VWVortex.com - Is there a term for what I am experiencing?
Username or Email Address
Do you already have an account?
Forgot your password?
  • Log in or Sign up

    VWVortex


    Results 1 to 14 of 14

    Thread: Is there a term for what I am experiencing?

    1. Member
      Join Date
      May 19th, 2016
      Location
      Los Angeles
      Posts
      383
      Vehicles
      2007 GTI
      05-28-2019 11:03 PM #1
      With a lot of cars I've driven recently with electric power steering, I am experiencing that at highway speed, I am able to wobble the wheel with a light flick of the wrist 1-1.5" to either side without the car actually moving. Even my mk5 GTI, with which I am pretty happy with, does this to some degree. My mk6 GTI exhibited the behavior the least out of all the FWD vehicles I've driven extensively.

      The only new car I've noticed where this doesn't apply is the 2013 328i and 2017 Toyota 86.

      Is there a name for this kind of behavior?

      Is this a FWD thing?

      It just irks me when I have my hands on the wheel and the steering wheel wobbles around for no apparent reason.

    2. Remove Advertisements

      Advertisements
       

    3. n00b
      Join Date
      May 6th, 2019
      Location
      Southern California
      Posts
      4
      Vehicles
      2018 Golf Sportwagen 1.8 FWD, 1983 Volvo 245 Turbo
      05-28-2019 11:22 PM #2
      I am by no means an expert, but is it steering ratio? It sounds like variable ratio steering.

      From Wikipedia:

      "....In the middle of the rack there is a higher ratio and the ratio becomes lower as the steering wheel is turned towards lock. This makes the steering less sensitive when the steering wheel is close to its center position and makes it harder for the driver to*oversteer*at high speeds. As the steering wheel is turned towards lock, the wheels begin to react more to steering input."

      Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk

    4. n00b
      Join Date
      May 6th, 2019
      Location
      Southern California
      Posts
      4
      Vehicles
      2018 Golf Sportwagen 1.8 FWD, 1983 Volvo 245 Turbo
      05-28-2019 11:24 PM #3
      1-1.5 inches of movement on the wheel though... that seems like it should cause the car to react.

      Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk

    5. Remove Advertisements

      Advertisements
       

    6. Member
      Join Date
      May 19th, 2016
      Location
      Los Angeles
      Posts
      383
      Vehicles
      2007 GTI
      05-28-2019 11:52 PM #4
      All the cars I've had driven do not have variable ratio steering--all fixed ratio.

    7. n00b
      Join Date
      May 6th, 2019
      Location
      Southern California
      Posts
      4
      Vehicles
      2018 Golf Sportwagen 1.8 FWD, 1983 Volvo 245 Turbo
      05-29-2019 12:27 AM #5
      Idk, man. I can only say that I'm pretty sure the mk7s use variable ratio steering racks and that inputs can feel less responsive in the center.

      Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk

    8. Member
      Join Date
      Jan 18th, 2013
      Location
      North County San Diego, CA
      Posts
      1,007
      Vehicles
      2006 Jetta TDI Special Edition, 2018 A3 Quattro, 1995 Porsche 911
      05-31-2019 08:14 PM #6
      squelchy451,

      I am thinking this has a bit to do with tires and alignment settings as well, although steering rack precision also is a factor.
      From the factory a lot of cars come with a decent amount of toe-in which increases stability, but also makes the car react a little slower to small steering inputs. Setting the toe closer to zero can help make the car react faster, and some people even toe out the car a little.
      Caster settings also affect how quickly the front end will react to steering inputs. More caster is generally better for higher speeds, but on autocross tracks some people run minimal caster to make the car react faster. All of this comes with compromise though, a car that handles like a go-kart is a hoot in 2nd gear, but can get scary, darty, at high speeds.

      Sidewall stiffness on the tires can also have a huge impact on the amount of steering wheel jiggle that you can apply before the car starts to react.

      Have you had an alignment lately and if so what are your current settings? What tires are you running? Any other chassis/suspension mods?

    9. 06-01-2019 05:14 PM #7
      My mk4 with old tires doesn't jiggle much or turn without turning the wheels. It's all mostly how your power steering is set up.

    10. Member
      Join Date
      May 19th, 2016
      Location
      Los Angeles
      Posts
      383
      Vehicles
      2007 GTI
      06-08-2019 04:12 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by Chaoscreature80 View Post
      squelchy451,

      I am thinking this has a bit to do with tires and alignment settings as well, although steering rack precision also is a factor.
      From the factory a lot of cars come with a decent amount of toe-in which increases stability, but also makes the car react a little slower to small steering inputs. Setting the toe closer to zero can help make the car react faster, and some people even toe out the car a little.
      Caster settings also affect how quickly the front end will react to steering inputs. More caster is generally better for higher speeds, but on autocross tracks some people run minimal caster to make the car react faster. All of this comes with compromise though, a car that handles like a go-kart is a hoot in 2nd gear, but can get scary, darty, at high speeds.

