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wandering front end

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by backlash, Oct 21, 2000.

  1. backlash

    backlash 1/2 ton status

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    Heard talk of how much you guys have been putting into your trucks. Probably have an all time record!

    My immediate concern is a safety issue. My truck wanders like crazy! Have replaced many front end components, steering box, reworked the springs, calipers, rotors, and much more.

    Handles much better but still doesn't respond like I feel it should. Feels almost like driving a big sedan with the trunk loaded to the hilt. Turn the wheel and it slower turns the truck.

    When looking at my truck from the side it appears to be resting on the rear wheels. Like an old sedan loaded to the hilt. I don't think it's just the way the wheel wells are cut.

    Anybody got an original set up that they can measure the distance from the center of each wheel to the top of the wheel well? Just trying to do a comparison to see if I need to lift the rear a bit. Would make sense after spending a lot of money ... that I may just need to have more weight on the front end.

    I'm the original owner and have done little offroading ...yet.

    Sorry for the long question, but have been working on this for years. Haven't investigated CVs yet, but have had it to several front end shops and several dealers.

    Any help will be appreciated.
     
  2. SilverSolder

    SilverSolder Registered Member

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    Has it always done this? From day one? How much weight (stuff) are you loading in the back? Have you checked
    that you don't have broken springs in the back?

    SilverSolder
     
  3. EDGE

    EDGE Registered Member

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    What about your ball joints?
     
  4. riz

    riz 3/4 ton status

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    Chech the three steering knuckles on top of your steering arm, make sure that one of them hasn't been sheered off, it happened to me one time and it wandered all over the place. If it is, I'd fix it right away, otherwise another will break and it will wander dangerously ! If the last one snaps.....no steering at all, you'll head where ever the truck want to wreck you out. If it's not it, at last you inspected a part of your truck that usually gets overlooked.

    <font color=purple>L8r,

    .Riz.<font color=purple>
     
  5. backlash

    backlash 1/2 ton status

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    Hey guys,

    There are some addicts out there. Guess I qualify too.

    No this started after I had it for a couple of years. Kept taking it into the shop while still under warrantee, continued to get worse.

    Dumbazz me tightened up on the steering gear to help correct it. All the front end components look and check out OK? Replaced a lower ball joint which helped. As stated springs are newly reworked and still check out OK. Still fixed on the fact that it appears to be cantered back on the rear of the truck, like the front is off the ground. Really think some messurements would help.

    Bolts on steering knuckle(?) all are intact.

    I've been told I'm running the wrong tires! Although they are the third type I've put on it.
     
  6. Emmettology 101

    Emmettology 101 3/4 ton status

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    What tires are you running?

    I would check the other ball joints since you changed one and it helped.

    Mike [​IMG]
    See <font color=green>EMMETT</font color=green> -&gt; http://emmett.coloradok5.com
     
  7. tom

    tom 1/2 ton status

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    Backlash, I had a similar problem. The previous owner had replaced the steering box, U-joints, rod ends, steering arm, PS pump, springs, shocks, wheels and it got better but still wandered on rough surfaces. After reading some good stuff on this website, I became suspicious of frame flex. The steering box bolts were tight and the frame wasn't cracked so I orederd a steering box brace from ORD ($103 icluding shipping). It's easy to install and bingo! It took out 90% of the steering problem. The truck now goes where I point it and feels comfortable and safe to drive.
     
  8. backlash

    backlash 1/2 ton status

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    Hey Mike,

    Replaced that ball joint years ago, but I guess that's a reason to check it out again. I simply see no play in the steering components.

    I had a bad pulling when I braked since it was new. A proportioning valve a month ago fixed that after 13 years. No telling what sort of damage that kind of pull could do in all those years. I invision everything worn just a tad.

    It had I think Wranglers on it when it was new( can't remember that long ago ... Old Timer's Disease). Changed to Dunlop Radial Rovers which seemed to help a bit ... asked the guy for the stiffest sidewall they had. Lately, I've been running True Tracs cause I'm spending all my money trying to fix this thing! They're not that bad ... handle like the dunlops.

    Thanks again,

    Bob
     
  9. backlash

    backlash 1/2 ton status

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    Hey Tom,

    Was looking in a Off Road Mag. a few months ago ...saw this steering bracket thing. Thought maybe I had a cracked frame ... checked it out ... no crack. Just maybe that it is flexing. Can you discribe how it felt? before and after? know difficult to do. At times mine is very loose at others it is not so bad. Perhaps, the crown in the road effects it, maybe the temperature. All I know is I cannot relax while driving.

    Why'd you choose that brand? Was it recommended here? I've seen some others over the past couple of weeks. What others are good?

