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

BlueCruiser84

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Have you driven any other 80s? Maybe it’s just how 80s steer. Mine has always been tighter than my other vehicles and I definitely wouldn’t call it one finger steering. I’d drive another one before spending any money.
 

BigSh00ts

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Have you driven any other 80s? Maybe it’s just how 80s steer. Mine has always been tighter than my other vehicles and I definitely wouldn’t call it one finger steering. I’d drive another one before spending any money.
Yes a couple test drives before i settled on this one. i do not remember them being as stiff.
 

smritte

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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.
Not disagreeing but, its more a matter of perspective. On my 80 going from 2.8 to -3 from lifting, the difference to me was barely noticeable until I hit freeway. Then it was more of a stability issue.

The statement about contact patch is incorrect. It moves the weight forward of center on the hub. That is what gives the heavier steering feel. Contact patch going straight is more camber related. Friction (scrubbing) is toe. Contact patch can diminish due to roll while cornering but, scrub will increase due to toe out on turns. All of this is dependent on alignment and ball joint configuration (SAI)

30 years as a tech, only taught me how its suppose to be, not what happens when you mod. The only difference was trying to align modded vehicles which I really only saw mine and my friends. When I retired and started teaching suspensions and brakes, is when I got to play with them in different scenarios.
Over the last 15 years I have modded all kinds of vehicles with my students. I'm talking alot. Some guys track raced some off road and some drifted. We would talk about what they wanted and set it. They would go play come back and we would change as needed. Once they were good enough, most would buy some bubble gauges and track tune or do string alignments. In a nut shell, I have modded alot cars and trucks for more or less caster and compared them.

The biggest caster changes I played with Was on my TJ. I went from +12 to 0 in small increments testing stability. To me, the difference in steering stiffness was slight. The way it tracked on the highway was where the difference was. The biggest issue high caster causes is excessive roll while steering. With high caster you tend to steer on your sidewalls. Combine that with toe out on turns, it chop's the crap out of tires.

Again, not disagreeing. I have though moved caster on quite a number of different cars and trucks just to see how they react and feel. I personally don't think its enough to say "My steering is stiff at all speeds".

If anyone here, has actually spent time working in a shop, you know you have to drive something like this with the customer and cannot diagnose over the phone. This is a "phone" diagnostic. You also know then, at times the customer doesn't like the way something is engineered. That is the hardest to diagnose. Something you cant change, something not broken but undesirable.

I normally stay out of threads like this because all that's happening is people doing "phone" diagnostics. I added my opinion when no one actually gave him a list to check. Most of the replies don't really match the complaint. How can people argue that caster could be the issue when pictures were posted of an un modified suspension (caster wise)?
Posting a question on a forum is a double edged sword. On one hand you get "opinions" that you may have not thought of. On the other side you get tunnel vision and incorrect diagnostics based on what people "think", not what they know.

This is one of the only forums I post in or read. This group has one of the best knowledge bases and almost no trolls. This is why I will add in my knowledge and experience where I think its needed.
I'm sorry to have offended anyone, my intent was only to give a list of possible to test.
 

BigSh00ts

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Not disagreeing but, its more a matter of perspective. On my 80 going from 2.8 to -3 from lifting, the difference to me was barely noticeable until I hit freeway. Then it was more of a stability issue.

The statement about contact patch is incorrect. It moves the weight forward of center on the hub. That is what gives the heavier steering feel. Contact patch going straight is more camber related. Friction (scrubbing) is toe. Contact patch can diminish due to roll while cornering but, scrub will increase due to toe out on turns. All of this is dependent on alignment and ball joint configuration (SAI)

30 years as a tech, only taught me how its suppose to be, not what happens when you mod. The only difference was trying to align modded vehicles which I really only saw mine and my friends. When I retired and started teaching suspensions and brakes, is when I got to play with them in different scenarios.
Over the last 15 years I have modded all kinds of vehicles with my students. I'm talking alot. Some guys track raced some off road and some drifted. We would talk about what they wanted and set it. They would go play come back and we would change as needed. Once they were good enough, most would buy some bubble gauges and track tune or do string alignments. In a nut shell, I have modded alot cars and trucks for more or less caster and compared them.

The biggest caster changes I played with Was on my TJ. I went from +12 to 0 in small increments testing stability. To me, the difference in steering stiffness was slight. The way it tracked on the highway was where the difference was. The biggest issue high caster causes is excessive roll while steering. With high caster you tend to steer on your sidewalls. Combine that with toe out on turns, it chop's the crap out of tires.

