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Honda Odyssey Alignment Problems

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  • I just filed a complaint - it took 4 minutes. There are a few posted. But WE NEED more for recognition of this issue. Here is the direct link to the online complaint page.

    https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/online.cfm
  • jhs, we showed them your post and fix and they say the struts are fine. They have finally acknowledged a grinding noise as both CV Joints needing replacement AND the steering column needing lubed AND they found the steering column not lined up and fixed that but it STILL pulls. They don't know what else to do, though. I'm going to ask them about the steering rack and calipers when we take it back in. Having only one vehicle makes it difficult to leave it with them; I've got kids, but the warranty is almost up.
  • jhs24jhs24 Posts: 22
    edited November 2010
    Wow, that's a lot of things that have gone wrong. I've never heard of both CV joints going so early. Usually they have to have torn CV boots to go.....and then they have loud clicking when you turn, but I've not heard of pulling from CV joints. Never heard of steering column out of place before. Calipers not releasing is possible, but not really common unless you've burnt up the brakes a time or two instead of downshifting. Steering rack is all that is left if they say your struts are lined up....unless your subframe is not straight. If you bought it new and have never been in an accident then that should not be the case.

    I always resort to "If the problem still persists then whatever was fixed, no matter how good the effort was, was not what is causing the problem."

    The dealership may really give an honest effort, but if they haven't fixed it, they haven't fixed it. Just be polite and keep repeating "I'm sorry about being a bother to you, but it still pulls. What can you do to fix this before the warranty expires? Will you fix this before the warranty expires? I can't keep a car that does this." If they say they can't do anything, then ask "why not?" Keep asking "Why or Why not" until you get to the root cause. If may end up in corporate Honda's lap, but don't ever threaten to go there because all negotiations are dead if you make threats. It's much easier to get it done if you can swing the dealer to your side. Perhaps a well worded "how can you fix this steering problem for me before my warranty expires?" would be in order while telling them you're not trying to make problems, just trying to get a car that works. Maybe you could offer to help with whatever paperwork you need to fill out to vouch to the warranty department at Honda that your van is not right to help the dealership get reimbursed etc. That may let them know you want to work with them.

    Jack
  • jhs24jhs24 Posts: 22
    edited November 2010
    The link is in message #105 for a picture of the page from my manual. It was dead for a while as the file was moved on my computer. The link is working again. I hope it helps. In my opinion, the page in the book needs to be seen while looking at the videos to understand what the page is trying to convey for alignment. I can see someone mistakenly reading it incorrectly and actually putting the spring in wrong, but thinking they did it right (which is how I think mine was incorrectly assembled was from the factory). There's a night a day difference to how my van follows the road after doing it by the book.

    As a side note, spring compressors are really dangerous and you have to be REALLY careful. If you've done it before then you already know what I'm talking about, but I can't stress enough to the first time DIY'er to have someone around who has done it before to keep an eye out. Safety first.
  • I had the memory steer problem on my 2007 odyssey. I removed the strut assembly and cleaned, lubed and reinstalled the strut bearings aligning the assembly marks. Then put the van back on the alignment rack to set the tow. This didn't solve my problem until I replaced the strut bearings. For approximately $20.00 per bearing I recommend replacing the bearings at the time of working on the strut assembly. Instead of the white lithium grease might I suggest bearing grease. This worked for me and was what the Honda techs recommended when I spoke with them. These are just my thoughts and what worked for me. Good luck to all with this problem.
  • john_clarkjohn_clark Posts: 5
    edited January 2011
    I purchased all the parts that install above the springs for my 08 Odyssey (I hate getting into a job and not having everything I need) and have them all sitting here. I haven't yet replaced anything but I've noticed a couple things so far. The 07 and 08 assemblies are quite a bit different. It looks to me like the 07 and older struts are able to be assembled incorrectly as others here have noted. The upper spring seats are different and the 07 spring seat has to be lined up correctly with the spring mount rubber and the spring during installation. The 08 spring seat is not directional. Also, the spring mount rubber and the dust cover are separate on the 07 and one piece on the 08. The one piece rubber mount/dust cover can't really be installed incorrectly. The the end of the spring should butt up against the spring mount rubber and then the lower spring mount rubber looks like it only goes in one way with the spring and seat, as well.

