: V-steering, tram lining, and alignment



spearfish25
07-01-13, 11:56 AM
For the past month of ownership, my V wagon has had an off center steering wheel. Not dramatically, but maybe 1-2 degrees to the left when driving straight ahead. I've had three alignments, one at a Firestone, another a Cadillac dealer, and a third at a bonafied alignment shop where the owner has been at this for 30 years. The last shop got the numbers dialed in beautifully. Then I drove away and I'll be damned if the wheel still isn't off center.

Few questions for you guys:
1) When you drive straight ahead, does the top of the airbag portion of the wheel align perfectly with the steering column? This is the alignment issue I keep noticing. When I look at the column, the wheel is clearly a degree or two to the left.

2) Do you notice the V is very sensitive to road camber? If I'm on a three lane highway, each lane leads to different handling. In the far right, I'm adding left steering to go straight. In the middle line, I need no adjustments. In the far left lane, I have to add right steering input. I'm a little surprised since the 255 front tires aren't even as wide as what I was running on my 370Z and the Z never had this handling trait. Maybe more related to the weight?

3) When I toss the car into a hard right turn, I sometimes hear a sound in the left front wheel area that sounds like ABS activation. It's brief but noticeable and I can feel a bit of a judder from that side. I'm not on the brakes when it happens (about mid-apex) and it doesn't happen every time. Any ideas? Nothing is damaged or rubbing, wheel lugs all torqued correctly, and never happens unless I'm throwing it into a corner at 0.8G on the dash meter.

I love this car, but as with any car it's taking some time to get used to her quirks.

baabootoo
07-01-13, 01:37 PM
1. Dumb question, but did you check the test road with a level? Most roads are crowned to our right for drainage. 2. Too technical for me. 3. Maybe your TC kicking in? Try it with it in COMP mode and see if it's the same.

spearfish25
07-01-13, 05:17 PM
1. Dumb question, but did you check the test road with a level? Most roads are crowned to our right for drainage. 2. Too technical for me. 3. Maybe your TC kicking in? Try it with it in COMP mode and see if it's the same.

Definitely not just a crown issue. The dealer today redid the alignment and now it's off in the other direction. Guess that's progress.

It could be stability control correcting under steer. I had it in comp mode but maybe it's still aggressive. Those roads were unforgiving if you go off so I didn't disable the system completely.

Cadillac Cust Svc
07-02-13, 12:30 PM
Definitely not just a crown issue. The dealer today redid the alignment and now it's off in the other direction. Guess that's progress.

It could be stability control correcting under steer. I had it in comp mode but maybe it's still aggressive. Those roads were unforgiving if you go off so I didn't disable the system completely.

Hello spearfish25,

I am sorry your vehicle is experiencing issue with its alignment. I understand taking your vehicle in for service multiple times on the same issue can be frustrating. If there is anything you would like to further discuss, please reach out to us via private message.

Regards,

Laura M.
Cadillac Customer Care

spearfish25
07-02-13, 02:15 PM
Thanks Laura. I have another appointment with a dealer tomorrow. If its not fixed, that would be the third try. Lemon law? J/k, I love my car but this little saga needs to be over already.

Will post back tomorrow.

USAFRET
07-02-13, 02:32 PM
I just went through something similar with my 2011 V coupe, it pulled back and forth so much that it's motion made my wife ill. Turns out that all four wheels were badly out of spec, the dealers service tech said essentially all four tires were doing their own thing. After a laser alignmnet and re-balancing the four new Hankook V12 tires the car tracks like a steam roller. Of course now my steering wheel is now out of alignment which I tried to live with but I can't so I have an appointment this Friday to have that adjusted.

I just don't understand how a dealer can allow a car to leave their facility (even after a follow up test drive) and not notice the steering wheel isn't centered. Oh well, I asked that I be allowed to sit behind the wheel when they re-adjust it.

Cadillac Cust Svc
07-02-13, 05:20 PM
Thanks Laura. I have another appointment with a dealer tomorrow. If its not fixed, that would be the third try. Lemon law? J/k, I love my car but this little saga needs to be over already.

Will post back tomorrow.

You are welcome spearfish25. Please reach out to me via private message with an update tomorrow and we can go from there after learning the newest resolution.

