Dismiss Notice

Welcome To CK5!

Registering is free and easy! Hope to see you on the forums soon.

Score a FREE t-shirt and membership sticker when you sign up for a Premium Membership and choose the recurring plan.

Centering steering wheel

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by KENT, Jul 11, 2001.

  1. KENT

    KENT 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2000
    Posts:
    139
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Roseburg, OR
    I just completed my lift. How do I return the steering wheel to center. It is now about 1/3 turn to the right when the truck is going straight.

    Thanks
    Kent

    1989 K5 33X12.5 with 2.5" lift 12 bolt with aubur posi running 3.73 gears.
     
  2. Pugsley

    Pugsley 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2001
    Posts:
    3,556
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Tucson, Arizona
    Need to take it in and get it aligned - Once you get the drag link lengthened a few turns, you should be back in the center.

    <font color=red>Cripplefight!!</font color=red>
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://pugsley.alloffroad.com>http://pugsley.alloffroad.com</A> Updated finally[​IMG]
     
  3. KENT

    KENT 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2000
    Posts:
    139
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Roseburg, OR
    Is this something I can do myself. I hate to pay for something simple.

    Kent

    1989 K5 33X12.5 with 2.5" lift 12 bolt with aubur posi running 3.73 gears.
     
  4. txbartman

    txbartman 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2001
    Posts:
    1,975
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Plano, TX
    No need to take it in for alignment, but you can if you wish. Installing a lift does not affect alignment (doesn't mess with the tie rods), it only adjust where "center" is. Here is what I did...

    Put you front axle on jack stands.
    Unlock your steering column, center the wheel, and lock it back again.
    On your drag link, loosen the two bolts strapping the center of the link tight. You don't have to remove them, just loosen them.
    Now, wedge a solid screw driver or a small crowbar into the slot on the center part of the link that you just loosed and rotate it. As it rotates, it will expand or contract the link, depending on which way you turn it.
    Turn it a few turns and then look at the wheels and see if they are straight yet. If so, voila. if not, crank it a few more turns and check it out again.

    This process isn't perfect, but it works pretty good. And it saves money of an alignment. And, if you decide not to do this and take it in for an alignment, be sure to tell them you want the wheel straightened. An alignment simply lines up the wheels, it doesn't take into consideration the position of the steering wheel. It simply adjust the tires themselves in relation to each other.

    85 GMC Jimmy, 305 w/TH700-NP208, 4" lift, 35X12.5 BFG MTs, 15x10 Hellcats, Smittybuilt tube nerf bars and bumbers
     
  5. gpd4

    gpd4 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2001
    Posts:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    Or just wait - you'll get used to the offset wheel. Mine wouldn't fit in the alignment rack, so we did it with a tape measure. About 3/8" toe-in. There's only the one adjustable tie rod end ( on mine ) to do the toe in. The other clamp ( above the front tire ) will center the wheel.

    '85 Blazer... 9" lift... 35-12.50 BFG AT's...LOTS of rust
     
  6. Pugsley

    Pugsley 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2001
    Posts:
    3,556
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Tucson, Arizona
    I prefer to take it in and get it aligned whenever I mess with the suspension/steering. You could do like 85 GMC said and do it yourself, but for the cost involved (usually $49), if you haven't had it aligned in a while, I'd take it in and get it done.

    <font color=red>Cripplefight!!</font color=red>
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://pugsley.alloffroad.com>http://pugsley.alloffroad.com</A> Updated finally[​IMG]
     
  7. KENT

    KENT 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2000
    Posts:
    139
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Roseburg, OR
    I was planning on having it aligned when I get tires in a couple of months. Right now it's messing with my blinkers being off center.

    Kent

    1989 K5 33X12.5 with 2.5" lift 12 bolt with aubur posi running 3.73 gears.
     
  8. Executioner

    Executioner 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2000
    Posts:
    1,530
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Temp. Ft. Walton Beach Fl. home=Tucson, Az.
    Someone has pulled the wool over you eyes !
    An alinment and streeing wheel are not related ?
    NOT
     
  9. txbartman

    txbartman 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2001
    Posts:
    1,975
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Plano, TX
    I guess my key here is that unless you did something with the tie rod during your lift installation (which is highly unlikely), you haven't affected your alignment. Alignment is the distance between the two front tires. What you did was simply change how the steering box links to the steering arm. So all that needs to be done is the adjustment of the drag link. This will in no way, sort, or fashion impact your alignment. Only tie rod or camber adjustment is going to do that.

    85 GMC Jimmy, 305 w/TH700-NP208, 4" lift, 35X12.5 BFG MTs, 15x10 Hellcats, Smittybuilt tube nerf bars and bumbers
     
  10. txbartman

    txbartman 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2001
    Posts:
    1,975
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Plano, TX
    Alignment has to do with the positioning of the tires in relation to each other (toe in and toe out) and with their tilt (camber). Steering wheel being off-center has to do with the center point of the steering box and the center point of the tires. If you let go of your steering wheel (which is off center) and the vehicle continues to go straight (no pulling), then you have a centering problem, but not an alignment problem.

