11.14.02.02

.02 Steering, Alignment, and Suspension.

A. Steering. Inspect the entire steering system including steering wheel, steering column, lash, linkage, free play, and power steering for missing, loose, damaged, or worn parts.

(1) Steering Wheel. The steering wheel shall be inspected to determine if it is circular (complete rim) and free of cracks, breaks, or objects which will interfere with the safe steering of the vehicle. The inspection will also be to determine that the steering wheel is original equipment or equivalent, including diameter.

Procedures: Reject Vehicle If:
(a) Inspect for missing, broken, or altered rim. (a) Steering wheel rim is broken, cut, or altered to the point it is not continuous.
(b) Inspect for cracks or breaks which would interfere with safe steering. (b) There are cracks or breaks large enough to grasp clothing, hand, or fingers (includes horn rim).
(c) Inspect for objects which would interfere with safe steering. (c) There are cracks, breaks, or objects attached which would interfere with safe steering. If vehicle is equipped with hand controls for physically disabled, special equipment is acceptable provided it is part of the manual controls, including steering knobs.
(d) Inspect for hand controls of vehicles equipped for physically disabled persons. (d) Any controls are not readily accessible (within arm's length) or are binding, damaged, or jammed.
(e) Inspect steering wheel for size and equivalency to original equipment. (e) Steering wheel is not original or equivalent including size.

(2) Energy Absorbing Steering Column. To determine if the components are capable of functioning as designed, a careful inspection shall be performed, and include any objects on the steering column. An external examination of either shear pins or collapsible mesh-type material shall also be performed.

Procedures: Reject Vehicle If:
(a) Inside Passenger Compartment. (a)
  (i) Inspect for separation of shear capsule from bracket and general "looseness" of wheel and column. (See Figure 1)   (i) Shear capsule is separated from bracket, or if wheel and column can be moved as a unit.
  (ii) Inspect for objects mounted on steering column which would prevent it from collapsing upon impact.   (ii) Objects (tachometer, etc.) are mounted on steering column.
(b) Upper Hood: Inspect for condition of shear pins and mesh-type collapsible portion. (b) Column shows indication of having been collapsed.

Figure 1 TYPICAL SHEAR CAPSULE LOCATION.

Agency Note: There are too many variations of the energy absorbing column to be practically described in these regulations. It is, therefore, suggested that a representative of the manufacturer be consulted in case of detailed questions.

(3) Lash.

Procedures: Reject Vehicle If:
(a) With front wheels in straight ahead position, turn steering wheel until the turning motion can be observed at the road wheels. Measure lash. On vehicles equipped with power steering, engine must be running. (a) A total movement in excess of that shown in the following table is measured at the steering wheel rim before the front wheels move:
  Steering Wheel Lash
  Diameter up to
  16 inches 2 inches
  18 inches 2 1/4 inches
  20 inches 2 1/2 inches
  22 inches 2 3/4 inches
  for rack and pinion steering 0.4 inches (10 mm)

(4) Travel.

Procedures: Reject Vehicle If:
(a) Turn steering wheel through a full right and left turn and feel for binding or jamming conditions. (On vehicles without power steering it may be desirable to jack front wheels slightly.) (a) Any roughness, jamming, binding, or any excessive play in the steering linkage is present when turning the wheels from full right to full left.

Agency Note: No play is permissible for Volkswagen and Audi vehicles; consult respective manufacturer's specifications.

Figure 2 STEERING LASH OR FREE PLAY.

(5) Linkage.

Linkage Play. Excessive free play causes wheel shimmy, erratic brake action, and steering control problems. Make sure any looseness detected is not wheel bearing free play.

Spring or Torsion Bar Height. Optimum front spring height is established as part of the overall design of front wheel alignment angles.

Steering Box and, if Applicable, Rack and Pinion Assembly. Lack of proper lubrication caused by leakage will lead to excessive wear and free play in these components.

