Pulling to the right problem...

Brakes, Suspension, Rims and Tires

  1. Triple Pickle

    Triple Pickle Well-Known Member FCBO Gold Member

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    I’m looking for some input from any suspension experts we have here.
    Here’s the issue: I recently started driving my ‘72 Polara. It didn’t run good enough to drive when I first bought it so I had to deal with those issues first,,now that I’ve got it on the road, it pulls to the right. Not real hard but , bad enough that if you let go of the wheel you’ll be in the ditch pretty quick.
    The brakes don’t seem to be dragging or getting hot but, when I apply the brakes the car corrects itself and when take my hand off of the wheel it doesn’t pull one way or the other. As soon as the brakes are released it goes back to pulling to the right.
    Ive checked the front end parts and they all seem to be tight enough not to cause this issue but, I wouldn’t rule out “stacked tolerances” causing it.
    Also, a string and tape measure check in the alignment didn’t reveal any questionable information.
    I haven’t done a close inspection on the rear axle. I kinda suspect that the centering pin might be moving in the hardware that holds the axle to the springs. It’s the rubber insulated torsion air ride stuff common on our cars. Seems like I’ve experienced this issue before, but I can’t remember for sure.
    Anyway any thoughts would be appreciated.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
  2. Triple Pickle

    Triple Pickle Well-Known Member FCBO Gold Member

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    I’ll add this: whether it’s actual or only perceived, I get the feeling it’s “dog walking “. I’m going to get a friend to follow me down the road to try and confirm whether it is or isn’t. I might be just convincing myself that it is because I suspect it!
     
  3. bluefury361

    bluefury361 Old Man with a Hat

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    Barring the rear axle issue. You might take a look at the right front brake. (disc or drum)?
    A slightly dragging brake there will do what your describing. Could be a sticking caliper, (disc), or wheel cylinder, (drum). or a restricted brake hose at that wheel.
    Good luck.
     
  4. Triple Pickle

    Triple Pickle Well-Known Member FCBO Gold Member

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    Yes, I thought that at first. The car does have disc brakes, my bad I didn’t mention that in the rambling original post. But the car rolls easily and I’ve had both front wheels off of the ground at the same time, spun the wheels, had an assistant hit the brakes and release. The wheels both instantly roll free as soon as the brakes are off. Also I just drove to work this morning at 70+ mph for 20 miles pulling to the right all the way. As soon as I got off of the interstate I jumped out and felt the front wheels and couldn’t tell any difference in temperature. Both were slightly warm as one would expect, but not anywhere near as hot as they would be if they had been dragging.
    I’m not ruling anything out at this point though!
     
  5. rkrochen

    rkrochen Active Member

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    first thing I would do is the simplest, rotate the tires and see if that changes anything.
    Also jack up the front end and start the car. See if it turns on it’s own, could be power steering issue.
     
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  6. Triple Pickle

    Triple Pickle Well-Known Member FCBO Gold Member

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    I believe you’re on the right track! I’m going to try that. Thank you.
     
  7. Davea Lux

    Davea Lux Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    Have some one follow you down the road, if the car is dog walking, it should be obvious. Measure the distance from the rear axle pad on each side to the end of the spring, the measurements should be the same. Check the center spring leaves usually if the center pin is broken one side or the other will show spring leaves that are not symmetrically stacked.

    Dave
     
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  8. Triple Pickle

    Triple Pickle Well-Known Member FCBO Gold Member

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    Thank you. I’ll definitely do that ASAP. I’m also thinking it might be the valve on top of the steering box. It does seem to be a little harder to steer than I think normal.
     
  9. Davea Lux

    Davea Lux Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    An improperly adjusted PA valve can cause the car to self steer, but once they are properly set up, they usually do not go out of adjustment. Jack the car up with the front wheels off the ground and start it up. If the car self steers to one side or the other, the PA valve is the cause, otherwise leave it alone as they are a PIA to adjust. Check your tire pressure and be sure both front tires are the same size.

