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Death Wobble

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by NEK5, Jan 21, 2006.

  1. NEK5

    NEK5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    :confused: ok....this death wobble is getting annoying....i have a 90 blazer with a 4inch lift and 33x14.5 mickeys...i had wat i am almost positive is death wobble..so i looked on here and i found out that it has to do with the front steering...now i have the stock balljoint frontend..it made and still does make a little clunkin noise when u turn the wheel while sitting in one spot..so i had my buddys dad,my mechanic, check it over and the only thing we could find with the truck jacked up was play in the steering box..a few days later we looked at it again..with out the truck jacked up and he looked to see where the noise was coming from....he had me turn the wheel back and forth and he saw play in the draglink...so we put a new one in and no more wobble..over the past couple days i`ve been noticing a little swerving on the highway and a real slight wobble when on kind of bumpy roads..until today...on my way home and hit a little bumpy patch in the road and the wobbles back..any ideas???could it be the steering box??? or anything else??
     
  2. trikstark5

    trikstark5 1/2 ton status

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    Did you check for cracks in the frame around the steering box?
     
  3. 73k5blazer

    73k5blazer Unplug the matrix cable from the back of your head Premium Member

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    Most overlooked thing is the collapsable steering shaft. I wouldn't adjust the steering box, it's rarly the problem, and the wrong adjustment will break the sector shaft.
    Here's an old post of mine:


    The common problems are:

    Problem:Worn Tie-Rod ends
    How to Check: Raise front of truck, grab a front tire on the fore-aft axis, wiggle and watch for tie-rod slop

    Problem: Loose steering box bolts
    How to Check: With truck on ground, turn wheels. If you notice the box lifting off the frame AT ALL, tighten the bolts.

    Problem: Ball Joint Wear
    How to Check: Raise front of truck. grab a front tire on the up-down axis, wiggle and watch for ball joint slop. Lower truck, watch for any movement in ball joint slop as weight is transferred onto wheels from jack.

    Problem: Loose Front Wheel Bearings
    How to Check: Same as for the ball joints, but the tire wiggles too much and you don't see the play in your ball joints, your wheel bearing require adjustment for replacment.

    Problem: Drag Link Wear
    How to Check: Raise front of truck. Have a helper turn the steering wheel back&forth while you hold on to the front drivers tire, watch for slop in the drag link. Also grabbing the drag link with your hand and wiggle can show the wear sometimes too.

    Problem: Loose Collapsable Steering shaft
    How to Check: Get two pairs of vice grips, clamp one pair on lower section, one pair on upper section, grab both pairs and attempt to wiggle in opposite directions. If ANY play is detected, replace the shaft. This is the most overlooked piece of the steering system and usally is the second most common cause of loose steering on these trucks.

    Problem: Loose Rag joint
    How to Check: This isn't as common. Raise front of truck. Have a helper turn the steering wheel back and forth while you watch the rag joint. Look for play.

    Problem: Cracked Frame
    How to Check: With truck on ground, have a helper turn the steering wheel (Truck can be running for power assist) and look for frame wiggle in the area of the steering box. Also, with engine off, simply inspect the frame around the steering box. Cracks usally show up on the top of the frame rail and just infront of the forward bolt holes (hidden, unless you can weasel of look at the inside/back side of the frame rail, which usally requires a mirror)

    Problem: Spring fasterns/bushings/mounts
    What to do: Tighten your spring and axle fasteners, they may be loose. Check for bad spring bushings front & rear. Check the sway bar bushings as well. If you've put lift blocks on our front axle, remove them, they are dangerous and illegal in most states and a very likly cause of loose steering.

    Myth about steering box adjustment:
    There is a common myth that adjusting the allen bolt on the top of your steering box will tighten steering. This is just a myth. What is will do is place more preload internally on the sector shaft and cause you to have to put more effort into turning the wheel (More torque required to turn). It will not remove any "play" from the system. If you have sloppy steering or the truck is wandering and tough to control, adjusting this WILL NOT help you at all. Additionaly, if you adjust it improperly, and place too much pre-load on the sector, it will break, leaving you without steering, and in a potentially very bad situation. People like to belive this myth because it is easy and free. But it won't help with sloppy steering. So avoid it. Adjusting this properly requires removing the box and putting it on a "tool" or machine that will tell you exactly where the pre-load should be. It is adjusted at the factory and requires no furthur adjustment.
     
