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comanche79p

Steering slack? Where to start?

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Somewhat new to the Dodge so here goes. I thought my steering gear was getting some slack in it and had a helper look it over last night. I thought that I needed to adjust the adjustment screw some but after looking it over it looks like the movement is in the steering gear output shaft, not the gear adjustment. I know part of my issue is the 31" tires. I have a new alignment after upgrading to the '09 steering mod, checking the ball joints. Everything seems tight except for the movement in the output shaft. It acts like the bearings, if there are any, are out. My questions are, 1) Is this normal? 2) Is this why the steering brace/support is installed? 3) If I do install a support what to expect from the steering gear, should I go ahead and replace it now or just wait and see? Thanks for any help.

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Yes, what you have for movement is normal, and yes, that is what the steering brace is for, and you probably won't have any issue with your gear box since it isn't leaking.

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I would check you power steering fluid and see what the color of the fluid is. Typically if you flush the power steering fluid every 30k miles you never have a issue with the bearing on the output shaft and won't require the brace either. I'm at 224k miles and zero need for brace. But also the fluid is clean in the steering box. Once the fluid starts to break down the metal parts seem to start to wear kind of like not doing oil changes.

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I would check you power steering fluid and see what the color of the fluid is. Typically if you flush the power steering fluid every 30k miles you never have a issue with the bearing on the output shaft and won't require the brace either. I'm at 224k miles and zero need for brace. But also the fluid is clean in the steering box. Once the fluid starts to break down the metal parts seem to start to wear kind of like not doing oil changes.

Since I already have the slack in the output shaft should I assume the damage is already done?

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Somewhat new to the Dodge so here goes. I thought my steering gear was getting some slack in it and had a helper look it over last night. I thought that I needed to adjust the adjustment screw some but after looking it over it looks like the movement is in the steering gear output shaft, not the gear adjustment. I know part of my issue is the 31" tires. I have a new alignment after upgrading to the '09 steering mod, checking the ball joints. Everything seems tight except for the movement in the output shaft. It acts like the bearings, if there are any, are out. My questions are, 1) Is this normal? 2) Is this why the steering brace/support is installed? 3) If I do install a support what to expect from the steering gear, should I go ahead and replace it now or just wait and see? Thanks for any help.

The box brace will help but if the box is shot you'll still get some slop. I rebuilt my entire front end (minus box) 12,000 miles ago and put a brace and I still had 1-2" slop side to side from center. Just put in a redhead gear box yesterday and she's finally tight! Process of elimination.
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My point is if you take care of the steering box in the first place you wouldn't need a steering brace nor replacement at all.

Thanks, I understand. I have put about 3500 miles on the truck since I bought it and don't have a clue what when the PS oil was changed last, if at all. That is the only fluid I have not changed since I got it, but will since you brought it to my attention. Not sure it will do any good at this point. I will install the steering brace and see what happens. If that doesn't help a new steering gear along with new oil is my next project. Thanks for all the replies and advise.

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My steering box started to leak at output shaft, so I decided to step up to Borgeson box and steering shaft, when I removed old box discovered cracked frame around bolt holes. Ground all down welded and fish plated, better than new, now. IMO if you plan to run oversized tires, it would be good insurance to install steering brace. I'm sure that is why my frame was cracked, to much added weight and friction. I'm sure if one was to use stock set up all would be good. BTW the Borgeson steering box does make a world of difference in driveability (you loose 3/4's of turn lock to lock). That's all folks...

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Well, I ended up with the Borgeson shaft and gear box and it drives a lot better. As soon as I wear these 31's out I plan to go smaller because I think the big tires are part of the problem over time.

 

Thanks everyone.

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As soon as I wear these 31's out I plan to go smaller because I think the big tires are part of the problem over time.

 

Just a mild swap of 265's to 235's will rid that problem. They are both 31" tires just the 235's are 1.18" (30 mm) narrower and 0.04" (1 mm) inches taller (1 rev per mile more). But the 235's are roughly 23 pounds lighter over the 265's. Look better on 16x7 wheel vs 16.5x7 stock wheels.

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