Again, not disagreeing. I have though moved caster on quite a number of different cars and trucks just to see how they react and feel. I personally don't think its enough to say "My steering is stiff at all speeds".

If anyone here, has actually spent time working in a shop, you know you have to drive something like this with the customer and cannot diagnose over the phone. This is a "phone" diagnostic. You also know then, at times the customer doesn't like the way something is engineered. That is the hardest to diagnose. Something you cant change, something not broken but undesirable.

I normally stay out of threads like this because all that's happening is people doing "phone" diagnostics. I added my opinion when no one actually gave him a list to check. Most of the replies don't really match the complaint. How can people argue that caster could be the issue when pictures were posted of an un modified suspension (caster wise)?
Posting a question on a forum is a double edged sword. On one hand you get "opinions" that you may have not thought of. On the other side you get tunnel vision and incorrect diagnostics based on what people "think", not what they know.

This is one of the only forums I post in or read. This group has one of the best knowledge bases and almost no trolls. This is why I will add in my knowledge and experience where I think its needed.
I'm sorry to have offended anyone, my intent was only to give a list of possible to test.
Wow, i'm really grateful for this response. it changes the way i was thinking about the issue. i'll definitely get it to an alignment shop and see what they say, and i'll get the steering checked.
 

mudgudgeon

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Wow, i'm really grateful for this response. it changes the way i was thinking about the issue. i'll definitely get it to an alignment shop and see what they say, and i'll get the steering checked.

I tried to video the steering effort on my stock 80, no lift, 305 all terrains.


I typically manoeuvre while parking with the palm of my hand pressed on the rim of the wheel. Or a few fingers gripping the wheel.
It doesn't take a lot of effort. It doesn't require a full fist to grab the wheel. Friction of my palm pressed on the wheel is enough.

It's not effortless, and it takes more effort than driving a corolla, but it's also not hard.
Saying that, I am a big gorilla.

Effort reduces as the vehicle is rolling. While driving, a palm or a few fingers is enough to steer.

I think saying it takes one finger to steer is metaphorical more than a practical description of how people steer while driving.
 

BigSh00ts

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I tried to video the steering effort on my stock 80, no lift, 305 all terrains.


I typically manoeuvre while parking with the palm of my hand pressed on the rim of the wheel. Or a few fingers gripping the wheel.
It doesn't take a lot of effort. It doesn't require a full fist to grab the wheel. Friction of my palm pressed on the wheel is enough.

It's not effortless, and it takes more effort than driving a corolla, but it's also not hard.
Saying that, I am a big gorilla.

Effort reduces as the vehicle is rolling. While driving, a palm or a few fingers is enough to steer.

I think saying it takes one finger to steer is metaphorical more than a practical description of how people steer while driving.
so mine requires a fist or moderate effort/pressure of the palm. it does not get easier as the vehicle moves.

edit: and yeah, i'm 6'3" 265#.
 

BigSh00ts

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I tried to video the steering effort on my stock 80, no lift, 305 all terrains.


I typically manoeuvre while parking with the palm of my hand pressed on the rim of the wheel. Or a few fingers gripping the wheel.
It doesn't take a lot of effort. It doesn't require a full fist to grab the wheel. Friction of my palm pressed on the wheel is enough.

It's not effortless, and it takes more effort than driving a corolla, but it's also not hard.
Saying that, I am a big gorilla.

Effort reduces as the vehicle is rolling. While driving, a palm or a few fingers is enough to steer.

I think saying it takes one finger to steer is metaphorical more than a practical description of how people steer while driving.
Just now watching this video, there's NO WAY i could do that in my LX. i have to use much harder pressure with my palm and maintain that pressure all the way through the turn.
 
Joined
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Denver, Co
From what I've gathered. You should be able to turn an 80 swries with one finger. I can turn with one hand but definitely not one finger. Steering is stiff at all speeds.

Misc:
- 97 LX450, 240k miles
- excellent condition truck. Very clean, but u have found signs the previous owner did some off roading.
- no whining from the PS pump
- ps fluid is full from PO (thoigh probably needs changing, but I don't think that causes stiff steeeing?)
- figured out today the truck was previously probably lifted (stock truck but came with sway bar drop links, so PO probably removed the lift but left the links)
- suspension is SAGGY (wondering if maybe the extra castor can cause hard steering?)