    Thanks,

    Bob
     
  10. tom

    tom 1/2 ton status

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    Bob, I have relatively new 33x12.5's and stiff shocks. It rides a little rough. On smooth freeway it would go pretty straight but would often follow the cracks in the pavement. On rought surface, the best I can describe is to say it would dart around. It would twitch left and I'd correct and then it would dart right. Kept me alert all the time and when I'd see a rough spot coming I'd slow down and wait for something to happen. As I learned to drive it, it was best not to correct too much, because it would usually come back near center after one these twitchy spasims. After I put the brace on I could tell the difference immediately. Both freeway and rough streets are OK. Haven't had it in the dirt yet with the brace on.
    The brace is very well constructed and very stiff. Goes behind the crossmember from the inside of the left frame-rail to the center of the crossmember. There is a second small brace that goes in front of the crossmember. The bolts go through the brace and frame into the steering box. New longer bolts come with the kit. You have to drill a hole in the front crossmember to bolt through. On late models (mine is a '91) there is a clip in front of the crossmember. I removed it, installed the brace and then elongated the holes in the stock clip and put it on over the top of the brace. The Kit fit real well, but I had to re-locate a couple of brake line clamps and do a slight amount of bending to re-route the lines out of the way. I'm real pleased with it, and it will likely prevent or delay cracks in the frame around the steering box. Off-Road Designs is located in Colorado. 970 945-7777
     
  11. tom

    tom 1/2 ton status

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    Bob, One more thing. Don't confuse the brace I was describing with the weld in type of frame repair part. The brace I installed is a bolt in, and forms a rigid triangle with the frame rail and the front crossmember.
     
  12. Can Can

    Can Can Pusher Man Staff Member Super Moderator

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    So if I'm reading this right, ORD's brace can solve wandering problems WITHOUT the frame being cracked? I am saving up some cash right now to rebuild my entire front end next spring because in the last few years the Blazer's steering has slowly developed a mind of it's own. I saw Grim's post a little while back regarding his success with the same product, but wasn't sure if it would apply to my setup- no lift and 31s. Any comments?
     
  13. backlash

    backlash 1/2 ton status

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    Hey Tom,

    Guess for the price it's worth a shot! Just a drop in the bucket. What disturbs me is I'm running stock street tires and quad shocks. But my truck does follow the seams or cracks in the road.

    Also sounds like a nice preventative measure to protect frame when I go large.

    Canmore 5 appears to have the same problem. Again amazes me that non of the dealerships nor front end shops offered this suggestion in the past. Guess I should have talked to the off-roaders ... they had recommended a new steering box at one time.
     
  14. tom

    tom 1/2 ton status

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    Well Guys,
    All I can say is that a lot of $ were expended on my truck trying to improve the steering. I couldn't find any slop in the system and was confused and frustrated before putting the brace in. It fixed mine. I'm not saying it will fix yours, but if you have tried everything else, maybe it's worth a go. Good Luck.
     
  15. 90K5

    90K5 1/2 ton status

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    The back ends on Blazers are always a little lower that the fronts because the leaf springs where designed for pickups that don't have that big heavy top on them all the time.

    90K5
     
  16. backlash

    backlash 1/2 ton status

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    Hey 90k-5,

    Thanks,I do realize this, also the cut outs of the wheel wells give it that appearance. But mine appears cantered back more than most. Just looking for some measurements to confirm this. Not sure if the spring rebuild/reinforcement was done correctly. Can you help?
     
  17. scavenger

    scavenger 1/2 ton status

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    Bob,
    On my 85 K5 that has 31x10.5 tires it measures 21 1/2 inches from the bottom of the rear wheel well to the center of the wheel. Hope this helps.
     
  18. 90K5

    90K5 1/2 ton status

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    I just measured mine and it is 10" from the top of the tire to the fender in the front and 8.5 in the rear. This is with a 3" lift put on today and 33s, but it should be about 1.5" difference no matter what your setup is. If its off a lot you could put some blocks in the back to even it out if its an inch or so off.

    90K5
     
  19. backlash

    backlash 1/2 ton status

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    Scav.,

    Thanks, but what I need to do is compare the front and back.

    If I could ask you again to measure from the center-outer edge of the wheel opening to the center of the wheel or like 90k4 did, to the top of the wheel it would be a great help. Need to do the same up front so I can compare the difference.

    Thanks again,

    Bob
     
  20. backlash

    backlash 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks 90k5. I'd like to compare a couple more before I do any adjustments. My measurements are in the truck, in the shop. Will let you know how it turns out.

    Thanks again,

    Bob
     

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