Wandering Steering problem & how to diagnose problem. (1 Viewer)

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Oct 23, 2019
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Hi there, just posting this here because I have a 105 series which have same front end as 80 series and thought someone might know the problem.

Car:
1998 LC 105 series with 2" (50mm) OME lift that was installed in 2000 by the looks. Rear and front springs and shocks. (not nitro) Steering dampener which may be the issue.
Bought it in 2019 with this issue, had 33 inch tyres 305/70/16s then however, I have recently put 35s on it 315/75/16. No change in problem.

Problem:
Slight, only little, controllable with little effort, wandering steering problem since I bought it (2019). Wanders when going over bumps on roads, right or left depending on contour of the road. . I would like to fix it. I do not seem to have any play in steering at all, it's all quite tight. So I am thinking perhaps not steering gear box relate, but maybe Steering Dampener related to lift and large tyres. Perhaps a new heavy duty Steering Dampener required perhaps a Tough Dog RTC.

Wondering if any one has experienced this issue. Any suggestions appreciated. Pics of dampener below.

106244619_700185827502309_3233209587509607627_n.jpg


106754907_621291841814828_2108404589622158418_n.jpg


106339174_301009747975430_384916442103804363_n.jpg
 
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Does not look like you have caster bushings.

Would recommend caster plates and OEM bushings if the bushings are shot.

Going to larger tires (tyres) will exacerbate the problem.
Thanks for the info @BILT4ME

So just gunna quiz you on why you think there are no caster correction bushings, I have left a clear picture of the caster.

Am I correct on thinking that if there were caster correction bushings in that picture, the caster would be on a noticable angle bolted in?

Is there anything else that could explain why they did not put in caster correction stuff, i.e. done in 2000, lasts without it for 100,000kms before it screws the OEM (original) caster bushings. etc. Its def a front and back lift of around 2". Doesn't make much sense if it was, according to the previous owner, done by ARB.

Pics:
106914458_944686589286705_7451253070499876761_n.jpg


106720239_203356610927712_7128278515857460327_n.jpg


106777036_311661529961572_7777138320044578227_n.jpg
 
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Just one more pic to show lift effecting angle of diff., OME suspension included. It does appear to be tilted forward as it should with that size lift I would think.

106238946_1574920459347840_6648341127536019215_n.jpg


Just find it strange ARB would not put those offset bushings in if it has this amount of wander while driving
 
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Just one more pic to show lift effecting angle of diff., OME suspension included. It does appear to be tilted forward as it should with that size lift I would think.

View attachment 2358114

Just find it strange ARB would not put those offset bushings in if it has this amount of wander while driving
There are not any caster correction bushings in there.
1) The bolt is centered on the casting on the arm on both front and rear bushings.
2) There are no rear arm drop brackets.
3) OME caster correction bushings are yellow. Those are black.
5) A stock caster limit can be still within spec on a truck with a 2" lift.

Driveability varies by truck and what some people tolerate. I installed an OME 2.5" heavies lift in mine and did not install caster plates or bushings. I have driven it for 30K miles. I have tolerated it. I don't like the way it drives without caster correction. I need to take it into an alignment shop to get it checked so I can determine how much correction I need, then I will order plates to match.

I will also get new tires after I do that. I am also looking at the Delta rear control rod correction bracket to bring my rear axle back under the truck correctly.

If in doubt, take it an alignment shop, have it checked and post your sheet with numbers and let the masses decide. You can read in the FSM the acceptable range of faster. Some trucks are more forgiving than others.
 
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The below thread assumes all steering, wheel, and suspension components are in good mechanical condition.
As previously mentioned, without going to an alignment shop and finding out where you currently are in reference to where you should be, this is all meaningless.
 
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The below thread assumes all steering, wheel, and suspension components are in good mechanical condition.
As previously mentioned, without going to an alignment shop and finding out where you currently are in reference to where you should be, this is all meaningless.
I have taken it for a drive after all these visual checks. I think it may just be the steering gear box. I have driven straight up to 2x corners close to home, kept the steering wheel straight up to the corner, and then gone into the corner with maximum angle. I have noticed that, the steering wheel from dead centre, it takes about 2-3 inches of turn, before the wheels start to follow. Think this is asymptomatic of steering wheel slop? I've already gone through vids n youtube of how to break the nut and tighten the screw on the Steering gear box. I think it does this more when driving bcos it seemed normal parked at home turning it.

Also notice it quite a bit on highway (at higher speeds its worse) that the play is quite significant, and at times it feels as if the steer is just loose going along. I have a feeling this isn't normal and that the steering wheel should feel connected to the wheels immediately at all times, even when doing slight weeving turns along the highwaty. At the moment its just quite loose and doesn't respond immediately. I know it has 35s and 2" inch of lift but surely this is not normal even with this?
 
