Chevy Cobalt Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt with about 75k miles. It has mostly expressway miles and I noticed recently it pulls to the left slightly and I notice I have to keep putting pressure on the wheel to keep the car center. It's not horrible but enough to where if I let go of the steering wheel it will start to go to the left slowly but always to the left.

So I went to Sears today and had gotten an alignment here is what the print out stated.

Front:Left
(in degrees unless otherwise specified)
Actual Before Specified Range
-1.2 -1.2 -1.8 to -0.3 Camber
2.6 2.6 2.3 to 3.6 Caster
0.06in -0.11in 0.00 to 0.10in Toe
13.3 13.3 SAI
12.1 12.1 included Angle

Front:Right
(in degrees unless otherwise specified)
Actual Before Specified Range
-1.1 -1.1 -1.8 to -0.3 Camber
3.4 3.4 2.3 to 3.6 Caster
0.07in -0.24in 0.00 to 0.10in Toe
14.3 14.4 SAI
13.3 13.3 included Angle

Front
(in degrees unless otherwise specified)
Actual Before Specified Range
-0.1 -0.1 -0.8 to -0.8 Cross Camber
-0.8 -0.8 -0.8 to -0.8 Cross Caster
-1.1 -1.1 Cross SAI
0.13in 0.13in 0.00in to 0.20 Total Toe


Rear:Left
(in degrees unless otherwise specified)
Actual Before Specified Range
-0.4 -0.4 -1.6 to -0.1 Camber
-0.01in -0.01in -0.01 to 0.14in Toe

Rear:Right
(in degrees unless otherwise specified)
Actual Before Specified Range
-0.7 -0.7 -1.6 to -0.1 Camber
0.06in 0.06in -0.01 to 0.14in Toe


Rear
(in degrees unless otherwise specified)
Actual Before Specified Range
0.3 0.3 Cross Camber
0.04in 0.05in -0.03 to 0.28in Total Toe
-0.07 -0.07 -0.30 to 0.30 Thrust Angle


The value under Front, Cross Caster is Actual: -0.08 and Before: -0.8 with a Specified Range of -0.8 to 0.8 Why would this be left at the very minimum and not adjusted? Is this correct? Even the print out has a * next to it which also states: "This value is not within specification. Tire wear, handling and safety problems may result." I called Sears and questions it and the guy said that sometimes it's like that and a lot of cars are like that where the machine doesn't call for an adjustment on that area.. I don't know anything about alignments and don't care to, hence why I paid Sears to do it.

But for those who are experts in this area, would the Cross Caster affect the car and cause it to drift to the left? To me I see -0.8 to 0.8 for the range and at -0.8 it's all the way to the left it can go before going out of range.. which makes me think that could cause my car to drift left.

Also is it normal for the steering wheel to feel a little stiffer after an alignment?

Thanks!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,821 Posts
I believe you will find that your intermediate steering shaft is starting to seize up. When you steer all the way to either side do you have to assist in steering it straight or does it center itself?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
I believe you will find that your intermediate steering shaft is starting to seize up. When you steer all the way to either side do you have to assist in steering it straight or does it center itself?
My car also drifted to the left, after alignment it's fine.

The alignment shop swapped my front wheels also, he said that wear could cause the pulling.

My car will not center the wheel when turning sharp at low speeds, like 5mph. What could cause that? My front wheel caster is at ~2.3 degrees on both sides, which is less than it's supposed to be. My rear lower control arm bushings are shot, could that cause caster issues? My car also doesn't track as straight as I would like on the freeway, it will go straight on flat ground, but when there are bumps/grooves or the road is tilted, the steering gets a little "floaty".

