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Old 01-14-2012, 04:05 PM
jakif23 jakif23 is offline
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steering wander problems

I'm a new member so forgive me if I make mistakes. my 01 f-250 4x4 diesel has some steering wander Ive been fighting for a while. It feels like the front end is stiff and not returning right. All four spindle ball joints were replaced in the last year and a half. The tie rod ends seem to spin easily enough with a wrench but are not loose. MY question is how hard should it be to rotate the spindles with no tires or tie rods on them, wondering if my newer ball joints are too stiff and causing the wander or if everything checks out it my alighnment being a little off would cause poor return? Thanks for any help guys.
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:20 PM
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charbaugh charbaugh is offline
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I noticed the same problem after I did my ball joints recently. Driving on the freeway was exhausting because I felt like I was constantly fighting to keep the old girl between the lines. If the tie rods and drag link do not have slack in them, then the problem is the steering box. To test the front tie rod and drag link you will need some help. Jack up the front end so both tires are off the ground. Turn the ignition to acc so the steering wheel is unlocked. Have your wife, girlfriend, significant other, etc turn the wheel from side to side while you are on the ground looking at the steering components. You are looking to see if there is any slop at any point. Ideally, if everything is tight enough, the moment the pitman arm starts to turn, the wheels should start to turn as well. If not, watch each joint carefully to find which one is bad.

If it is the box, the right fix is replacement, however you can adjust it to tighten up the steering. On the top of the box, there is a 5/8" (I think) nut with an allen head screw in thee middle. Loosen the nut and then tighten the allen head screw a little bit. Be careful to not tighten it too far, though, as you can cause further damage. I did this, and it fixed my wandering problem and the truck drives straight now. You should probably start with 1/8" turn and then take her for a drive. You can then tighten it another 1/8" if needed. Just a heads up on this, it can be akward getting the wrench in there and getting enough torque to loosen up the nut.
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:32 PM
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Alignment could cause this if no parts are excessively worn. A lot of things could cause this, but if your caster is out then it won't self straighten. Such as a shopping cart. It has a lot of caster. So much that they are impossible to turn them sometimes and they "want" to go straight. If you have the opposite (no caster or negative even) then it will never want to go straight. Check for worn parts and replace as necessary then have it put on a machine. Was it aligned after the ball joints?
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:45 PM
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charbaugh charbaugh is offline
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Mine was. I had the allignment done the following weekend and had them check the tie rod ends, etc.

You are right about the allignment being a possibility as well. The thing is, when you fix worn out ball joints, you unmask other steering/front end issues.
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:54 PM
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This is very true. Ball joints don't move around anymore then other parts start getting more strain and start going or yeah, as you said everything feels loose at that point.
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2.5" front leveling kit. 5" rear blocks. Trackbar relocate bracket. Black Box with front /rear cameras. Fab Fours front winch bumper. Cover King neoprene seat covers. High Idle Mod. Bilstein 5100's. Rubber floor kit. CCV mod. HPOP fitting upgrade. ARP studs. TAM antitheft. New oil cooler w/ EGR delete. 4" turbo back w/ high flow Cat. SCT livewire w/ innovative tunes. Blue Spring. 6.4 Banjos.
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Old 01-15-2012, 12:24 AM
jakif23 jakif23 is offline
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Thanks guys. I am replaceing the ball joints on one side cause it was really tight and the other side was nice and free. I have done the steering box, after two defective remans from auto value I went to a junk yard and got one out of a low mile excursion and it is pretty tight with no binding. If I can get some money saved up i want to some day put in a red head steering box. The joints are in now and it moves much better. I will schedule an alighnment this week, I was wondering about it but never thought about the caster. That makes alot of sense and is great advice. Thanks for all the help, I appreciate it. I'll update with results.
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Old 01-15-2012, 08:21 AM
wulfman wulfman is offline
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jakif23 if you are going to do a steering box then go with a RED HEAD bow they are the best and will fix your problems.
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Old 01-18-2012, 07:26 PM
jakif23 jakif23 is offline
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results

Ok so finally my results......The ball joints in the left side were a cheaper brand so I replaced them with moog units. I checked all my tie rod ends and joints, all were solid but not too stiff. I took it in for an alighnment and found out that i did overtighten the new ball joints a little causing them to bind slightly (its possible that i caused the same problem on the other ones), but the shop was able to take them loose and reset them correctly which they said freed it up quite a bit. Finally with the alighnment done i gave the steering box a 1/4 turn and now have no binding and no slop. She steers like new again! Thanks guys for all the help!
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Old 01-18-2012, 09:41 PM
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Thanks for the update! It's amazing what an alignment will do. But how did the ball joints get "too tight"? No matter how much you tighten the ball joint to the knuckle it should still swivel in the ball joint right?
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2.5" front leveling kit. 5" rear blocks. Trackbar relocate bracket. Black Box with front /rear cameras. Fab Fours front winch bumper. Cover King neoprene seat covers. High Idle Mod. Bilstein 5100's. Rubber floor kit. CCV mod. HPOP fitting upgrade. ARP studs. TAM antitheft. New oil cooler w/ EGR delete. 4" turbo back w/ high flow Cat. SCT livewire w/ innovative tunes. Blue Spring. 6.4 Banjos.
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:18 PM
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"Cheap" ball joints could be the cause.
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:07 PM
jakif23 jakif23 is offline
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well they explained that if one joint gets pulled in farther than the other they are pulling against each other putting more pressure on them. Probably not a huge amount of friction for a good joint, but every little bit counts. They said proper way is to torque bottom(bigger) joint to spec and then tighten top one til the spindle starts to turn harder or you reach torque spec and stop there. Me, I just tightened them "good" and didnt torque them. Like usual it's the fine details that make the difference, never done learnin.
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:15 PM
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Ball joints on a SFA can be put in "tight" if they are not pressed into the kn uckle equally or not torqued equally into the axle C (or poor manufacturing tolerance of said ball joint). The joint that is not fully tightened or pressed in will cause the nut on the other joint to try and pull the ball out of its socket to compensate, making it "tight".
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Old 01-19-2012, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad149 View Post
Ball joints on a SFA can be put in "tight" if they are not pressed into the kn uckle equally or not torqued equally into the axle C (or poor manufacturing tolerance of said ball joint). The joint that is not fully tightened or pressed in will cause the nut on the other joint to try and pull the ball out of its socket to compensate, making it "tight".
So...what are the correct torque specs? I am doing mine this Saturday.
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Old 01-19-2012, 09:11 PM
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Great info! I love this website.
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2.5" front leveling kit. 5" rear blocks. Trackbar relocate bracket. Black Box with front /rear cameras. Fab Fours front winch bumper. Cover King neoprene seat covers. High Idle Mod. Bilstein 5100's. Rubber floor kit. CCV mod. HPOP fitting upgrade. ARP studs. TAM antitheft. New oil cooler w/ EGR delete. 4" turbo back w/ high flow Cat. SCT livewire w/ innovative tunes. Blue Spring. 6.4 Banjos.
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Old 01-19-2012, 09:11 PM
 
 
 
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