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Steering/alignment question......I may be out to lunch

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by Can Can, May 5, 2002.

  1. Can Can

    Can Can Pusher Man Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I'm not sure what I'm talking about here/forums/images/icons/shocked.gif, but bear with me a minute. Can the part that bolts onto the bottom of your steering box(I can't think of the name/forums/images/icons/tongue.gif be installed improperly, like out of degree??

    I've been chasing a wierd alignment issue for a while now. It seems like the 84 is dog-tracking(like the rear end isn't following the front in a straight line but rather it's off to the left by a few degrees). This causes me to have to turn the steering wheel MORE to go right rather than left........Does that make sense????

    Anyhow, if the part in question wasn't properly lined up, could that cause the aligment thing to happen? Is it even possible to install it in the wrong position??

    ANd could someone PLEASE tell me the name of that damn part?????/forums/images/icons/wink.gif
     
  2. rlhenry

    rlhenry Registered Member

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    It sounds like you are talking about the pitman arm. If I'm not mistaken, it has teeth on about half of it and it is grooved for the retaining bolt that holds it in place. I think it will only go on if the teeth and groove are all in the right position, otherwise it won't go on at all.

    Is your vehicle lifted? If so, it sounds like you are dealing with a problem that affects nearly all GM 4x4's with solid front axles. If you lift them without using a raised steering arm, a drop-down pitman arm, or offset drag links, you lose turning radius to one side.
     
  3. Can Can

    Can Can Pusher Man Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Pitman arm.....ok/forums/images/icons/smile.gif!!!!

    So the pitman arm can't be improperly installed because of the position of the gear-looking teeth- that's what I thought. And my 84 is stock suspension-wise so the raised steering arm isn't an issue.

    Thanks for clearing that up for me, brother!!!!/forums/images/icons/smile.gif
     
  4. GRINCH

    GRINCH 1/2 ton status

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    Can you get a 4 wheel alighnment there. (not 4wd) If the monkey doing the alignment doesn't square the back track with the front you can have that problem. Is it possible that your frame is tweaked?
     
  5. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Paul, I hate to point out obvious stuff...but.../forums/images/icons/smile.gif the rear track width is 3" narrower than the front. so if someone is following you and telling you the truck 'dog-tracks' that may be the reason.
    If it truly is 'dog-tracking' check the rear for a sheared spring pin or loose u-bolts. Measure from the front spring eye to a point of the diff that is the same on each side. The edge of the brake drum is an easy spot...if both sides measure the same you can eliminate the rear from the equation.

    For the front. Same deal...measure from the front spring eye to a fixed point on the diff that is the same on each side. If the measurments are the same the front is fine to the truck.

    If your steering wheel is just not centered when driving straight you can adjust the draglink to center the wheel. There is a sleeve with a couple of bolts on it on the drag link. Get the front wheels dead center first by turning the wheel all the way one way and then all the way the other way while counting rotations of the steering wheel. From there divide total rotations by two and turn it back that amount towards center. Now the wheels should be straight. Loosen the two bolts on the drag link sleeve and turn the adjuster with a pipe wrench or anything else that works until the steering wheel gets to center.

    While you're under there check the steering box bolts and the frame around the box. Loose bolts and cracked frames contribute to the wheel ending up off center...

    Rene
     
  6. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Actually, that counting the turns doesn't always work to get it dead on. Straight ahead may not be dead center due to bent stuff, wear, adjusting the steering stops, etc.

    I've straightened steering wheels before by pulling straight several car lengths across something like a parking lot. Just make sure it's driving roughly straight. Then, if it's close, adjust the drag link to fine tune and skip the next step. If it's far off, make sure the drag link is at a reasonable position (not all the way short, but not hanging out too far either) and pop the wheel off the shaft. There is no key way so you can put it anywhere you want. Put it on straight up and then drive it. It will likely be off one way or the other a bit. Stop and adjust the drag link to fine tune it. Repeat as necessary till satisfied. BTW, if your truck pulls, you'll need to do this on a road without a high crown.
     
  7. Thumper

    Thumper 1/2 ton status

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    Hey Rene,
    Which drag link? The short one or the long one?
    Mike
     
  8. Twiz

    Twiz 1/2 ton status

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    I'm sure you know this. The front axle is wider than the rear, so it looks like it's dog tracking from behind.
    But if your truck is really dog-tracking bad, you might have a tweeked frame (diamond shaped) or a bent frame.
    A good way to check, is to drive it slowly in a straight line, through something that will leave a nice-solid tire track, then go back and check the print, the front tires tracks should be slightly out-side the rears, and even side-to-side.

    Haveing the steering wheel off to the left or right is usualy just a miss-adjusted drag-link. Along the same lines, so is the loss of turning radius to one-side and not the other.

    Turn the steering wheel to full-lock left and check the gap (if there is one) between the steering knuckle and the steering stop bolt located behind the axle. Do the samething while turning the steering wheel full-lock right.
    I'll bet you will find that the steering stop does not contact on the left side.

    Simply adj the drag-link coller as needed to make contact, then go one or two more full turns. Test drive and note the position of the steering wheel, adj the coller slightly and redrive. Continue to drive/adj as needed untill the steering wheel is level.


    {edited} dang man, those other three guys didn't reply when I first started this....Jeeezzz- I gotta learn how to type faster! /forums/images/icons/smile.gif
    Took me 10 min to type this out, thats just sad.....
     
  9. Twiz

    Twiz 1/2 ton status

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    Shorty-

    The long on, between the tires is for toe.
     
  10. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    The link between the pitman arm and the steering arm Mike...

    The other 'one' is the tie rod and like Eric already pointed out that one will adjust your 'toe'.

    Rene
     
  11. 90K5

    90K5 1/2 ton status

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    You can't take the wheel off and put it back on straight. It only goes on one way...at least on mine anyway.
     
  12. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    No, you are right. Went through this on my car, and its steering and the truck are the same, column wise.

    The steering wheel *could* be put on anyway you like, if you cut the "tube" on the horn contact ring off. (no horn) That piece is "keyed" and the lock plate (black metal piece that locks the steering wheel when the key is removed) can only go on one way with the horn contact ring intact. Since the horn contact ring "tube" fits into the steering wheel, you can't adjust the steering wheel unless you hack up the lock plate or the horn contact plate.

    Drag link is how you adjust "steering wheel alignment" on the truck.
     

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