I don’t have a huge amount of free time so I would like to narrow down what it could possibly be here before I get to wrenching on it.

If there's anything I forgot to add please ask and I will update this post.
Read interesting thread. Alignment for the ones that know how.
We flushed every fluid on our 1997 FZJ80 at 300K. Not just siphoning some out and replacing. Using the pumps on the engine to completely push new fluid through. Worked wonders on everything. Cruiser drives better than ever.
Yes it was the power steering improvement that was noticed first.
Changing fluids is easy, simple, and often very rewarding. Ours was stiff compared to what is now. Did not realize until new fluid.
You kinda just accept things but have learned that with some care they get back to new.
Next simple is belt, new/old, tension, and cap.
2 cents worth
yknot123
 

mudgudgeon

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Not disagreeing but, its more a matter of perspective. On my 80 going from 2.8 to -3 from lifting, the difference to me was barely noticeable until I hit freeway. Then it was more of a stability issue.

The statement about contact patch is incorrect. It moves the weight forward of center on the hub. That is what gives the heavier steering feel. Contact patch going straight is more camber related. Friction (scrubbing) is toe. Contact patch can diminish due to roll while cornering but, scrub will increase due to toe out on turns. All of this is dependent on alignment and ball joint configuration (SAI)

30 years as a tech, only taught me how its suppose to be, not what happens when you mod. The only difference was trying to align modded vehicles which I really only saw mine and my friends. When I retired and started teaching suspensions and brakes, is when I got to play with them in different scenarios.
Over the last 15 years I have modded all kinds of vehicles with my students. I'm talking alot. Some guys track raced some off road and some drifted. We would talk about what they wanted and set it. They would go play come back and we would change as needed. Once they were good enough, most would buy some bubble gauges and track tune or do string alignments. In a nut shell, I have modded alot cars and trucks for more or less caster and compared them.

The biggest caster changes I played with Was on my TJ. I went from +12 to 0 in small increments testing stability. To me, the difference in steering stiffness was slight. The way it tracked on the highway was where the difference was. The biggest issue high caster causes is excessive roll while steering. With high caster you tend to steer on your sidewalls. Combine that with toe out on turns, it chop's the crap out of tires.

Again, not disagreeing. I have though moved caster on quite a number of different cars and trucks just to see how they react and feel. I personally don't think its enough to say "My steering is stiff at all speeds".

If anyone here, has actually spent time working in a shop, you know you have to drive something like this with the customer and cannot diagnose over the phone. This is a "phone" diagnostic. You also know then, at times the customer doesn't like the way something is engineered. That is the hardest to diagnose. Something you cant change, something not broken but undesirable.

I normally stay out of threads like this because all that's happening is people doing "phone" diagnostics. I added my opinion when no one actually gave him a list to check. Most of the replies don't really match the complaint. How can people argue that caster could be the issue when pictures were posted of an un modified suspension (caster wise)?
Posting a question on a forum is a double edged sword. On one hand you get "opinions" that you may have not thought of. On the other side you get tunnel vision and incorrect diagnostics based on what people "think", not what they know.

This is one of the only forums I post in or read. This group has one of the best knowledge bases and almost no trolls. This is why I will add in my knowledge and experience where I think its needed.
I'm sorry to have offended anyone, my intent was only to give a list of possible to test.

I'd agree with a lot of this. With limited information from the OP, and just a single photo, it is difficult to diagnose anything conclusively.

The photo that was posted does appear to have ordinary bushes with no caster correction, but i would say it is still incomplete information.
The diff housing appears to have been trussed and gusseted??
From single photo, hard to be sure. If it has, it suggests to me the previous owner was willing to do some significant mods. What else was done?

Also the OP suggested it may have been lifted previously, and lift removed.
Is this actually the case?
How was the lift done?
What parts are remaining?
Was there drop boxes fitted and left in place?
Was there caster correction done and left in place?

Suggestions or opinions from members may not be right or relevant, but they generate discussion, and can give the OP more things to consider, or rule out, or prompt more input from the OP.

Forum based diagnosis is only ever able to be as good as the information provided by the OP. Questions or suggestions help hone that information.

Suggesting significant modification such as part time 4WD conversion to 'fix' steering, particularly with an incomplete set of information from the OP is barking up a tree that ain't there.
 

BigSh00ts

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I'd agree with a lot of this. With limited information from the OP, and just a single photo, it is difficult to diagnose anything conclusively.