    85 GMC Jimmy, 305 w/TH700-NP208, 4" lift, 35X12.5 BFG MTs, 15x10 Hellcats, Smittybuilt tube nerf bars and bumbers
     
  11. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

    Joined:
    May 31, 2000
    Posts:
    10,384
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Georgetown, TX
    The only thing that they "adjust" (besides your bank account) for the $49 is your toe-in and center the wheel. [​IMG] Unless you've bent parts the toe-in should be fine anyway. They can't adjust the caster or camber without getting into some serious work that drives the price up considerably. The drag link adjustment doesn't affect the actual alignment of the wheels, just the steering wheel itself. It certainly isn't worth $50 to me to have someone else turn the adjuster sleeve on the drag link. [​IMG]

    <font color=black>HarryH3 - '75 K5</font color=black>
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.angelfire.com/super/ThunderTruck>http://www.angelfire.com/super/ThunderTruck</A>
    It's a great day to be alive...
     
  12. BurbinOR

    BurbinOR 3/4 ton status

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2000
    Posts:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Oregon
    Hey Kent,

    When I did the one ton conversion I had that problem, the way to correct it is stated above, by adjusting the drag link to center the wheel.

    The toe-in recommended was 1/8" toe in, not sure if that or 3/8" would make a heck of a lot of difference but the place I took it does nothing but LARGE 4 wheel trucks (the one's that don't fit in a standard alignment rack) and they said 1/8". Just their $.02...........

    I hear you on the blinkers...........aggravating!

    <font color=blue>'79 ONE TON TPI K5 - See it at---&gt;<A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.blazzinor.alloffroad.com>http://www.blazzinor.alloffroad.com</A>
     
  13. Pugsley

    Pugsley 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2001
    Posts:
    3,556
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Tucson, Arizona
    The last time I took one in for an alignment it was on an F-150, and I got out of there for 49 bucks, + $13.50 a piece for new camber bushings. I guess it depends on where you go - I take mine to a local tire shop, or the dealer, and always get the full package.

    <font color=red>Cripplefight!!</font color=red>
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://pugsley.alloffroad.com>http://pugsley.alloffroad.com</A> Updated finally[​IMG]<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1>Edited by Pugsley on 07/11/01 03:31 PM (server time).</FONT></P>
     
  14. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2000
    Posts:
    26,982
    Likes Received:
    191
    Location:
    Roy WA
    Wow, they actually adjusted your wheel? They took mine, put it on the rack, said I did a good job for eyeballing it (too the person that took it in for me while I worked) and took my money, and shut the door. I had to do the drag link myself.

    As was said, if vehicle tracks straight with hands off the wheel, adjust the drag link. I had to adjust mine a few times to get it right, but eventually I realized, if you turn the draglink clockwise, the wheel turns clockwise. Pretty durn simple lol.

    Hard part is getting it to move. Take the tire off. Undo the two clamps until the bolts almost fall out. Take a big screwdriver, or some strong tapered pointy thing (like end of a crowbar) and spread the seam on the drag link a bit, to break the corrosion. Lube somehow (I used grease, so if I ever needed to again, I wouldn't have to go through the trouble of spreading it..WD-40 works though) the threads of the drag link ends.

    Now you can use a pipe wrench, or if loose enough, even vise grips, to turn it to correct. Once you get it freed up, and adjust it some, tighten back down (enough so that the threads can't "slip" when you test drive) the nuts/bolts, and test drive it. Doesn't take but a few seconds to realize if you are making progress or not. With the sleeve lubed up, you can adjust it with the tire on, just crawl under the truck and loosen the bolts, twist the link a little bit, retighten, and try again.

    Dorian
    My tech/links page: <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.dorianyeager.com/index2.html>http://www.dorianyeager.com/index2.html</A>
    No anti-theft measures on your truck? No pity when its stolen
     
  15. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

    Joined:
    May 31, 2000
    Posts:
    10,384
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Georgetown, TX
    Those Ford Twin Traction Beam front ends have adjustments for the caster and camber. Dana 44's, 60's, 10-bolts, and other solid-axle front ends don't have that "feature" so there's not much to adjust.

    <font color=black>HarryH3 - '75 K5</font color=black>
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.angelfire.com/super/ThunderTruck>http://www.angelfire.com/super/ThunderTruck</A>
    It's a great day to be alive...
     
  16. Executioner

    Executioner 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2000
    Posts:
    1,530
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Temp. Ft. Walton Beach Fl. home=Tucson, Az.
    Yes they should center the wheel for a professinal job.
     
  17. nd_4_mud

    nd_4_mud Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2001
    Posts:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    new jersey
    I thnk that once the toe in is right (3/8 toe in) and you center the tire, the pitman arm is suppose to be 90 degrees from the steering box. It would make a perfect T. If i am mistaken please let me know.

    Knowledge is the key to the universe, and I hold that key when i am sleeping.[​IMG]
     
  18. desertrat67

    desertrat67 Hawk Driver

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2001
    Posts:
    3,982
    Likes Received:
    74
    Location:
    Dumfries, VA
    I worked at the Sears auto center right after high school and when we did alignments we centered the wheel with a brace, then do the alignment. If anything is off, it is fixed.
     

Share This Page