Procedures: Reject Vehicle If:
(a) Steering Linkage Play. With the front end lifted properly and the wheels in a straight ahead position, grasp front and rear of tire and attempt to turn assembly right and left—record movement at extreme front or rear of sidewall. (a) Measurement is found to be in excess of:
Wheel Diameter up to Lash
16 inches 1/4 inch
17 inches 3/8 inch
18 inches 1/2 inch or,
(b) Follow procedure under Wheel Bearings-Suspension for correct lifting. (b) There is any looseness that can be felt by hand in tie rod or drag link balls and sockets.
(c) Brakes should be applied during the inspection either by another person or by use of a portable brake depressor to eliminate wheel bearing play, except on vehicles with inboard brakes. (c) Joints are not secured with cotter pins or other locking devices.
(d) Visually inspect steering linkage for any misalignment of parts. (d) Steering stops allow tire to rub frame, metal, or other chassis parts.
(e) Visually inspect the steering box and, if applicable, the rack and pinion assembly. (e) Tie rods, tie rod ends, center or drag link, pitman arm, or idler are misaligned.
(f) Steering box is loose or leaking and, if applicable, the rack and pinion assembly is loose, damaged, or deteriorated to cause leakage.

Figure 3 STEERING LINKAGE PLAY.

Figure 4 STEERING LINKAGE JACKING PROCEDURE.

(6) Power Steering.

Procedures: Reject Vehicle If:
(a) Inspect power steering belts for proper condition and tension. (a) Belts are frayed, loose, or cracked.
(b) With engine running inspect power steering system including gear, hoses, hose connections, cylinders, valves, pump and pump mounting for condition, rubbing and leaks. (b) Hoses or hose connections have been rubbed by moving parts or are leaking.
(c) Inspect power steering reservoir fluid level. (c) Cylinders, valves, or pump show evidence of leakage or malfunction.
(d) Pump mounting parts are loose or broken.
(e) Fluid level is less than manufacturer's recommendation.
(f) Power steering removed and not converted to full manual steering.

B. Wheel Alignment. There are five basic factors which are the foundations to front wheel alignment: caster, camber, toe-in, steering axis inclination, and toe-out on turns. All are mechanically adjustable except steering axis inclination and toe-out on turns. Overall front wheel alignment can be somewhat grossly indicated by measurement of front wheel toe. Excessive toe-in or toe-out is a general indication that a complete check should be made of all front wheel alignment factors. Rear wheel misalignment on vehicles with fixed rear suspension can be caused by broken or damaged springs, trailing rods, or center bolts and improper toe or camber adjustment on vehicles with independent rear suspension. If during road test there are no undesirable steering or handling reactions, caster and camber check is not necessary.

Procedures: Reject Vehicle If:
(1) Toe (In-Out). (1)
(a) With the wheels held in a straight ahead position, drive vehicle slowly over the measuring device and record results. (a) Side slip or scruff exceeds 30 feet per mile.
(b) Measure dimensions A and B. (b) Dimension is beyond inspection limits.

Figure 5 FRONT OF VEHICLE.

(2) Caster. Caster is the forward or backward tilt, from vertical of the spindle support arm at the top. Improper caster can cause hard steering, low speed shimmy, wander, and brake pull problems.

Procedures: Reject Vehicle If:
(a) Measure caster (caster can only be measured with gauges). (a) There are adverse steering or handling reactions and the inspection limits are exceeded.

Figure 6 CASTER ANGLES.

(3) Camber. Camber is the inward or outward tilt of the top of the wheel from vertical. Improper camber can cause erratic tire wear problems, hard steering, and wander.

Procedures: Reject Vehicle If:
(a) Measure camber (camber can only be measured with gauges). (a) There are adverse steering or handling reactions and the inspection limits are exceeded.

Figure 7 CAMBER ANGLES.

(4) Rear Wheel Alignment.

Procedures: Reject Vehicle If:
(a) Rear Wheel Alignment. Observe whether rear wheels follow front wheels in "straight ahead" travel. (a) Rear wheel does not follow the front wheel track in "straight ahead" travel or if frame is bent, broken, or rusted to affect tracking.
Warning
Do not reject if vehicle is designed with different tread widths—front and rear.
(b) Alternate Method: (b) The wheel base on one side is different from the wheel base on the other side by more than one inch.
  (i) With vehicle on a level surface, adjust tracking gauge to the distance between the front and rear wheels of vehicle on one side and compare distance with the front and rear wheels on opposite side. (c) Rear axle is obviously misaligned.
  (ii) Using a tape measure, determine the distance between the center of the front wheel spindle and the center of the rear axle drive shaft and compare from side to side. (Front wheels shall be in the straight ahead position.)

Agency Note: Not applicable if vehicle specifications indicate different left and right wheel base dimensions.

C. Suspension. Inspect the suspension system for missing, broken, damaged, worn, rusted, or modified wheel bearings, ball joints, control arms, springs, torsion bars or frame that would affect vehicle stability.

