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Old August 19th, 2007, 04:40   #1
alanp
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Question Changed strut, steering wheel crooked

98 Jetta TDI, I changed the Strut on the passenger side. Before working on car, steering wheel was straight when wheels are straight, now the wheel is 25 degrees to the right but the car drives straight, no pulling, runs smooth. I can't figure out what the strut has to do with alighnment of the steering wheel.
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Old August 19th, 2007, 05:19   #2
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The strut has slotted mounting points. If you don't get it exactly right, you need to do a front end alignment.

I use a strut level tool to ensure that everything goes back exactly as it came out.
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Old August 19th, 2007, 06:13   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paramedick
The strut has slotted mounting points. If you don't get it exactly right, you need to do a front end alignment.

I use a strut level tool to ensure that everything goes back exactly as it came out.
Exactly. The two holes where the strut bolts to the steering knuckle are elongated. This is where you adjust camber on a Mk3. Any change in camber will also affect toe-in (which is the cause of your off-center steering wheel).

Ya need a wheel alignment. And if the alignment shop tries to sell you a "cam kit," tell them they're full of crap and that camber is adjustable as it is! If they still give you crap, take it somewhere else.
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Old August 19th, 2007, 06:27   #4
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oops....live and learn!! I'm used to the old 86-91 Jetta, where that didn't seem to matter, Ididn't notice the slots!!

Thanks so very much!!!
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Old August 19th, 2007, 06:36   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alanp
oops....live and learn!! I'm used to the old 86-91 Jetta, where that didn't seem to matter, Ididn't notice the slots!!

Thanks so very much!!!
Yes, the older ones, while still a VERY similar setup, typically do not have elongated strut holes. However there were undersized bolts available that can allow you to adjust camber in the same manner. The stock sized bolts allowed for only very minimal movements, so yes, it wouldn't change much.

I just bought an '89 GTI 16V off another member here and the camber was on the positive side when I aligned it (I put in a wheel bearing...)! No wonder it wasn't handling for crap! Turns out that undersized bolts were installed! Previous owner put struts on it and had it aligned, but whoever aligned it didn't adjust camber...

I corrected that, though, and now it scoots around corners very well, as it should!
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Old August 19th, 2007, 07:49   #6
alanp
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very interesting... perhaps I should have taken pictures and created a "how-to..." This is the first time I've had to do an alignment on a Jetta, but then again this is the first over $1000 car I've owned
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