What model yr is your truck ? The way Ive always done them is to cut / air chisel / grind off the rivets on the bracket & replace the rivets with Grade 8 7/16 bolts . Before you tear into them first make sure the steering parts are not worn & the wheel bearings are adjusted properly . Another very common problem the steering box . I havent seen a Ford truck yet that the steering box sector shaft didnt need to be adjusted . First make sure all the other parts I mentioned are within specs & not worn .
NOt relly hard to do, but it is work. use a strap or somthing to pull the radius arm forward after the nut is off and it will come out. It will also have alot of spring tension, so be carefull. Good luck.
'94 F150 4x4. Box was adjusted, wheel bearings, etc. Front is tight but a want this drifting gone. If there is a "blueprinted" steering box to be had I will surely try one. I have seen many Fords drive this way and I really think it is the box. Thought I would try the bushings if it is not to hard to do. Might still even if I pay a shop to do it. Me and my Dad have gone through a bunch of 'well it checks OK' crap on Ford trucks and I'm damn sure tired of this......Thanks for the posts.
Dont give up on Ford Trucks so hastily . If you are having a problem then it can be solved . The only problem Ive seen with pulling the axle forward to replace the radius arm bushings is it can destroy the axle pivot bushings if they are in marginal condition . Worn radius arm bushings will cause some drift & a general loose feeling to the steering , esp the right side bushings because the heat from the exhaust causes them to dry out & wear more than the left side . Its your truck & you can decide how you want to proceed . Like I said , removing the rivets & replacing them with the proper bolts may be a little more work , but it places no stress on the axle pivot bushings . The only way to install new axle pivot bushings is to press them in & that can be much more of a job than the radius arm bushings .
"I haven't replaced the axle bushings but I did just replace the drivers side Radius arm bushing. At first I thought it was an impossible task. Several people at this site encouraged me to try and it ended up being pretty easy. I did it without help in a little under three hours. (help would be better) Next time would be much faster. After I took it apart it is really simple. The hardest part was breaking free the two 11/8 bolts that hold the spring and the front of the Radius arm on. I didn't have a 3/4 inch drive socket, thought I would snap the 1/2 inch drive, so I used a boxed end wrench. You will need two extentions to reach down inside the spring to loosen the top bolt that holds the bottom of the spring. The springs pop right out and go back in just as easy. Get a manual and follow the instructions. Make sure you use good jack stands high enough to get both front wheels off the ground. You will have to loosen the brake caliper and wire it up out of the way so the axle will drop way down. You will need a floor jack then to catch the loose axle and roll it forward to get to the back of the Radius Arm. Don't forget to use Locktite on the bolts going back together. When I got the new bushing in I couldnt get the steel washer and the nut started on the threads. I had to hook a Comalong to the Radius Arm and to the transfer skid plate. When I tightned the comalong it compressed the bushing exposing more threads to start the nut. Check out the urathane bushings. They are supposed to last the life of the truck and probably cheaper than OEM parts. With the money I save in labor, I buy more tools. "
but that whole thread has some good tips on tightening up steering/suspension.
I'm considering replacing my radius arm bushings myself also. I have a suspension lift, so there is a drop bracket for the radius arm and the rivets have been replaced with bolts. My question is this, If I jack up the truck so that the front axel hangs free, loosen the big nut on the radius arm, and then will I be able to just unbolt the radius arm bracket from the frame? Or do I need to take the springs and calipers off as the above post suggests? I'm assuming the above post is a way of getting around grinding the rivets out.
I ground off the rivets when I did mine. It wasn't a bad job at all. The axle pivot bushings are a real PIA to get out if you decide to do them also.
I've owned several Ford trucks that liked to wander including a brand new E-150 Van and every time it wasn't something mechanical it was just a poor alignment job. Most shops just set the Toe on Ford Trucks and don't want to get involved with setting the Caster/Camber unless it's way off. My new Van was "in spec" but was wandering all over the road. I had taken it back to the dealer and they kept telling me it was OK. I took it to a shop a friend recommended that was good with Fords to have it aligned and it drove perfect after they put a shim in it. That Van now has 180K on it and hasn't needed a wheel alignment since.
Try going to an alignment shop and explain your wandering problem if they are any good they should know what to look for.
Sorry about the long post hope this info helps someone.