Jump to content

Steering Wander?


Recommended Posts

Alright, so sometimes driving down the road, I will experience the truck drifting to one side or the other. It does not matter how fast or whether or not I'm accelerating, crusing or braking. I dunno if this is from loose steering tolerances or something else going on?I've had an alignment within the year and grease my components every oil change. Any ideas? :think:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did this wandering thing just start? It could be anything from a low tire to the gear box to things worn out or even an alignment 'problem'. The reason for the alignment 'problem' is that the book specs are way to wide so even though it is within spec it will not drive as good as it should.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did this wandering thing just start? It could be anything from a low tire to the gear box to things worn out or even an alignment 'problem'. The reason for the alignment 'problem' is that the book specs are way to wide so even though it is within spec it will not drive as good as it should.

I think I have always had it, but it seems to be getting progressively worse.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did this wandering thing just start? It could be anything from a low tire to the gear box to things worn out or even an alignment 'problem'. The reason for the alignment 'problem' is that the book specs are way to wide so even though it is within spec it will not drive as good as it should.

I just did an alignment on my truck and put it exactly where the want it and it still wanders. What specs do you recommend for alignment.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you checked the track bar properly, don't second guess that. There are many more checks to make. If you haven't changed the stabilizer shock, that can go in the trash. Check for play in the steering box and column shaft. Jack it back up and re-check for movement. One wheel on the ground and have someone shake the steering wheel, then both wheels off the ground supported by chassis. Push the front end around by hand/ large pry bar carefully. For the heck of it ck for rusted control arms and/or worn bushings. Get a good light and inspect for cracks or anything out of the ordinary. At this time you can re-check the ball joints and track bar for S****& giggles @ no extra cost. You can also check the rear including cracked leaf springs. Take your time. Don't rush yourself. Good luck. It was a great feeling when I tightened up my F/end. It took me some time too.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I do have some wander in my '02 but found it much more pronounced using lower tire air pressures. I got some new tires and had an good alignment and set tire pressire at 60# minimum and found the "wander" to be much better. I think it's just inherent in these trucks..you gotta drive them and not just be "present" as they go down the road. I still have an "all-stock" front end but still have some "wander" particularily with my 4000# plus camper and boat on the back. Try upping your tire pressure and see if it helps. I think that having tire pressures at the "reccomended " level of something like 45psi is way too low for these trucks especially in the front end. There's lots of weight in the front end.Just my .02 worth.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

As posted before the factory specs are very broad, our rigs need as much positive caster as possible, just max out the caster cams on the front of the lower control arms and be happy. You can not get too much caster with the factory caster cam adjustments on our rigs. maxing this out helps with wander. The second best thing is to replace the factory steering gear box with a Borgeson 3.5 turn gear box., Third is when your track bar end link goes bad do a 3rd gen track bar conversion update.I wouldn't wast any money on the steering stabilizer brace unless you do most of your driving at slow speeds around town, have a heavy bumper or snowplow or do serious off roading.I wasted money on this on 3 rigs and it did absolutely nothing for steering quality on any of them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Date: Aug 15, 1997

Models: 1994-1998 BR Ram Truck
NOTE: This adjustments in this bulletin can be used on later models up through 2001.
Symptom/Condition:
Vehicle operators may complain that when driving on a straight road, a higher than normal steering wheel movement (perceived as excessive play) is required to keep the vehicle going straight or may describe of having to over compensating the steering to keep the vehicle from wandering.
NOTE: THIS SYMPTOM SHOULD NOT BE CONFUSED WITH VEHICLE WANDERING DUE TO SLOW OR POOR STEERING RETURNABILITY.
Diagnosis:
1. Drive the vehicle on a smooth straight road to verify that the vehicle does require higher than average amount of steering wheel movement to be able to keep the vehicle from wandering.
2. If the vehicle responds to normal steering wheel input (steering wheel can be held steady to keep the vehicle going straight), however the vehicle still drifts/wanders, see Technical Service Bulletin 05-03-97, dated March 17, 1997 for information regarding Chassis Dynamics Diagnosis.
NOTE: IT IS IMPORTANT TO THOROUGHLY PERFORM THE STEERING AND SUSPENSION INSPECTION PROCEDURE OF TECHNICAL SERVICE BULLETIN 05-03-97 FOR VEHICLES THAT EXHIBIT A DRIFT/WANDER BUT RESPOND TO NORMAL STEERING WHEEL INPUT.
If a higher than normal steering wheel movement is required to keep the vehicle from wandering (vehicle slow to respond to normal steering wheel input), then perform the Over-Center Adjustment Repair Procedure.
Parts:
AR (1) 06504926AA Bolt, Intermediate Shaft, Pinch
Repair Procedure:
This bulletin involves performing the over-center and if necessary, the worm thrust bearing preload adjustments on the steering gear.
OVER-CENTER ADJUSTMENT
1. Find the center of the steering gear travel by rotating the steering wheel completely to the left then, rotate the steering wheel to the right while counting the numbers of turns required to reach the end of travel.
2. Rotate the steering wheel to the left 1/2 the number of turns counted in the previous step. This position should be the center of the steering gear travel.
3. Loosen the locknut on the pitman shaft adjuster screw (Figure 1). Make sure the adjuster screw is held and does not turn with the locknut.

