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Old 02-04-2012, 11:20 AM
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Leveling Kit nightmare

Alright well first i have an 06 f250- 105,000 miles. I put a 2.5" leveling kit in the truck last weekend. Put it up on the lift, disconnected sway bar, shocks, and track bar. Put leveling kit spacers on top of the springs and back together rotated the springs to seat properly with no problem, seemed like a straight forward install.
On my way home after the Install the steering felt somewhat strange, the wheel did not naturally want to center itself like a normal car/truck. I chalked it up to the new ride height, and the possibility of having to do an alignment after the install which i didn't do,(yet)

The leveling kit was installed on my old tires, 285/70/17e nitto terra grapplers, new tires where arriving in the mail during the week, bigger terra grapplers 295/70/18es.(Came mounted and balanced on new wheels from discount tire, no vibrations, close factory backspacing, don't stick out far or anything crazy, not a huge tire, just taller)

Put new tires on the the truck Wednesday, now truck drives horrible. Steering wheel is very heavy, and does not want to Center itself. Small course corrections while driving are difficult with the heavy steering wheel, and you end up over correcting.

I messed with tire air pressure some what, let out a little air, was aired all the way up to 80+ . no differance.

Called the Company who sold the leveling kit, they said have it aligned, ok. no big deal. dropped it off and got it aligned, needed lower ball joints replaced. fine, did that. had them do uppers also since they where in there. Alignment was complete, shop closed. Drove home, now truck is worse. Steering is very heavy, does not center itself. It take a good amount of effort to turn the steering wheel. Steering is tight, but heavy. Driving at speed, the wheel seems like it does not want to turn.

I again put the truck on the lift, took the weight off the front tires completely and turned the wheel in the truck, Stiff.. very stiff even with no weight on the tires. took the steering dampener off thinking i could have possibly bound it up when dropping the axle during the install. it wasn't the dampiner, you can't even tell i took it completely out of the truck and drove it, no difference.

I plan on bringing the truck back to the alignment shop, but i do not think they will be able to figure it out since all the alignment specs are good set to factory. but with the leveling kit i added some caster angle. I am sure this could effect the drive-ability some, but wouldn't explain the heavy steering wheel especially with the weight off the front end?

Any thoughts?
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Old 02-04-2012, 11:31 AM
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I just installed a 2" leveling kit last weekend and haven't noticed any problems. My steering felt the same as before and I never even got it aligned. The only think I would try is to remove the leveling kit and see how the truck steers. You should not have had to remove the trac bar to install the spacers, just the sway bar end links and shocks. Maybe you didn't torque the trac bar enough, it has to be at 400+ ft.-lbs. It could also be a coincidence and your power steering pump is going bad. Goodluck.
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Old 02-04-2012, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mazsecond View Post
I just installed a 2" leveling kit last weekend and haven't noticed any problems. My steering felt the same as before and I never even got it aligned. The only think I would try is to remove the leveling kit and see how the truck steers. You should not have had to remove the trac bar to install the spacers, just the sway bar end links and shocks. Maybe you didn't torque the trac bar enough, it has to be at 400+ ft.-lbs. It could also be a coincidence and your power steering pump is going bad. Goodluck.
Yeah, and from what im gathering that most people with leveling kits aren't running into anything like this what i am experiencing. Im thinking the kit is making a preexisting condition much more noticeable. either it being power steering, or steering box.
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Old 02-05-2012, 12:11 PM
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Sounds alot like the caster isnt right. if it has a negative caster then it wouldnt want to straighten itself
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Old 02-05-2012, 04:27 PM
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a leveling kit on a coil spring truck does not increase caster

if the steering is tight up in the air it sounds like something is bound up. you may want to disconnect the tierod ends and see if the wheels pivot freely then. if not you know it's a u-joint bound up. I have seen frozen stabilizers do this too but you say it's not that.

I had to remove the trac bar to get my leveling kit in, it's not uncommon to have to do so.
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Old 02-05-2012, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sinner6.0L View Post
a leveling kit on a coil spring truck does not increase caster

if the steering is tight up in the air it sounds like something is bound up. you may want to disconnect the tierod ends and see if the wheels pivot freely then. if not you know it's a u-joint bound up. I have seen frozen stabilizers do this too but you say it's not that.

I had to remove the trac bar to get my leveling kit in, it's not uncommon to have to do so.
Agreed. Good luck
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Old 02-05-2012, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sinner6.0L View Post
a leveling kit on a coil spring truck does not increase caster

if the steering is tight up in the air it sounds like something is bound up. you may want to disconnect the tierod ends and see if the wheels pivot freely then. if not you know it's a u-joint bound up. I have seen frozen stabilizers do this too but you say it's not that.

I had to remove the trac bar to get my leveling kit in, it's not uncommon to have to do so.
Any time you increase the distance between the upper and lower coil spring mount without lowering the pivot point of the radius arms also it makes the axle roll forward putting the top pivot point further forward than set from the factory. affecting the caster of it. (may not be much but does affect it) now if the leveling kit came with radius arm drop mounts then no it wouldnt affect it. but since most only include a 1-2.5" spacer it probably has any time a vehicle has negative caster (top pivot point forward past verticle.) the wheels won't want to straighten them self. now with positive caster (top pivot point leaning rearward) they will straighten them self. And anytime you install a leveling/lift kit they strongly recomend a alignment.

here's a link that really explains caster
Caster, Camber, Toe
Attached Thumbnails
Leveling Kit nightmare-cast1-1-.gif  

Last edited by JD_MILLS; 02-05-2012 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:36 PM
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I'll be damned, someone who understands front end dynamics!
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sinner6.0L View Post
a leveling kit on a coil spring truck does not increase caster

if the steering is tight up in the air it sounds like something is bound up. you may want to disconnect the tierod ends and see if the wheels pivot freely then. if not you know it's a u-joint bound up. I have seen frozen stabilizers do this too but you say it's not that.

I had to remove the trac bar to get my leveling kit in, it's not uncommon to have to do so.
I did an add-a-leaf, left the track bar in place. When I added 3" hangers, I unbolted the track bar from the FRAME ONLY fpr the track bar drop bracket. When I ditched the 5" inch add-a-leaf/hanger combo for a 6.5" leaf spring, I didn't touch the track bar.

Point is, with only 2~3 inch change, why would you need to mess with the track bar?
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Old 02-11-2012, 04:51 AM
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I installed Rancho 2 1/2'' coils springs using coil compressors rented from auto zone, without them I would of had to disconnected tract bar. I have been through several come alongs on other trucks when tract bar was removed and then tried to install after putting lift kits in. With this Rancho kit I also bought a ReadyLift Tract Bar Relocate mount made just for 2 1/2'' lifts, made a huge difference in how it drove. After all said and done I had an alinement done and I needed new casters. Drove straight and steering wheel was also straight.
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