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Steering wheel feels too "free" at highway speed

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Old 10-16-2013, 03:12 PM   #1
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Steering wheel feels too "free" at highway speed

Quote:
Originally Posted by isu2014 View Post
What might this be? Inner tie rods? The wheel just wants to rotate free like this when I'm cruising. Has new rack bushings and alignment is good.
Anyone have any experience with this? The wheel only has a bit of play at lower speeds but at highway speeds it gets pretty dicey. The alignment place said they think the rack is bad.

The truck spent its first 30k miles on rough gravel roads, now has 69k.
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Old 10-16-2013, 03:30 PM   #2
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Could be your steering bushings but I don't think the "rack" is bad. Just get the bushing kit. I did mine and noticed small improvements but others claim huge improvements.

You can also increase caster .5-1 degree for a more solid feel (less highway wander). I found 3 degrees is perfect for 33's.
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Old 10-16-2013, 03:34 PM   #3
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Did this start all of a sudden, or come on gradually?
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Old 10-16-2013, 03:36 PM   #4
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can you get under your truck and move your rack side to side?
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Old 10-16-2013, 03:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tan4x4 View Post
Did this start all of a sudden, or come on gradually?
It has been around for a while. I replaced the rack bushings a a few thousand miles ago thinking that was the issue. It helped for a while but now the feeling is back with a vengeance. It has been windy lately and I find myself all over the road since the wheel won't hold still.
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Old 10-16-2013, 03:38 PM   #6
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i would get a go pro and put it under the truck looking at the front end/ steering components and see what you can find that way
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Old 10-16-2013, 03:44 PM   #7
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Check tire pressure. Install shop over inflated mine and it wandered a little.
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Old 10-16-2013, 03:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robssol View Post
Check tire pressure. Install shop over inflated mine and it wandered a little.
Pressure is spot on what I always run. The tires might be a little out of balance but that never caused anything like this in the past, just vibrations.

I would like to tear my dash apart to weld the steering shaft and take that out of the equation but I don't have time.
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Old 10-16-2013, 03:59 PM   #9
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hehe mine does that
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Old 10-16-2013, 04:52 PM   #10
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have you tried adjusting the rack guide? if you have an early model (pre 2000??? i think) you can upgrade to the later guide assembly. its that giant nut with lock ring below and to the right of where the steering shaft enters the rack, facing towards the rear of the truck. adjustment is to 18lbs then back off 19 degrees.
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Old 10-16-2013, 05:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chato View Post
have you tried adjusting the rack guide? if you have an early model (pre 2000??? i think) you can upgrade to the later guide assembly. its that giant nut with lock ring below and to the right of where the steering shaft enters the rack, facing towards the rear of the truck. adjustment is to 18lbs then back off 19 degrees.
After reading up on it I think this is a good bet. I will adjust it and see what happens.
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Old 10-16-2013, 05:56 PM   #12
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mine was a little free....just installed new steering rack bushings last week....much better
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Old 10-16-2013, 06:00 PM   #13
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Mine is same way and has progressively got worse. Im gonna just bite it And replace the rack. I have replaced rack bushings, checked all components such as tie rod ends and ball joints. If i grab my wheel with the truvk weight on it i can pull it back and forth at 3 and 9 and hear the rack clanking on the inside.
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Old 10-16-2013, 06:00 PM   #14
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So before doing anything, I would do some static tests.

With the truck at a stop try doing this same movement with the steering wheel. If the front tires don't turn at all its some sort of lash either between the pinion and rack bar, or the slip joint in the column. This would also point to bad tie rods either inner or outer.

If thats not your problem (IE the front tires turn when the steering wheel is turned just a few degrees like in the video) then your problem is probably the rack guide or low caster.
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Old 10-16-2013, 06:06 PM   #15
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My alignment paperwork says 1.7 and 1.6 degrees caster. When stopped the wheel only has a very small amount of slop. It's at about 55 that I really start noticing it like this.
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Old 10-16-2013, 06:07 PM   #16
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Yea i have pretty much decided that mine is play in the pinion gear.
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Old 10-16-2013, 06:09 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isu2014 View Post
My alignment paperwork says 1.7 and 1.6 degrees caster. When stopped the wheel only has a very small amount of slop. It's at about 55 that I really start noticing it like this.
You need more caster if you want a more solid wheel at speed, simple as that. Try and get that closer to 3*.

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Originally Posted by TACO TX View Post
Yea i have pretty much decided that mine is play in the pinion gear.
What makes you say that? Have you already welded the slip joint and made sure your tie rods are good?
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Old 10-16-2013, 06:10 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve o 77 View Post
So before doing anything, I would do some static tests.

With the truck at a stop try doing this same movement with the steering wheel. If the front tires don't turn at all its some sort of lash either between the pinion and rack bar, or the slip joint in the column. This would also point to bad tie rods either inner or outer.

If thats not your problem (IE the front tires turn when the steering wheel is turned just a few degrees like in the video) then your problem is probably the rack guide or low caster.
awesome info!
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Old 10-16-2013, 06:13 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by wolfgang123 View Post
awesome info!
I do this for a living, glad I could finally use my skills to help someone
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Old 10-16-2013, 06:16 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve o 77 View Post
I do this for a living, glad I could finally use my skills to help someone
Forcing me to spend more money! When I get my 33s I guess I will get another alignment and have them do 3*.
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