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I've searched, but... loose steering HOW-TO?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by KRAZIE87K5, Aug 18, 2003.

  1. KRAZIE87K5

    KRAZIE87K5 1/2 ton status

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    I\'ve searched, but... loose steering HOW-TO?

    I've got a 1989 3/4 ton Burb. I also have a nasty steering problem with the rig. I loaded up the rear of the truck with A TON of camping gear, and drove up to WI this weekend. First thing I notice at highway speed as that the truck wanted to sway left right left right left right. I had to correct the steering wheel to compensate for this, really freaked me out when it first happened at 70mph. After about 100mi, the swaying went mostly away - but it was still there somewhat.

    One thing I noticed is that I had a good amount of weight in the rear of the truck, and the rear susp. was loaded, which in return unloads the front susp. That really worrys me, because this thing is my TOW RIG for my 7000# K5 & trailer. If it has a hard time pulling around ~1000# of luggage... WTF will it do when I load the trailer on there?

    ANYWAYS... I want to go thru the front suspension. I know how to look for some things, but I really don't know how to detect a failing tie rod end. Can anyone give me an idea? /forums/images/graemlins/thinking.gif

    Once I am sure the front end is tight, I will get an alignment done. I also just had the tires rotated and balanced today... and there really wasn't any odd tire wear to speak of on the front tires (indicating a poor alignment) so I am not REALLY concerned about that part of it.

    The other thing I will search for is... gear box suggestions. I don't want to replace it... I just want to tighten up the bolt on the top side of the sector shaft. Anyone know where to find instructions to adjust this?

    Thanks all... and sorry for the basic questions! /forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif /forums/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif

    -Dan
     
  2. thefarside

    thefarside 1/2 ton status

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    Re: I\'ve searched, but... loose steering HOW-TO?

    How much play do you have in your steeing wheel when you are turning? Example: how far do you have to turn your steering wheel before it actually starts to turn?

    Some truck specs would also help. Not many people will help without them.

    You really should not have any play at all.

    Suggestions...
    1) Get better springs, or try an add a leaf spring set.
    2) Get a steering brace for the steering box to keep the frame from cracking
    3) 7k worth of weight? I would get a tranny cooler, a big one!


    See this post, it may help a bit with the steering.

    [ QUOTE ]
    GM trucks crack the frame in that area ALL THE TIME don't run it for long with a broken bolt..
    --
    Reinforcements are sold to go behind the box and in the corner of the frame if it cracks..
    --
    The "spacers" are to keep the bolts tight..
    --
    I know it sounds wierd, but when you use a spacer, the two pieces that are boted together can move around just a bit without making the bolt get loose...the longer bolt seems to have more "stretch" and stays tight...

    The 4x4 transmission X-member uses the same spacers...

    All the 1973 to 1987 (1990 burban/blazer)use the same box..

    There were two different steering shaft sizes, so if you get a junkyard box, make sure you get the "rag joint flange" take the two bolts out rather than the one 12 point bolt...

    Also, somewhere in the early 1980's they changed to a "metric box", with O-rings that seal the lines, the lines WILL NOT inter change... you have to use the same year pump, or change the 1" pressure fitting in the back of the pump and use the right lines...

    /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif /forums/images/graemlins/truck.gif

    [/ QUOTE ]

    This too might help.

    [ QUOTE ]
    on my 89 there is a little allen key hole inside of a bolt, so i loostened the bolt a little, tightened the allen key and then tightened the bolt again and it worked great. if you cant find it i can take pics /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/k5.gif

    [/ QUOTE ]

    But that is off of the top of my head.
     
  3. 73k5blazer

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

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    Re: I\'ve searched, but... loose steering HOW-TO?

    The best way to check tie-rods is to raise up the front-end off the ground, then play becomes much more apparent when you grab the rod and jossle it back and forth. Check the drag-link while your at it, if the burb is 2wd, I don't know what to tell you, not familiar with the 2wd set-up. Check Ball joints with the truck off the ground again, sit with legs strattleing the bottom of the hanging tire (Make sure to use jack stands!) grab the top and bottom of the tire and pull outward with top hand and inward with bottom hand, and vise-versa, there should be a very small amount of play, but that its, if there's significant amount of play, they need replaced.
    The biggest source of loose steering, and possible the most overlooked, for 2wd or 4wd versions of these trucks is the steering shaft. They are collapsable for safty, and the slip joint where the two pieces come together go bad.
    Towing a trailer shouldn't be as bad, if you say you had 1000# worth of gear in the back, thats way more than a trailer should ever be on the tounge, the trailer axles should take most of the trailer weight. I believe it's 500# tounge weight for a class three hitch and #600 for a class IV, and with a good quality weight distributing hitch and you can put a good percentage of that up front. If your towing a K5, I would highly reccommend a weight distributing hitch. A lot of people underestimate the value of a weight distributing hitch, but once you use one, you'll never go back.