    Dave
     
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  10. Triple Pickle

    Triple Pickle Well-Known Member FCBO Gold Member

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    I jacked it up and checked the self steering as prescribed. It didn’t move either way. Checked the rear end measuments and looked for loose springs/hardware. That all looked good back there. The wheels and tires are all matching. No sticking brakes. Haven’t done the dog walking test yet...thanks for your input!
     
  11. Davea Lux

    Davea Lux Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    If the car has some harder than normal steering, have you adjusted the steering gear? It will steer hard if the adjustment is set too tight.

    Dave
     
  12. rapidtrans

    rapidtrans Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    I agree with bluefury361.
    Definitely sounds like a brake issue. Like a stuck caliper piston or brake cylinder. It will pull toward the stuck brake till the brakes are applied, then all the force will go to the operating brake and pull the other way.
     
  13. Triple Pickle

    Triple Pickle Well-Known Member FCBO Gold Member

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    I would agree but, like I said, all wheels roll free as can be when the brakes are not applied. Again, I drove 70 mph for 20 miles pulling to the right all the way. I immediately got out and felt the wheels. the right one was no warmer than the left. Both were only slightly warm.
     
  14. Triple Pickle

    Triple Pickle Well-Known Member FCBO Gold Member

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    I moved it a 1/4 turn, it didn’t change much and I moved it back.
     
  15. Davea Lux

    Davea Lux Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    If you have not done so already, it would be a good idea to replace the high pressure hose and flush the system. Sometimes the inner liner of the pressure hose seperates and restricts the fluid flow. If you are certain that the brakes are functioning properly, there is probably an issue with a bad control arm bushing, bad strut rod bushings or a bent control arm. Your next step would be to get the car to an alignment shop and have it checked out. It might be something as simple as the caster adjustment being way off which is hard to check without alignment tools.

    Dave
     
  16. Triple Pickle

    Triple Pickle Well-Known Member FCBO Gold Member

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    I agree with taking it to a reputable alignment shop for a real alignment. I had a few things come up this evening that kept me from focusing on my car entirely. however, I did manage to get a friend to drive behind me for a dog walking check. He said it looked real straight but, he said it looked like the front right wheel was shaking/bouncing.
    I brought it back home and checked the tire for broken belts or anything but it looked fine. I couldn’t feel anything in the car but I believe his observations.
    I ran out of energy for today but tomorrow I’ll jack it up and swap sides with the front tires.
    Thank everyone for the input and sticking with me on this. I appreciate it very much. I’ll update as events unfold.
     
  17. rkrochen

    rkrochen Active Member

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    Don’t swap sides go front to back. If you really want to identify which one it is do one side at a time. I have run into tire pull many times in the past.
    Let us know how it works out.
     
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  18. Triple Pickle

    Triple Pickle Well-Known Member FCBO Gold Member

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    Will do. Seems like I ran into tire pull once or twice myself. These tires were all bought new and put on the same day. It was a year or so ago on another car (73 Polara) and I took them off of it to put them on the 72. So I didnt suspect them. Till now! Thanks again for your input. Very helpful!
     
  19. 413

    413 Active Member

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    You WANT to switch the fronts side to side. You will definitely know real quick if you have a tire pull that way. The problem will be reversed and the resultant change will not be missed.
     
  20. Triple Pickle

    Triple Pickle Well-Known Member FCBO Gold Member

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    I was thinking the same thing. I really hope that’s what it is. The symptoms sure act like a sticking caliper,and believe me, I’ve checked for that no less than 10 times. There is no difference in rolling resistance between the two sides. Also, for as much as it consistently pulls to the right, it doesn’t get hot.
    Yesterday I drove at about 10 mph with my hands off the wheel. The wheel turned to 1 o’ clock and stayed there.
    When the brake was applied even slightly the steering wheel corrected itself and the car went perfectly straight.
    Going down the interstate, it doesn’t wander. As long as slight pressure is kept on the wheel to keep it from going right, it’s stready as can be.