Steering gets more aggressive after turning the wheel slightly

Almost1

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 23, 2019
Location
Baltimore
TDI
'96 B4 Sedan
Hey all,

For a while now, my steering has this quirk where the "sensitivity" changes depending on the steering angle. For example, I'm cruising on the highway at ~60 and need to take a slight bend. The initial movement feels great, but once I hit a certain point (say 5 degrees of turning the steering wheel) the car feels like I've turned the wheel much more significantly and I end up turning harder than I want. It's a constant battle of turn, car turns too much, put less angle on the steering wheel, car turns too little, more angle on the wheel, car turns too much, repeat. Once I pass this point, the steering doesn't continue to change. Like turning sharp at low speeds I'll only notice the original point of change. I feel like other drivers might think I'm intoxicated with how inconsistent my turns are. The car holds a straight line perfectly.

I recently (within 4 months) replaced all of these at the same time:
All shocks with Koni STR.T
H&R Lowering Springs
All Strut Mounts (HD up front)
Control arm bushings
Rear Beam Bushings
Tie rod assemblies
Ball Joints
Axles with CV joints

Immediately after replacing the parts above, I've had a 4 wheel alignment performed (to align the front and verify the rear beam is straight and centered). The car feels fantastic otherwise, perfectly smooth and tight. There is no play in any of the front suspension components, so my thoughts are the rack bushings. I've ordered a new set, but I have no other symptoms of bad rack bushings other than this. Anyone have thoughts?
 

Mongler98

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Location
COLORADO (SE of Denver)
TDI
98 Jetta TDI AHU 1.9L (944 TDI swap in progress) I moved so now i got nothing but an AHU in a garage on a pallet.
UTQG of your tires could play a bit of a role on that. Are your tires old or under or severy over inflated?
 

Almost1

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 23, 2019
Location
Baltimore
TDI
'96 B4 Sedan
UTQG of your tires could play a bit of a role on that. Are your tires old or under or severy over inflated?
Tires were new about 2 weeks before the suspension components. I always inflate to what the sticker says

I'm going to guess either worn out bushings or incorrect tow or other alignment problem
All suspension bushings have been replaced. I got the alignment done at a general tire shop originally, then verified at NGP, a VW/Audi specific shop. No adjustments were made
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
I had a problem with my B4 turning right easier than left, and it always had a pull to the right. All suspension bushings and dampers were new, alignment (done more than once) was perfect. My mechanic said that when they age steering racks can develop a "bias" where the valves don't work consistently and it can pull or steer oddly. I finally decided to have the rack replaced, problem solved.
 

Almost1

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 23, 2019
Location
Baltimore
TDI
'96 B4 Sedan
^^Good suggestions

It feels like what you would expect bad bushings to cause, but there is no noticeable clunk or noises of any kind when it 'shifts'.

The easiest thing to do would be to to replace the bushings, and I do have a poly set on the way. I hope it doesn't come down to a new rack $$$
 

Phi1osopher

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2019
Location
Austin, TX
TDI
'96 B4V TDI Passat Wagon
Is it possible your camber alignment is off even though you recently had an alignment done by a qualified shop?

I've been working through similar symptoms on my B4V Passat. It's slightly lifted and it apparently also is having trouble hold it's alignment. I fortunately have a prepaid 'unlimited' alignment package... It will come back good, then after a short while it will magically have negative camber again...

Another thing to consider is if lowering the car significantly affected the steering rack angle to the wheels. In stock configuration this line is mostly straight, but with the car raised or lowered this line becomes angled.
What this means is that now when the suspension compresses the ark that these pieces move is larger, different, and can introduce significant "bump steering."
This would have the effect of making one wheel suddenly toe in or toe out as it gets weight loaded in a turn or goes over a bump, etc.
 
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