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Discussion Starter #1
I bought a set of Monroe quick struts (complete assemblies with springs, etc.). I was going to put them on myself, but at the last minute decided to have my usual (independent) garage do the work. After they replaced the struts they told me that it pulls slightly to the right and to have it aligned (as I expected).

So I took it to a nearby tire & auto place and they did an alignment but said, as I was leaving, "we aligned it but it still pulls to the right a little, the people that put the struts on may've done something wrong". It was the end of the day and I was in a rush so I didn't question them hard on this but when I drove it, it pulled to the right even worse.

I took it back to the garage that put the struts on and they put it up and looked it over and said everything looked okay and then proceeded to tell me that they'd never take anything to that particular tire & auto shop because they do poor work, then recommended an alternative tire & auto shop.

This second T&A shop did an alignment and the "before" on their sheet showed 4 adjustments out of whack. So the first T&A shop screwed up, case closed....so I thought. The van STILL pulls to the right. Not as bad now, but still enough to be annoying.

So could the first garage that put the struts on have screwed something up? I just don't understand how it could be aligned perfectly and still pull. We swapped the front tires side-to-side and that didn't make any difference. Could the struts themselves be defective and cause this?

thanks!
 

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Make sure it's not the road. Some roads are crowned so the water drains to the right curb. If not the road, I would definatly take it back to the 2nd alignment shop.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I don't think it's the road. When you're on the highway in the left passing lane, it still wants to pull to the right. It used to drive like a dream--one finger steering. Now you have to keep both hands on the wheel and when you drive for long distances (we just took it on vacation) your wrists start to get fatigued.
 

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This is a more common problem than you might think. My 02 is suffering from the same issue. The van was aligned after I had new tires installed last year and it drove perfectly. But I noticed as the miles accumulated it started to have the right hand drift. I contacted my tire shop and had an indepth conversation with the tire/alignment tech. He suggested that an alignment would not resolve the problem as it was a tire problem. I suggested that if he could prove this I would pay him to do it. So he set the van up on the alignment machine and checked all settings. Result was the van did not need a realignment, all in spec! I paid as agreed.

I returned home and removed the summer tires and installed my almost new winter tires. Out on the road the van returned to driving normal and straight. To me that was proof the the tech was spot on. So now I have the summers back on and I just ignore the drift until its time to replace the tires. I will probably look at changing tire brands to stay away from this issue in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Did you try reversing the tires from side-to-side and if so, did it make it pull in the other direction? I have had tire-related pulling in the past (on other vehicles) and swapping the tires made it pull in the other direction, but that did not change anything when we did the swap on this van.

Plus the fact(?) remains that it did not pull before the struts were replaced. Now, I can't prove that 100% since I didn't make a specific mental note before I had the service done, but I can't remember it pulling the way it does now and my wife doesn't either (and she's not attuned to vehicles like I am...you know what I mean I'm sure)
 

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Switching the tires front to back is allowed with directional tire patterns but not side to side. As my tires were directional I did not try this.
I think if your gut feeling that the problem occured after the struts were replaced, then get the van into another alignment shop and explane the problem to them and see what results.
Good luck.
 

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Struts as installed cannot cause alignment issues once they are installed unless they really messed up something, your new struts may have more "gas" which on some vehicles will cause them to sit up higher slightly, which can alter the toe, but it should be equal. Regardless, shop that does alignment should be able to get it all set and show you the settings. Tires can cause a pull, but if it was OK before work that seems odd.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Struts as installed cannot cause alignment issues once they are installed unless they really messed up something, your new struts may have more "gas" which on some vehicles will cause them to sit up higher slightly, which can alter the toe, but it should be equal. Regardless, shop that does alignment should be able to get it all set and show you the settings. Tires can cause a pull, but if it was OK before work that seems odd.
That being true, then that first alignment shop that said "the guys who put the struts on must've done something wrong" was blowing smoke up my ass.

The "before" printout from the second alignment shop shows 4 adjustments were out, including the Toe and Steer Ahead (just one day after my visit to alignment shop #1). Their "after" printout shows everything well within spec.

It's just crazy, and something I sure wish I didn't have to deal with :(
 

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Did you get 4 wheel I assume? rear end issues can cause a pull too. Check tire pressure and also rear end suspension, I'd look at tires if the alignment specs are good as they seem to be. I'd also have the 2nd shop "confirm" the alignment with a "check" to make sure they had it setup properly, be nice but just say its still pulling and complement them on work so far. I'd also raise hell at shop #1 and have them refund money as they obviously didn't know what they were doing. If shop #2 won't do it free, you can have like NTB check it and if its OK they won't charge you. You can refuse if they say it needs a tweak, then take back to shop #2.

FYI - I have gen 3 but when I did not tighten a engine cradle bolt enough to fully seat it, I created a pull on my van and it was aligned perfectly = tightened the bolt and it solved issue. did you have service done recently?

***

:duh: Oh, and I have not done the Honda struts (done many others) but read something about them and there is a way to screw them up, the mounts have a "cant" or angled mount that could be installed incorrectly which would throw it off, I should have mentioned this, just forgot. So they might be installed incorrectly if the mounts are not set the way they were when removed. Search for this on the forum, there is pictures and everything of the possible issue.
 

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When my '05 was new, it pulled badly to the right. Dealer aligned it, and slight improvement, but on second try they said they sent it to another dealership that had "newer" alignment equipment. That time they got it right.
Point is, a typical alignment shop may have it on the 'numbers' but it's still not right.
Even the first Honda dealers equipment wasn't up to the task.
Many have reported alignment problems, so I'd gather this beast is real touchy to get it right.
And don't buy into that "road crown" argument, that's a salesman story.
Like you said, it drove like a dream before, so if the road crown issue were real, you'd have noticed it before.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Okay, I have an update on this.