(1) Ball Joints. In checking for motion of ball joints, check in accordance with manufacturer's specifications, keep in mind that the load carrying joint is unloaded in procedures (a) and (b), and that a pry bar pressure sufficient only to lift the weight of the wheel assembly is required. If the inspector uses the "leverage" of a pry bar to exert excessive pressure, he can easily force an apparent ball joint movement and get a false reading. This may result in expensive replacement of perfectly good joints. Therefore, only a 12-inch to 18-inch pry bar should be used. Ball joints should be properly lubricated before inspection.

Procedures: Reject Vehicle If:
(a) Ball Joint Wear (Without Wear Indicators). (a)
 (i) With the vehicle properly jacked, position a pry bar under the front tire and, with a lifting motion sufficient to overcome the weight of the wheel assembly, move wheel up and down and observe movement shown on dial indicator or ball joint checker. (See Fig. 8 & 9)  (i) Ball joint movement is in excess of manufacturer's specifications.
 (ii) Grasp the tire and wheel assembly at the top and bottom. Move in and out to detect looseness. (More horizontal movement is permitted because of the nature of most ball joint construction). Some manufacturers do not accept horizontal movement as being indicative of ball joint wear. If this measurement is required it shall be made at the sidewall of the tire.   (ii) Ball joint is equipped with a tightener or repair kit. Control bushings are not to be considered repair kits or tighteners. Refer to §C(1)(b)(i) for procedure to check control bushing-type ball joints.
(b) Ball Joint Wear (preloaded). Using the same method as in §C(1)(a)(i) and (ii) inspect for ball joint movement relative to its socket. These ball joints (Marked "**" in Specifications) are preloaded by rubber or springs under tension, and should have very little movement in a vertical direction.   (iii) Ball joint has been repaired by heating or bending the socket assembly to eliminate movement.
(b)
 (i) Ball joint movement is in excess of manufacturer's specifications.
  (ii) Ball joint is equipped with a tightener or repair kit.
  (iii) Ball joint has been repaired by heating or bending the socket assembly to eliminate movement.

Figure 8 BALL JOINT JACKING PROCEDURE—HORIZONTAL MOVEMENT.

Figure 9 BALL JOINT JACKING PROCEDURE—VERTICAL MOVEMENT.

Figure 10 TYPICAL BALL JOINT.

Figure 11 PRELOADED BALL JOINT.

Figure 12 WEAR INDICATING BALL JOINT, including CHECKING SURFACE/COVER SURFACE DIAGRAMS.

(2) Ball Joints. Inspection of ball joints on models before 1973 shall be performed with the joints unloaded. Beginning with some 1973 models, however, some manufacturers provide a wear-indicating ball joint to facilitate inspection in which case a visual inspection is made with joints loaded.

Procedures: Reject Vehicle If:
(a) Ball Joint Wear (Wear-Indicating). (a) Manufacturer's specifications are exceeded.
  (i) In vehicles with wear-indicating ball joints, except AMC Pacer, support vehicle with ball joints loaded (in normal driving attitude or as recommended by the manufacturer). Wipe grease fitting and checking surface free of dirt and grease. Determine if ball joint passes or fails. (b) Ball joint is equipped with a tightener or repair kit.
  (ii) Wear is indicated by the amount the 1/2 diameter inch boss, into which the grease fitting is threaded, protrudes beyond the ball joint cover, or the depth a rod or wire can be inserted into the lubrication hole. (c) Ball joint has been repaired by heating or bending the socket assembly to eliminate movement.

Figure 13 BALL JOINT WEAR INDICATING.

(3) Ball Joints. Inspection of nonload carrying ball joints shall also be performed with the joints unloaded. With the vehicle properly jacked, inspect for any noticeable looseness. (See Figures 8 and 9)

Procedures: Reject Vehicle If:
(a) Ball Joint Wear (Nonload Carrying). (a)
  (i) Using the same method as in §C(1)(a) and (b) inspect for ball joint movement relative to its socket. On vehicles equipped with MacPherson Strut Suspension refer to manufacturer's procedures.   (i) Any noticeable looseness is detected in a nonload carrying ball joint.
    (ii) Strut manufacturer's specifications are exceeded.
    (iii) Ball joint is equipped with a tightener or repair kit.
    (iv) Ball joint has been repaired by heating or bending the socket assembly eliminate movement.

