cycles per second
Join Date: Oct 2003
Bikes: Vitus Aluminum, DiamondBack Apex, Softride Powerwing 700, "Generic" Ishiwata 022, Trek OCLV 110
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Do the brake bolts have centering flats on them? They are usually 13mm and a cone wrench can be used to center the arms (or hold the arms centered as you tighten the mounting nut) as long as you have access, i.e. no racks or anything in the way.
If you center the brakes and the mounting nut is tight but the brakes still go off center, the brake bolt is probably turning in the frame or fork. Check if the brake has a serrated washer against the frame/fork. If not, using one will improve things.
Also check that the cable housing isn't pulling or pushing on the brake causing it to go off-center. If it is, cut it shorter or lengthen it
What is this "center nut" you speak of? It sounds like you're talking about the locknut used for pivot/play adjustment. The mounting nut to tighten down if the brakes are not staying centered is the one behind the fork, not the locknut on the front of the brake calipers.