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Discussion Starter #1
I don't know if I am over analyzing this or if there is a valid problem. As I have started to learn my 2011 Jetta Sportwagen TDI I noticed that the center steering wheel spoke is about 1/2-inch to the right of the of the 6 o'clock position when I am driving on a straight section of road. At first, I was certain that the steering wheel centering was not set properly. However, the car tracks straight, does not pull, and when you brake hard it holds a very straight line. So now I am thinking that the slight steering to the left is due to the crown of the road not a problem with the centering of the steering system.

I have not had a good chance to drive on the other side of the road crown to see if the 1/2-inch offset of the steering wheel shifts to the other side, as the oncoming traffic presents a problem. However, I was in a rental car today, one with very low mileage, and I noticed the exact same 1/2-inch offset of the bottom steering wheel spoke as I had to input a slight left wheel towards the crown of the road while on a straight section of road.

So I am asking, are other VW owners:
a) Seeing/experiencing a slight steering wheel offset towards the crown of the road?

b) Or seeing a perfectly centered steering wheel when driving on a straight away with a road crown?
 

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An easy way to check steering wheel alignment, if you have VCDS it's in the steering wheel measuring blocks. The sensor for the stability control and electronic power steering will show 0 or not.

You could also remove the airbag and the torx bolt and see if the stamp is aligned. See the mk5 section's steering wheel removal article, it should be the same.

And here's a quick trick to judge steering wheel alignment - with the steering wheel perfectly level, put a thin strip of tape at the very top. You can quickly judge while driving if it's really to the side or not.
 

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My Jetta Sport Wagen had the same problem. The dealer centered the steering wheel and everything is now fine. It's not a road crown issue, these cars were apparently assembled incorrectly.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Roger on all. I have ordered a VCDS, for purposes other than checking the steering angle sensor, but I will most definitely check the steering wheel center against the steering angle sensor.

I live a great distance from a VW dealer, so I have already notified them "I think there is a problem" and their service manager set he would perform an alignment free of charge to correct the centering. From his tone, and the fact he put up no resistance what so ever, I got the impression that the steering wheel center being off was not an uncommon problem on new cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Confirmed (Out of Alignment)

Just returned from a business trip and my VCDS arrived. When the steering wheel spokes are centered on the cardinal points the steering angle sensor shows 0.0-degrees. When I am driving straight, the steering angle sensor is showing 8.0-degrees of steering wheel input.

I think that pretty much confirms that my 'off the showroom floor' 2011 JSW TDI was delivered out of alignment. The dealer has offered to adjust the alignment free of charge.
 

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My Jetta Sport Wagen had the same problem. The dealer centered the steering wheel and everything is now fine. It's not a road crown issue, these cars were apparently assembled incorrectly.
"Me too." I noticed this as I was driving it home from the dealer. They did fix it, but it's still ever so slightly off in some situations, mainly at highway speeds. I was considering asking if this car exhibits a kind of 'torque steering', but it sounds like it may be just a manufacturing problem.

Next time I take it in I'll have them look at it again, as I now really only notice it when I'm trying to keep it dead-straight.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Torque steer can be checked by gradually transitioning from an acceleration to a deceleration event and torque steer will reverse the direction of the pull. I haven't noticed any torque steer with my JSW.

Do you see any uneven wear patterns at the tires?
 

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Torque steer can be checked by gradually transitioning from an acceleration to a deceleration event and torque steer will reverse the direction of the pull. I haven't noticed any torque steer with my JSW.

Do you see any uneven wear patterns at the tires?
I only have 1500 miles, so I haven't had it long enough to detect any wear in the tires. I tried to test it a bit at lunchtime today, and based on what you're describing, I don't have torque steer either.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
When the dealer centered the steering wheel did they do a full (4-wheel) alignment?

You can center a steering wheel by popping the wheel and jumping splines or by lengthening the tie rods on one side and shortening the tie rods on the other side. However, if your wheel being off-center was from an alignment problem in the running gear not from a steering column to rack alignment, the centering of the wheel may be masking a valid alignment problem at the 'system' level vice the 'component' level.

Sometimes we get blinded by performing repairs at the component level and ignore the big picture at the system level.
 

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When the dealer centered the steering wheel did they do a full (4-wheel) alignment?
No. The car was brand new, so one would hope the wheels weren't out of alignment! There's no pull to one side or the other when I point it straight and take my hands off the wheel. I tried it in an empty parking lot this morning and verified that, but I also notice that I do have bit of torque steer as described earlier. The wheel turns to the right a bit, but the car doesn't change direction. The steering wheel then re-centers itself as best it can when I decelerate. It's an interesting phenomenon, but not worth worrying about for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Fixed

Finally made it back to the dealer and they corrected the alignment. Much to my surprise the steering wheel centering problem was not in the steering column or the front end but the 'toe' on both of the rear tires. Now she runs straight with the center spoke of the steering wheel at the 6 O'Clock position.

Glad I brought it back before it started cupping the tire treads.
 

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Finally made it back to the dealer and they corrected the alignment. Much to my surprise the steering wheel centering problem was not in the steering column or the front end but the 'toe' on both of the rear tires. Now she runs straight with the center spoke of the steering wheel at the 6 O'Clock position.

Glad I brought it back before it started cupping the tire treads.
Very interesting. Guess I should really bring mine in for a proper alignment.
 

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I took my wife's JSW TDI in today because the steering was off. They said the alignment on the front and rear were both off. They fixed it for free. The service advisor said he had to kiss a lot of butt to get it fixed for free. It helps that I'm nice to him and give him free baseball tickets and puerto rican coffee.
 

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My parents bought a 2011 Golf 4 door TDI and I noticed the same thing. I am extremely OCD about out vehicles so I thought I might just be over analyzing things but Im glad this post came up. We got the car CPO with 10,000 miles on it. Maybe I can bring it to the dealer and have them fix it. Tires are wearing evenly.
 

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Steering wheel off center, Radiator fan runs in Winter

Torque steer can be checked by gradually transitioning from an acceleration to a deceleration event and torque steer will reverse the direction of the pull. I haven't noticed any torque steer with my JSW.

Do you see any uneven wear patterns at the tires?
My new 2013 Sportwagen is off maybe 5 deg. left. If it was used I'd easily live with it. It tracks dead center in neutral wind / road crown.

So today at 6000 miles I took it in. I'd told salesman weeks ago, and I told them when I called for appointment. They did NOTHING, but did let me know it's normal when steering wheel is adjusted all the way to bottom for it to be off to the left, and when it's all the way to the top it will be off to the right. And since it's snowing they can't road test it. And it's also normal for radiator fan to run after shutting the car off after driving at highway speeds like today when it's 10 degrees out.

I've never had a Volkswagen, Dasher, Rabbit, Diesel Rabbit, Quantum 5 Cyl., Jetta 2L, Eurovan, Jetta 2L ever run the fan in Winter. Anyone else?
 
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