Regards,

Laura M.
Cadillac Customer Care

Cadillac Cust Svc
07-02-13, 07:15 PM
I just went through something similar with my 2011 V coupe, it pulled back and forth so much that it's motion made my wife ill. Turns out that all four wheels were badly out of spec, the dealers service tech said essentially all four tires were doing their own thing. After a laser alignmnet and re-balancing the four new Hankook V12 tires the car tracks like a steam roller. Of course now my steering wheel is now out of alignment which I tried to live with but I can't so I have an appointment this Friday to have that adjusted.

I just don't understand how a dealer can allow a car to leave their facility (even after a follow up test drive) and not notice the steering wheel isn't centered. Oh well, I asked that I be allowed to sit behind the wheel when they re-adjust it.

Hello USAFRET,

Please keep us updated concerning your visit to the dealership on Friday to have your steering wheel adjusted. I hope that the laser alignment and re-balancing has helped. If you have any further questions or concerns regarding your vehicle, please feel free to message us privately and we can discuss them. Thank you very much for your time.

Gregory W.
Cadillac Customer Care

spearfish25
07-02-13, 11:52 PM
I just don't understand how a dealer can allow a car to leave their facility (even after a follow up test drive) and not notice the steering wheel isn't centered. Oh well, I asked that I be allowed to sit behind the wheel when they re-adjust it.

Given I've now had four attempts by four different shops/dealers at making my wheel straight, I have a few opinions. First, something about the V makes it a challenging task to align the steering wheel. We may find something needs replacement rather than realignment. But I have a suspicion the repeated failure is a combination of things:
1) dealer hears the problem and 'poo poos' it thinking it's 'just an alignment issue'. So they don't really hear what I'm saying and they just send the car to get aligned in the shop area. Then the mechanic who didn't hear the story from me brings it back and says "I aligned it." Essentially failure of communication of the problem and lack of interest thinking it's just another CTS that needs an approximate crappy alignment.

2) The CTS-V has the variable assist steering that firms up the faster you go. There is a lot of slop in the steering when you're not moving...the wheel moves a few degrees before the tires move. I think that centering the wheel with this slop will make it seem straight when you're at a standstill, but makes an obvious misalignment when you're moving. I wonder if centering the wheel in Competition Mode would help the accuracy of centering the wheel but the increased resistance doesn't really kick in until you turn the wheel a bit.

3) Maybe there is just something else wrong. The service advisor I spoke with yesterday said that if it's not fixed tomorrow, it's time to call corporate GM and ask from help from 'Tech Support'. Apparently there is a ladder that we can ascend to help solve troubling issues.

Will report back tomorrow after my appointment.

Haze
07-03-13, 01:21 AM
It really sounds to me that there is something else wrong in the suspension, a bent piece or a blown shock. I wonder if they are really looking or if they are just focused on alignment. The road crown issues that you were experiencing were not tram lining. That is a different effect where ruts in the road pull the steering wheel out of your hand. However, it sounded as if your car was "wandering". I would look at that as a "toe out" problem. Make very sure that they have checked the toe in both the front and rear wheels. The thing with the rear wheels is that toe is not adjustable as I understand it. My alignment guy told me that it is set at the factory and not adjustable. If that has been knocked out, then that could be an issue. Just as an aside, I never get cars aligned at the dealer. I always go to an NTB with a computer controlled laser jig. It takes the guess work out of the alignment, and I find that no matter the manufacturer of car, they have always been able to set my alignment correctly. Dealers have seldom gotten it right in my experience. With my car at 27,000 miles or so, I did find a blown shock that was replaced by the dealer under warranty. That made my car handle very strangely indeed. Something to look for and easily identified since oil was all over the shock. Going up the tech tree can really help, and hopefully someone will be able to get into your suspension and get a resolution for you. Oh and at about 15,000 mile, I had my car aligned by NTB, and it was pretty far out. It drove much, much better once corrected. It is also true that if your car was driven for a while well out of alignment, you could have unevenly worn tires that could be causing your wandering issue. Best of luck!

Cadillac Cust Svc
07-03-13, 12:47 PM
Given I've now had four attempts by four different shops/dealers at making my wheel straight, I have a few opinions. First, something about the V makes it a challenging task to align the steering wheel. We may find something needs replacement rather than realignment. But I have a suspicion the repeated failure is a combination of things:
1) dealer hears the problem and 'poo poos' it thinking it's 'just an alignment issue'. So they don't really hear what I'm saying and they just send the car to get aligned in the shop area. Then the mechanic who didn't hear the story from me brings it back and says "I aligned it." Essentially failure of communication of the problem and lack of interest thinking it's just another CTS that needs an approximate crappy alignment.

