In reply to a message from brendan sent Fri 15 Apr 2005:
Assuming that your car’s suspension is undamaged, its bushings,
front wheel bearings and dampers are in good shape and that nothing
is ‘loose’ at the back end causing ‘rear-wheel steering’, the
problem is undoubtedly front-end alignment.
You mention worn tyres - where / how worn?
If excessive wear on both inner shoulders of the front tyres,
suspect inadequate Toe-in. If that uneven wear is on the outside
shoulders, suspect too much Toe-in but you would need a full
alignment check in case someone has had a bang or been messing with
the shimming which controls the front caster. Another nasty thought
is if there is severe corrosion in the front crossmember which is
causing that to ‘fold’ inwards, causing excessive negative camber.
I’ve experienced two types of erratic steering on my car. With too
little Toe-in and a badly adjusted front wheel bearing, the car
would ‘camber chase’ violently so that I had difficulty keeping it
between the hedges. I wouldn’t describe that as ‘go-cart like’ but
I did get near to that type of steering when I overdid the Toe-in
trying to correct the first problem. I progressively increased the
Toe-in until the steering became very ‘twitchy’ - i.e the slightest
movement of the steering wheel and the car would change direction
very rapidly in the way which I think you are describing and it had
far too much oversteer on entering a corner.
I think the first thing you should do is check for wear in the
bushings and bearings, back and front, and then have the alignment
checked and corrected if necessary in accordance with the Jag spec
(not at your local tyre depot!)–
The original message included these comments:
I don’t know how else to best describe it. It’s actually kind
of scary. It darts and dives back and forth. It doesn’t
feel loose in bushings etc per say, but it will pop back and
forth… feels like I’m oversteering almost but in actuality it’s
darting around. The old old tires that were on it when I bought it
show some tire wear. Any chance this darting is from an allignment
problem or is there a common failure to explain my symptoms?
Bryan N, '91 Sovereign 4.0 L, (RHD)
Cambridge, United Kingdom
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