I see OP also has a similar front caster on one wheel, maybe his lower rear bushing is shot too. Could the difference in caster between front wheels make it pull to the side? Moog makes a better replacement, it's like a pivot ball bearing.
Innovative MOOG control arm bushing design makes it longer lasting and easy to install - MOOG
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,821 Posts
I tried the MOOG problem solvers and they didn't even last a year before they started making noise. I was hopeful when I purchased these as they raved of their longevity but alas didn't happen. The best I've done so far with the lower control arm rear bushing is running a bead of that black RTV silicone on the ridge of a new solid bushing where the rubber meets the metal. This way road grime can't get at the glue that's between the rubber and the metal and stopping any rust from getting in there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
I tried the MOOG problem solvers and they didn't even last a year before they started making noise. I was hopeful when I purchased these as they raved of their longevity but alas didn't happen. The best I've done so far with the lower control arm rear bushing is running a bead of that black RTV silicone on the ridge of a new solid bushing where the rubber meets the metal. This way road grime can't get at the glue that's between the rubber and the metal and stopping any rust from getting in there.
Did you try RTV on the rubber seal of the moog bushing? Looks like it could be sealed better where the rubber meets the metal. Looks like a tie rod seal that could just be pulled up with little force, which would let moisture in over time otherwise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
My 2008 cobalt has always drifted to the left for the last 6 years, 39,000 miles. Just replaced the rear shocks, front struts, new tires with alignment. It still will drift to the left when you take your hand off the wheel 50% of the time, some times very hard other times not at all. Any thoughts, is this the recall problem?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I just changed out my lower control arms, it feels a little better but still drifts to the left. So frustrating.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Try swapping your front wheels (If theyre not directional tires). Caster is not adjustable normally, you'd have to drill/slot the strut tower bolt holes to move the strut forward or back. Not something you'd wanna do unless you had an alignment rack to play with.

Check your tires for types of wear-
http://repairguide.autozone.com/znetrgs/repair_guide_content/en_us/images/0900c152/80/17/e5/f5/large/0900c1528017e5f5.gif

It also wouldn't hurt to take it back to sears and have them check the alignment again. Usually they are guaranteed for a certain mileage.

Your rear toe could maybe make for some steering input from the rear wheels. The rear left wheel is slightly in from center, and the right is out from center. This could make the rear end push to the right and make the front go left.

Rear end toe is not adjustable without shims. Rockauto.com sells them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I tried the front tire swap as a first attempt to find a solution. No luck. So I saw the bushings were bad and I changed those. I also had a realignment done, it feels a little tighter but it still drifts to the left. Also the steering feels more sensative.. where every movement results in an often counter movement to keep the car straight. My next attempt is shocks and struts. Could a loose sway bar cause drifting?

Also I may take it to the dealer for a better alignment. Maybe it's just not being done right. The steering has been stiffer (to move) ever since the first alignment.

I wish this car had a trim tab!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
I don't think a sway bar issue would cause drift. Going straight, the suspension is loaded the same on both sides and the sway bar isn't really doing anything.

You could just measure from the top of the sway bar link to the control arm to see if both sides are adjusted the same, and if a collapsed bushing is causing a difference. My other car, an escort, has collapsed sway bar bushing's and it drives straight.

The rear toe shims are cheap and fairly easy to install. The rear spindle/hub bolts to the twist beam, you place the shims on the studs to angle the wheel in or out. Smallest shim adjustment is .25 degrees in or out. .25 inches of toe = .58 degrees

So it looks like the shim would be too much adjusment anways. Nvm.


Do you have the alignment numbers from after the new rear lower control arm bushings? I'm curious if this fixed the caster, originally being 2.6 and 3.4 (Which was the other thing I suspected of causing a drift). My car's front caster is about 2.4 on both sides.

I dont think bad shocks could cause drift either, they just help rebound after the coil spring compresses. If you had a worn/broken coil spring that might cause issues with drift. Could measure from the ground to bottom of the fender to see if loaded spring height is the same.

Have you taken a pry bar to the control arms to check for bad ball joints? With the suspension unloaded, and have someone turn the steering wheel while you watch the inner and outer tie rod ends for play. Or just try to wiggle the wheel to look for play, works better with 2 people.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Sorry for the late response I will post the numbers I dint have them on me at the moment.

