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car is drifitng, like in high winds, but on a calm day


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#1 boussyboo

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 04:17 PM

i'm at my wits end with our citroen xsara picasso (2.0 diesel, 2003). we've done 20,000 miles and it has been pretty reliable and econimcal as cars go...but we're losing the plot a little now with this steering issue / drifting sensation.

when driving, on a windless day, it feels like you're driving through strong, gusty winds, or a bit like getting caught in grooves caused by trucks which pull you from side to side. you constantly have to make multiple corrections to the steering, which I know are beyong anything normal: after more than 15 years of professional driving, i'm at a loss as to what there is left to do, other than scrap the car, which seems a shame as it is, otherwise, running great!

but after a year of horrible driving conditions, we're no further forwards and any changes make no difference, or only make a different for a very short while

over the past 12 months we've been to 5 different garages, mostly for tracking, as this is what i expected the problem to be. in the past i've had something vaguely like this problem, but that was corrected with tracking.

- we've had the steering rack replaced (our last and expensive attempted resolution - it was leaking fluid, hence the replacement)
- a new set of uni royal tyres fitted all round (to ensure there were no conflicts with different brands of tyres)
- i've been under the car looking for any sort of 'sail' that could be causing the car to be moved from side to side; everything seems happily fastened where it should be
- we've had the bushes checked - by 3 different garages (who all say they dont need replacing)
- we had a garage spend an hour checking everything was either as tight or as loose as it should be, both front and rear
- the tyre pressures are as per the manufacturers settings

nothing has had an effect - when they test drive it every mechanic states there is no problem.

after a 20 minute drive on dual carriageway today my wife and i both felt sick because the car is so frequently moving from side to side.......we're beyond frustrated and beyond knowing what to do anymore, and don't want to waste any more money on solutions which don't solve anything

please, does anybody have any helpful suggestions as to what else we can check or get a garage to check?

cheers

andy

Edited by boussyboo, 29 April 2018 - 04:18 PM.

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#2 granpa

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 05:48 PM

I had this on my 2.0, similar to steering a boat, correction after correction, eventually a local specialist suggested it was the cheapo tyres on the front,  although they provided grip etc the sidewalls were not rigid enough, not having enough ply, my spare was a good Firestone so I put that on and bought another for the other side, steering improved drastically.



#3 gittos

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 06:56 PM

Has the car been behaving nlike this since you bought it, has it been involved in an accident?


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#4 boussyboo

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 08:19 PM

Has the car been behaving nlike this since you bought it, has it been involved in an accident?


Thanks for your reply - no accidents while she has been with us.

This didn't happen until about a year ago (had the car nearly 3 years).

She used to sit happily, hour after hour, a motorway and was really easy to drive.

We had crappy tyres to begin with, and they were mismatched cheap brands - no issues with handling with a bad mix of odd tyres.

Switched to Uni Royal tyres on the front (not my choice but all the country garage had), then matched the rear with exactly the same tyres a few months ago.

Could it really be the tyres? If these do it, what should I get instead?

On 2 previous cars we had vredestein sportrac tyres and they were simply brilliant...

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#5 boussyboo

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 08:21 PM

I had this on my 2.0, similar to steering a boat, correction after correction, eventually a local specialist suggested it was the cheapo tyres on the front, although they provided grip etc the sidewalls were not rigid enough, not having enough ply, my spare was a good Firestone so I put that on and bought another for the other side, steering improved drastically.


Thanks for your reply.

We seem to have had issues since switching to the uni royals...really don't want to consider binning a virtually unused set of tyres without bottoming everything else possible.

Didn't consider that they could be an issue as they were new tyres, that matched, and weren't cheapy ones...

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#6 stimulator

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 06:20 AM

The original tyreson the Picasso's were Michelin. I for one always replaced my tyres on s like for like basis do never put anything other than Michelin on. It could well be the tyres soft side walls. The car is big and affect by wind and other vehicle slipstreams. Possible that a good tyre supplier will allow you a trade in on the tyres, many sell part used tyres. Other thing you might try. Run car till tyres are hot and then lower the pressures back to recommended level. Ok when cold they will be low, try it with that setting is it better. When tyres are over pressure the centre part of the tread will be more in contact with the road not all of the tyre so rutting or tram lining will be more pronounced.
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#7 granpa

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 07:00 AM

Have a word with a reputable tyre outlet on this subject seeing you have exhausted the mechanical fault side

 

"Other thing you might try. Run car till tyres are hot and then lower the pressures back to recommended level. Ok when cold they will be low, try it with that setting is it better. When tyres are over pressure the centre part of the tread will be more in contact with the road not all of the tyre so rutting or tram lining will be more pronounced",,,,personally I would have thought lowering the pressure would have allowed the tyre to roll sideways even more!