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Some play is normal and expected. Excessive play is common, and can be fixed. However, I don't see any caster correction method in your pics, and your caster is almost certainly outside of spec with a lift. Proper caster will cause the wheel to return to center better, improper caster will cause wandering. Fix that, and you may find that the play at the wheel isn't bothersome.
 
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I have taken it for a drive after all these visual checks. I think it may just be the steering gear box. I have driven straight up to 2x corners close to home, kept the steering wheel straight up to the corner, and then gone into the corner with maximum angle. I have noticed that, the steering wheel from dead centre, it takes about 2-3 inches of turn, before the wheels start to follow. Think this is asymptomatic of steering wheel slop? I've already gone through vids n youtube of how to break the nut and tighten the screw on the Steering gear box. I think it does this more when driving bcos it seemed normal parked at home turning it.

Also notice it quite a bit on highway (at higher speeds its worse) that the play is quite significant, and at times it feels as if the steer is just loose going along. I have a feeling this isn't normal and that the wheel should feel connected to the wheels immediately at all times, even when doing slight weeving turns along the highwaty. At the moment its just quite loose and doesn't respond immediately. I know it has 35s and 2" inch of lift but surely this is not normal even with this?
Have you checked the nuts on the bottom of the steering arms at each knuckle? What you're describing is what I felt when I had lost 3/4 of the studs on the right side and the last one was only in about 3 treads.

Lube your shafts, check your nuts!
 
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The below thread assumes all steering, wheel, and suspension components are in good mechanical condition.
As previously mentioned, without going to an alignment shop and finding out where you currently are in reference to where you should be, this is all meaningless.
Will definitely take squiz at this thread.

Some play is normal and expected. Excessive play is common, and can be fixed. However, I don't see any caster correction method in your pics, and your caster is almost certainly outside of spec with a lift. Proper caster will cause the wheel to return to center better, improper caster will cause wandering. Fix that, and you may find that the play at the wheel isn't bothersome.
Good to know some play is normal. I'm thinking changing the caster bushing, or caster brackets would have to improve this play I'm experiencing from what I've read already.

Have you checked the nuts on the bottom of the steering arms at each knuckle? What you're describing is what I felt when I had lost 3/4 of the studs on the right side and the last one was only in about 3 treads.

Lube your shafts, check your nuts!
Cheers for the info. Will have a look at what you're describing first thing tommorrow 11:20PM here. All this info is helping me build a list of checks. Bearings also another one. All info just helping me build a list of things I can diagnose , quite a list lol
 
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I have taken it for a drive after all these visual checks. I think it may just be the steering gear box. I have driven straight up to 2x corners close to home, kept the steering wheel straight up to the corner, and then gone into the corner with maximum angle. I have noticed that, the steering wheel from dead centre, it takes about 2-3 inches of turn, before the wheels start to follow. Think this is asymptomatic of steering wheel slop? I've already gone through vids n youtube of how to break the nut and tighten the screw on the Steering gear box. I think it does this more when driving bcos it seemed normal parked at home turning it.

Also notice it quite a bit on highway (at higher speeds its worse) that the play is quite significant, and at times it feels as if the steer is just loose going along. I have a feeling this isn't normal and that the steering wheel should feel connected to the wheels immediately at all times, even when doing slight weeving turns along the highwaty. At the moment its just quite loose and doesn't respond immediately. I know it has 35s and 2" inch of lift but surely this is not normal even with this?
The fact that you have a lifted truck with no caster correction is screaming at me.
Wandering/following ruts on the highway is indicative poor caster or incorrect toe.
You can continue to guess what your problem may be, or you can get some quantitative data on your alignment, have facts to work with, and move forward from there..
 
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The fact that you have a lifted truck with no caster correction is screaming at me.
Wandering/following ruts on the highway is indicative poor caster or incorrect toe.
You can continue to guess what your problem may be, or you can get some quantitative data on your alignment, have facts to work with, and move forward from there..
Yep, I will book it in for an alignment
 
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All of the above plus check for cracking around the steering box and other front-end supports. There are some areas that commonly crack and that will also contribute to wandering.

Since I think it is a pretty complete list I'll share the items I had to fix to improve tracking of my 80:

  • worn rod ends (all)
  • loose wheel bearings (all)
  • no steering damper (not sure really mattered)
  • worn suspension bushings (all)
  • slack in the steering box
  • unmatched/worn tires
  • cracks in welds on frame near steering box
  • worn trunion bearings
  • incorrect toe-in
  • under-damped shock absorbers

The main items I didn't have to fix were loose nuts on the knuckle bottoms or caster. I also didn't have a steering column coupler issue, though I don't know if that is a thing on 80s like it can be on some cars.

Until I addressed all of the above items driving at speed was a chore. The truck had a mind of it's own so to speak and I was always correcting course. This was espescially bad over bumps and during high-speed turns. I'd check all of the above since most are easy to identify or eliminate from the list. Also, keep in mind which ones will cause wandering and which will just cause extra play in your steering as it sounds like you have both.
 

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