What would cause stiff steering at all speeds? (1 Viewer)

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I kinda wonder if your steering pump went back together properly (had that problem).

How was it before compared to after?

Get it up on jack stands and try it with the engine on or off and see how much difference there is.

After rebuilding the steering pump on mine (cummins pump, not an 80 pump) and getting one internal disc backwards I’m familiar with this scenario, and I’m sure my caster isn’t great, I have over sized tires and with the 6BT probably a heavier truck then anyone on this thread, but it will one finger turn the wheel from knock to knock when running.

I’m trying to say that I think if the steering pump is rebuilt properly and the system is functioning properly the alignment and caster and worn TRE’s won’t be enough resistance for you to notice. Having had one part installed on my pump made turning the wheel a two hand task. Now it’s easy as pie.

The only other thing is that you may have air in the system, turn it all the way left and right on jack stands a few times to get any pockets out of it.

Also, having your alignment out shouldn’t matter if it’s sitting in one spot idleing. It would make it either under or over steer and feel twitchy or resistant at speeds though. How is you tire wear? More tread wear on outer or inner face of tire?
 
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On top of what others have said, broken trunnion bearings is another possible cause of increased steering effort, IME.
 

leonard_nemoy

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I’m trying to say that I think if the steering pump is rebuilt properly and the system is functioning properly the alignment and caster and worn TRE’s won’t be enough resistance for you to notice.

Too much caster will definitely cause significant increase in steering effort.

fW6Oe1D.jpg
It's hard to tell with this picture but I think your block wall needs some work......JK

But really we need a photo showing the bushings from an angle so we can see if the bushings appear to be oem or not. Also a picture of the knuckle and the frame where your control arms attach. Once you get an alignment done post up the #'s and more photos.

Goodluck
 

BigSh00ts

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Too much caster will definitely cause significant increase in steering effort.


It's hard to tell with this picture but I think your block wall needs some work......JK

But really we need a photo showing the bushings from an angle so we can see if the bushings appear to be oem or not. Also a picture of the knuckle and the frame where your control arms attach. Once you get an alignment done post up the #'s and more photos.

Goodluck
Ok, I will take some better ones today, thanks!
 

smritte

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I didn't see this posted but, did this start happening or has it been like this from when you bought it?

First, why don't you narrow down the issue instead of jumping all over the place? Do you actually know how stiff the steering is suppose to be? When driving, if you change lanes, do you have to turn the wheel back straight or does it straighten it self?

Mine is in perfect shape with all new parts and perfect alignment. There's no way I can turn the wheel with one finger on mine or any Cruiser I've worked on. The problem with asking something that you feel on a forum is, no one can actually feel it and will give suggestions or ideas for you to check. Have you actually compared this to another Cruiser similarly outfitted? Exactly how stiff is the steering? There is really no way to post this.

Here's a few points to narrow it down.

1. Disconnect the tie rod at the pitman arm. The steering should be smooth both directions with virtually no play. If the gear box has been over adjusted, it will drag in the center and be easier as you turn to a side. There should be a very slight bit of tension, side to side of center. I test this using one finger on a steering wheel spoke. Turning slowly lock to lock. Vehicle will not be running when you do this.

2. Disconnect the tie rods at both wheels, put vehicle on jack stands. Turn each tire back and forth and compare side to side. They should be even, with a little drag. Too tight and your looking at steering pivots. Seized parts will show when you compare side to side. this is not common.

3. With everything assembled, how much easier does the steering get when you start it? It should be significant but will have some drag.

4. When you turn it, does it make fluid or hissing noise? Most power steering pump failures are noisy. The exception being a broken pump regulator spring. If that breaks running or not feels the same. Those breaking are rare.

5. Too much castor? If I set your castor as far as it will go without hitting and put it back, the difference will be slight. You will really notice it on the freeway though.


Not saying its not broken but, again what are you comparing this to? The hardest thing to diagnose is something that's not broken. Its even harder if you don't know what "normal" is.

If you actually have steering that is too tight you need to narrow it down. Don't be surprised if there's more than one thing causing it. Keep this in mind, when steering wears out, it gets looser, not tighter. When someone incorrectly assembles or adjusts, now its stiffer.
 

