Pulls to left when breaking

Robmoo

Active Member
My 2006 Envoy pulls to the left when braking. The steering has a couple inches of play and has to be slightly to the left when driving straight. In Oct I changed the stocks to Bilsteins, replaced the upper control arms, replaced the upper ball joints, and had an alignment job done. I first noticed the pull back in Nov when towing. I just took it to a shop and they said that the brakes and suspension were good. They suggested that I have the alignment checked. The vehicle drifts very slightly to the left when I take my hands off the wheel. Any thoughts? Could one of the new shocks be weak? I reused the strut springs and they appeared to be in good shape. The shop that I took it to does not specialize in brakes.
 

Mike534x

Well-Known Member
I had this exact issue in January/Feb of March last year. Just had the lower control arms replaced, and an alignment done and noticed I needed to keep my steering wheel slightly cocked to keep it straight when braking. After replacing the front calipers, front brake hoses, flushing the system and rotating tires around there wasn't much improvement (aside from having a pretty nice firm brake pedal!). I jacked up the front and grabbed the front wheel at noticed it had some play when turning it side to the side, looked and saw one of the bolts for tightening the arm to the frame was loose. I tightened it and it was instantly fixed.

Now I did have this issue PRIOR to replacing the Lower Control Arms, which was caused by the passenger side bushing being shot. Is everything tight up front? I'm not sure if a strut would cause it but a sticking caliper could, or you have a worn bushing/tie rod.
 

MRRSM

Lifetime VIP Supporter
In the Old Days... All the Horse Drawn Wagons had a slight Inwards "Tilt" at the top of the Buck-Board Tall Wheels in order to prevent that awful, aggravating sensation akin to "Riding on Top of an Egg" and having to constantly over-correct the path of the Wagon on the roads.

For Modern Automotive Suspensions, this problem translates to being "Slightly Positive In Camber". Once that Steering Alignment adjustment has been made Slightly NEGATIVE, as long as ALL of your Suspension Hardware is Tight and in Good Order... when driving at speed, you should be able to momentarily take your hands off of the Steering Wheel and observe that the Truck-SUV under your control shows no tendency to..."wander".

From there, the Vehicle should "Track" down the pavement in a relatively Straight Line if the road surface is straight and level. The attached diagram shows the Suspension Components and what generally needs to be adjusted:

CAMBERANGLES.jpgctrp_0801_02_z-caster_camber_settings-positive_caster_diagram.jpg

"Toe-In" and Toe-Out" refers to whether the front of the Wheels either point towards each other ...or away from one another. If they are "looking way from each other" this "Toe-Out" condition causes the steering to lurch either left or right in the extreme. This misalignment contributes to an "Over-Steering" condition. If the front of the Wheels "Toe-In" towards each other, the vehicle will tend to nose dive on turns and "Under-Steer".

BOTH Conditions are DANGEROUS as it makes it possible to rapidly lose control of the steering and in extreme conditions, they can invite the Tire to separate the Bead from the Rim and suddenly lose all Pneumatic Pressure. The secondary effect of BOTH conditions is that they will cause the Front Tire Treads to rapidly wear down from unintended "scrubbing" from being off of the centerline where 'The Rubber SHOULD Meet The Road':

TOEINTOEOUT.jpg
 
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Mooseman

Moderator
I had something like that and found that the bushings in a lower A-arm were worn and allowed the arm to move. Was missed by the shop. And just recently, I had a sticking caliper that also caused the brakes to pull to one side (as well as an overheated rotor). Drive and brake it a bit and check the temps of the rotors with an infra-red temp gun. Maybe one isn't working as much as the other or one is sticking and braking too much.
 
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Robmoo

Active Member
The shop that I took it to checked the suspension and said that everyone was tight and in good order. I guess that my next step it to jack it up and check it out myself.
 

gmcman

Well-Known Member
Make sure your front tire isn't pushed back towards the rear of the wheel opening.

I had an issue with an alignment when the lower bracket wasn't tightened enough and upon a hard brake, the bracket shifted back.

If it's pulling like you stated, it needs to have the alignment re-checked.
 

budwich

Well-Known Member
you didn't mention if the brakes were replaced and also how did they "check" them. My guess is you have a stuck / frozen left caliper.
 

xavierny25

Well-Known Member
There was some play in one of the passenger side lower control arm bushings and on the drivers side it looked like there was some play in the lower ball joint. I'm not sure how much play there should be, but I didn't see any in the other parts. I've got 105k on the vehicle.

That video with the jack placement on the frame and you moving the wheel like that scared the crap out of me when I just watched it. For the love of all thing holy please tell me there is an actual jack stand somewhere I didn't see. Damn that looked dangerous as fk.
 

gmcman

Well-Known Member
I'm not sure how much play there should be,
That looks like quite a bit of play, I'd definitely replace both brackets or just get the entire lower assembly for both sides.

That will require an alignment, and if that's the case, maybe change the tie rod ends also.

To check the lower ball joint, lift the tire off the ground about an inch by the lower control arm, not the frame, suspension needs to be loaded. Then use a prybar under the tire and lift up, if the lower ball joint compresses, then it's worn.




That video with the jack placement on the frame and you moving the wheel like that scared the crap out of me
I didn't catch that, yeah, just sitting on the raised lip of the jack...we're just looking out Robmoo, stay safe.
 

Mike534x

Well-Known Member
That was the same exact bolt on my driver side that was causing my pulling issue, once I tightened it with a little help from the lowest setting on the impact gun its been great ever since.
 

Mooseman

Moderator
That bushing is shot. Mine was the same. Although you could replace the whole A-arm with the bracket, I elected to replace just the brackets because the ball joints were new. It's not worth the trouble to replace just the bushings.
 

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