    Let me state this very cleary. DO NOT MESS WITH THE BOLT ON THE TOP OF THE SECTOR SHAFT! This will in NO WAY tighten steering, what it will do is place more pre-load on the sector shaft, (if you go even a little too much the secto r shaft WILL break after being used!) giving harder-to-steer steering, but will not remove any play in the system. All it will do is make it so you have to place more or less tourqe on the wheel to turn it, it WILL NOT remove ANY play in the steering. These are set at the factory, and unless you take them apart (I've been in thousands of them), they pretty much do not wear and do not ever need adjustment, trust me on this. Even if it were in need of adjustment, and I've only seen probably less than 10 that ever did, you need a huge machine/tool to get it adjusted right. We have a machine to put the gear in, it turns the input, measure the torque on the output, all while pushing steering fluid through the system.
    All the other things mentions, tie-rods, drag-links, ball joints, steering shaft, possible the rag joint, they are the culprit of your loose steering.

    BlazerMan
     
  4. KRAZIE87K5

    KRAZIE87K5 1/2 ton status

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    Re: I\'ve searched, but... loose steering HOW-TO?

    Truck specs:
    [ QUOTE ]
    I've got a STOCK 1989 3/4 ton Burb

    [/ QUOTE ]

    1. I've already got good 3/4 ton springs (which also come with a 3/4 ton frame).
    2. This truck is PURE street driver, it will never see offroad enuf to warrant the box brace.
    3. CHECK!

    I know about the allen key and the locking nut... I was more looking for some kind of instructions how to adjust it properly vs. "i loostened the bolt a little, tightened the allen key and then tightened the bolt again and it worked great".... /forums/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif

    The steering box is also tight to the frame, NO cracks thanks to the 3/4 ton frame.

    -Dan
     
  5. KRAZIE87K5

    KRAZIE87K5 1/2 ton status

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    Re: I\'ve searched, but... loose steering HOW-TO?

    [ QUOTE ]
    DO NOT MESS WITH THE BOLT ON THE TOP OF THE SECTOR SHAFT!

    [/ QUOTE ]
    This flys in the face of quite a few ppls opinion around here... but your explanation makes sense. I'll leave it be then! /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif

    I'll try to check out the steering components tonight... and see what I see. I'll post back up later...

    -Dan
     
  6. big pappa b

    big pappa b 3/4 ton status

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    Re: I\'ve searched, but... loose steering HOW-TO?

    If you had a big block in it that would add some weight to the front end /forums/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif
     
  7. KRAZIE87K5

    KRAZIE87K5 1/2 ton status

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    Re: I\'ve searched, but... loose steering HOW-TO?

    Hahahaha haha ha. Not funny. Speaking of big blocks... how is yours doing?!! /forums/images/graemlins/deal.gif

    -Dan
     
  8. big pappa b

    big pappa b 3/4 ton status

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    Re: I\'ve searched, but... loose steering HOW-TO?

    Well....It's been in the truck since, oh, about 2 weeks after I got it from you. It's sitting in the street in front of my house right now and I STILL haven't started it /forums/images/graemlins/1zhelp.gif I'm waiting on a throttle cable right now. I just ordered new wheels and tires and an Optima battery Sunday night. Gonna get the front springs, shock and shackle flip ordered today. Also just picked up some Beard seats. I'm collecting parts as you can see. I should have it running by the weekend. Not sure what the neighbors will think since it still has open headers too... 2 neighbors are cops /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif /forums/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif
     
  9. 73k5blazer

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

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    Re: I\'ve searched, but... loose steering HOW-TO?