BigSh00ts

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I didn't see this posted but, did this start happening or has it been like this from when you bought it?

First, why don't you narrow down the issue instead of jumping all over the place? Do you actually know how stiff the steering is suppose to be? When driving, if you change lanes, do you have to turn the wheel back straight or does it straighten it self?
It was like this since i got it from PO.

I've been driving for 18 years and i've never driven a hevhicle that is this hard to turn "normally." i don't say that to make it seem like it's super hard, because like i said, i can turn with one hand, but it's definitely above average in resistance. The wheel goes back straight on its own.

Mine is in perfect shape with all new parts and perfect alignment. There's no way I can turn the wheel with one finger on mine or any Cruiser I've worked on. The problem with asking something that you feel on a forum is, no one can actually feel it and will give suggestions or ideas for you to check. Have you actually compared this to another Cruiser similarly outfitted? Exactly how stiff is the steering? There is really no way to post this.

I apologize, but there's really not much of a way i can "measure" it other than to say i've driven plenty of cars (including several SFA rigs, lifted, big tires, old, new, etc.) and i've never had this much trouble turning the wheel. it's not impossible, but very inconvenient and makes the truck very effortful to drive. i.e. driving is not really enjoyable.
Here's a few points to narrow it down.

1. Disconnect the tie rod at the pitman arm. The steering should be smooth both directions with virtually no play. If the gear box has been over adjusted, it will drag in the center and be easier as you turn to a side. There should be a very slight bit of tension, side to side of center. I test this using one finger on a steering wheel spoke. Turning slowly lock to lock.

2. Disconnect the tie rods at both wheels, put vehicle on jack stands. Turn each tire back and forth and compare side to side. They should be even, with a little drag. Too tight and your looking at steering pivots. Seized parts will show when you compare side to side. this is not common.

3. With everything assembled, how much easier does the steering get when you start it? It should be significant but will have some drag.

4. When you turn it, does it make fluid or hissing noise? Most power steering pump failures are noisy. The exception being a broken pump regulator spring. If that breaks running or not feels the same. Those breaking are rare.

5. Too much castor? If I set your castor as far as it will go without hitting and put it back, the difference will be slight. You will really notice it on the freeway though.


Not saying its not broken but, again what are you comparing this to? The hardest thing to diagnose is something that's not broken. Its even harder if you don't know what "normal" is.

If you actually have steering that is too tight you need to narrow it down. Don't be surprised if there's more than one thing causing it. Keep this in mind, when steering wears out, it gets looser, not tighter. When someone incorrectly assembles or adjusts, now its stiffer.

Definitely really grateful for all of these. My post wasn't intended to get a 100% diagnosis, but more to narrow the issues so i can use what little free time i have to focus on the most likely culprits.
 

smritte

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I apologize, but there's really not much of a way i can "measure" it other than to say i've driven plenty of cars (including several SFA rigs, lifted, big tires, old, new, etc.) and i've never had this much trouble turning the wheel. it's not impossible, but very inconvenient and makes the truck very effortful to drive. i.e. driving is not really enjoyable.

Don't need to apologize. This is what I have spent most of my life doing for a living. You have some points to check. If it is too stiff, the first thing I would check is the gear box. There is a procedure for setting the tension. When they wear out, people just tighten them. Most of the time they over tighten them. Personally, I'm not a fan of adjusting something that I deem worn out. Start with disconnecting the pitman and checking the tension. I don't remember the spec off hand. Most of the gear boxes I do are Saginaw. Those are 8-15 inch pounds or 15-20 depending on which one. I think Toyota is around 10.
 

smritte

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Forgot one point. If the steering returns by itself, the issue is slight. I have had them so tight you had to re center the wheel after changing lanes.
 

