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  1. #1
    Established Member Two Rings SpeedracerIndy's Avatar
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    What causes a loose front end?

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    Car has all new control arms, tie rod ends and just aligned. The front end feels very loose especially when going over rough road and hitting the brakes. Driving over a crowned road I have to constantly hold the wheel opposite the crown to keep it on the road. On the highway it always seems to drift and I'm constantly having to fight it to keep straight. I dont think it is tires because it does this on both the winter and summer wheels. And it did this before I replaced the TREs and all control arms. Turn in feels very crisp and responsive. I've had 2 alignments done too and tech said all looked good both times. what else is there that could be causing this?

  2. #2
    Veteran Member Three Rings Trile's Avatar
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    my feels the same way, and it also has new control arms, tie rod ends, tires + alignment.
    As soon as it hits a 'banked' road or a road with grooves it pulls to one side.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member Three Rings protocol_droid's Avatar
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    Sounds like a crappy power steering pump. If it's dead and even with fluid in the reservoir, steering can drift on its own or hold on its own randomly. There's also quite a bit of play in the steering wheel when this occurs too. Yours sounds more drastic however it may still be the same thing.
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  4. #4
    Established Member Two Rings SpeedracerIndy's Avatar
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    My power steering pump is new as of about a year ago. How could that effect handling?

  5. #5
    Veteran Member Three Rings protocol_droid's Avatar
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    What may end up happening is the hydraulics of the pump no longer function and give no resistance to steering which normally keeps your car straight when aligned properly. Without the resistance due to the dead pump, the steering can wander in any direction. If it's only a year old, perhaps it is something else but it would be wise to check it out anyhow.
    01.5 B5 S4 Nogaro Avant 6MT Sport ll EPL STG3
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  6. #6
    Established Member Two Rings PGJ's Avatar
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    B5 S4 Avant, 2007 328i, 1972 Volvo 1800E
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    it's probably steering not suspension.

    start here:
    http://forums.audiworld.com/showthread.php?t=1715833

    Also, there is an adjustment for steering lash on the rack on these cars. It normally doesn't make much difference on the B5, but it's worth a try:
    http://www.dj-sures.com/GraphicFiles...adjustment.pdf

    And assuming everything else is in tip-top shape, you probably have steering shaft u-joint play. Lucky for us the u-joint is attached to the column, and it's not a serviceable part. Steering column runs around 800-1000 on one of these cars.

  7. #7
    Veteran Member Four Rings
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    If the road humped or something vertically then my car tends to steer that way as well. However, my steering wheel is defnitely tight and solid. I did a whole control arm kit w/ tie rods, alignment, and new tires and the handling feels fine. If your steering curves with the road at least I don't see a problem with it. Can't really help you much more than that. Would worn shocks/struts contribute to this problem?
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  8. #8
    Established Member Two Rings PGJ's Avatar
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    B5 S4 Avant, 2007 328i, 1972 Volvo 1800E
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    one more thing: who did your alignment? Go to a real Audi tech. it's worth it to pay the dealer on that one.

  9. #9
    Veteran Member Three Rings Rdp616's Avatar
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    Hibiscus S4
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    Same here, tho my car doesn't pull. It's Hard to explain. If you your going at say 30 mph and swerve back and forth it just feels...Loose. And i have new control arms etc also. I'm hoping the New ST's will fix this problem. Could bad strut bushings cause this? Probably unlikely but i'm running out of things to change lol.
    Call me Rich.

  10. #10
    Established Member Two Rings PGJ's Avatar
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    B5 S4 Avant, 2007 328i, 1972 Volvo 1800E
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rdp616 View Post
    Same here, tho my car doesn't pull. It's Hard to explain. If you your going at say 30 mph and swerve back and forth it just feels...Loose. And i have new control arms etc also. I'm hoping the New ST's will fix this problem. Could bad strut bushings cause this? Probably unlikely but i'm running out of things to change lol.
    that's definitely u-joint play.