      Sidewall stiffness on the tires can also have a huge impact on the amount of steering wheel jiggle that you can apply before the car starts to react.

      Have you had an alignment lately and if so what are your current settings? What tires are you running? Any other chassis/suspension mods?
      My alignment settings are all within factory recommended settings.

      One thing I've been confused about is the toe. Most internet publications say a positive value for the toe is toe in and the same article says that most FWD cars, due to how the power is put down and flex in bushings, usually specifies toe out.
      The alignment sheet shows a positive value, which suggests toe in. I am inclined to think this is toe-in as well, since the car does feel decently stable at highway speeds and can feel a tad sluggish on canyon roads (responsive, but doesn't feel too thrilled to do so).

      Tires are OEM all seasons, VWR springs with Sachs monotube (Autotech branded) shocks, stock sway bars.

    11. 06-10-2019 08:37 AM #9
      I've been turning wrenches since 1980 and with all the courses I've been thru, - value is toe in + is toe out.

      Front wheel drive cars can have a toe out spec because the front tires are pulling the car and will have a tendency to force the wheel in. Rear drive cars do not have this issue therefore the force of driving causing the wheels to be forced out. The toe angle adjustment is to kind of neutralize the front wheels so they are at close to 0 when you are actually driving down the freeway.

      As for the new electronic steering, although there is a physical connection between the steering wheel and rack, the amount of turning is controlled by the motor. That motor is controlled by the computer. When you are turning the wheel, you are asking the computer to operate the assist motor. If the computer does not think it should do it, it will not. It is probably programmed to not react with small differences like that because there is no reason to drive with those steering inputs. If it was all mechanical/old school power assist, you are physically hooked up to the wheels so it will do as you wish.

      Computers are great things but remember, you are not really controlling the car/airplane/etc. You are asking the computer to do something you want. If the computer thinks it's ok, it will do it. If not, it will not do what you want or do something that not even close.

      Just ask Boeing and their pilots about their anti stalling issue they have. Their computer thinks it's best to gain speed to prevent a stall. Even is you are going straight down at 300mph+. The pilots are giving different commands but the computer knows better.

      Just like Space Odyssey 2001. Hal knows all and does what's best.

    12. Member
      Join Date
      May 19th, 2016
      Location
      Los Angeles
      Posts
      383
      Vehicles
      2007 GTI
      06-12-2019 04:25 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by Butcher View Post

      As for the new electronic steering, although there is a physical connection between the steering wheel and rack, the amount of turning is controlled by the motor. That motor is controlled by the computer. When you are turning the wheel, you are asking the computer to operate the assist motor. If the computer does not think it should do it, it will not. It is probably programmed to not react with small differences like that because there is no reason to drive with those steering inputs. If it was all mechanical/old school power assist, you are physically hooked up to the wheels so it will do as you wish.

      Computers are great things but remember, you are not really controlling the car/airplane/etc. You are asking the computer to do something you want. If the computer thinks it's ok, it will do it. If not, it will not do what you want or do something that not even close.

      Just ask Boeing and their pilots about their anti stalling issue they have. Their computer thinks it's best to gain speed to prevent a stall. Even is you are going straight down at 300mph+. The pilots are giving different commands but the computer knows better.

      Just like Space Odyssey 2001. Hal knows all and does what's best.
      I used to blame electric power steering for this behavior (which I've noticed on a new mk7 GTI and a 2017 Mazda 3. the Mazda I was able to verify that there was nothing out of whack with the alignment, the GTI was a rental) but after driving the 2017 86 I don't think it's the technology that's to blame but how it's designed & implemented.

      This could also ultimately come down to preferences. Most drivers I've seen have a curiously hard time keeping their hands steady at 9 and 3. They make so many tiny adjustments that having a bit of play without having the front wheels or the EPS motor react could be a good thing. You could put a bubble level on my steering wheel at highway speeds and the bubble won't move as nearly as much. When I move the wheel, I want the car to respond in kind. Usually when I'm in the middle of the turn, the steering is responsive, but it's just this on-center behavior that's driving me nuts.

      Some people on the BRZ/86 forums do complain the steering can be twitchy. For me, it's weighted well enough that any movement of the steering is intentional. I did a 2-3 hour stretch on the highway with no complaints that the steering was too lively.