Edited by granpa, 30 April 2018 - 07:15 AM.

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#8 discv

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 11:33 AM

From  the description it has got to be those front tyres. I wonder if you could find a way to temporarily swap out those two fronts for anything black and round just to see if their is any change in handling.


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#9 boussyboo

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 11:42 AM

From  the description it has got to be those front tyres. I wonder if you could find a way to temporarily swap out those two fronts for anything black and round just to see if their is any change in handling.

 

thanks for your reply

 

i'm getting into an area of car mechanics i understand rather less here - can I ask why you think it may be the front tyres and not the back tyres causing the problem?

 

i'd be willing to try second hand tyres to see if it makes a difference at the moment, especially after all we've spent, to no avail!

 

cheers

 

andy b


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#10 boussyboo

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 11:43 AM

Have a word with a reputable tyre outlet on this subject seeing you have exhausted the mechanical fault side

 

"Other thing you might try. Run car till tyres are hot and then lower the pressures back to recommended level. Ok when cold they will be low, try it with that setting is it better. When tyres are over pressure the centre part of the tread will be more in contact with the road not all of the tyre so rutting or tram lining will be more pronounced",,,,personally I would have thought lowering the pressure would have allowed the tyre to roll sideways even more!

 

can i ask specifically what tyres you currently have on your picasso? i noticed you mentioned firestone on another post, but which ones?

 

cheers

 

andy b


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#11 discv

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 11:57 AM

thanks for your reply

 

i'm getting into an area of car mechanics i understand rather less here - can I ask why you think it may be the front tyres and not the back tyres causing the problem?

 

 

In my experience the condition of the rear tyres matters little- with regard to handling.

Just a quick thought- are the fitted tyres directional rotation?


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#12 boussyboo

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 12:05 PM

In my experience the condition of the rear tyres matters little- with regard to handling.

Just a quick thought- are the fitted tyres directional rotation?

 

ok - thanks for that

 

daft question - how do you know if it is directional or not?

 

i looked but can't see anything on the outside of the tyre to indicate this. i assumed there would be an arrow, or similar?

 

cheers

 

andy B


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#13 discv

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 12:30 PM

Yes- it would be an arrow pointing in the direction of rotation in forward motion.


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#14 boussyboo

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 12:33 PM

Yes- it would be an arrow pointing in the direction of rotation in forward motion.


Can't see an arrow so presume they aren't directional...

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#15 stimulator

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 12:44 PM

Directional tyres have symetrical tread but must be fitted so that they rotate forward, like a tractor tyre.
Asymmetric tread, closer together on the shoulder for turning grip will have an arrow on the sidewalk OR say outside on wall.
My comment about pressure earlier was to ascertain whether the tyres are tram lining at high pressure or normal. Tyre pressure increases with heat and thus the centre part of the tyre in contact with the raid at higher pressure will be less.
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#16 boussyboo

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 01:03 PM

Directional tyres have symetrical tread but must be fitted so that they rotate forward, like a tractor tyre.
Asymmetric tread, closer together on the shoulder for turning grip will have an arrow on the sidewalk OR say outside on wall.
My comment about pressure earlier was to ascertain whether the tyres are tram lining at high pressure or normal. Tyre pressure increases with heat and thus the centre part of the tyre in contact with the raid at higher pressure will be less.

 

thanks - definitely not directional tyres then...


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#17 granpa

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 01:40 PM

can i ask specifically what tyres you currently have on your picasso? i noticed you mentioned firestone on another post, but which ones?

 

cheers

 

andy b

 

I am on a different model of picasso now, the C4, my problems were with the Xsara pic, like I said  Firestones cured it, cant recall exactly which pattern though, it was a case of opting for a known quality brand sooner than a cheepo, have a word with the tyre retailer regarding the ply on sidewalls


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#18 boussyboo

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 02:24 PM

I am on a different model of picasso now, the C4, my problems were with the Xsara pic, like I said Firestones cured it, cant recall exactly which pattern though, it was a case of opting for a known quality brand sooner than a cheepo, have a word with the tyre retailer regarding the ply on sidewalls


Will do - thanks

Edited by boussyboo, 30 April 2018 - 02:25 PM.

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#19 discv

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 02:53 PM

That said- we have Halfrauds budget tyres on our 2.0 Hdi- and no problems.


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#20 boussyboo

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 03:06 PM

That said- we have Halfrauds budget tyres on our 2.0 Hdi- and no problems.

 

the cheapo budget tyres we used to have on gave us no issues either...

 

am presumably UniRoyal tyres have soft side walls?


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