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Steering Problem

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by blazerguy 90, Apr 28, 2005.

  1. blazerguy 90

    blazerguy 90 1/2 ton status

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    I have a 90 K5, when I got it the steering was real loose, if I was driving down the street in a straight line and hit a bump the front end was all over the place, today I had a local shop replace the tie rods, frant and rear drag link, and steering stabilizer, as well as an alignment. the steering is noticably improved but I still have the same problem, while driving straight and hitting a bump in the road front end still all over the place, ive checked the frame were the steering box is mounted for cracks, no cracks found, what could be causing this ?. my truck is all stock with 32-11.50-15 tires. HELP.
     
  2. pvfjr

    pvfjr 1/2 ton status

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    Have you checked your ball joints?
     
  3. blazerguy 90

    blazerguy 90 1/2 ton status

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    Everthing in the front end was inspected by the mechanic today, he said the ball joints were ok, anything else I can check ?, can the steering box go bad in a way that it feels normal on a good road but hit a pot hole or bump and the front end feels loose ?.
     
  4. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    Check your leaf spring bushings and shackle bolts. Also check the ubolt torque on the front axle. Other then that I would have to guess the steering problem would have to be inside the steering box itself.

    Worn Spring bushings, broken/loose shackle bolts, and loose ubolts can cause all kinds of wierd things.

    Especially check the driver side front spring bushing. It takes alot of abuse from the steering pushing and pulling on it all the time. If they are bad I would replace them with some polyurethane bushings and I bet that will help the problem alot.

    Harley
     
  5. blazerguy 90

    blazerguy 90 1/2 ton status

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    What should the shackle bolts and u-bolts be torqued down to ?.
     
  6. goldwing2000

    goldwing2000 Guest

    u-bolts are around 150 ft-lbs. Not sure about the shackles.
     
  7. blazerguy 90

    blazerguy 90 1/2 ton status

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    Not trying to sound to stupid here, but is that 150 ft-lbs for each u-bolt nut ?. this is my first 4x4 so im learning new things every day.
     
  8. mil22spec4

    mil22spec4 Registered Member

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  9. ratzila

    ratzila 1/2 ton status

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    Also check the frame at the steering box for cracks. This is a common problems with chevy trucks.
     
  10. blazerguy 90

    blazerguy 90 1/2 ton status

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    I did check the frame around the steering box, no tracks found.
     
  11. blazerguy 90

    blazerguy 90 1/2 ton status

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    I checked the u-bolts on the front end, they were all loose, torqued them down to 150 ft-lbs, that made a big difference, im going to check the rear u-bolts tomorrow.
     
  12. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    40lbs or so is what you want your shackle bolts torqued too.

    Harley
     
  13. 73k5blazer

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

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    Also check your steering shaft. Alot of times there's play in the slip joint. A very slight amount here is 10 times shown in the wheel while under way. Take two pairs of vice grips clamp one on the lower section and one on the upper section, wiggle in oppisite directions. If there is ANY play detected at all, well, like I said it shows ten times as much in the wheel. Also check the rag joint.

    What are you comparing the steering to? These trucks never were very "good" in the steering feel department.

    Here's an old steering play 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: 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.
     
  14. trailblazer86

    trailblazer86 1/2 ton status

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    When you say that you checked the frame for cracks at the steering box, did you remove the steering box?
    The cracks in my frame were only about an inch long and not really visible until the frame was cleaned. A flashlight behind helps also.
    If you still have problems this is the place to look.
    I have been though everything that you mention in your post.
    I just didn’t want it to be the frame. If you have a mig welder it is an easy fix with the parts from off-road design. 3 hours maybe. (Don't forget to use a small drill at the end of the crack to stop it progress)

    Money well spent.
     
  15. blazerguy 90

    blazerguy 90 1/2 ton status

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    When I checked the frame for cracks I didn`t remove the steering box, I checked both sides of the frame with the box in place, I didn`t see any cracks, if needed I will remove the steering box. I checked the steering shaft today, it feels good and tight (no play at all) the rag joint is also good. when I checked the u-bolts yesterday they were all loose on the front, they were at 25 ft-lbs at the most, I torqued them down to 150 ft-lbs, that right there made a huge difference. this is my first 4 wheel drive vehicle that I have ever owned or driven, I understand that they will handle alot different with a solid front axle and leaf springs, I can except that, but at the same time if I hit a very small bump in the road at 25-35 mph and my blazer wants to change 2 lanes while im holding the wheel straight, thats not right. I will be checking the rear u-bolts tomorrow, I didn`t have time to do it today.

    Thanks for all the help.
     
  16. poolcues

    poolcues 1/2 ton status

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    front leaf springs
    front bolt 90 ft lbs.
    rear bolt 50 ft lbs.

    make sure the truck is on the ground when these get tightened.
     
  17. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    One thing to also check is that the steering box bolts are tight. As well as frame cracks, the steering box itself commonly is loose.

    Rene
     
  18. trailblazer86

    trailblazer86 1/2 ton status

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    http://coloradok5.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=3534&stc=1
    Here is a view of were to check for some of the frame cracks at the steering box.
    This is where they start and small cracks are enough to make the truck wander.
    Notice in the picture how the bolt holes are going oval? There is a huge amount of stress in this area.
    Repairing this area is not all that difficult if you have a welder.
    Take a small drill and drill a small hole at the end of the crack.
    Start welding at this hole and complete the end of the crack. Usually at the bolt hole.
    If you can't see any cracks or damage be happy. If you have to take the box off to see the cracks your job is much less involved. I have seen steering boxes pulled off the frame.

    The big damage comes from monster tires and hard off-road running'. The small cracks come from normal driving and denial. Most people don’t want to admit or come to terms with cracks in the frame. It is really not a big problem. Take a look at the ORD fixes for this. both a weld in/on plate and a brace running from the inside of the frame to the front cross member.
    The brace makes a huge difference in the steering feel.

    ORD is not the only company selling repair kits for this damage. Even J.C. Whitney has a kit.

    2004-03-13 008a.jpg
     
  19. blazerguy 90

    blazerguy 90 1/2 ton status

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    im not a member, is there a way you can post that link so I can see it ?.
     
  20. trailblazer86

    trailblazer86 1/2 ton status

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    I'm not even sure that anyone else can see the picture. The url should be at teh top of the Message.
    If you or anyone else would like to see the picture. PM me with an email address.
     

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