Steering Correction - Gu Patrol

Submitted: Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 00:10
ThreadID: 24441 Views:4666 Replies:8 FollowUps:4
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Hi Forumites,

I have had 2" lift on my Patrol for last 12 months. Associated with this change has been a shift in steering wheel position (~ 15' off centre) which is annoying but I've lived with it so far. Finally annoyed me enough to want to do something to fix it. Apart from the wheel being offset, it drives OK. Was pulling to one side but then I worked out the RTC damper needed to be adjusted post lift.

I'm assuming that the lift has altered steering geometry that, via non-adjustable steering rod elements, flows through to the wheel. I was thinking of simply moving the steering wheel but this seems to be an arse-about way of solving the problem.

An adjustable relay rod would seem a simple fix but I have searched the net and cannot find a supplier for these (though have read reports of the same - Wizard brand?). Then there are adjustable panhard rods which are in ready supply. My understanding is that the panhard rod adjusts the axle into correct lateral position, which is offset due suspension lift. Given that Nissan relay rod is fixed, I am assuming that the steering shift is likely due to some fundamental geometry change(such as axle offset). So my question to those in the know is which is the best solution. If fitting either, is it simply a matter of adjusting until the steering wheel is in the correct position or should I be getting geometry measured (not that I did when it was lifted).

I guess I have only ever associated adjustable panhard rods as being required for 4" + lifts. I am interested to know the experience of other GU owners with only moderate lift. The above may seem overkill for a 2" lift but to me I'd like to get the steering right. Any recommendations on suppliers appreciated also.

Thanks in advance,
Hugh

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Reply By: desray - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 00:34

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 00:34
The steering rod is adjustable. The rod between the front wheels with the track rod end joints is adjustable for length. Udo the lock nuts and rotate the bar in one direction to make longer other direction to shorten.You should not need to take the steering wheel off .
AnswerID: 118885

Reply By: junior - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 02:05

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 02:05
Desray,

correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe you're talking about the drag link, which links the two front wheels for steering- it is adjustable for the purposes of toe in & toe out only. the relay rod that connects the steering pump drive unit to the passenger wheel is not adjustable as Hugh correctly stated. when you lift your suspension this rod's distance between the wheel and the pump is effectively shortened due to this increase in angle (similar as effect to your panhard rods). Hugh, getting adjustable panhards will not solve your problem (they will re-centre your diffs- but should not be an issue with a 2" lift), the relay rod will still be "shorter" because of the angle on it- it is this angle/shorter rod the pushes the steering pump 'drop arm?' across enough to turn your steering wheel around that 15deg- solutions?... yes a dropped drop arm off the pump to return the angle to standard would do the job- don't know of anything off the shelf available for a GU- I believe most extended drop arms are design for vehicles with front leaves that have had a 'spring over conversion'.
In the end- best solution (can also be done at "the right price"- ie: no $$$), as you mentioned is to crack that steering wheel and move it back a spline- can be a pain when off only by half a spline!... but that can be lived with!- juz be careful, if you have an airbag- disconnect your battery for 15-20mins before adjusting. :-)
AnswerID: 118889

Reply By: Martyn (WA) - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 06:43

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 06:43
Hugh,
I had the same problem with my GU when I lifted it 50mm. I looked at the problem and decided to take it to my mates at Magic Nissan to turn the steering wheel that little bit. I'd heard about this job not being the easiest and the potential to set the air bag off so I paid up and got it done by people who had done this before. I don't know if you have fitted the adjustable bushs (large ones on the front of the axel, castor angle bushes I think) in the arms that run the length of the vehicle but this makes a difference, bit tricky to do but I did it, the feel of the steering is much better now. You need a good press and a good eye.
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AnswerID: 118893

Reply By: 10 Para (Qld) - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 09:50

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 09:50
Had the same trouble with mine last year after the lift everything was ok took it into Nissan for a service 10,000 i think and it came out the same as yours, went back and told them about it they said that was that and could do nothing about it went all over the town to try and get it fixed i the end went back to Nissan and stamped my foot b.......... hard and just would not leave untill they agreed to have a look at it, found out that it could be adjusted and i stood theye while they adjusted it in front of me it took some doing.
I had told then not to do a balance or wheel alignment at the service as well Kid's untrained do the work, met up with the guy this year now working for another firm and he told me that they just dont know what they are doing half the time.
Regards
10 Para
AnswerID: 118922

Reply By: Member - Captain (WA) - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 13:30

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 13:30
Hi Hugh,

I had a similair problem when I had an alignment done recently, the steering wheel is ~10 degrees offcentre. As you have found out, Nissan do not have an adjustable linkage to re-centre the steering wheel (unlike cruisers).

