MK1, Play in steering, steering wheel centre position moves when driving

Hi, I’m new to the Mazda world and I’ve just purchased a MK1 Eunos Roadster. I’ve sorted the usual service parts but have noticed the steering is vague when turning left, then if I do a tight left turn it will then ‘centre’ itself with the steering turned approximately 20 degrees anticlockwise.

So then when driving in a straight line the steering wheel is off centre. This can then be straightened by turning right. What’s the first obvious areas to look at on the rack for what could be causing this?


welcome, it sounds like you have an alignment issue not the steering rack or wheel. If you have uneven caster across the front axle this might give you the behaviour you’re describing. MX5’s respond very well to a full alignment if you can find a local specialist with a hunter machine or similar.

Just to clarify in my head. Straight on is never in the same spot twice?

Straight on is either 20 degrees left or perfectly square depending on whether I’ve just taken a left or right turn.

Definitely due an alignment, the car doesn’t actually pull in one direction or another so that kind of put me off the idea of it being the issue. Alignment issues are definitely not an area I’m experienced in. Thanks.

Actually now you have clarified that it centres in two different positions it sounds like one of the front suspension components is loose. If I had to take a guess either a very knackered ball joint or one of the bottom alignment bolts is loose. Personally I wouldn’t drive it, get the car up on axle stands securely and give it a good look.

If the wheel does not align consistently, get it checked immediately. Something may be loose or undone.

If the alignment was out, it would be out consistently.

Not returning to the same place sounds like something is not connected or broken or a mount is moving (due to heavy corrosion?).

If something is loose, and becomes detached while driving it could get very interesting very quickly.


Thought so. That’s very broken.

Something is not bolted down properly or worn excessively. Don’t drive it until you’ve established what is loose.

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Do let us know what you find. We are all interested.

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First thing I would be checking is the steering column to rack universal joint for a loose bolt or stripped splines, if nothing found then remove the steering wheel and check around that connection.

This is not true. I had the same thing when a local guy with a Hunter Alignment got it badly wrong. (All the gear and no idea)

It was massively toed out and scrubbing the tyres so would settle in different places, after right and left turns.

He got there eventually after phoning Hunter.


Blimey, that’s pretty far out. Bit like a four legged table with a short leg that will sit in two positions, both unstable.

Never seen it before or since! Needless to say, not been back there

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Hello! Thanks for everyone’s comments. Finally had the car up in the air and checked through everything, couldn’t find anything loose, apart from the near side rack mounting bolt which I’ve secured, pictured. Don’t know if that would cause it as the offside was tight.

Haven’t had the car out for a spin as I’ve got the brakes to do still.

If I turn the wheels there is no play or anything to or from the rack or track rod ends. No play top to bottom or side to side in the wheels. Track rod end ball joints all moving and aren’t split.

Took the steering wheel off and secured it back up on the nyloc nut but nothing of note there. Tried to nip up the two 13mm bolts on the steering column to the rack but these were tight.

Going to book it in for a 4 wheel alignment so any recommendations in the Cleveland/ Teesside area would be appreciated. Didn’t want to take it for an alignment if there was something obviously wrong.

Any more ideas would be greatly appreciated thanks!

It does seem plausible that that the alignment is so badly out that one front wheel becomes the dominant wheel and tracks straight with the other one scrubbing.
Then when you turn the wheels, the other one takes over as the dominant wheel. This would explain the variation in straight ahead position for the steering wheel.
I would expect the tyres to show evidence of this though.