    I'm still trying to find someone who actually fixed this problem since it's really common

  11. #11
    Veteran Member Three Rings Rdp616's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGJ View Post
    that's definitely u-joint play.

    I'm still trying to find someone who actually fixed this problem since it's really common
    Ahh idk, it doesn't necessarily feel like its in the steering itself. It feel like it's the suspension. Is it possible for sway bars to wear out? Tho it could just be the shit tires i'm running right now...
    Call me Rich.

  12. #12
    Established Member Two Rings PGJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rdp616 View Post
    Ahh idk, it doesn't necessarily feel like its in the steering itself. It feel like it's the suspension. Is it possible for sway bars to wear out? Tho it could just be the shit tires i'm running right now...
    sway bar endlinks can cause a weird feeling but not exactly what you're describing (I think they normally make a noise or something). kind of a cheap fix though so might as well do them if you're doing suspension soon. When you do coils, make sure you get new genuine audi mounts.

    About the steering, the feeling you get with u-joint play can best be described as a delay in steering reaction (i.e. - the suspension doesn't react immediately while turning the wheel). Basically it just makes the wheel feel "loose" or "sloppy" unless you're putting pressure on the steering rack (i.e. - turning hard at speed makes the feeling go away)

  13. #13
    Senior Member Four Rings
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    Tires and tire pressure makes a lot of difference to the handling. Case in point...I had summer tires on and on uneven roads it was down right scary how the car would pull left and right. It did grip like crazy on smooth roads though. Also turn in was on a dime. The rear end also stayed in track very well. These summer tires had extra side wall support. They were Sumitomo HTZ II. Ran 36F and 34R if I recall correctly.

    Now I had to get a set more suited to snow(moved into a very hilly area). The car now feels much looser...almost dead compared. Overall traction is the same(in dry) but it is not on rails anymore. It also will drive as told though without being disrupted by bumps or road imperfections. The rear end has a delay to it now.

    I like the way it used to drive in some ways so I have my pressures up to 42psi all around but it still is nothing like what it was like.

    Only thing changed was the tires.

    I would try different air pressures.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Three Rings
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    Does the car do this on perfectly flat roads?

    Did you recently get new wheels?

    Low pro tires love to follow the road, make make the steering wheel follow as well.

    I think i'm used to it, but way back when I got my first set of 18's, it definitely took some getting used to.

  15. #15
    Veteran Member Three Rings protocol_droid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGJ View Post
    it's probably steering not suspension.

    start here:
    http://forums.audiworld.com/showthread.php?t=1715833

    Also, there is an adjustment for steering lash on the rack on these cars. It normally doesn't make much difference on the B5, but it's worth a try:
    http://www.dj-sures.com/GraphicFiles...adjustment.pdf

    And assuming everything else is in tip-top shape, you probably have steering shaft u-joint play. Lucky for us the u-joint is attached to the column, and it's not a serviceable part. Steering column runs around 800-1000 on one of these cars.
    wow, that's crazy. Is that bolt in approximately the same location under the battery on the s4?
    01.5 B5 S4 Nogaro Avant 6MT Sport ll EPL STG3
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  16. #16
    Established Member Two Rings PGJ's Avatar
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    B5 S4 Avant, 2007 328i, 1972 Volvo 1800E
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    Quote Originally Posted by protocol_droid View Post
    wow, that's crazy. Is that bolt in approximately the same location under the battery on the s4?
    yessir
    1 under battery
    1 near brake booster
    1 underneath on driver's side

  17. #17
    Stage 3 Forum Advertiser Four Rings ECS Tuning-Audi's Avatar
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    Could also be your steering dampener. This is what gives your car that "firm" steering wheel feel.

    Click HERE to order or for more information.


    Jason

  18. #18
    Veteran Member Four Rings Timtheguru's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ECS Tuning-Audi View Post
    Could also be your steering dampener. This is what gives your car that "firm" steering wheel feel.

