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Old 07-29-2017, 06:52 PM   #1
81turbota
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Location: Pasadena, CA
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New 71 Blazer owner - vague steering bump steer

Hi everyone,

I'm the proud new owner of a 1971 Blazer. I have been having a blast driving this thing topless in CA. I have currently restored the dash and done some basic tune up and maintenance.

This is my first solid front axle vehicle, I have plenty of Chevelles, Camaros, Trans Ams etc prior to this. So this is not my area of expertise.

The truck drives great (albeit slow).

-unknown 4" lift
-33" tires

Symptoms:
-steering is nice and tight most of the time
-cruises 65mph no problem, very smooth. If I hit a bump on the highway it can get a little nerve wracking as the truck will wander a few feet and I can't anticipate where.
-steering wheel rarely centers at the same spot; I'd hit a bump or pothole and after correcting the steering wheel is pointed in a different direction when going straight. Always bounces between the 9 and 3 o clock positions.
-when I hit a bump, the steering seems unresponsive until the vehicle settles.
-if I hit a bump mid corner (slow speed), the truck feels like it momentarily understeers and pushes through the corner, once it settles everything steers normally.
-I noticed the tie rod is bent near the steering stabilizer

Troubleshooting performed as of now:
-jacked up front end and checked for looseness in ball joints and tie rods. Everything is nice and tight.
-checked tightness of the steering box, nothing loose or cracked
-nothing binding in column
-body mounts are absolutely shot, that's the next weekend project
-front spring bushings falling apart, going to repair those along with the body mounts
-the pitman arm and drag link seem to be at an extreme angle. I just ordered the Skyjacker CA50 dropped pitman arm

I've included various pictures as they speak a lot more than I can.

Thanks for your input, I'm very happy to have one of my dream vehicles!!!





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Old 07-30-2017, 05:32 PM   #2
Not a bronco
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Re: New 71 Blazer owner - vague steering bump steer

I had this issue for almost a year I replaced drag links and the steering gearbox, and i couldn't turn sharp at all(thought it was a bad ps pump)
I only found the problem when my buddy was Standing off to the side and he saw my whole axle was sliding back and forth on my leaf springs cause I had a broken centering pin.
https://youtu.be/NxMAWtVyHaM
Once I fixed that, drove almost like a new truck
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Old 07-30-2017, 06:29 PM   #3
81turbota
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Re: New 71 Blazer owner - vague steering bump steer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Not a bronco View Post
I had this issue for almost a year I replaced drag links and the steering gearbox, and i couldn't turn sharp at all(thought it was a bad ps pump)
I only found the problem when my buddy was Standing off to the side and he saw my whole axle was sliding back and forth on my leaf springs cause I had a broken centering pin.
https://youtu.be/NxMAWtVyHaM
Once I fixed that, drove almost like a new truck
Thanks for the input Not a Bronco. I will check those pins while I wait on parts. I think I have found my culprit- the driver's side spring eye bushing is completely gone. It was there a week ago! Haha. The passenger's side eye bushing is deteriorating badly as you can see in the original post. Like a knucklehead, I ordered the bushings for the rear shackle instead a few weeks ago. I placed the order today for some front bushings. I'll report back

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Old 07-30-2017, 06:45 PM   #4
jjzepplin
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Re: New 71 Blazer owner - vague steering bump steer

The drop pitman should help alot. I think you are on the right track with bushings. (for sure) That front link seems to be bent. Check for cracks behind the steering box. If it is not yet you would do well to strengthen it now before it does. Check for slop in the steering box itself-some can be adjusted out of course. Angle of the front axle after lift kits can also add to steering fun. Had my Blazer since I was nineteen. 48 now so they can be a blast for a long time if you treat it right and watch out for pie holes driving like dipsquats.
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Old 07-30-2017, 10:37 PM   #5
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Re: New 71 Blazer owner - vague steering bump steer

Quote:
Originally Posted by 81turbota View Post
I placed the order today for some front bushings. I'll report back

Where'd you order from? Got a part number? I'm almost in the same boat with my front bushings. I already replaced my rear leafs completely lol
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Old 07-30-2017, 10:44 PM   #6
81turbota
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Re: New 71 Blazer owner - vague steering bump steer

Thanks for the info Jjzepplin. Is there a doubler plate available for the steering box? Doesn't sound like a difficult part to water jet. The frame shows no cracks near the steering box, the steering box is tight on the jack stands. I haven't messed with the adjustment screw just yet. My plan is dropped pitman arm, new tie rod and drag link ends, new front spring bushings and an alignment. The tie rod is definitely bent but I hope it'll still be able to fall into alignment. The only replacements I've seen are aftermarket tubing or the 73+ conversion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Not a bronco View Post
Where'd you order from? Got a part number? I'm almost in the same boat with my front bushings. I already replaced my rear leafs completely lol
The only information I had to go off of was the spring eye measures 1.5" and the spring perch measures 3.5".

I have no idea this will fit 3.5", but it is listed at 1.5" spring eye ID. If it's too wide, I'll shave it down. If it's too narrow, I'll send it back and throw another line out. I have no idea who made the springs in my truck, so fingers crossed this will work.

Energy Suspension 3-2018R, listed for 81-86 Chevy truck rear spring. Was able to find it on 1.5" eye. 1.5" eye bushing, 1 3/8 shackle bushing.

Last edited by 81turbota; 07-30-2017 at 10:50 PM.
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