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Unread 01-03-2012, 04:13 AM   #1
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Default steering wheel crooked

2004 ford focus zx5 hatchback.

The steering toe is straight, just the wheel it self is slightly off so that if you make it perfectly straight you are turning slightly to the right. I don't want to mess up the car and am going to adjust the ti rods.. From my understanding this is what I do...

1) jack up the car a bit and turn wheels to expose connector
2) Loosen the adjustment lock bolt
3) mark the position of the tie rod so if something messes up I can reset it to where it originally was
4) spin the tie rod 1/4 turn and lock
5) do steps 2,3,4 for the opposite side.
6) examine steering and adjust again if needed.

I don't want to mess anything up, is this a simple enough adjustment?

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Unread 01-03-2012, 04:49 AM   #2
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So when driving in a straight line the top center of the steering wheel is to left of center.
After marking the top of each tie rod you need to shorten the left side and lengthen the right side by the same amount.
I would go a 1/2 turn to start with. Road test it and then decide if you need to go more or you went too far.

Remember to tighten the lock nuts.
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Unread 01-03-2012, 05:36 PM   #3
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alright thanks for the tip I will start with the half turn, the wheel is off by about 1cm (My left hand would be 1cm lower than my right if I hold them perfectly level) Is there anything I can severely F up doing this? )other than loosening both tie rods or tightening both making the wheel alignment screwed.

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Unread 01-03-2012, 08:05 PM   #4
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As long as you mark the top of the tie rod and make a note about which one you rotated and which direction eg; left forward 1/2 turn.

Move each the same amount in an opposite direction and you will be OK.
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Unread 01-06-2012, 07:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Car Guy View Post
As long as you mark the top of the tie rod and make a note about which one you rotated and which direction eg; left forward 1/2 turn.

Move each the same amount in an opposite direction and you will be OK.
hmmm my car doesn't have the adjustment lock bolts, it looks like you just turn the rod I can't find the lock adjustment bolt anywhere. Does the focus just not have this bolt?

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Unread 01-06-2012, 08:02 PM   #6
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Your car's tie rods should look like this below,

The left side of this pic attaches to the steering rack, it has a rubber boot (#2) over it.
The right side of this pic is what the tie rod end screws onto, the nut is jammed against the tie rod end to lock it in place.

This is the tie rod end (#1) that screws onto the end of the tie rod with the nut.


You will need to loosen the nut with a wrench after painting a mark on top of the tie rod for reference. Some tie rods have a wrench hex so you can turn the tie rod to adjust, others do not so you would need to use locking pliers.

1) Loosen lock nut
2) Thread tie rod into, or out of tie rod end
3) Lock nut against tie rod end

The tie rod ends are right hand thread so to shorten the tie rod you need to loosen the nut enough to allow the tie rod to thread father into the tie rod end.

The inner end of the tie rod that attaches to the steering rack has a rubber boot over it, you don't want that to twist and tear. Their is usually a spring clamp to hold it tight around the tie rod. Most times you can just grab this boot where it's clamped and twist it the opposite direction on the tie rod so that when you turn the tie rod it untwists it. If you can move it by hand you will need to squeeze the clamp and move it off the boot for now.
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Last edited by Mr Car Guy; 01-07-2012 at 01:27 PM. Reason: typo

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Unread 01-07-2012, 05:07 AM   #7
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thanks you are awesome, that was the best help ever. Will give it a go tomorrow when their is some light.

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Unread 01-07-2012, 04:52 PM   #8
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fixed, I started with a full turn just cause it was hard to see the marker position when on the other side and I got lucky it was exactly a full turn to fix it. Thanks a lot! A crooked steering wheel drives you nuts cause u have to look at it the whole time you are driving lol. The only safety issue I could conceive is on the tie rod that I loosened is could the tie rod pop out? I am pretty sure it can't because any manufacturer with half a brain would leave tons of extra thread so that it could be adjusted. The rod goes into the rod end a considerable amount right?

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Unread 01-07-2012, 07:27 PM   #9
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Don't worry, their is a lot of threads in their.

Glad to hear you got it done.
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Unread 01-13-2012, 05:46 AM   #10
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yeah thanks so much, I was excited because my mechanics charge money beyond all belief. Maybe you can help me with my other thread, I am trying to change the rear drum pads.

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