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Old 12-21-2015, 04:46 PM   #1
GMC-YA68
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4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

Guys, I am in need of some help and this section gets a lot more attention.

I originally made a thread in the blazer forum about an issue with my steering. Long story short, after I completed my swap my steering will not correct itself back to center after turning. It turns and stays turned which makes it very sketchy to drive.

New 2.5 lift (all spring) with extended pitman arm (additional drop)
New poly body mounts / transmission / transfer case mounts
New tie rod ends / drag link ends / drop pitman arm. drag link is perfectly even.
New wheel bearings / new upper and lower ball joints. The spindles move freely and are not stuck by any means.
New intermediate shaft. New U-joint and rag joint.
Hydroboost set up using the flow control valve from factory power steering pump.
Alignment is good.
I've had both a brand new 18:1 and 15:1 box on it.
Caster is good (positive caster)
Camber is level.
I've got some 18x9 wheels on it with 4.53 back spacing and brand new Toyo AT 325/60/18s.

Here is the other thread I started but haven't found a fix yet. I have not tried a different set of wheels since she has been back together. My original wheels were rusted with dry rotted tires so I don't have them any more.
http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=688321
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Old 12-21-2015, 05:57 PM   #2
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Re: 4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

I had a similar problem in my 72 K10 after installing new ball joints. Had two shops look at it because of how alarming it was to drive. But after putting miles on it, everything settled in, the ball joints loosened up a little, and the steering started centering like it should. Maybe you've got something else going on, but I wouldn't be surprised if it settles in over time.
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Old 12-21-2015, 08:11 PM   #3
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Re: 4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

You say the caster is good, what does good mean?
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Old 12-21-2015, 10:55 PM   #4
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Re: 4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

caster is between 4-6 degrees on the positive side both sides.
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Old 12-23-2015, 12:18 AM   #5
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Re: 4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

I know you say the spindles move freely with the new ball joints, but how freely? We run into this issue on a lot of newer solid axle dodges after they get new ball joints. The new ball joints are tight enough that it causes memory steer. And as stated above usually it goes away after putting some miles on them. What brand of ball joints did you use?
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Old 12-23-2015, 01:10 PM   #6
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Re: 4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

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Originally Posted by BigRed76 View Post
I know you say the spindles move freely with the new ball joints, but how freely? We run into this issue on a lot of newer solid axle dodges after they get new ball joints. The new ball joints are tight enough that it causes memory steer. And as stated above usually it goes away after putting some miles on them. What brand of ball joints did you use?
They move freely enough that if I slapped them hard enough they would swing lock to lock. I torqued everything down to GM spec and used the correct spanner for the upper joint. I used MOOG on everything.
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Old 12-23-2015, 04:15 PM   #7
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Re: 4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

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Originally Posted by GMC-YA68 View Post
They move freely enough that if I slapped them hard enough they would swing lock to lock. I torqued everything down to GM spec and used the correct spanner for the upper joint. I used MOOG on everything.
Well that sounds like everything there is good. I've seen a few different steering boxes cause steering to stick, but it sounds like you've covered that. Maybe something is going on with your steering column causing the steering to stick?
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Old 12-23-2015, 04:24 PM   #8
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Re: 4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

I just read your original thread where you were checking your caster. Did you ever take it to an alignment shop to see all of your alignment angles? Your caster angle may differ on an alignment machine from what you are measuring.
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Old 12-23-2015, 04:31 PM   #9
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Re: 4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigRed76 View Post
I just read your original thread where you were checking your caster. Did you ever take it to an alignment shop to see all of your alignment angles? Your caster angle may differ on an alignment machine from what you are measuring.
No. I have not done that yet. That is one thing that I will try next. I've only got about 150 miles on the new set up so I guess I could keep driving it, but this seems / acts extremely odd. I've driven jeeps with full hydro-steering and it almost feels like that at times. Constantly having to steer / counter steer. I appreciate the help.

Any other ideas, keep them coming.
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Old 12-24-2015, 08:15 PM   #10
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Re: 4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

I can tell you that once I "adjusted" my steering box too tight, and it wouldn't return to center properly after that. Otherwise, only thing I can think to do would be to disconnect everything and check for binding, then check as you re-assemble each component. Check the adjustment of the sleeve in the upper ball joint again too. Good luck.
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Old 12-25-2015, 12:29 AM   #11
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Re: 4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

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I can tell you that once I "adjusted" my steering box too tight, and it wouldn't return to center properly after that.
That was also my thought as soon as the thread started..... but I didn't post it because the OP has tried two different new steering boxes, with the same results. Still could be worth checking..... I'm at a loss here, sounds like everything has been done, and done correctly, but the problem is still there. I am not familiar with hydroboost setups -- any chance there could be something there causing the problem?
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Old 12-25-2015, 10:05 AM   #12
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Re: 4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

I'm gonna bet the issue is with your ball joints. I had the same issue after I rebuilt the front end on my 1973 K20. I followed every procedure straight from the '73 assembly manual. I also went with all Moog parts. My solution was to torque the ball joints to specs, loosen them, retorque them again to specs, loosen them again, and retorque them again. If I remember, I did this three times. It was weird, but that is exactly what it took. Please report your results. I hope this works.
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Old 12-25-2015, 10:11 AM   #13
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Re: 4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

Click on page 6 of my build thread, post #144. I hope this works for you.
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Old 12-26-2015, 06:17 PM   #14
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Re: 4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

axle ujoints good? they sometimes cause that, as well as the box adjusted too tight.
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Old 12-27-2015, 02:49 AM   #15
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Re: 4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

I didn't adjust the box on either gear box I bought from RedHead. RedHead told me with their boxes being brand new it would cause damage to them.