The photo that was posted does appear to have ordinary bushes with no caster correction, but i would say it is still incomplete information.
The diff housing appears to have been trussed and gusseted??
From single photo, hard to be sure. If it has, it suggests to me the previous owner was willing to do some significant mods. What else was done?

Also the OP suggested it may have been lifted previously, and lift removed.
Is this actually the case?
How was the lift done?
What parts are remaining?
Was there drop boxes fitted and left in place?
Was there caster correction done and left in place?

Suggestions or opinions from members may not be right or relevant, but they generate discussion, and can give the OP more things to consider, or rule out, or prompt more input from the OP.

Forum based diagnosis is only ever able to be as good as the information provided by the OP. Questions or suggestions help hone that information.

Suggesting significant modification such as part time 4WD conversion to 'fix' steering, particularly with an incomplete set of information from the OP is barking up a tree that ain't there.
Sorry, i will take photos. The axle is not trussed or gussetted.
 

leonard_nemoy

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How can people argue that caster could be the issue when pictures were posted of an un modified suspension (caster wise)?
There are multiple caster correction methods. Trunion bearings, radius arm drop brackets, bushings, caster plates, and even a cut and turn of the knuckle. There is no way to tell from posted pictures that none of these options have been used...... that's why he needs to get an alignment because its basically impossible to tell without seeing the #'s. He could even have bent parts causing issues or a change in caster.
 

BigSh00ts

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Guys, i didn't want this to turn into any quarrel, i'm just happy to have a narrower list of things to check out. thank you all so much!
 

mudgudgeon

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Guys, i didn't want this to turn into any quarrel, i'm just happy to have a narrower list of things to check out. thank you all so much!

I don't see a quarrel here.

Mud is a good source of info.

The more info you put in, the more you get out.

And yeah, it takes some filtering sometimes to narrow down the list of things to check for sure
 
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Damaged steering stabilizer.
Or a brand new stabilizer, when i installed my brand new OME steering stabilizer the steering was stiff as hell. As a matter of fact, when I'd turn the wheel to go around a corner the steering wheel didn't want to return to center, i had to hand steer it back to center. This effect lasted for a few hundred miles until my new steering stabilizer got broken in.
 

leonard_nemoy

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Haha quarrel, there haven't even been any naughty words or emoticons used..........yet
:cheers:

The important thing is getting your truck running/steering correctly. At the end of the day we can all agree on that.
 
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Sorry I haven’t read all the replies but it looks like no one has mentioned the “power valve” on the top of the steering box?

It controls how much pressure the box should receive. When you’re going fast it reduces the amount of pressure the box receives and slower speeds it fully opens to receive full pressure.

There is a wire going to it. Maybe the valve has malfunctioned or the wire has come loose?

this happened to my 96 80 recently. Stiff heavy steering. The powered signal wire came off!

edit: it’s called progressive power steering (PPS). Do you know if your steering box has this?
 

richardlillard1

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Sorry I haven’t read all the replies but it looks like no one has mentioned the “power valve” on the top of the steering box?

It controls how much pressure the box should receive. When you’re going fast it reduces the amount of pressure the box receives and slower speeds it fully opens to receive full pressure.

There is a wire going to it. Maybe the valve has malfunctioned or the wire has come loose?

this happened to my 96 80 recently. Stiff heavy steering. The powered signal wire came off!

edit: it’s called progressive power steering (PPS). Do you know if your steering box has this?
Not an option on the LX.
 

mudgudgeon

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Sorry I haven’t read all the replies but it looks like no one has mentioned the “power valve” on the top of the steering box?

It controls how much pressure the box should receive. When you’re going fast it reduces the amount of pressure the box receives and slower speeds it fully opens to receive full pressure.

There is a wire going to it. Maybe the valve has malfunctioned or the wire has come loose?

this happened to my 96 80 recently. Stiff heavy steering. The powered signal wire came off!

edit: it’s called progressive power steering (PPS). Do you know if your steering box has this?

I believe the speed sensitive steering box was only fitted to Australian VX Sahara, and JDM VX.
 
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Interesting input.

Up where I’m at having AWD for winter roads is a plus. I would not go to part time to fix a steering problem, nor would I install a turbo if it started running poorly.

Mine is part time and I’ve had full time 80’s, going back to full time.

Fix the steering issue first. Drive a part time before you make that decision, or drive a properly working full time so you know your options.
 

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