Had to slam on brakes, now steering wheel cocked ?!

MichEnvoyGuy

Original poster
Member
Dec 3, 2011
522
I was caught off guard yesterday and had to slam on my brakes to avoid hitting a vehicle that stopped suddenly. I slammed on the brakes and basically skidded (ABS assisted of course) to a stop. After I pulled away, my steering wheel pulled hard to the left and has ever since. My steering/alignment was perfect before this.

I checked the wheels and it looks like the left wheel is around 1" closer to the fender on that side, closer to the door part of the fender than the right side wheel. My whole front end is new within the last 2 years (ball joints, tie rod ends, LCA brackets, upper control arms, wheel bearings, sway bar bushings and end links). I had an alignment last this past December.

Anybody have this happen before?! Take it I need an alignment now? Or did something bend? :mad:
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
I would say odds are greater that the force of the vehicle weight against the suspension shifted something and knocked your alignment out. I wouldn't think it should be able to do that if the bolts were properly tightened, but then we are talking about stopping 4600 pounds very suddenly.
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
Time for an alignment. Classic symptom of a lower control arm bracket whose three mounting bolts weren't torqued properly by the last alignment shop. The wheel was pushed back by the force of the stop, and now your caster is way off, and that throws off toe-in which explains your steering shift. Do it soon before tire scrub costs you much tread. A pothole (or in my case low speed bumping along on rocky trails) can also do the same thing.

What sort of goofy shop did your last alignment? A chain or independent? Any chance you can take it back there for a freebie - definite negligence if a panic stop moved the bracket.
 

MichEnvoyGuy

Original poster
Member
Dec 3, 2011
522
Thanks for the reply guys!

I googled it and found a few threads from the OS with people having the same problem!! Funny thing is, Ive had the truck since ~2004, done many panic stops, never had this happen. Like Roadie said, my bet is on SEARS not torquing the bolts enough.

Fortunately, I had the alignment done last 12-17-11 and the alignment has a 6 month warranty. Im going to bring it in today for my freebie. However, Im going to give them a stout earful about how IF they had done the job properly in the first place, this likely wouldnt have happened. :nono:
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
Nov 18, 2011
49,665
Let us know if Sears takes care of you.
 

MichEnvoyGuy

Original poster
Member
Dec 3, 2011
522
Ok went to Sears today and got my free alignment.

I complained about the last alignment and not tightening the control arms and the manager came out, apologized, gave me 2 free oil change coupons (which Ill never use but will give out to one of my friends b/c I change my own oil!!) and promised that they would re-check all of the mounting hardware this time.

So with that all said, my truck is back to normal!! I now know that IF I can avoid it, Im not going to be slamming on my brakes and skidding to stops anymore...lol
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
Thanks for the update. At least they weren't idiots like some alignment shops who claim we have no camber or caster adjustment like our platform was like some lame MacPherson strut rice burner.

You're right to treat those oil change coupons like the dead stinking possum that they are. Give them to enemies, not your friends. Unless your friends are checking the filter and their drain plugs for tightness after the oil change, and that the proper quality, quantity, and weight oil are being put in.

I'm old enough to remember the dinosaurs, so I definitely remember the mess Sears was in in the late 80's early 90's. Google for "sears auto repair class action" and there's an hour of reading. Like this: Sears to Repair Image With $46 Million in Coupons : Retailing: It may be the largest such consumer fraud settlement ever. California auto centers will be on probation for 3 years. - Los Angeles Times

Since my personal shit list grows longer every year, and there's almost no reason to ever take a store or chain OFF it, Sears has been firmly welded into place on mine since 1985. Firestone, Jiffy Lube, JC Penney, JC Whitney, Costco, Discount Tire, North County GMC, Alamo car rental, Harry & David fruit of the month club, Omaha Steaks, Arby's, Pleasant Hawaiian Tours, all have offended me once (perhaps twice if I'm being forgetful) and that's enough. Plenty of good honest competitors to ever need to try ones on the shit list again to see if they've reformed.

But that's just me. YMMV. :wink:
 

stormsurge

Member
Jan 29, 2012
386
Sorry to here ya had trouble with sears. I have had great service there lately. They went way out of there way to make me happy on both my tb's. At least they took care of it. He messed with the lift alinement for a good hour and it was a freebee. So far so good.
 

gmac310

Member
Dec 4, 2011
174
the roadie said:
Time for an alignment. Classic symptom of a lower control arm bracket whose three mounting bolts weren't torqued properly by the last alignment shop. The wheel was pushed back by the force of the stop, and now your caster is way off, and that throws off toe-in which explains your steering shift. Do it soon before tire scrub costs you much tread. A pothole (or in my case low speed bumping along on rocky trails) can also do the same thing.

What sort of goofy shop did your last alignment? A chain or independent? Any chance you can take it back there for a freebie - definite negligence if a panic stop moved the bracket.

I hate to dredge up an old thread like this but I have the same problem and unfortunately I did experience tire wear due to scrubbing. Roadie, are these bolts obvious to locate if I look under the vehicle? If not, is there a pic somewhere that points them out?
 

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