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1987 - 1996 F150 & Larger F-Series Trucks 1987 - 1996 Ford F-150, F-250, F-350 and larger pickups - including the 1997 heavy-duty F250/F350+ trucks

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Old 01-15-2013, 09:36 AM
traderssd traderssd is offline
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Center my steering wheel/adjust tie rods

Portland, Oregon



Hi Guys,

I have a stock '91 F150 2WD that's a real cream puff. It's in perfect shape and drives fantastic. I just recently put new tires on it and with that also had an alignment done. Like I said, it truly drives great except the steering wheel is slightly off-center. Most people probably wouldn't bother with it but for me, it very annoying and drives me crazy. It's only off one or two degrees........not a lot. Does anyone know the proper proceedure for adjusting the tie rod ends/sleeves to center the steering wheel without changing the tow-in on the alignment? I know it's a matter of turning the tie-rod adjusting sleeves but which ones and in which direction?

Sure would appreciate some help on this because I really don't want to take it back to the alignment shop as it's a huge hassle.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Stuart D.
Portland, Oregon
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:45 AM
88n94 88n94 is offline
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i can try to tell you how to do it, but there would be no guarantee that the toe adjustment would still be right on when you're done.

Let's say your steering wheel is turned to the right when you are going straight down the road. Turn the steering wheel straight ahead. Your tires will be headed left. So you will need to turn the turnbuckle to shorten the tie rod on the drivers side to get that wheel going straight ahead. You will need to turn the turnbuckle on the passenger side to lengthen the tie rod. You get the idea.

You can mark the turnbuckles before you start and count the number of turns you move them, but as I mentioned earlier I still kind of doubt if the toe adjustment would be right on.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:53 AM
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Take it back to where you got the alignment done - they should take care of it. I wouldn't mess with it after just having the front aligned.

merhlin
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:10 PM
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Leave the wheels straight, the steering wheel will be cocked. Leave key in ignition so it's unlocked and will turn.

Loosen RH tie rod and give it one full turn. Go to LF side and give it one full turn the opposite direction. This will keep toe in correct and will move the steering wheel back. Just need to know which way it is off, so you turn them nuts the right way. Leaving the steering wheel loose will allow it to move and show you that you are turning things the right direction.

What happened was the alignment shop only turned ONE side when they corrected the toe in and didn't reconfirm the wheel is centered(like a good shop would). Not a big deal, easily fixed without hurting anything.
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merhlin View Post
Take it back to where you got the alignment done - they should take care of it. I wouldn't mess with it after just having the front aligned.

merhlin
This. When I've had my alignments done, I've always taken it to places with a 30 day guarantee so that things like this are a no question fix by the shop.
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:17 PM
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or you could pull the steering wheel, move it like one spline or two and reinstall the nut to hol it on. that old of a truck and you wont have to deal with an airbag or the chance of it going off. just my $.02
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:39 PM
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If you don't want to take it back, do like suggested, if the wheel is off to the right, lengthen the left and shorten the right, but 1/4 turn will probably be enough. The right outer tie rod has right hand threads and the left outer has LH threads.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:09 AM
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Center my steering wheel

Hi guys and thank you for the advise.

Not to be dumb but if my steering wheel is off to the left, know I need to lengthen the tie rod on the drivers side and shorten the tie rod on the passengers side correct? So which direction do I turn the tie rod adjusters to do this?
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:23 AM
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Hi guys and thank you for the advise.

Not to be dumb but if my steering wheel is off to the left, know I need to lengthen the tie rod on the drivers side and shorten the tie rod on the passengers side correct? So which direction do I turn the tie rod adjusters to do this?
Yes, that is correct. Like I said, the left outer tie rod has left hand threads, so to lengthen it you would turn the adjusting sleeve clockwise on the outer.
The right outer has right hand threads, so to shorten it you need to turn the sleeve clockwise on the outer tie rod. Move them both the same amount, about 1/4 turn should do it.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:57 AM
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ok.......got it! Thank you so much!

Stuart D.
Portland, Oregon
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:04 PM
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The ONLY tie rod you touch to center the wheel is the Upper one. Where it connects to the pitman arm(steering box)

You loosen the collar bolts that connects the tie rod to the drag link then spin the collar.

If the wheel is off to the left, you spin the collar to SHORTEN the linkage.
If the wheel is off to the right, you spin the collar to LENGTHEN the linkage.
Then tighten the collar bolts and test drive. Keep adjusting in small increments till you get the wheel where you want it

DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT touch the outer tie rods out by the tires, this will just throw off your toe, that you just has set
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:11 PM
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The ONLY tie rod you touch to center the wheel is the Upper one. Where it connects to the pitman arm(steering box)

You loosen the collar bolts that connects the tie rod to the drag link then spin the collar.

If the wheel is off to the left, you spin the collar to SHORTEN the linkage.
If the wheel is off to the right, you spin the collar to LENGTHEN the linkage.
Then tighten the collar bolts and test drive. Keep adjusting in small increments till you get the wheel where you want it

DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT touch the outer tie rods out by the tires, this will just throw off your toe, that you just has set
Brad, I think you are confusing with the F350's steering linkage, He has a F150.
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:15 PM
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These trucks only have two adjustments. The drag link goes all the way to RH side. The left side comes off the middle of drag link. You MUST adjust BOTH or you WILL screw up the toe in setting.


Here is a picture showing it. (it's 4wd, but same basic parts)
Click the image to open in full size.

Newer trucks have a different arrangement, that allows it: (straight axle, but see the adjuster on the drag link)
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:43 PM
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I forgot how stupid for d was with the TTB and TIB
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:46 PM
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It's okay. We'll give you a pass today LOL!!
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:46 PM
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