BigSh00ts

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Don't need to apologize. This is what I have spent most of my life doing for a living. You have some points to check. If it is too stiff, the first thing I would check is the gear box. There is a procedure for setting the tension. When they wear out, people just tighten them. Most of the time they over tighten them. Personally, I'm not a fan of adjusting something that I deem worn out. Start with disconnecting the pitman and checking the tension. I don't remember the spec off hand. Most of the gear boxes I do are Saginaw. Those are 8-15 inch pounds or 15-20 depending on which one. I think Toyota is around 10.
Yeah your reasonses have me wondering if I should just get it to a shop. You know with these old trucks sometimes there are common issues where if certain symptoms its "more than likely" this one or two things (like my viscous coupler that I had removed).
 

smritte

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The biggest improvement I made to my steering was changing to part time. Full time/AWD is going to be stiffer than a 2wd or part time vehicle by quite a bit.
 

BigSh00ts

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The biggest improvement I made to my steering was changing to part time. Full time/AWD is going to be stiffer than a 2wd or part time vehicle by quite a bit.
that's fair, and i know this is a terrible comparison due to IFS, but my 99 LX470 was way easier than the 80.
 

mudgudgeon

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The biggest improvement I made to my steering was changing to part time. Full time/AWD is going to be stiffer than a 2wd or part time vehicle by quite a bit.
Steering feel is not a reason to charge to part time!
If you have other reasons to go past time, sure. IMHO this is rubbish.

AWD will impact steering feel from torque steer at times under power, 99.9% of the time, there's not a difference.
I say that having driven all of the cruisers i have owned with no front shaft, or no birfs in place for extended periods of time as a daily driver
 

mudgudgeon

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Yeah your reasonses have me wondering if I should just get it to a shop. You know with these old trucks sometimes there are common issues where if certain symptoms its "more than likely" this one or two things (like my viscous coupler that I had removed).

Take it to a wheel alignment shop. Get them to give you a print out of your alignment numbers.

On an 80 series, the only alignment a shop can do is adjust toe in, toe out.
Anything else requires custom parts and a lot more work than any alignment shop will do as part of an alignment
 

smritte

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Steering feel is not a reason to charge to part time!
If you have other reasons to go past time, sure. IMHO this is rubbish.
We can agree to disagree on this point.
I'm not sure how many of these you have done but, in the couple I have, NOT having the front engaged makes a huge difference in steering. Hell..even on my other 4wds, with the front engaged makes steering stiffer. I'm not sure what you have driven to say different.
"IF" there is actually nothing wrong with the OP's steering, part time or increasing the psi from the pump will be the two options to ease up the feel. When you have something your diagnosing or modifying you look at all options and choose which is best. Just because its something you disagree with, why would you not list it for someone else?
 

smritte

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Take it to a wheel alignment shop. Get them to give you a print out of your alignment numbers.
He already stated alignment is good. How much difference will toe make? Not much if its toed in, unstable and twichy on freeway if its toed out, the suspension pic showed no caster plates. If it has caster bushings he will be lucky if its at 2 degrees.
Again, how will these make stiff steering?
 

BigSh00ts

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He already stated alignment is good. How much difference will toe make? Not much if its toed in, unstable and twichy on freeway if its toed out, the suspension pic showed no caster plates. If it has caster bushings he will be lucky if its at 2 degrees.
Again, how will these make stiff steering?
I think that was someone else. I did not say alignment was necessarily good as i haven't had it verified. I will get the toe checked at a shop this week if i can make it out.
 

leonard_nemoy

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He already stated alignment is good. How much difference will toe make? Not much if its toed in, unstable and twichy on freeway if its toed out, the suspension pic showed no caster plates. If it has caster bushings he will be lucky if its at 2 degrees.
Again, how will these make stiff steering?
Too much caster will cause stiff steering. Too much caster increases the contact patch between the tire and pavement and that will translate to a stiffer steering wheel.

OEM caster was 3-4 degrees. If iit was lifted and corrected with a 2 degree bushing and then put back to stock it could now be at 5-6. That much caster will cause hard steering.

The rig could even have trunion caster correction or a drop bracket for the control arm, both of which would also cause increases steering pressure.

But I have to agree with you on the part time thing. My current rig is part time and I can steer it with 1 finger. It requires obviously less force to steer than the other 80's I have owned or driven.
 
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