    Click HERE to order or for more information.


    Jason
    I thought it was fresh control arms that did that. :)

    Where does this go?
    2001.5 S4 Sedan
    2002 A4 Avant 1.8t

  19. #19
    Stage 3 Forum Advertiser Four Rings ECS Tuning-Audi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timtheguru View Post
    I thought it was fresh control arms that did that. :)

    Where does this go?

    Control arms and TRE most certainly help with play in the steering. This is on the rack. This dampener helps smooth out the steering and provides some resistance when the wheel returns to "12'oclock"

    Cars that don't have dampeners will kick the steering wheel to one side or the other when you go over a bump. The dampener helps absorb that.

    Jason

  20. #20
    Veteran Member Four Rings Smitty2A4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kbjy11 View Post
    Does the car do this on perfectly flat roads?

    Did you recently get new wheels?

    Low pro tires love to follow the road, make make the steering wheel follow as well.

    I think i'm used to it, but way back when I got my first set of 18's, it definitely took some getting used to.

    My car does something similar to what others are describing here, in my case I am guessing it is due to my wheel/tire setup. This is the first time I had driven on 18’s with tires that don’t have as much sidewall as the 17” wheel setups on my prior B6. My S4 also has new control arms, tie rods, power steering pump, ect. And the steering , as well as the way the suspension responds is super tight, the cars turn in is great, it reacts very quickly and it sticks to the road. It does however pull a little bit over certain bumps in the road and temps to follow them. I have heard this referred to as tramlining, the first few times I ran into it at highway speeds it kinda took me by surprise but I think I am already starting to get used to it as a I notice it less now. It is certainly not bad enough that you need to really jerk the wheel to correct the car but you do want both hands on the wheel when it happens. Again from what I have read about this it seems that in most cases the tires are to blame and a combination of the size, PSI, level of wear, sidewall stiffness, ect. All play a role in how bad it is. An alignment could certainly help too in some cases.
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  21. #21
    Established Member Two Rings PGJ's Avatar
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    B5 S4 Avant, 2007 328i, 1972 Volvo 1800E
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    Quote Originally Posted by ECS Tuning-Audi View Post
    Could also be your steering dampener. This is what gives your car that "firm" steering wheel feel.

    Click HERE to order or for more information.




    Jason
    I would double check that part, I am almost sure this is pre 99.5 B5 only (i.e. - does not apply to S4 which have internal damper)

  22. #22
    Stage 3 Forum Advertiser Four Rings ECS Tuning-Audi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGJ View Post
    I would double check that part, I am almost sure this is pre 99.5 B5 only (i.e. - does not apply to S4 which have internal damper)
    Good call.

    I just double checked and there is definitely a split in the 99.5 year changing the application on the site now.

    Ya learn something new every day at this job I swear.

    Scratch that then, all apologies.

    Jason

  23. #23
    Veteran Member Four Rings Timtheguru's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ECS Tuning-Audi View Post
    Good call.

    I just double checked and there is definitely a split in the 99.5 year changing the application on the site now.

    Ya learn something new every day at this job I swear.

    Scratch that then, all apologies.

    Jason
    Yeah I was wondering! Never saw that thing on the rack... :)
    2001.5 S4 Sedan
    2002 A4 Avant 1.8t

  24. #24
    Stage 3 Forum Advertiser Four Rings ECS Tuning-Audi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timtheguru View Post
    Yeah I was wondering! Never saw that thing on the rack... :)
    Yep! 00+ models got the internal dampener.


    Jason

  25. #25
    Veteran Member Four Rings black99.5a4's Avatar
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    99.5 were internal as well.

    front what i can see, its 1.8t fwd 97-99, all 2.8's from 96-99 had em.. 99.5+ and all 1.8t quattro's were internal.
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  26. #26
    Established Member Two Rings PGJ's Avatar
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    B5 S4 Avant, 2007 328i, 1972 Volvo 1800E
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    Quote Originally Posted by ECS Tuning-Audi View Post
    Good call.