    Before ordering parts I did notice that when I turned the wheel that the strut did not turn on the bearing until about 5-10 degrees of turn. Instead it just twisted the spring. So, as I mentioned in my first post above, I unbolted the three bolts that hold the strut in place under the hood and lowered the assembly down. When I tried to turn the mount it was very stiff and quite difficult to turn. So, in my case, it appears that the original strut bearing is so tight that the top of the strut doesn't turn on the bearing until the twisting tension in the spring gets to a certain point. I believe this is what is causing the "memory steer" on the 08 (and maybe other) models. If there is twisting tension in the spring after you make a right or left turn then the springs are going to tend to push the wheels back the other way. This is why the vehicle pulls right after a right turn and left after a left turn.

    I will post again after I get these parts replaced (hoping for this weekend) but having played with all the new parts together on the bench this is my take on the "memory steer." The bearings in the 07 and the 08 are the same part numbers and they seem to just be some kind of plastic bearing--not real impressive. My Odyssey has done this since the day I bought it but I don't drive it that much and let the warranty expire before doing anything about it. I have about 45k miles on it.

    One last note...I've read through the OEM maintenance manual for this several times and it doesn't talk about adding any grease anywhere to any of these strut parts/bearings. Where are you all adding the grease? I don't see anywhere I would want to add grease. The bearing should turn internally when assembled so it seems to me grease shouldn't be necessary. I have noted a small amount of white grease seeping out of the center of the new bearings though. Maybe this is what is being referred to? That seeping would end up on the raised center portion of the steel spring seat but, again, I wouldn't think that shouldn't need any grease.

    --Edit: I read up again where you said you found the grease. I have to believe that grease just ended up there from seeping from the center of the bearing. I'm just not sure how grease would help in that area. If grease helps it means the bearing is not turning and the plastic is just rubbing on the steel. Just my $.02.

    ~John
  • jhs24jhs24 Posts: 22
    edited January 2011
    What you say makes perfect sense to me. When I took my 07 apart I thought it interesting to have grease outside of the bearing on plastic plates...but then again the bearing had a plastic housing as well. My bearings were not free spinning when out of the assembly and were slightly stiff so I figured the grease inside was making them stiff. Again, I attributed the lion's share of my steering pull to the rubber mount being incorrectly rotated, but there may also be something going on with my bearings that was somewhat bypassed by the grease on the outside. Since nothing was cracked on the bearings, I figured as long as the plastic parts are clean and have grease, it doesn't hurt and I just put grease on them again. As per a previous post on white lithium vs. wheel bearing grease, I agree that wheel bearing would be ok as well. It's just been a few years since I've seen white wheel bearing grease and I currently have red wheel bearing grease so it didn't dawn on me to use it.

    I find it very interesting that the upper bearing didn't move until the spring had enough torsion in it. What was described makes perfect sense.

    Thanks for taking the time to share all about it. It's nice to know there are other DIY'ers out there. I may yet have my strut assemblies out in a year or two to replace the bearings if anything starts to act up.

    Jack
  • john_clarkjohn_clark Posts: 5
    edited January 2011
    Well, I dug into one of these today. Again, I'm describing the 08 here and it's much different than the 07. I started on the left/driver's side. It seemed to be the worst.

    When I removed the strut I found the top mounting rubber very difficult to turn. When I got it apart I found a bearing that was quite a bit stiffer than the new one. I replaced the rubber dust cover which is also the upper rubber spring seat. If anyone decides to do this to their 08 I recommend replacing the bearing, the rubber dust cover/upper rubber spring seat and the lower rubber spring seat. I didn't replace my lower spring rubber mount but when I disassembled it I did find a very small hole in the bottom of it where the end of the spring had worn it through.

