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power steering problems - Need ideas!

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by newyorkin, Jun 19, 2002.

  1. newyorkin

    newyorkin 1 ton status

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    Hey all.

    I had a run-in with a giant root a couple weeks ago, and have since had major steering issues. I've had to hold the wheel 90 degrees to the left just to go strait.
    I just changed all the tires and rims and now have a full matching set with even wear all around, I thought maybe the spare was wacking out the steering, but the new wheels are exactly the same.
    So I changed the box last night, and now have no power steering whatsoever (and I still have to hold the wheel the same way to go strait, too).
    The return hose has an extremely bad leak where the fitting meets the box. This is due to the first time I ever changed the box on the truck, and had to modify the O-ring fitting to mate with a flare fitting... Pre-'81 box went on to a post-'81 truck that time, then got replaced by the corret box, but I never changed the fitting. It didn't leak with the last box that I just changed out, so I don't really get why it's leaking with this one (identical box).

    I also completely drained the new box before putting it in, so I'm wondering, should I have somehow bled this thing and filled it up before using it? I don't see how that would be, it should fill up and pressurize when I start the motor, right?

    Would a huge leak at the return line cause a complete lack of power steering??

    Also, what else should I look at to find the wacked steering? Nothing is visibly bent in the linkage, and balljoints are solid. Passenger side bearing is a little worn out, but not bad at all, just making a little noise.

    Thanks for any help!!
     
  2. m j

    m j 1/2 ton status

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    bent drag link is the wheel problem

    bleeding is just a matter of raising front off ground and turn lock to lock a bunch of times
     
  3. Twiz

    Twiz 1/2 ton status

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    When a fresh gear is installed it should be bled.
    Lift the front end and turn the steering lock to lock 3-4 times and refill. Start the truck and turn the steering lock to lock again 3-4 times. This should get all the air out of the system, unless there is a leak.
    With a leaking return line, it will ariate the fluid, and air is compressible, so it is possible that it will not have full power assist. (fix the leak first, then bleed)

    Steering wheel at 90.
    The drag link running from the gear to the arm has an adjustment sleave on it. Loosen the nuts and turn the sleave. This will basicaly make the drag link longer/shorter (one tie-rod end is RH thead, the other is LH).
    If your steering wheel is off-set to the left, turn the sleave under/out
    If it is off to the right, turn it over/out.


    Edited: I just got to thinking, that "over/under" stuff might not be the same, if you have your Short Drag-link end in the front. It might, but I'm not sure. But you get the idea.
     
  4. newyorkin

    newyorkin 1 ton status

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    Thanks Y'all. Well, I dug up a n O-ring and rigged it in the return line, then cranked it down real tight. No more leak! I started the truck to bleed it and had full power like before I started...

    Truck drives like a Caddy now!!

    MJ, the drag link doesn't look bent, looks the same as it did when I got the truck (I'm a picture freak). I'm thinking I'm goind to have it shop-aligned though, and see if they find anything when it's on the machine.

    I pulled up to them front of the truck in my wifes car tonight, and from the front, it actually looks like the wheel that hit is slightly off camber, like in at the top and out at the bottom, not the same as the other side. It could've been the angle it was sitting, or the bent up front bumper I was comparing to, but it did look wrong.

    Thanks for tips, I think I might play with the drag link before I go for alignment anyway...
     
  5. m j

    m j 1/2 ton status

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    might not look it, but it is. /forums/images/icons/grin.gif
    the adjustment sleeve is real soft.
    just follow Twistys expert advice(he has an understanding about how these things work ya know)

    paying for an alignment on a frontend that has only 2 adjustments is foolish.
    they will adjust drag link, 'set toe and let go $40 thank you very much' same as you can do for free
     
  6. Leadfoot

    Leadfoot 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    the adjustment sleeve is real soft.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Very True

    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    just follow Twistys expert advice(he has an understanding about how these things work ya know)

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Very true again /forums/images/icons/grin.gif

    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    paying for an alignment on a frontend that has only 2 adjustments is foolish.
    they will adjust drag link, 'set toe and let go $40 thank you very much' same as you can do for free

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Again very true but not the whole story. They will only adjust toe-in and draglink (which centers steering wheel), but even though they won't adjust caster and camber (not can't, because they can, they just don't want to), the readout will tell you what the specs are. Caster is built in and doesn't change unless springs sag/break, different length shackles are used, axle shims, ....(you get the point) but it will still give a reading. The big thing that most people don't have checked is camber. Although it is not easily corrected (you must shim behind the spindle or the alusive "custom" offset balljoints) because it is built into the axle, many peoples camber is off, due to axle fatigue and/or bent axle tubes. Although they won't correct it, they will let you know if it's within spec. Even if these are out it won't affect your steering wheel position but it WILL affect tire wear and handling. As MJ said the steering wheel position is determined by draglink length. When you hit the root you could have bent it (even slightly) or you may have shifted the steering box and/or cracked the frame (which is common). I would check the frame carefully, make sure the bolts are tight on the box, and then adjust the draglink (may be worth it to replace). I just bought new draglink ends and adjuster sleeve from NAPA for the 78 and with lifetime warranty it was under $80 (cheap insurance for proper/tight steering). So I agree that constant alignment by a shop at $$$ is a waiste as you can make the adjustments in the driveway for free, but a one time alignment (especially on vehicles that are 10+ years old) is worth it to find out if the axles are "true" or not. Just a thought.
     

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