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Discussion Starter #1
Truck pulls to the right while driving and seems to be maybe at 5-10 degrees while on the highway if you let go of the steering wheel. It also does it at slower speeds but with the lower speed it is less annoying/alarming.

All tire pressures are within 1psi of each other.

I drove the truck on Saturday and Sunday afternoon (parked more than 24hrs) I decided to Jack up the front and see if a caliper was hung. Both fronts spun freely (truck has manual hubs disengaged).

So I fired it up pulled it on to the street, chalked the front wheels and put it in neutral. Left the motor running and jacked up the rear end. Both wheels spun same direction (ls rear) seemed to be more drag then there was with the fronts, but did not really concern me as it is trying to turn the driveline, dif and other wheel. While idling in neutral the wheels started rotating in reverse, I found this interesting but considered it normal. So I turned the motor off and rotated both rears; resistance seemed very similar to when the motor was running.

I am thinking i should; drive the truck and then hit the calipers with an IR heat gun and look for temperature differences and then jack it up immediately after driving to see if I have rotational resistance. Is there anything else I should do ? If I have no resistance immediately following a drive then what ? I am due for a tire rotation (I rotate every 5k) should I have them swap them side to side (move both rights to the left or just let them do their thing ?). Anything else I am missing ?

Thanks in advance!
 

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BBBRRRRRTTTTT
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Lifted?
Tires?
Miles?
Tie rods good?
Ball joints good?
Gear box play?
Alignment good?
Hubs good?
Abnormal tire wear?
Roads graded?
 

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I may be stating the obvious but it sounds like a tie rod end or some other steering component failing.
If this happened suddenly, one day it was fine the next day it's this far out of whack, I wouldn't drive it any more until I checked every connection thoroughly.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Lifted?
Tires?
Miles?
Tie rods good?
Ball joints good?
Gear box play?
Alignment good?
Hubs good?
Abnormal tire wear?
Roads graded?
6” lift similar to the skyjackerhttps://skyjacker.com/shop/suspension-lift-kit/f5651k-b/#configuration

Tires are probably 50% tread. Nitto 37x13.5x17 Will rotate and see if that makes any difference.

Trucks is a hair shy of 90k miles

Tie rods are original except for one so probably wore out.(need to check)

Ball joints are probably 15k mikes on them

Gear box was replaced about 10-15k ago with an autozone unit. Better than it was but should have gone with a better unit (got what I paid for).

Alignment was done about 10k ago at dealer. They had it for over a week so I am suspect of the individual’s skill.

Hubs are good.

No abnormal tire wear.

Truck has wandered slightly in either direction for quite some time primarily when tire pressures are below 50psi but this is an always right drift now.

The roads here are varied but generally good shape. Some asphalt and some grooved concrete highways.
 

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I would check the tire rods and gear box.

They had it for a week to do an alignment?!? I would see if I could get it "warrantied"
 

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Have you "bumped" a parking bumper or curb lately?, something may have slipped. May be worth a try to see if the front and rear will track each other. Drive in a straight line in a parking lot, stop and chalk the "tracks" of the front tires where they touch the pavement, then drive forward till the rears come to the lines -- do they run in the same tracks?

Also you can measure the centerline distance for each side front to rear, to see if they are the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Have you "bumped" a parking bumper or curb lately?, something may have slipped. May be worth a try to see if the front and rear will track each other. Drive in a straight line in a parking lot, stop and chalk the "tracks" of the front tires where they touch the pavement, then drive forward till the rears come to the lines -- do they run in the same tracks?

Also you can measure the centerline distance for each side front to rear, to see if they are the same.

@Hydro, I tried measuring the center distance and I could not get great measurements. Initial measurements made me think that the front axle was 3/16” towards the passenger side.

I then thought to break out my hillbilly alignment tools as can be seen in the attached picture (sorry I am not a professional photographer and I shot towards the west during late afternoon).

Anyhoo I used string to string the front and rear tires assuming this would reveal a front end that was improperly offset. I measured the frame to outer rear tire as the rear of the frame is fairly straight and easy to measure, rear end appeared to be centered.

I then measured 18” from the ground and ran my string rear to front 18” up as the top of the tire was ~36” ground to top. I ensured that the string was over the outer lugs on the sidewall and turned the front tires until the string barely touched the rear portion of the front tire. I then measured the distance from the string and the sidewall lug on the front of the rear tire.

I repeated this procedure for both passenger and driver side and had approximately 1/4” between the string and forward rear tire lug on both sides. I am assuming that this would verify that the front end is centered within the frame??

After doing this it makes me think that the front ends on these trucks are slightly wider than the rear ends does anyone know this to be the case ? Or could this be due to camber ?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
:grin:OK. So my question is could the remanufactured autozone steering box be causing this issue ? It seems odd to me but I am no steering box idiot savant and I don’t want to totally disregard it. Could it be failing ?

