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Old 04-20-2019, 06:46 PM   #1
dusterbd13
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steering issue and im stumped

truck: 1995 c1500 reg cab short bed.
lowered: 5/7
Parts used to lower: DJM lowering spindles (2 inch), DJM lower control arms (2inch) belltech coils (1 inch). rear flip kit, overload leaf removed. has firestone ride right airbags in the back for trailer towing duty. DJM shock extenders.

suspension (other): Bilstein shocks. moog pitman arm, idler arm, inner and outer tie rod ends, idler arm bracket. rockauto complete upper control arm assemblies. ZQ8 cardone steering box. new rag joint. new power steering hoses. old power steering pump of unknown age.

wheels and tires: 1.25 thick front adapters, 1.5 thick rear. 2012 camaro steel 18 inch wheels, 255/55/18 Michelin runflat tires.

aligned to factory spec for the 1995 c1500 (4x now, by 3 different shops)

all suspension components have less than 5,000 miles on them.

problems:
play at center of steering. about 1.5 inch either way from center.
stiff steering (abnormally stiff)
memory steering/wont return to center except manually
very darty/wandering al over the road, requiring extreme attention to stay in the lane, bordering on uncontrollable on narrow roads with sharper turns (45mph posted speed limit, doing 35)

the truck is all but undrivable at this point, and cannot pull the race car. or go to lowes. or go to church. or....

I have been chasing my tail at this point, and feel like I have to be missing something.
in the past 1k of diagnostics, with the truck getting markedly worse, I have:
replaced steering box 3 times
replaced all 4 tie rod ends, pitman arm, center link, idler arm, idler arm bracket, rebuilt rag joint, changed toe, changed tire pressures, changed load bag pressures, greased, and pulled the tie rods and manually worked the spindles to check for ball joint sticking.

im stumped. I haven't made hardly any change at this point in the behavior. ive GOT to be missing something here, but have no idea what. so please, help me out here. my last grasp at this is to think that the ball joints are sticking with the weight of the truck on them, but check fine at droop. but, that seems absolutely preposterous.
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Old 04-20-2019, 08:58 PM   #2
Rooster73
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Re: steering issue and im stumped

With what you've said do you know what the final caster was, the reason I ask is most factory specs are around 3 to 3.5 degrees, you'll need over 4 to4.5 positive, so many shops won't remove the knockouts in the upper perches, to much trouble, wandering and no return to center is one sign of not enough caster. Wide footprint loves caster, center link is not backwards? Also a big deal is tierod angle, bumpsteer is a nightmare, just some thoughts, sick feeling to spend a lot and have issues
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Old 04-20-2019, 09:48 PM   #3
dusterbd13
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Re: steering issue and im stumped

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rooster73 View Post
With what you've said do you know what the final caster was, the reason I ask is most factory specs are around 3 to 3.5 degrees, you'll need over 4 to4.5 positive, so many shops won't remove the knockouts in the upper perches, to much trouble, wandering and no return to center is one sign of not enough caster. Wide footprint loves caster, center link is not backwards? Also a big deal is tierod angle, bumpsteer is a nightmare, just some thoughts, sick feeling to spend a lot and have issues
Center link is in the right way. I actually confirmed that by looking at multiple junkyard trucks.
Knockouts were removed by me, and it has the large eccentric washers. I don't know what they set caster to, and never found an accurate way to check and set at home, so i cant verify. My bet is only 3 degrees or so.
The truck doesn't feel like it has much, if any, bumpsteer.

The sick feeling was when i almost clipped a guardrail in eest Virginia with a neon on a tow dolly. Truck got parked after that will i figure out what is going wrong. I can say that all the new parts have made drastic improvement, but the issue is still there, though greatly reduced.
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Old 04-22-2019, 04:32 AM   #4
Richard
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Re: steering issue and im stumped

My 94 used to have over 5" of drop in the front. Combination of coils and spindles, aligned and drove fine for many years. Your lower arms basically just drop thr coil bucket to make the spring shorter so should not be much difference. Agree with the caster comment. Looks like you changed the upper control arms. Sure they are on the correct sides?
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Old 04-22-2019, 08:22 AM   #5
dusterbd13
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Re: steering issue and im stumped

Uppers are definitely on the correct side.

What would the preferred alignment spec for these with wide rubber and lowered be?
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Old 04-22-2019, 08:45 AM   #6
Kudzupatch
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Re: steering issue and im stumped

Quote:
Originally Posted by dusterbd13 View Post
play at center of steering. about 1.5 inch either way from center.
I would be focused on this and it should be easy to see where the play is. If you don't get the play out to start with you are just chasing you tail. It is going to wander around some, not enough to cause all you problems, but it is going to drift around.