    On the 08 for reassembly the manual describes lining up the upper mount with the three studs in it with the damper bracket at the bottom of the strut. I don't quite understand as that is the piece that turns when assembled. What it doesn't mention is the "R" on the rubber dust cover/upper rubber spring seat like it does for the 07. However, I assumed that is supposed to line up as well. Really it can only go together one way and when I assembled it they wouldn't quite line up. The bottom of the spring and rubber seat only goes in one spot. The upper rubber spring seat also only goes in one spot on the spring. The only way I could get the upper rubber seat to line up with the bottom was to twist hard on the spring when releasing the spring compressor and I managed to get the R on the upper rubber piece to pretty much line up with the lower bracket.

    When I finally got it all back together I found the upper mount was still quite difficult to turn on that bearing but not as bad as before. The spring puts a lot of pressure on the shock and makes it quite difficult to turn. However, when I put it back on the car I noticed that it requires significantly less torsion on the spring before it turns at the top. I do see a slight amount of twisting in the spring but it's much less than before. I took the car for a spin and am happy to report that the "pull right after a right turn and pull left after a left turn" is gone!! Yay!!

    Thanks to everyone here for getting me on the right track with this. I've had lots of struts off cars (I seldom ever disassemble them though) but never have I felt such stiffness on these upper bearing assemblies. It's possible that once there is some weight on the strut spring and the shock absorber isn't being pushed up against its internal stop with all the pressure of the spring, that the top plate will turn easier on the bearing. That may be why it works fine on the car. Still, I think the plastic bearings are cheesy and don't look like a good design to me. Honda could have engineered this better for what I paid for this van.

    Again, to sum up...For anyone having the issue of pulling right after a right turn and pulling left after a left turn, I recommend replacing these bearings and upper and lower rubber seats. It worked for me. I don't think I'm going to worry about an alignment at this point since there is no adjustment in any of the components I removed. The two bolts that hold the knuckle to the strut really have no adjustment, nor do the upper three bolts. Since it now tracks perfectly straight down the road I'll just wait until the next tire change to have a routine alignment check.

    ~John

    2008 Odyssey Touring
  • I think your take on the situation is correct. I am talking about the twisting tension on the springs. I agree that the plastic bearing is a "cheesy" set up by Honda. I have seen a lot of bearings in my time but this one takes the cake. The only thing I can think of is between the road grime and the grease between the plastic plates getting old causes the bearing to get stiff and not turn freely. As I stated before I removed, cleaned, greased and reinstalled the old bearings and was not successful in solving the problem until I replaced the bearings with new ones, even though there was no visible damage at all to the old ones.
  • All I know is that before I replaced them there was quite a bit of twisting (torsion) occurring on the springs. After replacing the bearing and working to get the upper rubber seat lined up with the lower bracket I don't have near the torsion occurring anymore. The old bearing was definitely stiffer than the new one. I would love to see an aftermarket bearing and see if maybe it would actually work better. I doubt it could work worse. Someone mentioned the surface area of the aftermarket was less but, really, I don't think that would matter that much. It just needs a better designed bearing.

    ~John
  • Hi,

    Today I have gone there to go look for new Civic, The response from the sales rep was to bad, the time we meet him do sent even care to show the vehicle, The sales rep was in way that when we meet him he was looking in a such a way that when would we leave the showroom. On the same day i have gone to another honda dealer, where he has take full care of us and got a good deal. I only want say go for Honda but never go to this dealer.
  • jjlove74jjlove74 Posts: 1
    I dont see in the picture of the service manual where it says to line every thing up with the center of the bolt flanges at the bottom. I am having the same issue, pulls hard to the right after a right hand turn, will correct itself after a left hand turn somewhat, or if you jerk the wheel to the left really hard, and sometimes pulls to the left but never as hard as it pulls to the right. My first guess was a problem in the steering hydraulics, seems like a sticking valve or something. Im having a hard time figuring out why a misaligned strut assembly would cause this. what does misaligning the assembly do? does it cause the spring to be more or less compressed? and if so why wouldnt the problem be consistent.
  • jhs24jhs24 Posts: 22
    edited May 2012
    Look at post #105 (August 8, 2010). I've got a link to the picture of the page there. I have the 2007 Honda Odyssey Service Manual (the official factory one from Honda with a blue cover). It's two volumes. This is in the second volume. The page I took a picture of is 18-28. My van is a 2007. It's been fine ever since I made the repair and that's almost 2 years ago.

    Jack
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