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Mopar1973Man

Front axle - Inspection and pulling right.

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Ok Gang... I have had enough of my truck need constant counter-steering to the left it get back enough I'm starting to have problem hold it straight. I've got 183K miles on the clock and nothing but front axle bearing have been done. Anyone got sure fire ways of inspection of the ball joints and tie rod ends to tell if they need replacing. I know I could look in the Dodge FSM but I rather hear from all of you that have done axle work and what to look for. I can say my tires are still wearing good and straight no feathering or tappering of the tread. I'm going to jack up the nose of the truck and take a peek and see what I can find...

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i just got thru with mine. it was pulling to the right some and the tires were wearing on the outsides like they were under inflated even though i kept 80 psi in them. also had a lot of slop in the steering, and she bump steered alot. never experienced the death wobble i have read about. you can check the upper and lower ball joints by jacking the weel of the ground and place a bar of some sort under the tire and pry up on it. if the wheel moves up and down they are gone.as far as the tie rod ends i could not tell by looking at them or pulling on them. not sure what the proper method is, i just felt that had a lot to do with the slop in the sterring. i replaced the tie rod ends, ball joints, drag link, track bar, pretty much every thing. i also installed a steering stabilizer. the steering is better than new right now and i hope it stays that way for a long time. i am sure i have seen a write up on this somewhere in here, not sure where.the work was not to difficult. i had alot of trouble with the lowerball joints. they had to be beaten out of the yoke beings the press kit i bought did not have a cup the right size to press it out with. you could probably make one. i believe you could do it in a days time probably less since i think you are somewhat mechanchly inclined:lmao2:. i had to do mine on 2 differant trips home and kinda lost track of the time i had in it. the only special tools i needed was the press kit( got mine at advance auto $150 minus 20% discount that day) and i used a pitman arm puller to pop of the the tie rod ends and such. you will need an alighnment afterwards unless you are that good or lucky. my truck had 220k on it and i figured it was time to change all of it while i was under there.

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The wonders of a video camera...

http-~~-//www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwFu8ffH3JE

Well it looks like Track Bar is on the list...

From RockAuto.com page

RAYBESTOS Part # 5001108B Service Grade

Front ; Upper; Four Wheel Drive (4X4); By Design The Stud Does Not Articulate, It Only Spins. Up And Down Movement Is Normal

I'm going to try prying on the knucles a bit more and see if there is other play... I do have the up and down movement... :shrug:

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if your wheel moves up and down or in and out in nc it will not pass safety inspection. when i did mine it moved up and down near a quarter of an inch of more. never read any thing that said up and down movement was ok. it seems to me that would be hard on the supesion to have play in the ball joints like that. the video was nice though to see wht kind of movement you have. the track bar looked like it was moving a fair amount. could not tell about the 2 at the wheels. i could see some movement, but i dont know what is normal. I am by far no expert on the front end, i just figured since i was in there i would replace every thing and be done with it. the alighment shop i took it to told me it was all bad and the way it was driving i had to a agree. are you having other problems besides pulling?

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No... Just seem I got the wheel twisted left about 30-45* angle to hold straight line down the road. Even when the truck was brand new it was very slightly to the left and now it growing and getting worse it just seem like way too much over correction. As for slop there is very little that I can tell... I'm expecting to replace parts in the front end after 180K miles there has to be some wear in parts... But since my budget for part is thin I need to know which one is the worse right now and start with ugly and work my way back to easy breezy... :lmao::lmao2:

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I had my truck checked over by my mechanic before I took it for an alignment so i knew if there really was anything worn out if they tried telling me it was. I ended up putting new balljoints in the drivers side (adjustable top) and the passenger side had some up and down play but no in and out. I called the Dodge dealer before i took it to make sure the small up/down play wouldn't be a big deal. I was told by the service manager i could go out and take a new truck off the lot and would most likely see some up and down, and most times when they install new balljoints they see that result. As long as it didn't have in and out play they weren't comcerned

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i like easy breazy. havent seen much of that lately. i was having to turn my wheel about 30* left to correct unless the road was crowned to the left, then icould hold it straight. but on flat ground it pulled to the right a little. that was the first time i ever had tires wear out on both outside and inside of the tire unless they were under inflated. i really had to think about going into a turn. it seemed you had to steer into the turn before you got to it. anyway, it seemed you had alot of movement in the track bar. the moog i bought wasnt but a little over 100 bucks. it came with a greasable joint but other than that it was not that much differant from the oem. i have read since then that factory sealed might have been a better way to go. only time will tell for me. the track bar is easy breezy:hyper: to replace. think i had to use a pickle fork to get that one loose. it would be a good place to start. you could do the upper and lowers with out an alignment. i dont think they were to bad price wise, but they are the hardest to replace

my steering wheel now sits 0* on flat ground and about 5*on a crowned highway.

my beloved haynes manual says on idependant front steering an up and down movement of .020 is acceptable but it make no statement on movement with the solid front axle.

--- Update to the previous post...

The wonders of a video camera...

http-~~-//www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwFu8ffH3JE

Well it looks like Track Bar is on the list...

