SukiDukes

Car Keeps Drifting - Veering To One Side

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Hi all,

I have a nagging problem with the car drifting to one side (right) if you release your grip of the steering wheel.

Historically I have changed the front wheels around to see if it drifts to the opposite side thinking it might be wheel related (tyre/balance/tread) but it still drifts to the right. I have also made sure the air pressure in the tyres are correct at all times by checking every couple of days and they have been good on every occasion (correct pressure/each the same). I have also had my tracking done thinking it might be the cause even though there was no visual evidence on the tyres such as wear on outer or inner sides. As you can guess it passed okay on this issue and the drifting is still occurring after having the tracking rechecked.

All the checks I have done have been on level ground and mostly on motorways or dual carriageways where and when safe to do so. The car seems to brake okay in a straight line on 90+ %  of the time with just a few occasions where it has exaggerated the drifting issue. I have also tried accelerating and deaccelerating at all different speeds to see if it shows up as perhaps as a power issue but again 90+ % of the time the car preforms in a normal direction.

It appears to me that this might be a costly repair with trail and error methods of applications until a result is found which in fairness I cant really afford. I can afford a solution if there was a definitive yes it is that, but not knowing and to keep ploughing money into ideals well it could be, or it might be that is a non goer.

Reading this you might remark well if its only a slight drift what's the big issue? The thing is its bugs me every time I drive and I am not enjoying the ride or the car. I hold the steering wheel very light when driving and mainly use my fingers just to keep in line or straight with a nudge here and there. I can feel the car drift and acknowledge that I'm having to correct its direction all the time and always from the right back to centre.

Question: Is there any tests a garage can do to find this issue and then whereby I could confidently then have the work done to sort it out. I don't have a budget where I can leave the car at a Ford dealer and let them check everything unfortunately, although I respect they have dedicated equipment and diagnostic machines. The garage that done the tracking made no comment of any thing that would create this issue. They were confident it was the tracking at the time, but as I found out after paying out £40 it wasn't.

Any suggestions, or past experience with this sort of problem would be truly appreciated.

Cheers and thanks in advance. 

NB: I have an automatic gearbox if this helps in any problem solving?

 

 

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Did the garage that checked / adjusted the wheel alignment (tracking) also reset the Pull Drift Compensation feature of the steering rack?

When a wheel alignment is performed on a Focus MK3 /MK3.5 the Pull Drift Compensation must be reset. Not doing the reset will cause problems like for example the car pulling/drifting to one side.

The Pull Drift Compensation system compensates forces and vibrations that affect the steering system by applying a force (by the steering rack) in the opposite direction. After performing an alignment the learned values of the system no longer match the new situation. By resetting the system all learned values are reset and the system will adapt to the new situation. 

 

I drive on 18 Inch wheels in the summer and on 17 Inch wheels in the winter. After changing the wheels I have to reset the Pull Drift Compensation system otherwise the steering is extremely nervous and completely insensitive a higher speeds. 

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Mine pulls suddenly to the left when the road conditions and camber are just right, at first I found it quite unsettling/dangerous but have got used to it... sort of.

Thank you Wilko for the detailed explanation, that makes perfect sense.👍  Is there any way to reset the PDC ourselves or do we need a Ford dealer to do it ?

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22 hours ago, JW1982 said:

The Pull Drift Compensation system compensates forces and vibrations that affect the steering system by applying a force (by the steering rack) in the opposite direction. After performing an alignment the learned values of the system no longer match the new situation. By resetting the system all learned values are reset and the system will adapt to the new situation

It seems to me that this is another example of a software kludge being applied to mask basic deficiencies in the design or alignment of the system. Personally I'm not in favour of this kind of approach (just look what happened with Boeing!). If the steering rack is having to apply a force to correct for drift it's sapping some power, even if a small amount, from the engine which ultimately reduces mpg.

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For £40 I assume it was tracked on an old-style laser system?  And probably fronts only?

If so, get full alignment done on a Hunter system if resetting the pull drift doesn't work.  I must admit though, I never did like the electric PAS on the Mk3, I'm not sure how they managed to make it so bad compared to VAG equivalents! :unsure: 

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On 6/2/2019 at 1:37 PM, JW1982 said:

Did the garage that checked / adjusted the wheel alignment (tracking) also reset the Pull Drift Compensation feature of the steering rack?

When a wheel alignment is performed on a Focus MK3 /MK3.5 the Pull Drift Compensation must be reset. Not doing the reset will cause problems like for example the car pulling/drifting to one side.

The Pull Drift Compensation system compensates forces and vibrations that affect the steering system by applying a force (by the steering rack) in the opposite direction. After performing an alignment the learned values of the system no longer match the new situation. By resetting the system all learned values are reset and the system will adapt to the new situation. 