I have never touched the front u-joints. They are what was in it when I bought it a year ago. However it drove ok (nothing like this) when I first bought it.

I will say when I am going down the highway at 55ish and let off the skinny pedal, the truck wonders all over the road. You guys think I could put a sway bay on it?

Still going to get an alignment check. My rear is a bit higher than the front probably due to new leaf springs so I also wonder if it is causing too much force on the front axle?? Just rambling/ thinking out loud...
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Old 12-27-2015, 01:35 PM   #16
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Re: 4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

Quote:
Originally Posted by GMC-YA68 View Post
I will say when I am going down the highway at 55ish and let off the skinny pedal, the truck wonders all over the road. You guys think I could put a sway bay on it?
Sway bars have nothing to do with the conditions you are describing. They can be a worthwhile addition, but their purpose is to improve the vehicle's handling by reducing the amount of body lean while cornering.


Quote:
Still going to get an alignment check.
That sounds like a crucial next step, in fact probably should have been done earlier and saved yourself some headaches.
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Old 02-13-2016, 02:11 PM   #17
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Re: 4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

Guys, been busy with life stuff, but alignment (toe settings) came back fine. Shop told me (Firestone) that they can't check caster / camber on these since they are so old. What's next?
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Old 02-13-2016, 04:17 PM   #18
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Re: 4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

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Originally Posted by GMC-YA68 View Post
Guys, been busy with life stuff, but alignment (toe settings) came back fine. Shop told me (Firestone) that they can't check caster / camber on these since they are so old. What's next?
Firestone must have a very basic alignment machine, or they just don't know how to use it. Our shop has a hunter alignment machine and I've aligned my trucks on it before with no issues, it shows me toe, camber, and caster easily. I'd recommend finding a shop that is capable of getting camber and caster readings on your truck.
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Old 02-14-2016, 12:32 AM   #19
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Re: 4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

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Originally Posted by BigRed76 View Post
Firestone must have a very basic alignment machine, or they just don't know how to use it. Our shop has a hunter alignment machine and I've aligned my trucks on it before with no issues, it shows me toe, camber, and caster easily. I'd recommend finding a shop that is capable of getting camber and caster readings on your truck.
On a straight-axle 4x4? Not doubting you.... I just don't know, other than they are far different from 2WD trucks.
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Old 02-14-2016, 01:57 AM   #20
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Re: 4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

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On a straight-axle 4x4? Not doubting you.... I just don't know, other than they are far different from 2WD trucks.
Yes sir it does. On my 76 K10 I used to have and my 70 K2500 I have now. Hunter doesn't provide any caster specs, but the machine will still allow you to do a caster sweep and see the measurements. Even on the 2wd trucks they don't provide caster specs because they want you to measure the frame angle.
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Old 02-14-2016, 08:46 AM   #21
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Re: 4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

I think with the straight axle 4x4s, you can check the caster and camber, it's just not adjustable so easily. These settings are built in and you would have to bend the axle/knuckle to change them. You should still be able to get readings though.
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Old 02-14-2016, 10:28 AM   #22
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Re: 4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

After looking at the pics in your first post I would be a little skeptical about the castor angle. I know the gauge reads positive but the top of those studs are not truly flat. I would try some angle shims first just because they are cheap and easy to install. Your pinion angle looks like you have some room to role the axle back. Like said earlier the caster and camber can be checked by a quality shop on a 4x4 just not easily adjusted.
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Old 03-19-2016, 07:50 PM   #23
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Re: 4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

well I put some 2.5 degree shims in today and the difference is hardly noticeable.
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Old 03-20-2016, 10:30 PM   #24
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Re: 4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

I'm 99% sure its your ball joints, I had the same issue with the Moog ball joints on my 2002 F250. Did everything right and it still would do the same thing, I ended up replacing just about every other thing in my front end thinking it couldnt be the new Moog ball joints! Drove it that way for almost a year (its my tow vehicle) and put maybe 2000 miles on it and it only got just a bit better. I finally decided to replace the ball joints with some high dollar dynatrac ones and guess what??? It fixed the problem, the brand new Moog ball joints were crap right out of the box! I did some research and found out that Moog had been sold and they started making there stuff in Mexico for a few years before they realized there product had turned to junk and I guess they have since fixed the problem but the old stock was still being sold.

You could try and do what someone else suggested and unbolt and torque them a few times to see if that helps. Even when I jacked my truck up to replace the Moogs on my truck I still couldnt actually feel the problem or any drag on the ball joints but boy the difference when I drove it was night and day after the Dynatracs where installed.
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Old 03-22-2016, 10:40 PM   #25
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Re: 4x4 steering issue - won't return to center

Thanks - I'm going to try the unbolt / re-torque method about 10 times and try that first. If not I'll tear it down again and try some different ball joints. If anyone has a different recommendation for ball joints let me know. Dynatrac doesn't make them for my rig. I may just try the house brand ???
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