    I know it does, and I try to respond with a full explanation each time, but I miss a few here and there. I used to work at Delphi where these things were made, and I have LOTS of friends that still work there.
    People do do it, but it is not recommended, and 999/1000 it won't help the "loose steering" symptom that most people are doing it for. The worst part is, I've seen at least a dozen or so that the sector shaft had actually broke due to too-much pre-load after someone had "adjusted" it, remember these are people that were admitting to adjusting it, I've seen at lease 2 dozen more with broken sector shafts that people claim "just broke...uh..when I hit a curb"..most of these people were'nt off-roaders...and many of them had wrecked trucks due to loosing steering.
    The second and probably the more important point is, the cause of loose steering is usally 999/1000 not the steering gear...remember these trucks had a pretty "loose" setup to begin with, so any wear inthe ball joints/slip joint/rag joint/drag link/tie-rod ends just makes it that much worse...
     
  10. KRAZIE87K5

    KRAZIE87K5 1/2 ton status

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    Re: I\'ve searched, but... loose steering HOW-TO?

    Kewl, thanks for the info. I'll leave the sector shaft preload alone then! /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif

    I took a quick look trough the steering last night, and I couldn't find anything OBVIOUSLY loose. I'll check on Thurs. night when I have someone here to help me.

    -Dan
     
  11. 73k5blazer

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

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    Re: I\'ve searched, but... loose steering HOW-TO?

    Sometimes it's hard to tell if these parts are bad, the best judgement can be milage and age. If they have over 75,000mi and/or over 6 years old, they probably need replacing. When I did my '73 K5, I wasn't sure, but after adding the ORD brace kit to the frame around the gear, and replacing all the ball joints, tie-rod ends, and the drag link, that made a world of difference, but it was still a little loose, then someone suggested I replace the steering shaft, and that made the biggest difference. I was hard to tell it was loose in the truck, but once it was out, you could really see how loose it was..
     
  12. KRAZIE87K5

    KRAZIE87K5 1/2 ton status

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    Re: I\'ve searched, but... loose steering HOW-TO?

    Thats a good point though... maybe I'll pull the shaft out, and see how sloppy it is. Although the drivers side front tire seems to respond VERY closely to the movement of the steering wheel, which would lead me to think that the shaft is solid...

    One thing I notice is this:

    under medium or better braking, the steering wheel pulls to the left... yet the truck still tracks straight on the road. I've been tossing around in my head what that could be... but I just can't figure out what component would cause this.

    Any ideas?

    -Dan
     
  13. wrathORC

    wrathORC 1/2 ton status

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    Re: I\'ve searched, but... loose steering HOW-TO?

    Before you do anything, when going down the road where does your steering wheel sit? It should sit no more than dropped 3/8" to the left of center at the edge of the steering wheel. I found that if it is pointed to the right or too far to the left that it WILL NOT go down the road straight. I found this out after I lifted my truck and the 4" raised steering arm wasn't high enough for the 4" lift. I drove it around with the steering wheel pointed way off and it wouldn't go down the road for beans. Once I got it set back to normal it was back to going down the road without steering input.

    Next is toe-in. I found out too much or not enough and it plays a big role especially with large tires. I think I ended up with 3/8" with 33" rubber.

    Balljoints will make it go nuts when you hit bumps. So will centerlink ends.

    Draglink ends will just create sloppy steering. I've found that the one at the steering box is always sloppy on every vehicle.
     
  14. 73k5blazer

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

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    Re: I\'ve searched, but... loose steering HOW-TO?

    One caliper engaing before the other? Not sure on that one, how's it under light braking, or under no braking. The point about proper toe is good too...
     
  15. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    Re: I\'ve searched, but... loose steering HOW-TO?

    For the brake pulling, change your brake hoses!
     
  16. Blue85

    Blue85 Troll Premium Member

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    Re: I\'ve searched, but... loose steering HOW-TO?

    The brake pulling is probably in the calipers. Check to make sure the slide pins on both are well lubed and that the calipers are free to slide. Check to pad wear for clues about caliper problems.
     
  17. KRAZIE87K5

    KRAZIE87K5 1/2 ton status

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    Re: I\'ve searched, but... loose steering HOW-TO?

    I just dropped in new calipers and pads. I also greased the pins as needed. I'm liking the suggestion about expanding rubber lines to the calipers as the culpit of this pulling problem.

    I still have the vibration issues though... and thats the one that really gets me. I can't feel them in the steering wheel either. And with new u-joints installed, the tires balanced, and all major suspension parts check ok... I am at a loss. /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif

    -Dan
     
  18. TONYP

    TONYP 1/2 ton status

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    Re: I\'ve searched, but... loose steering HOW-TO?

    didn't read but your post so someone might of covered this...100 miles you burned up alot of gas so the front end would see more weight on the front tires...if you have no problem without the rear end loaded then it might be a case of unloading the front end... /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     

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