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Dangerous Slack/Wandering in Steering/Suspensionūüė§


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Posted (edited)

Hello again fellas! i have a issue ive been working on trying to solve for some time now, and I'm to the point where i don't know what else to do or try? I refuse to take to dealership or mechanic to get them to asses or fix it.nothing personal i just enjoy working/ fixing/tearing  my own truck. My 04 ram 3500 DRW 4x4 has had slack in the steering for a while. I say that as im driving down the road it feels as if my tires will just dart in opposite directs like every 5 seconds, I'm consistently having to over correct the wheel to keep it somewhat straight, but its impossible? Im surprised I haven't been called in as a DWI suspect! i've put new mastercraft Courser MTX tires on,somewhat new N3 tuff country shocks ,steering stabilizer brace, new Y steering linkage, rough country 2.5" leveling kit (spacers on top coils), new moog 2 piece trackbar bushings, fairly new sway bar end links(which are currently shot to s*it ).i've checked the steering column dowel pins for play. I did get it aligned not to long ago and it seemed to track great for a little while but is back to the same now and seems worse? Not sure if these would matter in causing it but i have a front hub bearing going bad I am fixing to replace in a day or 2, and recently put the wrong steering stabilizer (monroe sc2968) that I'm going to change out. I measured my front tires awhile ago (front tires @9:00(front) was 69"1/4 and @3:00 (back of front tires) were 693/4. I'm not too savvy on alignment at the moment. I've read that I need to center my front axle since i put the 2.5 leveling kit on? and i haven't replaced my ball joints yet either which there's a very slight play when prying on the wheels. i appreciate any help /info from ya'll or pointing me in the right direction! 

Edited by JAG1
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Posted (edited)

What size tires are you running to require a 2 inch leveling kit? I've also got to ask is it 2WD or 4WD?

 

I'm at 415k miles. I've never had death wobble or loose steering ever. The biggest factor is leveling kits and over sized tires create the stress on the track bar and steering box. Then the leveling kit distorts the the geometry of the front axle as you use leveling kits its pushing the axle down and rearward. Then it changes the caster of the front tires. I need more information on tires sizes, what you use the truck for etc.

 

Being I'm running 245/75 R16 I was able to take an upgrade to quick ratio steering box. This is not suggest with tires over 31" inches. Quick ratio steering boxes cannot handle extra stress from over sized tires (greater than 31") or lift kits. This make my steering tight and quick to react. Smaller tire have little leverage on the steering system so darting is way less common. Since I'm running the 245/75 R16 tires it had giving me a good bump in towing power making the final ratio 3.69:1 instead of 3.55 with 265/75 R16 tires. This provides way more towing power and makes the truck quicker than any oversize tire could. Funny I just out towed a 4th gen with a RV walk right round him. Since I've always used smaller tires my tie rods ends lasted 350k miles, ball joints on this set ar over 200k miles. Track bars are going 150k miles. Steering box OEM lasted 350k miles seal leaking. Brakes go 200k to 300k miles now. At 66 MPH I'm exactly 2k RPM's on the tach. I've done several high speed studies with the smaller tires I'm lower drag in wind (less vertical face) so even at 80 MPH twisting 2,450 RPM I'm still getting 21 MPG (empty truck).

 

62 feet long, 17,300 pounds, capable of 14.1 MPG, right around 500 HP with Quadzilla and 7 x 0.010 injectors. 415k miles on the clock and just hauled 1,800 miles to AZ and back to ID. Only trouble I had was trans temp. (115 to 118*F down there)

DSCF4849.JPG

 

8 hours ago, Tb5.9cr said:

I need to center my front axle since i put the 2.5 leveling kit on?

Need adjust able track bar to reset the thrust angles to correct. Lift kit cancel out the natural self center where the axle have a back lean to aid in centering now you push the axle down and rearward the caster is gone so it darts. 

 

8 hours ago, Tb5.9cr said:

and i haven't replaced my ball joints yet either which there's a very slight play when prying on the wheels.

Ball joint will be a common task to continue doing if there is over sized tires. I will beat the ball joint constantly. Smaller the tire below 32" will prevent that. As for high quality ball joints they really don't exist with over sized tires. Like my truck I stuck in a set of CHEAP Rockauto ball joints 200k miles ago and still tight. The only way to extend the ball joint life is going down in tire size and keeping the tire narrow if possible. Wide face tires put a lot of stress on the ball joint every time your turn the wheel. 

 

8 hours ago, Tb5.9cr said:

steering stabilizer brace,

Never needed one or used one.

 

8 hours ago, Tb5.9cr said:

I'm consistently having to over correct the wheel to keep it somewhat straight, but its impossible?

Geometry is way out on the front axle between the lift kit and any over sized tires. Thrust angle is alter because the axle is push down and the solid track bar length forces the axle to be to the driver side of the truck. So now the natural straight line is gone. 

