So I just replaced my power steering gear box (04 Nissan Xterra). However, now my steering wheel is off-center when the truck is driving straight!? Not a lot, maybe 40-45deg, if that. At a loss of what I did wrong!??
The power steering gear box input shaft is splined; however, there seems to be only one correct way to attach the steering shaft lower joint to it -> the input shaft has a flat notch cut into it, which is where the mounting bolt faces. The same is true on the other end of the steering shaft lower joint -> it also has a spines with a notch on the end facing the steering wheel. From Nissan FSM:
Here is a pic of my truck:
I have a hunch the two spline pinch bolts should be facing vertically, when the wheels are straight -> you can see that mine are rotated towards the passenger by about 45deg. Maybe?
I'm certain I installed the pitman arm correctly - the splined output (sector shaft) also has notches in it, spaced at 90deg intervals - so you really can't install the pitman arm wrong, otherwise it won't connect to the centerlink!
So what gives???
I can think of only two places where I could adjust:
- Unscrew the steering wheel and move it over (I believe the steering wheel mount is splined but doesn't have any cut out notch, so can install anywhere)
- OR, don't touch the steering wheel, but turn it straight and now the wheels are offset - then move the wheels back by adjusting the tie rods (unscrew one side and screw in the other side)
I just had a professional alignment done (after replacing my tie rod ends), and from what I can tell the thread count on the tie rods on both sides is even... so feels like my only option is the steering wheel? Just so odd, b/c I didn't touch it in any of this work!??