From RockAuto.com page

I'm going to try prying on the knucles a bit more and see if there is other play... I do have the up and down movement... :shrug:

iread the tech bulliten attached to the part description and it said some up and down movement with the lower ball joint disconnected would be normal. the pictures show it could move 1/4" or more. i am sure there must some tolerance in up and downn movement but i cant seem to find it anywhere. mine were sloppy you could move them up and down just by over coming the weight of the tire

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I also have a pull to the right. It's a little worse that it was a year ago when all the alignment specs were good. My steering is tight and crisp and I don't want to throw money at it if I don't have to, but its annoying and I am sure its causing irregular wear (thou looks decent, just fast) and unneded power robbing.180K on an OEM front end is amazing, most experience the need to replace BJ's at the 60-120K mile mark. I plan to use XRF's on my trucks.

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I replaced all th steering components and added a steering box brace that has a bearing at the end of the steering shaft and it bolts on under the sway bar it drives like new now also acts like another cross member at the shoe horn very happy with the result

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I see enough play at the pitman arm ball joint and at the passenger side knuckle that I'd replace the drag link too if you're having slop issues.Slop and pull are very separate issues though. Pull is usually a camber issue or axle alignment issue. If it's just your wheel off center that's nothing but a drag link length adjustment. If you're going to replace the track bar don't bother adjusting that one until you're done, it'll change at least slightly. Check axle alignment by measuring your wheelbase on both sides. With 180k on your suspension components the rubber isolators in the suspension links may be allowing a little leeway in the exact axle position which could give you some pull - assuming there's no possible crash/frame tweak incidents in the truck's history of course.sometimes a tire rotation can effect things too, even when wear looks good. My buddy's '01 gained a HARD pull to the left after a tire rotation although everything looks to be wearing even, and still is even with the pull.

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Mopar,

Before you buy all new Track Bar and Tie Rods you may want to consider going with products from Luke's Link. The advantage here is that replacing the ends of the track bar and tie rods (where they wear out) with these products makes them both adjustable and re-buildable. If you replace with a Moog Track bar and that doesn't fix the problem then you are out of luck as the Luke's Link is not compatible with other than OEM.

As for diagnosis, have someone sit behind the wheel with the truck on the ground and gently wiggle the steering wheel back and forth from 11 O'clock to 1 O'clock. While they are doing this you inspect each joint in the front end and look for any up and down movement at the joint. The ones moving up and down need to be replaced.

Also, if you haven't already installed a BD Steering Stabilizer (or similar product) you may want to consider that down the road. Another excellent and inexpensive steeing upgrade is the Rock Solid Ram Steering Fix. A simple delrin bushing that replaces the factory garbage in the upper steering column and drastically improves steering response.

Let me know if you have questions or want to see pics of any of these installed on my rig. Happy to help.

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Too late... I've got all 4 ball joints (2 upper and 2 lower) and a new track bar coming all for a total price of $166.25 (including frieght) Thing is I got 183K miles from the stock track bar I hardly doubt I need to invest in a Luke's link... I'm not running oversized tires as a matter of fact I'm running undersized tires. Now as for the tracbar its got a 5 year warranty and 60K miles... (not a Moog - RevoTech)

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ill be interested in how this works out for you. since i changed all my parts under there. does yours or anybody elses bump steer? mine has since it was new. not alot just enough to get your attention. it did get worse with age, but it is now gone completely.

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Ok... I got the part here... I managed to get the new track bar in. Really easy job to do 1 bolt and 1 nut. I will suggest that you heat the seat that taper goes into in the driver side. This will help in getting it to release after a long period of time. But after doing the track bar I noticed my steering wheel was after center most so to the left about 30*. So I loosen up the clamps and sucked up a bit of slack and now it dead center. Very light pull to the left yet but more like the crown of the road thing. But no more wandering back and forth. Now as for the track bar I purchased... Comparing to the stock bar the Mevotek to stock the Mevotek bar is much beefer but cheaper in price. $52 bucks. :smart:http://partsonline.mevotech.com/Showdetails.aspx?pn=MDS1413

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i put a moog on mine. a couple of the guys here remarked that the moog was beefier than the oem. the one i got was the same diameter and weight as my oem. it did the job but i was a little dissapointed that it appeared no differant than the oem except for the price. moog just over $100. glad it worked out for you.:hyper:

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The bar itself is not the issue, they can be as heavy as can be but if the socket in the end is made with just as an example plastic lining versus a machined ball socket what difference does it make how beefy the bar is? The bar isn't what goes bad its the end that does.

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the outward appearance of the bar, ball joint included appeared the same. maybe ther is a differance inside of the joint. the moog had a grease fitting and the oe did not. ill just keep it grease and see what happens

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The phyiscal size of the ball end is larger on the Mevotek bar compared to the OEM bar. As for both OEM and the Mevotek both have grease fitting and my old bar was greased about every 3-4K with one pump typically. Maybe thats why my old OEM bar lasted till 183K miles.. :shrug:

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