2022 Lexus NX Steering Off-Center but "Self-Corrects"
Good evening, everyone, I'm hoping someone can shed some light on this problem for me. Vehicle was involved in a minor collision, no body work. Customer hit a curb at speed and cracked a wheel. We ended up replacing a tire, wheel, lower control arm, strut, knuckle, bearing, and backing plate, then doing an alignment. The alignment machine tells us everything is within specification, but the test drive is disconcerting and confusing, to say the least. Thank you in advance for your attention.
On the test drive, the vehicle tracks straight and the steering wheel is straight, as expected. If I go around a turn, say two right turns to make a 180, the steering wheel will be off-center about 25 degrees to the left. The vehicle still tracks perfectly straight for a few seconds until the steering wheel suddenly self-corrects. If I hold the steering wheel lightly, it'll turn in my hands, but any harder and this self-correction will make the vehicle suddenly veer to the left. I hope I'm explaining this clearly.
I attempted initializing the brake control system and power steering control system, performed automatic rack centering, and realigned the vehicle, but to no avail. Considering the vehicle was in an impact, we considered the possibility that the sensors in the rack may have been overloaded (despite the fact there were no DTC) and replaced the rack and performed all initializations, centering, and alignment, and the steering behavior has not changed. I've inspected the vehicle physically and see no other damage or loose components, and there are no abnormal noises or any other problems that I can detect aside from this strange centering behavior.
Hey Benjamin, This may be an odd suggestion, but is there an info on the steering column for that vehicle? I've seen very light accidents cause steering column damage. It's probably a long shot, but considering you've eliminated nearly everything else steering related, might be worth a look.
Anything seizing in suspension? Stabilizer link jamming when turning steering wheel?
It ended up being a ball joint, which was not replaced as specified.
In your Scantool Live Data look at the Steering Angle value at straight ahead - If its not 0 somethings wrong. You might need to perform SAS Calibration and Possibly Zero-Point Calibration as well.
Forgot about the world of calibrations required on these newer cars.
Hi Benjamin, Any chance you checked to see if the subframe crossmember is shifting? If I remember correctly Lexus uses torque to yield fasteners for their subframes. It is possible that the subframe is shifting and then re-centering. Just a thought.
I thought of this, and went through making sure the subframe and all suspension components were torqued to spec. The was a cross-threaded bolt what was a cause for concern, but it never shifted. It ended up being a ball joint that was never replaced as specified.
Hello Benjamin, In the collision repair world this is known as indirect damage. In the kinematic elastics of a collision event a sudden shock or jolt displaces components and disturbs sensors. Some people use the term “traveling damage” I suggest this problem will lead to the electronic steering motor have internal damage to its centering sensors or pressure balance solenoids. Here is some…
Long shot but how about an ADAS (lane keep assist) issue? It tracks straight with the wheel off 25* to the left after a right turn, correct? Does it do the same thing after a left turn? Might see if you can see any weird data in ABS, EPS, or any ADAS systems. I know Fords were real bad about racks failing after an impact but you've already replaced it. Many cruise radars won't take much of a hit…
Yes, the upper column is just a shaft and u-joint for the tilt-telescope function. The steering angle sensor is at the steering wheel.
I have no idea if this vehicle is equipped with anything like the Ford Edge Sport model, but they have adaptive steering, a motor built into the steering wheel that actually changes gear ratios. The fact that your centering seems to change made me think of that…
Just to recap and want to make sure I did not miss it in your great detail of work performed. I see you performed the initialization, but did you perform the “automatic rack centering” function afterwards? This is done before the wheels are installed and before alignment.
Does your zero point value agree with your SAS PID when your wheels are pointing straight and your steering wheel is centered? If not, try disconnecting battery for two minutes and see if they agree- won't cost you anything, except maybe radio security and presets.
Benjamin, Is it possible that the “torque sensor” or similar device that reads driver intent has somehow been compromised? Randy
The NX doesn't have anything like VGRS, right? IOW, there is no designed-in mechanism that allows a different steering wheel position relative to the rack input to achieve small ratio adjustments or automated steering angle corrections? If that is true I second suggestions regarding a slipping mechanical connection, such as loose/cracked rack bushings or subframe mounts. Upon a high force turn…
Was the “automatic rack centering” function performed before the alignment?
Apologies for the late response. I can't believe I was bested by a ball joint, which Tech A did NOT replace. I'm still burning up on this because I was assuming (yep, I'm an ass) people were doing as they said they were doing. At the same time, this whole thing reminds me I need to get back to my original plan of attack, which is to assume nothing has been done to the vehicle and start my own…
Hi Benjamin, These situations are disappointing. I am sure we have all been there, how else would we gain “experience”? Not all experiences can be good all the time. Glad you got it figured out.
Glad you got it resolved and as Glenn mentioned that this is very frustrating when it occurs. Not sure if this might help you, but I always ask for the repair estimate in order to accurately identify what has and has not been done. It is an extra step for me but has saved my butt a few times especially when a shop says “we just removed the sensor” but repair order shows a blind spot bracket was…