I took the van back to the garage that put the struts on. The owner took them back out, eyed them up with the originals--which they still had in their junk bin, verified that they were in right, etc. etc. He said there was only one way they could go that you couldn't put them in wrong.

His final best conclusion was that the tires are worn uneven (he said when he sits them on the ground by themselves they almost fall over). THough swapping the tires side to side didn't make a difference and swapping the one tire on the rim itself didn't make a difference either. They are admittedly baffled.

Odd thing now is, when you step on the gas hard, it seems to pull straight or maybe even ever so slightly left, but when you let off the gas, to goes back to pulling right. I seriously don't remember it doing that before so it almost seems like it's getting worse! (maybe it's because they swapped the tire on the rim)

Anyway, the tires didn't have too much tread left so I let them order a pair that they had a high opinion of and I'm hoping that does fix it. But if they don't what next??
 

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The only way they would pull hard to the right or left with your foot on the gas is if something in the toe is off on the suspension most likely in the front. What did the numbers from the alignment machine say?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Okay, here's the latest:

The shop that put the struts on took it all back apart to check their work and they said it all looked fine, so they were convinced that it was the tires (even though swapping them didn't change things). They were going to need to be replaced before winter so I figured it was worth a shot. Replaced them and .... problem unchanged.

So we took it back to the #2 alignment shop and they agreed to do another alignment for free and take a look at the situation. They put it right on spec and, at the moment, it's about as good as it's been (since the struts were replaced) but it still pulls to the right a little. They couldn't see any reason for it to be doing it and recommended I take it to a Honda garage. One thing they pointed out is when you're driving down the road, as soon as you leave go of the steering wheel, it immediately cocks slightly clockwise and then the van starts going to the right. Their theory is something is causing it to turn to the right (something in the steering), rather than something in the suspension causing it to pull to the right. Yet they had no strong theory on why it started doing this after the strut replacement....only that maybe a piece of dirt got dislodged in the steering rack. I don't know how likely that'd be...

But as of now I'm sick of taking it to garages and it's not too bad so I'm just going to live with it unless I can do some more research that would point to a likely culprit.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Oh, one final annoyance. After the shop took the struts out and put them back in the second time, it started making a slight clunking noise in the front when i go over sharp bumps. Sometimes the clunk is accompanied by a bell-like ringing sound. My daughter says it sounds like someone hitting a xylophone :rollingeyes:

I put it up on jack stands and tried by best to reproduce the sound by pulling/pushing on the tires, hitting them with a rubber mallet, etc but I could not get it to do it. I have to wonder if it's the Monroe struts (I was warned to stay away from Monroes because of poor quality)
 

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hope things get better for you soon, you might check with the strut garage and see if they have an extra bump stop lying around there since you came in.... just a thought, that or something is loose. i was reading the entire thread and just wanted to get to the end to let you know to have the tires checked. depending on how long you had the issue unnoticed or not obviously there was a problem if you were replacing struts, when they are gone it destroys tires and should be replaced along with the struts. did you replace all 4 corners of suspention? if you did and only replaced front tires the rear tires could still be affecting your pull or drift. while driving and checking for drift you should be on flat as possible road, take your foot off the gas and even put the vehicle into N. that way the drivetrain has no influence on it espically since its front drive. FYI....also check the tire pressure, as little as 1-2 psi difference can cause drift.
 

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Monroe Strut ringing

Ringing sound. There are three pop outs under the hood above each of the strut mounts. Pop one of them out on the side you think it is ringing. Use your finger or screwdriver to see if the metal plate on top of the strut is loose. Mine was and it made a ringing sound. I used two wrenches to tighten the top bolt (one to hold the threaded post and the other to turn the bolt). The plate was no longer loose and the ringing stopped.
 

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After all has been said, here may be another possibility. I can't pinpoint the problem 100% but some thing for us to think about.

I remember one mechanic said or read it on line some where that when you change struts there are some bolt or nut need to be tighten completely after the car is set square on the floor.

I always do alignment after replace struts or new tires. Well, after I have my Odyssey struts replaced by myself, I came to this shop for an alignment, the first technician did the job and can't get the slyly pull to the right straight when he tests drive it even after swapping tires left to right. So he went talk to the second tech and the second tech came confirmed with me if the struts newly installed. So, him put the van back on the alignment rack with every thing hooked up and also raised the front on the cross member. I notice him pop the hood and loosen the nuts on the crown and set the front back down and re-tighten the nuts. Then went ahead and finished the alignment. The result is perfect.

Also, I am sure the problem is not on the tires. Once this same shop told me the pull on the other vehicle is causing by that one tire because the pull goes with the tire when it is swapped. So I went back to that big W store and complained to the top manager with the receive the logic of the problem from the shop and got a that tire replaced. Problem fixed.

Hope this helps,

Bruce
 

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Did the alignment shop center the steering wheel before checking the alignment?

If you let go of the wheel, does the van veer to the right then go straight, or does it keep going to the right in an arc? I know this is tough to determine unless you have access to an abandoned runway, but maybe you could test it on a freeway when there is no traffic around.
 

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Ringing sound. There are three pop outs under the hood above each of the strut mounts. Pop one of them out on the side you think it is ringing. Use your finger or screwdriver to see if the metal plate on top of the strut is loose. Mine was and it made a ringing sound. I used two wrenches to tighten the top bolt (one to hold the threaded post and the other to turn the bolt). The plate was no longer loose and the ringing stopped.
I had the same noise and could not figure out where it was coming from, then I came across your post.
Sure enough that's what it was, my passengers side strut had a loose plate on top. Tightened down and now all's quiet. Thanks again.
 
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