Steering sloppy within turn

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Dec 5, 2006
Vancouver BC
Searching has brought up a lot of info for me, but I need some specific advice. The front ends of these trucks have a lot of parts that can affect steering.

My steering is not terrible, but I want to make it better.

I have a 2 year old OME 2.5 lift. The truck tracks straight -stops straight. It clunks when doing slow speed parking manouevres and it has started to clunk every time I turn on the highway (just once as I start the turn.)

The clunking I just mention as a symptom - they all clunk and I am not super concerned about the clunk itself. (I suspect spring pack shifting)

What I am more concerned about is the tendency of the truck to wander while in the midst of a turn. It makes driving winding mountain highways a little nerve wracking.

I have had the alignment checked - toe in is fine. My caster angle is 1.2 deg on the left and .6 deg on the right. (a little mismatched)
The Drag links are backed off 1/2 turn from tight.
The TREs are within spec.
The steering box is correctly setup.

the steering shaft u-joints are tight - I have not greased the splines.

I have not done the knuckles, they spill a little grease, but the tires don't clunk when I pull at 12 oclock on the tire. The front hubs DO get quite warm while driving - I don't know whether this is normal or not. (and it's not connected to brake use - the hubs will be warm and the discs cool)

So with that as background, my questions are

- do warm aisin hubs mean bad things?

- what is the most likely culprit for the uncertain turning - knuckles or caster angle? Or something else I've overlooked?

Thanks in advance for your ideas!
The warm hubs is pretty normal. Its just heat transfer from bearings and, of course, the brakes more than anything. If you have OME springs, them I assume you also have OME bushings. These, and all other polyurethane bushings, will pop unless they have a nice coating of grease on them. After assembly, things are usually noise free, but after a time, the grease dries up and the popping comes back. I'm so used to it I don't hear it anymore.
Question 1 answered! :clap:

Thank you very much.

Now onto the hard ones! :bang:
Unless I am mistaken, it could be a worn worm gear in the steering box or simply the backlash setting on the steering box. After years making most of its contact in the same place it may be giving you more "degree's of slop" prior to engaging. Adjust the backlash and see if that does anything. Could also be worn out tie-rod ends.
Hey Trapper, thanks for the reply.
I've done the backlash on the steering box and the TRE's are fine.

I'm trying to figure out whether knuckle wear or caster angle are likely to be causing my issues, 'cause I think I've fixed everything else.... :hmm:
I know you mentioned it the OP, just wanted to bring it up just in case the steering box wear is beyond adjustment or the TRE's were to spec but worn. Hope you solve it. Knuckle bearing preload is crucial to providing the the correct resistance but slop would present up/down wouldn't it? Doesn't seem like your draglink/steering relay could be at a severe angle...
I'm fighting the same thing.. Just replaced the knuckle bearings, TRE's, Steering stabilizer, wheel bearings, I'm only left with the box. It has to be my box. It is the original on 285,000 miles and 2 different V8s with 35's.........
Gotta be it.
Sorry for the thread robbing
It's not thread robbing if it sheds more light!

I'm wondering if it might be tires, as well. What are you running for tires, Alaska??
I've got the Nokian Vatiiva which I love for snow traction, but I'm wondering if they're a bit soft for the winding highways. Maybe I'll try going over Toyota recommended inflation as an experiment.
You don't have any caster shims in there now? A good caster angle can help a lot and the shims are not much.
No shims. .6 deg caster on one side and 1.2 deg on the other. Which is low but apparently within Toyota spec. Which was part of my question - whether that would cause the uncertain steering that I'm experiencing?

Some of the caster related posts I read talked about wandering steering while going "straight" and trouble stopping in a straight line. This was often fixed by increasing the caster angle.

I couldn't find any info on whether increased caster would help stabilize steering within the turn itself.

Whaddya think?
I know this may sound stupid but check your connections on the drag link to tie rod and also connection to pinion arm (visually check for and play while someone moves the wheel). Those should be cotter pinned and torqued to 67 foot pounds I believe. If those wear out or become loose (if prior work was done and not pinned) the truck will track straight but slop will develop in the wheel which is very noticeable when entering a turn.

If your joints are original equipment and worn out, I would replace all the joints on both the tie rods, pinion arm and drag link. I did this and flushed my power steering fluid had a good alignment and she is tight as a drum in the turns with 33's and OME lift.

Good Luck

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