 

I drive on 18 Inch wheels in the summer and on 17 Inch wheels in the winter. After changing the wheels I have to reset the Pull Drift Compensation system otherwise the steering is extremely nervous and completely insensitive a higher speeds. 

Hi JW1982,

Thanks for the info,

I have to be honest and say I didn't even know about the Pull Drift Compensation feature so I don't know if the garage actually reset this when doing the tracking. I will pop in and ask if this was done and if not is this something they can do. It may mean taking the car to another garage for a full and proper set-up as mentioned.

You appear very knowledgeable so can I ask if the resetting is done manually underneath the car or by some sort of electronic OBD11 diagnostic reader that plugs in to the car? I'm going to do some research as I know very little about this and I am completely out of depth in this issue.

I do really appreciate your comments as it has enlightened me and given me hope that the fault I have described can be fixed, and without getting too financially strained.

Lots of Kudos to you buddy! 

 

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On 6/3/2019 at 12:06 PM, TomsFocus said:

For £40 I assume it was tracked on an old-style laser system?  And probably fronts only?

If so, get full alignment done on a Hunter system if resetting the pull drift doesn't work.  I must admit though, I never did like the electric PAS on the Mk3, I'm not sure how they managed to make it so bad compared to VAG equivalents! :unsure: 

Thanks,

I'm gunna take it back too said garage, and see what method they used, I had left the car there whilst the work was done so wasn't present at the time.  I'm not sure which method they used or if they reset the Pull Drift Compensation feature so I will ask them about this and see if they can help.

Comments appreciated! Thanks

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On 6/3/2019 at 10:47 AM, 0shiny1 said:

Mine pulls suddenly to the left when the road conditions and camber are just right, at first I found it quite unsettling/dangerous but have got used to it... sort of.

Thank you Wilko for the detailed explanation, that makes perfect sense.👍  Is there any way to reset the PDC ourselves or do we need a Ford dealer to do it ?

It still bugs me so I will continue to sort this out, JW1982 comments has given me hope that there is light perhaps in the tunnel, we will have to see. I would like to know also if the PDC can be reset by the owner or if its a specialist jobby. watch this space lol

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On 6/3/2019 at 12:38 PM, alexp999 said:

I had PDC turned off on my Focus, much preferred it that way.

How did you manage to have it turned off, was this something you did or a garage, is it an easy job? Also did you notice any difference is the PAS afterwards or is so slight it wasn't noticed?

Cheers buddy!

 

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On 6/2/2019 at 1:37 PM, JW1982 said:

Did the garage that checked / adjusted the wheel alignment (tracking) also reset the Pull Drift Compensation feature of the steering rack?

When a wheel alignment is performed on a Focus MK3 /MK3.5 the Pull Drift Compensation must be reset. Not doing the reset will cause problems like for example the car pulling/drifting to one side.

The Pull Drift Compensation system compensates forces and vibrations that affect the steering system by applying a force (by the steering rack) in the opposite direction. After performing an alignment the learned values of the system no longer match the new situation. By resetting the system all learned values are reset and the system will adapt to the new situation. 

 

I drive on 18 Inch wheels in the summer and on 17 Inch wheels in the winter. After changing the wheels I have to reset the Pull Drift Compensation system otherwise the steering is extremely nervous and completely insensitive a higher speeds. 

Did another test the other day.

Drove along a straight bit of motorway and when safe I put the car into natural to see if it would still drift with power off. Result! it still drifted to the right even though there was no forward power. Blah!

Will still check out your theory though … thanks again. 

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On 6/3/2019 at 12:01 PM, mjt said:

It seems to me that this is another example of a software kludge being applied to mask basic deficiencies in the design or alignment of the system. Personally I'm not in favour of this kind of approach (just look what happened with Boeing!). If the steering rack is having to apply a force to correct for drift it's sapping some power, even if a small amount, from the engine which ultimately reduces mpg.

I haven't got a glue, but I hopeful that I will find an answer soon. I'm not enjoying driving whilst this is still happening so I need to get it sorted before I say flick-it and buy something else that will drive in a straight line lol.

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1 hour ago, SukiDukes said:

How did you manage to have it turned off, was this something you did or a garage, is it an easy job? Also did you notice any difference is the PAS afterwards or is so slight it wasn't noticed?

Cheers buddy!

 

I asked my Ford dealer to turn it off when it was in for something else. It's something they can do just changing a setting with it hooked up to their computer.

It made the steering more consistent, I found it vague and unpredictable just off centre before as you were either fighting or being assisted by the PDC.

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It can't be reset or switched off with Forscan or FoCCCus I'm afraid.  Dealer only.

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