    13. Member
      Join Date
      Jan 18th, 2013
      Location
      North County San Diego, CA
      Posts
      1,007
      Vehicles
      2006 Jetta TDI Special Edition, 2018 A3 Quattro, 1995 Porsche 911
      06-13-2019 10:49 AM #11
      My alignment settings are all within factory recommended settings.
      One thing I've been confused about is the toe. Most internet publications say a positive value for the toe is toe in and the same article says that most FWD cars, due to how the power is put down and flex in bushings, usually specifies toe out.
      The alignment sheet shows a positive value, which suggests toe in. I am inclined to think this is toe-in as well, since the car does feel decently stable at highway speeds and can feel a tad sluggish on canyon roads (responsive, but doesn't feel too thrilled to do so).
      Toe in is when the tires are pointed towards the center of the car. Think of someone who is pigeon toed. Toe Out is when the tires face away from the car. Think of someone who is duckfooted.
      I have never seen a car leave the factory with toe out.

      VW's tend to run a lot of caster. There is nothing you can do about this, but a lot of caster will make the steering feel sluggish reacting to steering inputs. The advantage to all that caster is how well VW's tend to track on the highway. VW's are designed to drive on the Autobahn with typical cruising speeds around 140+kmh so this additional caster makes the cars very stable at high speed.

      VW's also use a front control arm bushing design that allows the toe to "wander" in the front a little bit, especially when the tires are loaded in a corner. The bushings were designed to reduce NVH but are a compromise solution for performance oriented drivers. Switching out the front control arm bushings with stiffer alternatives will liven up the steering a bit.

    14. Member
      Join Date
      May 19th, 2016
      Location
      Los Angeles
      Posts
      383
      Vehicles
      2007 GTI
      06-13-2019 11:05 AM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by Chaoscreature80 View Post
      Toe in is when the tires are pointed towards the center of the car. Think of someone who is pigeon toed. Toe Out is when the tires face away from the car. Think of someone who is duckfooted.
      I have never seen a car leave the factory with toe out.

      VW's tend to run a lot of caster. There is nothing you can do about this, but a lot of caster will make the steering feel sluggish reacting to steering inputs. The advantage to all that caster is how well VW's tend to track on the highway. VW's are designed to drive on the Autobahn with typical cruising speeds around 140+kmh so this additional caster makes the cars very stable at high speed.

      VW's also use a front control arm bushing design that allows the toe to "wander" in the front a little bit, especially when the tires are loaded in a corner. The bushings were designed to reduce NVH but are a compromise solution for performance oriented drivers. Switching out the front control arm bushings with stiffer alternatives will liven up the steering a bit.
      My main source of confusion is whether a positive value denotes toe in or toe out.

      There is no doubt in my mind what a positive value means for caster or camber, but there most sources on the web (incl. wikipedia) say positive toe is toe IN and negative toe is toe OUT. The factory range for toe is 0 to 0.17 for the front, and 0 to 0.19 for the rear. The same sources that say positive toe is toe IN say that FWD cars are set up with toe OUT to compensate for the movement of control arms when power is applied, so that the car essentially has zero toe at speed.

      It's easy to see the angle of the struts to determine at least what negative camber and positive caster looks like, but the toe is not as easy to inspect. (I'm not trying to do an alignment, I just want to know if my wheels are pointing out or pointing in) because the notation is not quite clear.

    15. Member
      Join Date
      May 19th, 2016
      Location
      Los Angeles
      Posts
      383
      Vehicles
      2007 GTI
      06-13-2019 11:08 AM #13
      I guess the main source of confusion is from the same internet sources that say most FWD cars have toe out to compensate for the control arm movements. It would make sense from the manufacturers perspective to specify more of a toe-in to promote more understeer than oversteer.

    16. Member
      Join Date
      Jan 18th, 2013
      Location
      North County San Diego, CA
      Posts
      1,007
      Vehicles
      2006 Jetta TDI Special Edition, 2018 A3 Quattro, 1995 Porsche 911
      06-13-2019 06:33 PM #14
      If you want to get an idea of where your toe is, you can do the following.
      Park the car on a flat spot with the steering wheel and tires straight.
      Get some straight 2x4’s or something similar.
      Put the 2x4’s on the ground by the front tires and push them against the tires so that they are as lined up as possible with the front tires.
      You can probably just stand back at this pint and see if the tires (and this the 2x4’s) are pointed in or out. You can even measure the toe with this type of setup, but it won’t be super accurate.
      If you google ghetto alignment you can see how this is done 🙂

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts
    •