As others have posted, the way to fix is to re-centre the steering wheel, but due to the airbag, this should only be done by a dealer. I have not heard of an aftermarket adjustable linkage, but this doesn't mean they don't exist.

Cheers

Captain
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AnswerID: 118937

Reply By: desert - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 14:44

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 14:44
You can simply move the steering wheel on the spline, BUT all you have done is move the steering wheel and have not re-centred the steering box, which should centre on it's internal worm so that lock to lock is not compromised, and that the pressure circuits for each "side" of the box is equal as when the steering is centred in the straight ahead position. The other bug is the indicator return snig that cancels your turn signals, this can be up the creek too, and needs to be centred. The proper fix is to install an adjustable panhard rod which will return the front axle position back to it's correct relationship to the steering drag rod. This can be simple done with a four-wheel alignment at any reputable wheel alignment house that knows the business. By raising the body you have shortened the panhard verticle distance, which has pulled the axle across to the drivers side.
AnswerID: 118943

Reply By: Member - Hugh (WA) - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 17:53

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 17:53
Thank you to all above for your feedback, which is very much appreciated.
I guess the comments confirm my suspision that adjusting the steering wheel will make the wheel look right but not resolve the problem.

The adjustable panhard rod would appear to correct diff lateral offset but this is likely not too far out. The feedback from Junior makes sense to me i.e. the extra height affects the geometry of relay rod from LH wheel to steering box. I hadn't thought about an offset drop arm from the steering box - good idea. I'll give this some more thought and may try to modify another relay rod (wreckers) to incorporate a threaded adjuster at one end. The Landcruisers have adjustable relay rod so this suggests to me this is the item to look at. The Nissan relay rod appears to have a bar section (ball joint end) that slides into a tube (relay rod) and is welded. I think it possible to thread the bar section and incorporate a nut into the tube. Must say that I'm surprised no one makes these - I reckon they'd sell.

Regards,
Hugh
AnswerID: 118959

Follow Up By: Grungle - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 19:08

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 19:08
Nissan used to have adjustable steering arms but a recall was sent out as the tie rod ends lock nut had a habit (supposedly) of loosening. Nissan replaced them all with none adjustables. You might be able to find one of those (any friends at Nissan?).

For those that want to fix the problem, most people with money buy a cro moly one and 2 tie rod ends (+$400), some money buy mild steel and 2 tie rod ends ($200-$300) or budget have yours legthened by someone good at welding (check legalities in your state though as it is involved with steering). This last one is by far the easiest.

I am surprised that you got that much turn in the steering wheel with that lift. I get that with a 5" lift.

Regards
David
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FollowupID: 374150

Follow Up By: Member - Hugh (WA) - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 22:41

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 22:41
Hi Dave,

Thanks for your comments and background to Nissan's configuration change.

Always hard to guess the offset when your typing away late at night. Checked it just now with protractor and out by just over 10' (like Captain above).

Regards,
Hugh
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FollowupID: 374184

Reply By: Member - Pezza (QLD) - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 20:21

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 20:21
Hugh, DO NOT TOUCH THE STEERING WHEEL!!
Don't take it to nissan to stuff around with the airbag unless you have a spare arm and leg.
Don't waste money on adjustable panard rods, as once your diff is re-centred your wheel will be out even further, with a 2" lift your diffs won't be that far out anyway.
Simply drive it into your garage and stop, making sure your wheels are pointing straight ahead, then get a mate to help you undo the steering collumn at the steering box, accessed through the right hand guard, and turn it untill the steering wheel is straight, then slide it back on and do it up.
Mine has a 3" lift and was done exactly this way, I have no adverse affects in steering geometry, pulling left or right, return to centre or lock to lock. Okay so the steering box isn't sitting EXACTLY centre and one lock might be tighter than the other, buggered if I can tell which one though!

Avagoodn
Pezza
AnswerID: 118984

Follow Up By: Member - Pezza (QLD) - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 20:40

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 20:40
Hugh,

Just read your last post,
"I guess the comments confirm my suspision that adjusting the steering wheel will make the wheel look right but not resolve the problem."

Just wondering what "problem" other than a crooked steering wheel? You said before that the vehicle drives fine.

Avagoodn
Pezza
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FollowupID: 374165

Follow Up By: Member - Hugh (WA) - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 22:33

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 22:33
Hi Pezza,

Yes, this is a good question. Fact is that there isn't really a problem, just that the steering wheel is off centre and it gives me the woops. It's a low priority issue, hence a years gone by without doing anything about it. I probably just had too much free time last w/e to have a look at what I could do.

I was hoping there would be an easy fix. Reading the above has given me a few ideas, like checking at the wreckers for a relay rod from an earlier model Patrol. Thanks for your idea too, this actually sounds pretty easy as well.

Regards,
Hugh
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FollowupID: 374180

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