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I got the very worn out steering rack (non-power steering), rack ends and tie rods replaced on my Mk1 Golf by a mechanic. The steering feels better (but a little stiff), but in doing a U-turn in my street I had to stop and back up halfway through as the wheel didn't turn as far. It almost feels like there's less 'teeth' on the rack and so the wheels reach lock more quickly.

Would anyone know what could be going on here?

  • For the sake of experimentation, could you try performing the turn in the opposite direction? I suspect I know what has happened here but this will confirm it for certain. – Steve Matthews May 30 '17 at 10:14
  • I did, it felt slightly better but not much - still not felt like there was less of a turning circle then previously – MeltingDog May 30 '17 at 10:24
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When setting up the tracking and track rod ends on a Golf (Mk1/2/3 and possibly newer) you only adjust one track rod length. From the factory, one side is a fixed length. When it's replaced it's fitted with an adjustable item but the correct procedure is to set it to a specific length (differs by vehicle specific model) and adjust the other side. It is theoretically possible to track up the car by adjusting both sides but this may lead to a reduction in turning circle in one specific direction.

My first thought would be to get the cars tracking set by someone who is very familiar with older Volkswagens and see if that rectifies the problem.

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  • Thanks, I'll have to suss this out. Another thing I noticed, which may not be important, was that the tyres squealed a little when cornering. Of course, I was cornering a little faster and harder than usual to test the rack but this struck me as a little unusual - I was cornering hard, but not that hard. – MeltingDog May 30 '17 at 23:09
  • That may be due to the speed combined with the hot weather, – Steve Matthews May 31 '17 at 5:17
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Took it back to the mechanic. Turns out they threw out some knuckles that were attached to the old rack. They replaced them and it's ok.

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