The ball joints got replaced with the control arms. I did notice some fluid under the car the other day that was clear. Does the rack and pinion the cobalt uses have clear fluid?

It's like brake fluid. I did look at my brake fluid and it looked like it was topped off by someone too high and leaking out the cap. The fluid is dark though, but maybe it was sitting on top and never mixed.

Im going to replace my struts assembly, rear springs, sway bar bushings and links, and shocks and get a dealership alignment, but now windering if the rack and pinion is alright.

The tie rods seemed tight and no play, and t gf e steering seems pretty tight and no play.. although just a little stiffer after the first alignment.

Let me know what you guys think about the rack and I will followup with post results of ssd suspension overhaul.

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
The cobalt has electric power steering, so no fluid to leak. The clear fluid on the ground was probably water from the AC condenser (keep in mind the AC runs on defrost and recirculate also).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
This was definitely some type of hydraulic fluid though. It was about the same viscosity and color of brake fluid.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Okay, so I changed the strut assembly(new strut, spring, etc) on each side, sway bar links, sway bar bushings, rear coil spring, shocks, and as noted before the lower control arms.

The ride is nice and smooth, realignment, and the car still has a slight pull to the left. Is it worth going back and telling them to align the car so it's over corrected to the right? This is getting real annoying.

The only other thing I can think of is one of the tire pressure sensors are out and no longer registering. I haven't replaced it yet, because it's not a big deal to me. Can this effect the electric motor? I am not sure if the computer uses the air pressure in the tires to auto assist alignment or something

Other than that, every thing else looks good and is tight. I pulled on everything and no issues. It could be the rack and pinion internally wearing down and settles the car out of alignment but I am not changing that unless it's showing clear signs or evidence it's starting to go bad.

I did however notice today that with the car off, I can turn the wheel a good half of turn to the right before it locks, or if I do it to the left I can get basically one full turn before it locks. Almost as if something isn't correct inside as I thought the wheel used to lock after you moved it a little when the car was off. I have gotten an ignition replacement twice under warranty so maybe something got screwed up with the steering then. Although my gf as a new car and I can turn hers a good full turn now before it locks when it is off, maybe it's a new safety feature, in the event the ignition turns off due to heavy keys or something.

Right after the alignment the car seemed to be okay, but as usual, it's like the car as a memory and goes back to normal.

Idk, anyone else have any other ideas? Like I said I may just go in and have them over correct the steering as I would rather have the car drift away from head on traffic.. but idk, I am out of ideas. Otherwise I may just have to deal with it. My parents have a 25 yr old Blazer with original suspension and never had an alignment. It drives straight as a new car.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,821 Posts
I know I'm repeating myself here but did you check the intermediate steering shaft?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
I know I'm repeating myself here but did you check the intermediate steering shaft?

Yea I looked at it seemed okay. Steering is pretty tight and responsive when driving too. What's the best way to check it. I sprayed it down with some wd40 too.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,821 Posts
The best way is to disconnect it from the steering rack. One bolt. Pulling it off and testing that first Unmount for stiffness or seizing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Update:


I also noticed steering on winding roads to the right requires more force than to the left. Today I also noticed while going straight if I move the steering wheel to the right it snaps back to center fine. If I move it to the left it sometimes stays and doesn't return all the way to center.

I haven't looked more into the intermediate shaft and it seems like a big job to do so, so probably won't get a chance anytime soon as I have already spent alot of time replacing all the suspension parts.

I did come across an old thread on gm forums that seemed to mimic the exact issues I have. The owner ended up just getting a new car under the lemon law with failed fixing attempts by the gm dealer.

Id post the link but my phone went let me for some reason. .
I also hear a rattling noise now (sometimes) while sitting at a stop light. I don't feel it in the steering wheel though. My initial thought was I did replace radiator and heater hoses and maybe put the clamp too close to the firewall. . I keep forgetting to look, hopefully today when I get home I can take another look.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top