Is it bad for the system to drive with power steering belt off?

If there are any suspension gurus who know what may be causing this odd problem. Could it be an alignment thing like needs more toe-in or something? I am stumped.
 

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Re: LONG post: still have a steering issue. any suspension gurus

I drove a corvette with the really wide tires and it had the same problem. The owner nearly went nuts looking for answers. I suggested he put some narrower tires on, he did, and the problem went away. Then he put the wide tires back on because he didn't like the looks of the narrower tire and just decided to put up with the bad steering on certain roads.
 

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Re: LONG post: still have a steering issue. any suspension gurus

Ever since I put the Z32 wheels on my car, it seems to follow ruts REALLY bad. I'm guessing it's the tires. It only does it on bad roads. On the interstate, it's perfectly smooth and straight.
 

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Re: LONG post: still have a steering issue. any suspension gurus

I noticed a simliar situation with mine. It feels loose on the highway in certain spots. Didnt start until i mounted up my 350z wheels. Weird
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Re: LONG post: still have a steering issue. any suspension gurus

ok then. Based on what I've read I am going to assume its the tires. I've never experienced such dramatic differences in handling due to tires or wheels but it does seem to make the most sense.
 

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Re: LONG post: still have a steering issue. any suspension gurus

what about having your front end inspected? maybe a alignment? My 86 Turbo tracked straight and true on all roads. My 88 SS feels very loose and wobbly. Similar to yours but not as extreme. Im going to replace my ball joints and tie rods just to be sure. I know from experience a Z should be a very stable machine. Any looseness or sloppyness to the steering is a sign that something could be very wrong, in my opinion.

Id have it looked at if you are having trouble controlling the car. you would hate for something to eventually fail and total your Z becuase you didnt have it inspected, right?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Re: LONG post: still have a steering issue. any suspension gurus

umm I've had a lot of people looking at the front end of my car, and an alignment was just done. The mechanics say there is no problem. There was another problem a few weeks ago but they fixed that.
 

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Re: LONG post: still have a steering issue. any suspension gurus

Good idea Kyle. They may have swapped left for right when Midas was messing with the front end a couple weeks ago. They could be cupped too.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Re: LONG post: still have a steering issue. any suspension gurus

no all four tires are new and on properly. It would be way too obvious if the treads were on wrong, theres an arrow pointing in the direction of rotation on the edge of the tire.
 

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Re: LONG post: still have a steering issue. any suspension gurus

Are these OEM size tire or close to it? Could be a problem if too wide.

Stock bushing in the front end? If so Prothane's kit is cheap and easy to install, cant hurt.

After installing my Prothane kit and replacing several other parts on the front I had a serious tracking problem similar but not as pronounced as you described.

Pull the front tires and tighten the bearing nut on both sides. (FSM or Haynes are good guides) My guess is that they will be quite loose. If not then you will need to invest in some front bearings. Not too expensive and not hard too replace.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Re: LONG post: still have a steering issue. any suspension gurus

Ok, worked on it a bit more tonight.

First off, i have stock 15" na rims, and the tires are stock 215/60 R15.

I jacked the car up and took off the wheels. I then took off the sway bar and tried to jiggle the control arms. They are solid.
I tried to jiggle the tension rods but they are pretty solid too.
I grab the strut and try to move it but it seems solid. I can turn the car on and move the hubs back and forth and there seems to be no slop. The tie rod ends and ball joints feel pretty firm.

Really the only thing that seems to be in dire need of replacement is the sway bar link bushings. I think its just the worn bushings and the better grip of my newer tires that is making the problem more pronounced when I hit ruts and directional grains in the pavement.

I went back to that spot that was so bad the other night and with my power steering belt off the problems were much less pronounced. Am I going to cause damage to the power steering system by driving with the belt off? I was considering putting an electric clutch on the pulley, possibly by modifying a compressor pulley, and making a lowpass circuit connected to the speedometer which enables the clutch only below 15MPH. Anybody have any ideas?
 

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Re: LONG post: still have a steering issue. any suspension gurus

On my Z31. I bought new Yoko's and drove on them for 50K. Suspension was perfect, tight everything. It hadn't been jumpy on certain roads in the past. When the tires wore out I bought BFG G-Force tires. Man what a difference. When I would drive 80mph on a bumpy road I was always correcting. Now with the new tires silky smooth and straight.

Tread pattern can mean night and day on these cars. ;)
 

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Re: LONG post: still have a steering issue. any suspension gurus

There's a 200-300 ft section of I-88 in central NY that makes you think your wheels are coming off. It's just that one spot on the west to east side. The first time I hit that back in the early 80's I thought my 240Z was about to come unglued. It could be a bad road surface and your tires just don't like it.
 

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front end bushing kit

having a heck of a time finding bushing kit for 87 300zx no luck on the net please help if you can
 
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