2) The CTS-V has the variable assist steering that firms up the faster you go. There is a lot of slop in the steering when you're not moving...the wheel moves a few degrees before the tires move. I think that centering the wheel with this slop will make it seem straight when you're at a standstill, but makes an obvious misalignment when you're moving. I wonder if centering the wheel in Competition Mode would help the accuracy of centering the wheel but the increased resistance doesn't really kick in until you turn the wheel a bit.

3) Maybe there is just something else wrong. The service advisor I spoke with yesterday said that if it's not fixed tomorrow, it's time to call corporate GM and ask from help from 'Tech Support'. Apparently there is a ladder that we can ascend to help solve troubling issues.

Will report back tomorrow after my appointment.

Hello spearfish25,

I apologize for the ongoing vehicle issue you have been experiencing. Thank you for sharing this information with everyone and updating us on the current status; I wish the best outcome for your vehicle tomorrow. If there is ever anything you would like to further discuss, don't hesitate to reach out to us via private message.

Regards,

Laura M.
Cadillac Customer Care

spearfish25
07-03-13, 02:24 PM
Thanks.

Left the car at the dealer. Here's what's going to happen:
1) redo alignment and steering centering. Calling tech support if not fixed.
2) New rear diff for whining at 50mph under light throttle.
3) replace drivers footwell carpet for bulging out.
4) recalibrate speedo as analog reads 2mph more than digital.
5) check clutch. Chatters when starting from a stop.

Should have her back early next week. Will report back.

RapidRob
07-03-13, 06:33 PM
^^^ - Really sounds like they are trying hard to get it squared away! Good luck!

Rob

spearfish25
07-16-13, 11:30 AM
Saga continues. They replaced the rear diff and the whine is gone. So that's good. But the steering remains an issue. Off to the left and pulls right. We tried swapping front wheels left-right but to no avail. My district rep is involved and everyone has been very helpful and interested in making things right. So the process continues. I'll find out today what's next but I think a field tech is going to be sent out.

1997BlackETC
07-16-13, 01:07 PM
I think there is a issue with rear end toe on these cars, that's what it was with mine and the tech said he'd seen it before, the car is going down the road a little sideways and it throws the steering off center to compensate for that sideways movement. Have them focus on the rear alignment, not the front, this should solve your problem if they can get the rear right.

spearfish25
07-16-13, 03:17 PM
I think there is a issue with rear end toe on these cars, that's what it was with mine and the tech said he'd seen it before, the car is going down the road a little sideways and it throws the steering off center to compensate for that sideways movement. Have them focus on the rear alignment, not the front, this should solve your problem if they can get the rear right.

I'd be surprised if I had any true alignment issue at this point. I've seen the printouts for 3 of the 5 alignments I've had and everything has been spot on despite the persistent problem.

neuronbob
07-16-13, 04:29 PM
Keep us posted, man. So far, I haven't noticed any alignment problems with my wagon. If I do, this thread is bookmarked and I'll be looking for a solution.

Cadillac Cust Svc
07-16-13, 05:12 PM
Saga continues. They replaced the rear diff and the whine is gone. So that's good. But the steering remains an issue. Off to the left and pulls right. We tried swapping front wheels left-right but to no avail. My district rep is involved and everyone has been very helpful and interested in making things right. So the process continues. I'll find out today what's next but I think a field tech is going to be sent out.

Hi spearfish25,

I am glad to hear the rear diff was replaced and the whine noise is gone, but understand how its frustrating still having to deal with the steering issue. I am happy to hear the people helping you out have been helpful for you. Please keep us posted on any other updates you hear.

Sincerely,

Laura M.
Cadillac Customer Care

spearfish25
07-27-13, 11:51 PM
OK. She's fixed.

And the problem was....radial pull from a defective front tire. We swapped the fronts to opposite sides and the pull got better. Two new front tires later and the car tracks straight as an arrow and the steering wheel is dead on.

Kudos to my service department here in Naples for working with me and to my district rep Rachel who was a rockstar throughout the whole experience.

1997BlackETC
07-28-13, 01:29 AM
Hey Spearfish, I did not realize you were in Fla. We will have to get together @ Bradenton and run against each other, I'll be back in Sarasota mid September. Glad you got your problem squared away, tires can play strange games with cars. I shoulda thought of recommending what you did.

Haze
07-28-13, 02:22 AM
Congrats! I am very happy that your car got fixed, and you can enjoy it now. Thanks for posting the resolution too. That is an atypical problem alright.