So far I have replaced all three tie rod ends and drag link. A few years ago I replaced the track bar and did the ball joints and drag link shortly thereafter (about 10-15k miles ago, honestly should have done all the tie rod ends then but I was trying to go cheap). Truck wanders/hunts less than it did(May have even stopped) but still pulls to the right like it did before.

I created a wooden jig to measure the tie rod with ends that came off the truck and then used the same jig when I put new tie rod ends on the connecting bar. I repeated this procedure for the drag link so my alignment should be kind of close to what it was. Truck still pulls to the right.

I disconnected the drag link with the wheels straight ahead and then turned the steering wheel lock to lock to see if the box was running at center when the truck was going straight. It was not, see attached pics. First pic is left lock, second is right lock.

I then; reconnected the drag link, started the truck and adjusted the drag link until the steering wheel was where I thought center of the box was. I then disconnected the drag link from the pitman arm again and made sure the wheel would turn about 2.25 turns to lock as my wheel will turn 4.5 turns lock to lock. Reconnected everything and truck still pulls to the right. No improvement.

I still need to check all my lift bolts to ensure that everything is tight. I also need to disconnect my steering link from the box while the wheels are straight and then recenter my steering wheel. Maybe I messed it up a long time ago when I put the POS autozone remanufactured box on, or maybe they stuffed it up when they had my cab off a few months ago doing my HG’s. I also need to rotate my tires and see if any of this stuff fixes the issue. I will also get my alignment done. Any thoughts beyond this ? Am I on the right track ? What am I missing ?
 

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Did you check the rear calipers too? A dragging right rear will cause a pull to the right.

No need to disconnect the box to re-center the wheel. Set the wheels straight, jack it up a little to take the weight off the tires (or get two pieces of metal, plastic, etc that the tires will fit on and put grease between them to allow the tires to turn easily) and adjust each side the same number of turns until the steering wheel is heads up.

Edit: The above is assuming that the pitman arm is "close" to center when the wheels are straight and not a 1/2 turn or more out.
 
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Barring anything dragging(brakes, bearings, bad tire), …difference in wheel centerline caster is what causes pull to one side or the other.

The alignment shop should be able to check/fix this.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Did you check the rear calipers too? A dragging right rear will cause a pull to the right
I jacked the rear end up with motor running in neutral. Both tires turned together the same direction (ls rear end). There was increased drag as compared to the front wheels (manual hubs unlocked). I did not comsider this drag remarkeable as both rear tires were turning along with the dif gears, driveline, and whatever inside the auto tranny. I attributed the resistance to the extra wheel, dif gears, driveline, etc.. not sure I am correct on this assumption.

What I did find interesting but considered it normal (?) was that both rear wheels rotated in reverse with the motor idling and the trans in neutral. Since the wheels rotated slowly in reverse with the motor running I considered this validation that there was most likely no rear brake drag. Are my assumptions unreasonable ?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Barring anything dragging(brakes, bearings, bad tire), …difference in wheel centerline caster is what causes pull to one side or the other.

The alignment shop should be able to check/fix this.
I originally thought that these trucks did not allow for caster adjustment, this may be hold over information from when these trucks first came out?

I see there are kits for caster adjustment. I have a few questions.

Is one kit better than the others?

Should I NOT have Ford do my alignment? My thought process on this is that
1) Ford did my last alignment and had it for over a week
2) if ford did not originally allow for caster adjustments they will most likely NOT adjust my caster.

Should I go to a place like 4Wheeljeepparts, I mean 4 wheel parts ? I hate these guys but that is probably because they have everything for jeeps and nothing for my ‘74 Bronco, but that is an inner monologue that has no relevance to this topic.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So got the truck aligned, unfortunately they did not save the as found readings so I have little idea what the original issue was. I gave them two MOOG camber/caster adjusters. They installed one on the passenger side and some other type of adjuster on the drivers side, no idea why they didn’t do both sides with the MOOG’s. First picture is the drivers side slug, second is of the alignment sheet. Truck is much better now still will drift to the right if I let go of the wheel, but not as bad as it would prior.

Question is should I expect it to go perfectly straight when I let go of the wheel ? Are there factors at play here that can NOT be resolved ? Thanks for your input.
 

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Did you ever check the pitman arm nut after tightening it the first time when you replaced the box?

Re-torque it.

Check the trac bar bracket mount bolts too. They could be loose

Worn out track bar ball joint? Check that too

Steering stabilizer?
 

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check for dragging brakes. A stuck piston caliper will also do that.
 

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Get on YouTube and look up " In The Shop " . Half way thru his video list is an interesting fix for steering issues on these trucks .
It may be relevant or not .
 

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Here is the vid:

Mine had this problem -- I thought the steering box was going out when I first noticed it
The truck would randomly pull to one side or the other -- pretty scary on the interstate

the axle shaft rotates a little, even when everything is disengaged -- because of friction of the internals

I needed to use the 4x4 one day and then noticed the steering jerking back and forth with each revolution of the wheels
was pretty violent at first, then got some better

Moral of the story: grease the joints and use the 4x4 sometimes
I had just got the truck and it had been sitting for 3 years
 
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