1987 sunbird GT, steering wheel is not straight/level when driving a straight road. A few years ago, when my mech did an alignment on it, he told me the car needed a new rod or something (cant remember the exact term), and he said it wouldnt affect my driving meaning the car was aligned but with a goody crooked steering wheel.
What is that front end part I need? I am planning to go back to him for a new alignment and wanted to supply him with the part, unless I can put it in myself then have him align it.
Here is a tip that even a lot of front end alignment techs don't know.
Have you ever followed, say an old pickup, down the road
and noticed that it seemed to be going slightly sideways
(not directly pointing straight head) ?
Well, when most techs set the toe-in on a vehicle,
they sight or align the front wheels with the rear wheels
and adjust whichever tie rod that will make the sighting
or alignment equal toward the rear wheels
when the steering wheel is straight.
But, what a lot of techs don't take into account is that on some vehicles,
(at least that was the case in the 60's and 70's)
the axis of the rear wheels is not exactly parallel
to the axis of the front wheels.
So, when this is the case, even though the steering wheel is centered
and the front wheels are pointing the same toward the rear wheels,
when actually driving straight down the road,
the steering wheel is going to be slightly off level to compensate for this.
Now, this condition may be rare in today's vehicles, I don't really know,
and maybe today's alignment machines allow for this,
but when I was aligning vehicles in the 60's and 70's,
it was fairly common that front and rear axis weren't exactly parallel.
So, to have the customer happy that the steering wheel was straight
when driving straight on the road, I compensated for this by:
First, turn the front wheels so that they are pointing equally
toward the rear wheels.
Then go to the back of the vehicle and see if the rear wheels
are pointing equally towards the front wheels.
If they are not, then the rear axis is not parallel with the front
and you then need to adjust whichever tie rod
that will not only give the right toe-in,
but will also result in the steering wheel being straight
when the rear wheels are tracking the front wheels.
It's your best estimate, of course,
but after a while you learn to get it exact on the first try.