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You can jack up the front, jack stands under axle, take the wheels off for easy access.. turn your wheel back and forth. I did this to mine and found out I had hard spot in the steering.....i figured since its a solid axle it should be easy I will redo the whole front end. New King pin set,spring bushings,wheel bearings, tie rod ends, drag link. I took out the steering box/column and took a look inside mad sure I had no worn out worm gear..then put it back together then filled with grease. It took a couple weekends. You can fix 1 part at a time but you figure since your down there...... but for under 350 bucks I was Happy....
Or you can install IFS for example a mustang II or volare.....
It all depends on you, Are you gonna take corners like a racer, or its a grocery getter on the weekends...
The best way to go if you want "little" expense is to stay stock. First step is the shop manual for your truck. Second is one or more local parts places, preferable with people not afraid to look in the old paper catalogs.
Then you can go through the steering and suspension one item at a time. On the steering, check for loosness in kingpins / steering knuckles, wheel bearings, tie rod ends, drag link, and steering box. Get a helper to turn the wheel when you check things, the manual describes how and has some illustrations. Nothing is complicated, but sometimes you do need some brute force. On the suspension, look for a spring shop that can build up springs. Good springs can improve ride and handling. replace spring pins and bushings also when changing speings. Do not forget shocks, get good ones. Also inspect spring mounts, spring perches, and shackles. Cracks from years of fatigue and thin areas from rust can let these deflect too much and give squirlly handling.
But the biggest thing to keep in mind is that these trucks are over 50 years old and were designed as work vehicles to suit the expectations of that time. Steering will be somewhat slow (but fairly precise if everything is good and tight). you will feel just about every irregularity in the road, especially when you are empty (Loading things up to about 50% of load capacity really smooths things out). They will tend to want to go wide in turns, and you will have to crank the wheel way more than your late model car or truck when parking (normal in the non power steering era). And you will have to drive conservatively. The stock brakes actually work pretty well if you keep them adjusted and in good condition. You must have to have a strong leg and be familiar with your stopping distance. Avoid cheap brake linings and also those that claim very long life. Keeping all of this in mind is not a big deal after living with one of these for a while, and you can have fun and be safe at the same time.
You know 3414 that's the best bit of advice I've ever had on here...It's what I was thinking. I've already renewed all the stock drum brakes on the truck, and it's a real exciting and thoughtful drive...so much more interesting than driving any modern car! I'm in the UK so the roads are full of traffic, so you have to concentrate really hard. I bought the truck with a non stock engine, a 351 short block along with these big wheels and tyres so I'm trying to work with those, but I'm definitely going to get my head in that workshop manual. Many Thanks. Lee
You can adjust out SOME of the slop,via the steering box - BUT - if you get greedy and try to take too much out, you can accelerate wear to the box.It's a fine line.Also,make sure the steering box is filled with the proper molybdenum chassis grease, NOT the heavy oil that other year vehicles/years require.If you put in 90 wt. oil in the stock steering box, it will just run out.The grease installed at the factory dries out and hardens.
I was ready to rebuild my steering box till doing those two things.Now, I'm good for a few more years
"Why, yes, I have plenty of spare change, you worthless piece of crap."
'59 F250 w/an Engine, a Transmission, Some Tires/Wheels, PLUS-a Genuine Radio
I would echo being careful on the steering adjustment. The grease inside it has already given over 50 years of service. It deserves refreshing. There are pretty decent instuctions in the shop manual for tearing it down and checking it out. There is also a procedure for adjustment.
Your point in the need for thoughtfull driving is well taken. These trucks do not drive themselves. However, if properly maintained, they will respond predictably. It is just another part of their appeal for those of us who are desperately entangled!
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