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  1. #1

    Default Return to Center

    I know I have brought this up before but I never followed through on the solution. All of my old GM cars have had really easy power steering and a really comfortable ride and the steering wheel would always return to center after making a turn, all you had to do was let go of the wheel. I find that my 71 Skylark's steering does not quite return to center after making a turn. I does come back most of the way but I have to help it just a tiny bit at the end of a turn. My alignment is within spec's and the car tracks nice and straight but I would love it if it would return to center on it's own. What part of the alignment needs improvement?

    And please forgive me but ever since I thought about the title for this post I have been hearing Elvis singing

    Return to Center, address unknown, no such number, no one home

    I know, I'm losing my marbles, my elevator doesn't quite reach the top floor and I am a couple of fries short of a happy meal - what a way to start the new year!
    Lee
    71 Skylark Convertible 350/350
    79 Corvette 5 spd.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Mosinee Wi.
    Posts
    2,513

    Default Re: Return to Center

    It's called memory steering. Usually caused by a tight or sticking ball joint(s).
    70 GSX clone race car 10.58@126
    70 stage 2 (real) KenneBell test car that Pop raced.
    70 Skylark 12,400 miles rust free
    70 stage 1 will be restored

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    26,447

    Default Re: Return to Center

    Overtightening the screw on the steering box is another cause.
    Jim Lore
    BPG 1037
    "If you cannot clear up the confusion at least make the confusion clear."

  4. #4

    Default Re: Return to Center

    I'm on my third steering box and I'm happy with this one. I'll have to check the ball joints and other steering components for binding. I thought that there was something in the steering geometry that could be improved to assist in the steering returning to center.
    Lee
    71 Skylark Convertible 350/350
    79 Corvette 5 spd.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    LI,NY
    Posts
    19,837

    Default Re: Return to Center

    Quote Originally Posted by DeeVeeEight View Post
    I'm on my third steering box and I'm happy with this one. I'll have to check the ball joints and other steering components for binding. I thought that there was something in the steering geometry that could be improved to assist in the steering returning to center.
    Caster
    Jason Cook
    BPG #1675
    "Expert in obsolete technology"

    1968 Riviera GS- some assembly required
    1969 Riviera GS- my first car
    1969 GS-350
    1970 Stage 1 4 speed Aquamist
    1970 GS-455 Bamboo Cream beater
    1971 GS 455 11.93@113.36
    1972 GS-350
    1970 Stellar Industries vintage go kart

    Deo duce, ferro comitante

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    ct.
    Posts
    3,582

    Default Re: Return to Center

    What Jason said, CASTER.

    You need to go as far positive on the caster setting as is possible. Don't forget in '71 bias ply tires were very common vs. radial tires which is mostly want we ALL use today. A steering box with a faster ratio just amplifies the problem. See if you can get at least +4* of caster. Leave the camber around 0 + or - a 1/4*. Leave the toe at stock specs. You will be AMAZED at the diff. it will make. With more + caster the car has a tendency to be more tolerant of cross winds, tracks straighter & the wheel returns to center much more easily. Many modern cars have as much as 10-15* + caster.
    If you can't get at least + 4* upper shafts are available with 1* + or - offsets.


    Tom T.
    Tom Telesco
    Classic and Muscle Automotive
    12 Cook St.
    Norwalk, CT 06853-1601
    Day Phone 203-324-6045 ET
    NailHead Mini-Starters '53-'66
    Adjustable Roller Tip Rocker Arms - All NailHeads
    Custom Forged Pistons
    Many parts to numerous to list
    "If I can't get it, you don't need it!"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    LI,NY
    Posts
    19,837

    Default Re: Return to Center

    Quote Originally Posted by telriv View Post
    What Jason said, CASTER.

    You need to go as far positive on the caster setting as is possible. Don't forget in '71 bias ply tires were very common vs. radial tires which is mostly want we ALL use today. A steering box with a faster ratio just amplifies the problem. See if you can get at least +4* of caster. Leave the camber around 0 + or - a 1/4*. Leave the toe at stock specs. You will be AMAZED at the diff. it will make. With more + caster the car has a tendency to be more tolerant of cross winds, tracks straighter & the wheel returns to center much more easily. Many modern cars have as much as 10-15* + caster.
    If you can't get at least + 4* upper shafts are available with 1* + or - offsets.


    Tom T.
    I have a few sets of Moog offset cross shafts if Lee needs a set
    Jason Cook
    BPG #1675
    "Expert in obsolete technology"

    1968 Riviera GS- some assembly required
    1969 Riviera GS- my first car
    1969 GS-350
    1970 Stage 1 4 speed Aquamist
    1970 GS-455 Bamboo Cream beater
    1971 GS 455 11.93@113.36
    1972 GS-350
    1970 Stellar Industries vintage go kart

    Deo duce, ferro comitante

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Behind Enemy Lines (Corvette City, USA)
    Posts
    2,378

    Default Re: Return to Center

    Quote Originally Posted by DeeVeeEight View Post
    I know I have brought this up before but I never followed through on the solution. All of my old GM cars have had really easy power steering and a really comfortable ride and the steering wheel would always return to center after making a turn, all you had to do was let go of the wheel. I find that my 71 Skylark's steering does not quite return to center after making a turn. I does come back most of the way but I have to help it just a tiny bit at the end of a turn. My alignment is within spec's and the car tracks nice and straight but I would love it if it would return to center on it's own. What part of the alignment needs improvement?

    And please forgive me but ever since I thought about the title for this post I have been hearing Elvis singing

    Return to Center, address unknown, no such number, no one home

    I know, I'm losing my marbles, my elevator doesn't quite reach the top floor and I am a couple of fries short of a happy meal - what a way to start the new year!
    As the other guys mentioned, as much positive caster as possible. A little bit of camber with it will make the car handle like a modern one. I've got +5 caster and -1 camber to make it handle so much better. I used to scrub the outside of my front tires off way before I wore the rears out. Now, my car sits planted in a corner and is much better balanced. The throttle is the deciding factor between oversteer and understeer.
    Greg -
    - - -
    1970 GS Stage 1 (owned August 1980) 462 Edelbrock heads, TA212, 4 wheel disc, Turbo 200-4R, close ratio steering, tubular front arms, 3.73 TrueTrac
    1971 GS 350 (8/16/14) 4 speed, 91k stock, converted to front discs and tubular uppers

 

 

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