  4. NEK5

    NEK5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    t hanks guys I still haven't looked yet but will let u know...any more suggestions
     
  5. 4X4HIGH

    4X4HIGH 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    I will tell you what solved my death wobble even though you messaged me yesterday on AIM and started talking **** to me. I finally replaced ALL 4 tires and no more death wobble. I posted this already on another thread that i believe you started.
     
  6. NEK5

    NEK5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    (Problem: Loose Collapsable Steering shaft
    How to Check: Get two pairs of vice grips, clamp one pair on lower section, one pair on upper section, grab both pairs and attempt to wiggle in opposite directions. If ANY play is detected, replace the shaft. This is the most overlooked piece of the steering system and usally is the second most common cause of loose steering on these trucks.)

    could this be what is causing my wobble?when i had my buddys dad check the ball joints and tie rods he could find anything wrong with it. wat else can cause this wobble other than that?
     
  7. NEK5

    NEK5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    also my tires are 33x14.5 and i`ve only seen people use 12.5 could this be my problem?
     
  8. 73k5blazer

    73k5blazer Unplug the matrix cable from the back of your head Premium Member

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    It's entierly possible the shaft is your problem. It is not usally a wobble though, the shaft is just general sloppiness in the steering. However, any sloppiness here brings out the worst in the littlest of wobbles. The 14.5" wide tires won't help either, hard to control on road. The OEM's have nightmares about wide tires and large diamter rims. Take a look at a '05 Escalade with the factory 20" rims. The tie rods are larger, the frame has been re-inforced where the a-arms meet, and a list of about 50 other things that were beefed up to take the punishment that larger and wider rims put out.
     
  9. NEK5

    NEK5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    so wat do u suppose I do. I drove the truck for about 4 or 5 months before all this happened so I figured tires wasntt the problem
     
  10. 73k5blazer

    73k5blazer Unplug the matrix cable from the back of your head Premium Member

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    Have you checked all the things people have suggested here? Does everything look OK. There's never a simple easy answer to this type of problem. It could be a combination of several things. Bushings, joints, ends, spring fastners, bearings, shafts, check and check again. It's got to be something. Tires balanced?
     
  11. K5Kell

    K5Kell Guest

    If you have checked the above lsited items and they all seem fine then I would suggest looking at the tires. A friend encountered such a bad wobble that he was sure he had bent a rim, finally switched out his thornbirds for some mudterrains and it drove smooth as before. And yes the wobble was something that developed as the tires wore. As for the mickey t's I dont have much experience with them in comparison to the bad name thornbirds have recieved.
    -Kell-
     
  12. oatsk5

    oatsk5 1/2 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    im not gonna say were ive seen this but the wrong size spring eye bolt in the front hangers ,mabe bad bushing just my 2 cents
     
  13. NEK5

    NEK5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    so how do i check for play. i dont fully understand what you say to do...now in the first pic is a pic of the shaft...where do i put the vice grips...i was also able to grip the shaft and move it around a little...in the second on the top you can barely see where it looks like it has been moving in and out a good inch or so...not sure if its supposed to???...and u can see the blob of grease that is there and wasnt before...also when you move the shaft you can see the bearing or whatever it goes into move around....when i looked at another shaft assembly it was tight....i`ve checked over everything else except for wheel bearings...the only other thing i can find is play in the steering box...i have had a few people tell me my tires may be the problem but i wanna find out for sure because i`m lookin at about 1000 to 1200 for new ones

    060128083524.JPG

    untitled.JPG
     
  14. 73k5blazer

    73k5blazer Unplug the matrix cable from the back of your head Premium Member

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    What I mean with the vice gripthing is to grab each on each side of the slip joint (slip joint in circle, place vice grips where I've put straight lines).
    Once vice grips attached, try to move them in opposite directions of each other. That slip joint wears (from steerng side to side, not from moving in a out, it's pinned in with a small pin designed tos hear and let the shaft collapse in the event of a bad frontal collision).
    You can also have a friend try to move the steering wheel, and you grab the upper portion of the shaft (vice grips again), move in opposite directions, if any play, that shfat and all it's joints are in need of replacment.
    060128083524.JPG

    060128083524.JPG
     
  15. NEK5

    NEK5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    so if i were to buy the shaft assembly like the one you mentioned in my other tread would that replace it all??
     

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