Figure 14 NON-LOAD CARRYING BALL JOINT.

Figure 15 FRONT OF WHEEL, SOLID AXLE SUSPENSION.

(4) King Pin or Spindle Bolts. Inspection of king pins or spindle bolts shall be made to determine if there are any missing, broken or worn parts that may affect the steering or suspension of the vehicle.

Procedures: Reject Vehicle If:
(a) Hoist the vehicle under the axle or control arm and grasp the top and bottom of the tire and attempt to move the assembly in and out. Record measurement at the side wall of the tire. King pins or spindle bolts should be properly lubricated prior to inspection. (a) Measurement at sidewall of tire is found to be in excess of:
Wheel Diameter up to Play
16 inches 1/4 inch
17—18 inches 3/8 inch
18 inches or more 1/2 inch

(5) Wheel Bearings. Wheel bearings out of adjustment can cause wander, unequal brake action, and noise due to interference of parts. Wheel bearings should be properly lubricated prior to inspection.

Procedures: Reject Vehicle If:
(a) Wheel Bearings and Suspension. With the vehicle lifted properly, (ball joints loaded), grasp the front tire top and bottom and rock it in and out, and record movement. To verify that any looseness detected is in the wheel bearing, notice movement between the brake drum or disc and the backing plate or splash shield. (a) Wheel bearings are loose, rough, galled, or otherwise defective.
  (i) Spring or torsion bar on lower arm, hoist at frame. (See Figure 4)
  (ii) Spring or torsion bar on upper arm, hoist at lower arm close to ball joint. (See Figure 4)

(6) Springs and Torsion Bars. Loose, sagging, or broken springs or torsion bars, worn or deteriorated bushings, loose or extended shackles and loose or mislocated U-bolts, suspension modifications or broken center bolts, can cause vehicle handling instability and brake pull.

Procedures: Reject Vehicle If:
(a) Springs and Torsion Bars. With unloaded vehicle on level surface, visually inspect the heights of the four corners of the vehicle. If necessary, use measuring device and determine differences from side to side. Visually inspect for broken spring leaves or torsion bar damage. Inspect spring shackles, bushings and U-bolts. Visually inspect for presence and condition of lift kits, blocks or modification to the suspension system or components. (a) Spring, spring center bolt, or torsion bar is broken, or if more than two spacers have been installed in coil springs or are loose. Lift kits are installed and this installation results in multiple blocks being used as a means of raising the vehicle; or there is any evidence of looseness of any lift kit or suspension components. The lift kits do not provide a means of aligning the spring center bolt, Spring and axle or axle housing. Shackles or U-bolts worn, loose, or extended causing misalignment of steering linkage or drive line angles, U-bolts are not of sufficient length protrude at least 1/4 beyond nut when tightened.
(b) Inspect all control arm, locator bar, and stabilizer bar bushings. (b) Any object or equipment extends below the bottom edge of a wheel rim.
(c) Frame is rusted, broken, or damaged or frame or mounting brackets at any suspension mounting point are rusted, broken, or damaged to affect suspension mounting; or the frame has been repaired and not fishplated; or if the body is not securely attached to the frame. Any spring main leaf is broken, any spring with more than four leaves has two or more other leaves broken, or any spring with four or less leaves has one broken leaf.
(d) Any control arm, locater bar, or stabilizer bar bushing is missing any portion of the bushing or is damaged, deteriorated, or dry rotted to a point that the bushing is broken or loose.

(7) Shock Absorbers/Shock Struts.

Procedures: Reject Vehicle If:
(a) With vehicle on a level surface, push down on each corner of the vehicle and release. (a) Vehicle continues free rocking motion for two cycles after release, or shock absorbers are worn, damaged or leaking to the extent vehicle stability is affected.
(b) With vehicle on a hoist or jacked, visually inspect for missing, broken, loose, or damaged shock absorbers, mounting brackets, bolts, bushings, or excessive leakage. (b) Shock absorbers, mounting bolts, bushings or mounts are missing, broken, or loose. Any bushing is missing any portion of the bushing or is damaged, deteriorated, or dry rotted to a point that the bushing is broken or loose.
  (c) Severe leakage (not slight dampness) is present.
(d) Vehicle is equipped with air shocks with air lines routed in such a fashion they may be rubbed through or severed by moving parts, or burned through by exhaust system components, or all shocks do not function in the same manner.