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steering problem- 90 burb, 3/4

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by Kartoon, Apr 29, 2006.

  1. Kartoon

    Kartoon 1/2 ton status

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    my suburban is a 1990, 3/4 ton. 4" lift and 35 mud terrains. Lately the steering has been bad. i had some DW and i got a new stabilizer and everything seems to be good. But it feels like the steering gets 'locked' in to go eithe rleft or right, and my steering whell will be turned 9 degrees but im driving straight. then i can jerk the wheel the other way and you can feel it come 'unlocked' and it drives straight. I was thinking of replacing both upper and lower ball joints, but would this fix anything? appreciate any ideas:confused:
     
  2. 73k5blazer

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

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    Analysis if your friend. Get a helper in the cab to turn the wheel while your watching everything. Somethings loose. Cracked frame, loose box bolts, sloppy drag link, sloppy steering shaft....on and on....get under there and watch what's happening.

    For reference:

    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.
     
  3. Kartoon

    Kartoon 1/2 ton status

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    wow, thanks for the info, i really appreciate it. i will be checking all those things! thanks again
     
  4. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    Did you happen to install one of those stabilizers that clamps around the tie rod and axle housing? I've seen those clamps slip and cause the steering to bind up. :yikes:
     
  5. Kartoon

    Kartoon 1/2 ton status

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    this was doing it before i put the stabilizer on.
     
  6. roadnotca

    roadnotca 3/4 ton status

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    The 4" lift included a drop Pitman arm or a raised Steering arm?
     
  7. Kartoon

    Kartoon 1/2 ton status

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    raised steering arm. but the lift was has been in the truck for 8 months with no problems until a week ago.
     

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