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My steering wheel is wacky but steers correctly.


oldpathfinder
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Hi everyone. I hope someone can help. My 97 pathfinder SE has developed a wandering steering wheel. Turn left and it may stop anywhere from 90 degrees to 10 degrees off center. Turn right and it does it on the other side. Normal small curves move it a little. I can make it turn nearly 360 degrees with the engine on and not move the tires if it's sitting still. It steers normally if I ignore the position of the wheel and just steer. I recently (within the last month) had new tires, a new tie rod end and front end alignment and assorted other parts replaced that are just wearing out.

 

Took it to a mechanic who says he isn't sure what is the actual cause. The gear box is leaking fluid. He says there is play everywhere in the steering column and the suspension is toast. $4-5K to repair and not worth it.

 

My repair manual says there is an adjustment screw for the steering wheel. It does feel like only the wheel itself is affected. Could a loose adjustment screw let it slip like that? There is a drawing in the manual showing the location, but I can't figure out if the view is from under the dash, under the car, or wherever.

 

I know it's old and wear is like car cancer. I would like to save my car. It did the first 250K miles relatively problem free, needing regular maintenance, an alternator, water pump when the serpentine belt was done, and shocks .In the last 1K, the cruise control and brake light controls on the brake pedal had to be replaced, the coil and rotor failed and the seal below them disintegrated.the radiator has started to leak. For the first time there is oil under the car.

 

Any suggestions?

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Thank you all. Have new mechanic with ecellent reputation looking at it Wednesday morning. Will tell him about the steering rack bushings. Can't believer THREE people came up with that when most people say "it does what?!!"

 

I think the other mechanic's mindset was it is too old to put money into.

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Thank you all. Have new mechanic with ecellent reputation looking at it Wednesday morning. Will tell him about the steering rack bushings. Can't believer THREE people came up with that when most people say "it does what?!!"

 

I think the other mechanic's mindset was it is too old to put money into.

 

As soon as I hear that from any mechanic, I walk away. If I thought it was too much to fix I would have just scrapped it myself already!

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Thank you all. Have new mechanic with ecellent reputation looking at it Wednesday morning. Will tell him about the steering rack bushings. Can't believer THREE people came up with that when most people say "it does what?!!"

 

I think the other mechanic's mindset was it is too old to put money into.

It’ll take about an hour or two to do. That’s what was wrong with mine. The oil filter wasn’t tigh enough so it was leaking onto the bushing. Completely ate it. For less than $30 I was able to do it myself in a couple hours.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I had the oil changed at a meineke I had never used before. They failed to correctly diagnose the faulty coil and charged me $400 to change the gasket below the coil and rotor. One week later it died on the interstate during the hurricane evacuation. aaargh. Then had another shop repair it. Would not be surprised that the oil filter wasn't in tight enough. It is also leaking oil when it had not before. Thanks for the info.

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It’ll take about an hour or two to do. That’s what was wrong with mine. The oil filter wasn’t tigh enough so it was leaking onto the bushing. Completely ate it. For less than $30 I was able to do it myself in a couple hours.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

Yep, every time you replace the oil filter the rack bushing gets drenched in oil. Eventually, the bushing breaks down. I am trying urethane bushings this time.

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Thanks to you all. You were right about the bushings right down to the oil leak that caused it. Unfortunately the leak was in an expensive place. Since they have to pull everything off the front of the engine to get to it, may as well do the timing belt and get a warranty on it and a new water pump, etc, Labor is the same whether they replace the parts or not. sigh. I really, I mean really, love my Pathfinder. grin

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Wait...is there an actual leak though? My understanding is that it can come from the oil filter if it's not snugged properly, or when the oil leaks when changing the filter. Is yours really leaking there?

 

Also, don't you 3.3L guys have the little drainage bracket under the filter? I have one on my 3.5L, and it's perfect. Wonder if the filters are in the same-ish position and if the bracket can be used, if it's not there?

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On the VG33E, there is nothing to catch oil dripping from the filter and prevent it from spilling all over the steering rack.

 

After having to replace the driver's side rack bushing and seeing how badly the oil disintegrates the rubber, I now cover the rack with a couple of shop rags, and I place a ziplock bag around the filter as I screw it off. The oil spills into the bag as you loosen it. It's a bit more time-consuming because the inside of the bag is super slippery and makes it hard to spin off the filter, but at least I don't make a big mess anymore. Another alternative is to cut the bottom and side off of a 2-liter plastic bottle and use it as a makeshift funnel to channel the dripping oil away from the rack.

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On the VG33E, there is nothing to catch oil dripping from the filter and prevent it from spilling all over the steering rack.

 

After having to replace the driver's side rack bushing and seeing how badly the oil disintegrates the rubber, I now cover the rack with a couple of shop rags, and I place a ziplock bag around the filter as I screw it off. The oil spills into the bag as you loosen it. It's a bit more time-consuming because the inside of the bag is super slippery and makes it hard to spin off the filter, but at least I don't make a big mess anymore. Another alternative is to cut the bottom and side off of a 2-liter plastic bottle and use it as a makeshift funnel to channel the dripping oil away from the rack.

 

That's a bummer. I don't think the VQ40's in the Frontiers/Xs got something like that either.

 

Maybe one of those relocation kits is in order. Otherwise, cut a milk container up so that it catches the oil and funnels it out.

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