    I just double checked and there is definitely a split in the 99.5 year changing the application on the site now.

    Ya learn something new every day at this job I swear.

    Scratch that then, all apologies.

    Jason
    glad I could help. it's just unfortunate how un-serviceable a lot of audi parts are. Rack and steering column are pretty much parts that need full replacement if anything goes wrong.

  27. #27
    Established Member Two Rings SpeedracerIndy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGJ View Post
    it's probably steering not suspension.

    start here:
    http://forums.audiworld.com/showthread.php?t=1715833

    Also, there is an adjustment for steering lash on the rack on these cars. It normally doesn't make much difference on the B5, but it's worth a try:
    http://www.dj-sures.com/GraphicFiles...adjustment.pdf

    And assuming everything else is in tip-top shape, you probably have steering shaft u-joint play. Lucky for us the u-joint is attached to the column, and it's not a serviceable part. Steering column runs around 800-1000 on one of these cars.
    I had high hopes for this solution, but my bolts securing the steering rack were nice and tight.

    I guess it could be the steering shaft u joint. Where is that located so I can check it?

    Thanks.

  28. #28
    Stage 3 Forum Advertiser Four Rings ECS Tuning-Audi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGJ View Post
    glad I could help. it's just unfortunate how un-serviceable a lot of audi parts are. Rack and steering column are pretty much parts that need full replacement if anything goes wrong.
    I agree!

    Jason

  29. #29
    Veteran Member Three Rings protocol_droid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpeedracerIndy View Post
    I had high hopes for this solution, but my bolts securing the steering rack were nice and tight.

    I guess it could be the steering shaft u joint. Where is that located so I can check it?

    Thanks.
    I hope the tranny doesn't need to be dropped to replace that piece?
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  30. #30
    Veteran Member Four Rings somebody5788's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by protocol_droid View Post
    I hope the tranny doesn't need to be dropped to replace that piece?
    No it's inside the car.
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  31. #31
    Senior Member Three Rings
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    I did coilovers, control arms, tre's, and wheels like 2 moths ago. Now I get vibrations from my wheel spacers and play in my steering. Also have a fresh alignment. Car feels like a beater compared to stock, somebody help me!

  32. #32
    Established Member Two Rings PGJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpeedracerIndy View Post
    I had high hopes for this solution, but my bolts securing the steering rack were nice and tight.

    I guess it could be the steering shaft u joint. Where is that located so I can check it?

    Thanks.
    steering shaft u-joint is actually attached to the column. remove knee bolster from inside the car, joint attaches to the steering rack through the firewall.

  33. #33
    Veteran Member Four Rings black99.5a4's Avatar
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    I don't even know if it's replaceable.. But here is a way to test it.

    Drive slow, slightly yank your wheel back and forth... Does the front end move at all? If so that joints fine
    '00 Nogaro S4 - TIP, Ebay turbos, Ebay inlets, Ebay stage 2 tune, OBX manifolds, OBX exhaust

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  34. #34
    Veteran Member Three Rings protocol_droid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpeedracerIndy View Post
    I had high hopes for this solution, but my bolts securing the steering rack were nice and tight.

    I guess it could be the steering shaft u joint. Where is that located so I can check it?

    Thanks.
    Did you check the u-joint yet?

    I found this: http://audi-diy.blogspot.com/2007/10...ring-rack.html

    I also noticed some remanufactured units that are available however one site says 2000-2002 will be the same model while the other suggests there are 2 different units dependent on vin#. What do you guys think?

    http://www.carsteering.com/addtocart...80-00091.html#

    http://shop.rackdoctor.net/2000-2002...productId=1010
    Last edited by protocol_droid; 03-09-2012 at 08:08 AM.
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