Just replaced a steering box with a quick steering and mine was still wandering around at every change in the road and it had play in steering. Mine was a badly worn rag joint but once I fixed that it took out all the play and it is like a different car.
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Old 04-22-2019, 10:07 AM   #7
dusterbd13
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Re: steering issue and im stumped

All rhe play is in the steering box. Which has remained a consistent amout over the last 2 reman boxes.

Id ASSUME that cardone sets the boxes properly before shipping, but we all know how assuming goes.

Other than the nut and stud on top, are there other adjustments for the box?
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Old 04-22-2019, 11:35 AM   #8
Kudzupatch
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Re: steering issue and im stumped

I don't claim to an expert but I hear that over and over. What I have read is that parts are not available and most just reseal old boxes and not replace the wear items inside. Not sure if that is correct but it lines up with everything I read. I finally gave in and bought a Red Head gear box and I am glad I did now. Virtually no play, it is like a new vehicle.

When I first put the Red Head quick ratio box on it would wander around the lane as paving or grade changed. Slight input would cause it dart around, not dramatically but it was twitchy. Constantly having to correct and pay attention! I was pretty unhappy but I knew the box was tight.

Got a buddy to help me and we found the rag joint was shot. It was hidden under that plastic sleeve from the factory so I had no idea how bad it was. Rebuilt it and it was like a different vehicle.

Not saying that will fix all your problems but I can't help but believe that play in your gear box is a lot of your problem.

Last edited by Kudzupatch; 04-23-2019 at 07:45 AM.
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Old 04-24-2019, 06:16 PM   #9
Tom
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Re: steering issue and im stumped

Couple things: 1-combining spindles and control arms has always been a big no no. Either arms and springs or spindles and springs but your not supposed to mix.
2- Steering boxes are junk. Cardone, acdelco, doesn't matter. All junk. I just went threw a couple then gave up and ordered a redhead box. Now I don't drive like a drunken sailor at the helm of a first rate british warship in the bahamas fighting pirates. 3- your in North Carolina. Go to wilmington. Get something from the battleship and install it on the truck. BB55 is the fix for anything. Such a sweet ship.
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Old 04-26-2019, 05:11 PM   #10
dusterbd13
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Re: steering issue and im stumped

k, so i want to confirm my thoughts. I have this thing gutted like a trout right now.

1. Steering is isolated from the spindles via outer tie rods bein disconnected. The steering has about tge same effort running as not at idle. Its slightly easier running, but still requires not insignificant effort. Definitely not 1 finger effort. More like a manual steering box at parking lot speed. My thought is bad pump. Any way to confirm?

2. Lower ball joints shouldn't require massive effort to move in any direction, and DEFINITELY should not feel notchy or incredibly much stiffer past tge central point of range, correct? Its much easier to move towards droop than compression, and much easier fore/aft than droop OR compression.



So, i think its bad lower ball joints, and a bad pump. But want to make damn certain this time.
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Old 04-27-2019, 04:55 PM   #11
Kudzupatch
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Re: steering issue and im stumped

Here is the thing that I question, how would any of that make it dart around?

For the truck to want to turn left or right there has to be something making/allowing the wheels to move left and right. Your play in the box makes more sense to me because you are not able to hold the wheels in one line, the play allows them to move around left and right and make it dart.

The other stuff, from what you describe does sound like it has issues there. But I don't see that allowing the wheels to turn on their own and cause it dart around the way you describe. That sounds very similar to my play in the steering column.

Agree the others need to be addressed but of course internet diagnosis is one step better an wild guess. But I am not convinced that these are the directional issues.

Last edited by Kudzupatch; 04-27-2019 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 05-08-2019, 12:51 PM   #12
stockypoo
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Re: steering issue and im stumped

I had this issue when i replaced ball joints on my dodge. first time doing it, so i assumed new moog ball joints were supposed to be really stiff. Nope, they were just crap and caused those symptoms you describe. new ball joints and another day of labor fixed the problem.
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Old 05-08-2019, 02:59 PM   #13
dusterbd13
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Re: steering issue and im stumped

I have resolved it. Lower Ball joints, power steering pump, another box, pitman, idler, and idler bracket. All moog and cardone. The lower ball joints were scrap and wouldnt move without a 3lb hammer agter i took the spindle off. The pivot points on the pitman and idler were very stiff, and the pump syarted leaking. I blame all this on cheap components.
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