Posted Image

4. Turn the adjuster screw in approximately 1/8 of a turn. While holding the adjuster screw, tighten the adjuster screw locknut. 5. Road test the vehicle to determine if the over-center adjustment has corrected vehicle wander. If vehicle wander still occurs, repeat steps 1-5. NOTE: SOME IMPROVEMENT SHOULD BE SHOWN AFTER 1/8 TO 1/4 TURN. IF WANDER STILL OCCURS AFTER TURNING THE ADJUSTER SCREW UP TO 1/2 TURN, PROCEED TO THE BEARING PRELOAD ADJUSTMENT PROCEDURE. CAUTION: IF THE OVER-CENTER ADJUSTMENT SCREW IS TURNED TOO FAR, CUSTOMERS MAY COMPLAIN OF VEHICLE WANDERING DUE TO POOR STEERING RETURNABILITY AND/OR STICKY STEERING.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

From my experience with this adjustment and from talking to my coworker who has a business that specializes in rebuilding steering gears it is not recommended that people try and make these adjustments on thier own.For one it makes a very minor difference and secondly can be a safety hazard as too much adjustment can cause the steering gear to become tight and or lock up. If a gear has many miles on it the adjustments are trying to compensate for wear that is beyond what you can make up for with any adjustment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As posted before the factory specs are very broad, our rigs need as much positive caster as possible, just max out the caster cams on the front of the lower control arms and be happy. You can not get too much caster with the factory caster cam adjustments on our rigs. maxing this out helps with wander. The second best thing is to replace the factory steering gear box with a Borgeson 3.5 turn gear box., Third is when your track bar end link goes bad do a 3rd gen track bar conversion update. I wouldn't wast any money on the steering stabilizer brace unless you do most of your driving at slow speeds around town, have a heavy bumper or snowplow or do serious off roading. I wasted money on this on 3 rigs and it did absolutely nothing for steering quality on any of them.

Unfortunately already wasted the money on the stabilizer. My borgeson box is sittin in the garage waiting for it to warm up so I can put it on. Since my truck is QCLB it won't fit in the garage so I can shut the door. What 3rd gen track bar do you recommend there is alot of them out there.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What ever OEM 3rd gen trac bar you can get the cheapest, I would suggest going to rockauto for that and getting the adapter bracket from what ever company sells them the cheapest as well.

Think it was like 200 and the cheapest adapter bar was like 150. cPp have the kit for around 380 complete and bushings look better than the OEM ones
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used to herd mine down the road like many others. It now drives like it should. There were several things I did pretty much all at once that got it on track---so to speak. :lol: This was not all I have done but these are what I believe made a good final result. I put as much positive caster as I could get. When I replaced the vacuum pump I also adjusted the steering box per the FSM. Both adjustments, and it did take up quite a bit. I also made sure everything was tight, replaced the axle end track bar bushing with a poly one and had 285/75x17 very stiff sided wall E rated Nitto Dura Grapplers installed. It drives like one would expect and it still has original ball joints and wheel bearings @ over 188,000 miles. :pray::stuned::thumbup2:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've done this adjustment on several vehicles and had good response from the adjustment. Just do little adjustment at a time... Test and repeat. Don't get carried away with the adjustment.

Which one specifically?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...