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Hello all!

I recently got my 74 nova running again and took it for a cruise. During that drive I noticed something weird in the steering. It would veer left and I had to correct it to the right. Then it would be good for 15-20 seconds and it would veer right and I need to correct it left.

It did this the whole time. Any ideas as to what or where I should be looking at? I have aftermarket CPP Arms and front suspension. Those got installed several years ago and it didn’t have this issue back then. It was sitting for about 6-8 month due to moving houses and engine upgrades.

any help would be appreciated! Thanks.
 

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how old are the tires your running on ? old steering box manual or power.
 

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Idler arm will allow some weird things to occur under certain conditions. Uneven pavement, road crown, and braking are situations that will allow a worn idler arm to exhibit its condition.. Bad ball joints and really bad wheel bearings could cause similar symptoms but you stated you have new control arms and bad wheel bearings would typically make some noises. If the bushing in your idler arm is worn it will allow the steering linkage to deflect and make the car veer irradicly.
 

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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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First, check that all of your suspension nuts & bolts (control arms, idler arm, pitman arm, etc) and steering box bolts are tight.

Next, lift the front tires slightly off the ground and grab the front tires at the 12 o'clock and the
6 o'clock position and check the front wheel bearings for excessive play.

With the front wheels still off the ground, take a long pry bar and place it under one of the front tires and lift up on the bar. While lifting up on the bar, look for any movement/play in the upper and lower control arm bushings and ball joints.
Note: On my 74 Nova, I experienced the same type of darting you described. When I R&R my control arms, I noticed that one of the bolts holding the lower control arm to the frame had worn completely thru the metal sleeve in one of the lower control arm bushings... and was about 1/2 way worn into the rubber part of the bushing. This caused a lot of excessive play.

If the car is veering left and right after hitting a bump in the road while driving, you may want to consider installing taller tie rod ends to help eliminate the "bump steer".
 

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I agree with the suggestions above. The first thing I would do is move he steering wheel side to side while the car is parked to see if you have excessive travel indicating an issue with the steering box or linkage. If that feels loose, get under the car and watch the tie rods, pitman arm, and idler arm while someone turns the steering wheel. If it does not feel loose, raise the front of the car off the ground and look for play in the wheel bearings. If that doesn't turn something up, start looking at your upper and lower ball joints and control arm mounts/bushings; unfortunately they are usually under a load, even if you raise the car (due to the suspension coil springs), so it can be harder to observe play in these joints. One way to look is to roll the car forwards and backwards and see if the tires toe in or out. You can also drive forward a ways, stop hard on the brakes and then do the same in reverse to see if the tires toe one way or the other. That can indicate issues in any of the suspension and steering joints.

If all that checks out, make sure your toe is adjusted properly. It may be toed out too much which could cause some twitchy response.
 

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I agree that you should start with the basics and make sure that everything is tight and that you don't have any worn components in the steering system. When you say that you got the car running again, does that mean that it was sitting for a long time? Rubber (bushings, tires, etc.) deteriorate pretty quickly when they just sit for extended periods of time. You might want to grease any of the fittings in the steering system and watch to see where the grease comes out. This could indicate if some of the rubber has deteriorated.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks guys. I will check it out this weekend and do as much as I can to get this going. It was in fact sitting for 8-10 months. It is power steering and the wheels are cracked but not severely. Mainly due to sitting in the garage. Thanks for the heads up on the bushings and how fast they deteriorate when they sit. I think that may be it as well. I may just do an overhaul on all of the hustings and tighten everything down.
 
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