Edited by Mopar1973Man
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sorry about thatūü§¶ūüŹĹ‚Äć‚ôāÔłŹtires are 265/70/R17,and its 4WD. The kit was¬†put on to bring the front end up level with the rear..when i put the kit on with new schocks that came with it,truck felt like it was jus delivered from heaven. i have a new power steering pump i bought thinking that it needs to be replaced by the gargling sound it makes when i turn¬† to max on either side? and it leaks out the top cap to(ive cleaned the cap and made sur it free of debree,and dsucked out old ps fluid with baster and put in new valvoline atf+4 fluid 4 diffrent times to make sure it cleaned it enough and still growls when turning.i adjusted the adjuster screw on top of ps pump 2 times now and it seems to tighen it up for a little while ?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Tb5.9cr said:

sucked out old ps fluid with baster and put in new valvoline atf+4 fluid 4 diffrent times to make sure it cleaned it enough and still growls when turning

 

Wrong fluid NEVER use ATF in these system it will ruin the pump and gear box seals. MUST use strictly power steering fluid. Then the baster method does not work the entire system holds nearly 2 quarts. You only getting a few ounces out. You need to do a full flush of the system. Pull the return line from the gear box route it into a bucket. Then with the axle raised and engine off but steering unlocked go lock to lock slowly and the gear box will pump all the fluid out. Then keep filling the system till the fluid coming out is clean. Then hook up the line and top off and work the wheel again lock to lock a few times to work the air out. Check the fluid level. Now drop to the floor and start the engine go for a drive. Check the fluid again if foamy let it set and top off again. 

 

Power Steering fluid should be changed every 3 years or 30,000 miles or which comes first. Power Steering Fluid ONLY - NO ATF! Synthetics not suggested... 415k miles still got my factory pump. 

1 hour ago, Tb5.9cr said:

The kit was put on to bring the front end up level with the rear.

 

The rake is there for trailer towing or heavy bed load like his slide in camper. Leveling kits just distroy the geometry of the axle and create instability. So as you put any load in the bed the truck will squat. Basically now you got to do what @JAG1 does and now add air bags to the rear to gain level again while hauling weight. Should just return to stock height or most of 1 inch leveling kit. Even @JAG1 was fighting instability with his truck now drop back to 1 inch leveling kit and gain back some.

 

JAG1 truck hidden partial by the tree... Yup I've got to play with his truck too...

DSCF4680.JPG

 

Tidbit...

 

Dodge switch to ATF in 2003. This is because the Saginaw steering box was replaced by a Ford power steering pump and Ford steering box. So 2003 and foreward is all Ford Steering equipment. As for the past that was all Saginaw Steering boxes and require Power Steering fluid NOT ATF. 

 

(Note: I didn't see any signature information I assumed 2nd Gen body... It's 3rd Gen body as the tpoic is posted here.)

 

Another tidbit... 

 

As I check scale weight often. Empty my front axle is typically 4,400 pounds. With my Trailer hitch up it 4,250-4,300 pounds (depends on how much tongue weight). This is because of the leverage of my load pull the weight off the front axle. I've got a weight distribution hitch as well. Without it it get much lighter in the front. The frame turns into a long lever with any load in the bed. Hence the natural rake is to keep the weight on the front axle for stability and control of the vehicle. With a leveling kit you taking that rake load off the front axle and losing control. 

Edited by Mopar1973Man
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Yes, as MopaMan said, I had the 2'' leveling kit with all the extras required to try and get it right with Air bags, adjustable track bar, longer shocks and end links and realignment. I found the so called 2'' kit was really more like 2 1/2 inches. Then after awhile the truck became a wanderer .... wore me out like driving 700 miles a day instead of 3 or 400 miles a day (I like to travel). So now with the air bags, which I think are a benefit, I reduced down to a 1'' level kit. Basically a rubber spacer,  is much improved and is like a good truck should be. Although not as good as my other completely stock 2001. Yes, I have two of these second gens and wouldn't trade them for anything newer. 

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Like myself I've got two 2nd Gen trucks one is a 1996 Dodge 1500 and then the 2002 Dodge 2500 seen above. This truck I dropped the oversized (235/85 R16) tire the previous owner ran to the 215/85 R16 and this truck is now a rocket ship on rails. Rake is level once the trailer is loaded. This truck has a 187k miles and the ball joints, tie rod ends, power steering pump and gear box are all OEM original yet. Towing improved, again gear ratio is 3.70:1 final with a 3.55 axles. This transmission is a 46RE auto so with the smaller tires it better MPG and lower drag because it lower to the pavement. DSCF4850.JPG

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Mike used to build them low rider things you see downtown LA  :poke:

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Posted (edited)

Yeah I totally missed this is 3rd Gen trucks... Yes its ATF fluid its is correct.

 

14 minutes ago, JAG1 said:

Mike used to build them low rider things you see downtown LA  :poke:

No. I destroyed my 1972 Dodge Power Wagon with lift kits and oversized truck which forced me to replace my 1972 Dodge (202k miles when it left my care) with the 2002 Dodge I've got now. The 1972 Dodge only barely had 202k miles and I broke the front axles numerous times. Snap the wheel joints, ball joint failed quickly, damaged the tie rod ends. Broke and rebulit 3 different steering boxes. Burned up 2 power steering pumps. This why I turned from the leveling to stock setup. This is because the engineers design it to have particular geometry and when you alter that design then the driveability and stability is lost, then longevity is sacraficed.

 

1972 Dodge Power Wagon

1973 Dodge Charger SE (hence my nickname this was my first car)

1976 Dodge Power Wagon (Mom's)

1977 Dodge Jamboree Motorhome

1978 Dodge Magnum XE

1996 Dodge Ram 1500

2002 Dodge Ram 2500 (Cummins)

 

I've never played with Mopars... :lmao2::lmao:

 

 

Edited by Mopar1973Man
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