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2014 Ford F-250 6.7L
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20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
SOS… HELP!

Hey guys.. little update to my previous post seen HERE.

Trucks been down for almost 2 months after a bolt came out of the passenger side (frame mount) steering stabilizer and destroyed some steering component ball joints and bushings. I just got it back from the shop after having the following new parts installed:

  • Carli Suspension 2.5" kit with adjustable track bar and 2* caster shims
  • OEM complete drag link
  • OEM Tie rod ends (TREs)
  • 35x12.5x20 Toyo AT3

As far as handling at the steering wheel, it's still not driving as good as it did prior to the bolt falling out. The steering just feels loose/sloppy. I may be crazy but the wheel seems to have a little movement or at least more than it used to. You feel everything going down the road. It used to just hover over the cracks/bumps without issue. What else could be the problem or worth looking into? A friend suggested potentially having the nut on the pitman arm tightened/replaced. Appreciate any input/help as this has been a real pain.

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2004 F250 SD 6.0
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769 Posts
I don’t love the camber… minimum .25 if possible.

The sloppy steering could be a steering box. Looks like you have a reputable shop. Are you mechanically inclined? If you can Jack it up and have access to a pry bar, we can go through it. A steering box usually makes a pronounced clunk or pop when the wheel is moved left to right quickly. Excessive play is definitely a symptom.
 

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2013 F350 Long Bed 4x4 Lariat
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143 Posts
I'd guess the steering box as well. Doesn't take much to loosen them up with the amount of stress they take especially if you had parts fail. I'm in a similar boat I just replaced the front end all links, joints bushings, damper, stabilizer, u joints, bearings, brakes and put in the Carli castor shims and had it aligned. Truck drives 100% better than it did and tracks straight down the road with no violent shake when hitting bumps but there is still some play in the steering wheel and you can see it moving side to side at high speed when you take your hands off even though the truck keeps going straight and doesn't wander. I'll be due for new tires here come winter and I'm thinking before I get them installed I'm going to replace the steering gear box with a new OEM one and possibly the steering shaft as well. Also at that time I'm going to do the shocks and all 6 bushings where the radius arms connect to the axle and back to the frame. I have no doubt that once these are done the last bit of play should be alleviated. I had a dodge before this and went through the same thing replaced everything but the steering gear box and still had slop, threw a blue top gear box in there and a sector shaft brace and it was good as new until a few months later I had to have it towed due to bad fuel. When the wrecker was winching it up on the flatbed from off the steep embankment on the side of the road I had no power steering and had to fight the steering wheel the other way to keep it going up on the flat bed and not off the side I ended up cranking so hard on the steering it actually stripped the spline where the steering shaft connected to the gear box. I was able to slide the shaft up a tad and crank down on it good and keep it from slipping but the damage was done steering had slop again. Luckily the gear box was still under warranty and Ryan over at Blue Top swapped it out for me and problem solved again. So I would highly suspect that with the failure you had your gear box probably took some force and loosened it right up.
 

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2014 Ford F-250 6.7L
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20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Hey guys thanks for the replies. Here's an update to what's currently going on. After picking the truck up from the installation appointment. I discovered some issues and have been on the phone with Carli Suspensions and several shops (CJC, Top Tier, and local) to try and solve my issues. First off these items needed to be properly installed per Carli:
  • Shop #1 did not install the Carli Track Bar properly. Upon arrival to pick up, I crawled under the truck to inspect the new components. I had read the instructions and it didn't look correct. I even asked Shop #1 owner to look at and if it was installed correctly, he said yes. I then sent pictures to Carli to confirm. I have email documentation stating it is not installed correctly. The heim end is completely maxed out allowing no forward rotational movement whatsoever while the ball joint side is perfectly horizontal. The BJ shank and heim should be parallel. The track bar ends should be perpendicular. Therefore if one end is rotated so should the other be while staying perpendicular at track bar ends as mine isn't.
  • Shop #1 also did not fully seat the top of the coil spring into the rubber isolater. Showing about a 5/8" gap.
Carli then recommended getting a secondary alignment check to confirm caster. While it was at Shop #2 for alignment check, I also had them inspect the new components and front end. Things of interest noted:
  • Shop #2's alignment check did not match Shop #1's alignment report. Which, Shop #1 didn't even provide at pickup and I had to request a report that was emailed to me 2 hours later. Shop #2's caster figures were about a degree lower and can be seen below in comparison to Shop #1's figures seen above in the original post. Idk how/if this could affect the caster figures but Shop #1 used an Heavy Duty Suspension (HD, Extra HD, Camper, Ambulance) while Shop #2 used a Standard Suspension (which my F250 is).
  • Shop #2 stated the drag link ball joint attached to the pitman arm seemed sloppy/had some play while doing the steering wheel jolt examination with someone underneath. With it being a brand new part it was concerning and could be a reason for the steering play. Ford is going to get me a replacement to have swapped out.
  • Shop #2 inspected the steering box, shaft, and pitman arm nut. Stating all was ok and they'd seen worse.
  • Shop #2 noted the improperly installed Carli parts as mentioned above.
It's been a tuff decision because I've lost faith in this shop. It's also surprising because everyone and their dog told me to go there. They seemed to be the "premier shop". I know stuff happens and maybe I'm just an unlucky SOB. After going over everything with Shop #1, they stated they'd like to get it back in to make right. I contemplated having everything corrected at Shop #2 but decided to take it back to Shop #1 first. As it's their problem and I'd like to have them attempt to fix it first before taking elsewhere, spending more money, and getting more hands involved.

I know the incorrectly installed track bar and coil spring aren't the likely component causing the bad steering/handling but could affect. Hopefully installing those correctly and the new drag link will fix the issue. I told them to thoroughly inspect the steering stabilizer for damage the first time. Since they have to replace the drag link I'm going to have it inspected again for damage. It had good pressure when I discovered the missing bolt and tried to push it back in place. Two shops said they removed and inspected. Could it be as easy as replacing the steering stabilizer? Or is that just a Band-Aid fix for other ailing issues?

If the issue still prevails, I'll look into adding more caster assuming Shop #2's figures are correct at 2.5L/2.3R. I know that caster is on the lower side and Carli likes to see 3-4 degrees. But I still don't believe it's a caster issue. Prior to my current Carli kit with 2 degree shims. I had a 2.5" ReadyLift Spacer Level. My last alignment on that setup reported 1.7L/2.0R degrees caster. At those numbers, it tracked and drove way better than it currently does. So with a slightly higher caster I'd assume it'd be better. Prior to the Readylift kit this truck had about 70k miles on a no name 2.5" leveling kit without caster correcting shims nor drop brackets and drove like a champ. My loose steering issues didn't come about until after the bolt fell out of my steering stabilizer and ruined said mentioned parts in OP. I also spoke with CJC who said they have trucks roll out of their shop all the time at my current caster figures with no issues. I still feel as if some other steering component/front end part is the issue but we'll see as we continue to dig deeper.

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Premium Member
2004 F250 SD 6.0
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769 Posts
Shop #2 inspected the steering box, shaft, and pitman arm nut. Stating all was ok and they'd seen worse.
It takes very little wear to transfer a good bit of play to the wheel. If you get everything else corrected and still aren’t happy, zero in on that component. I just a Motorcraft box replaced under warranty. This one is tighter but it making a rubbing sound of sorts. I’m told these reman gears from Motorcraft have been problematic lately. I’m considering a blue top or red whatever.
 
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