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Steering box brace designs


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I'm looking at steering box braces...  one more expense trying to tighten up the steering on my truck.  It seems all of them replace the nut under the pitman arm with an extension which engages a bearing...  a high quality ball bearing. 

Most units bridge frame rail to frame rail, claiming to stiffen the chasis by so doing.  One product mounts entirely to the driver's side & claims that the frame naturally flexes & the bridge designs can put undesireable pressure on the steering box internal components...  they also do extreem off-roading which I don't.   There are differences in designs & also thickness of materials...  

 

Thoughts?  First hand experiences?    

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What has been done to the steering system to date?

 

I have done the brace on 2 second gens and one 3rd and to be honest unless you have large tires or a snow plow or heavy bumper it is not a big advantage to doing anything with tightening up the steering on a second gen.

 

The one must do and best steering improvement is to put a Borgeson steering gear and shaft on goes from 4.5 turn lock to lock to about 3.3 turns, much tighter, more responsive and easier to drive, second is to max out the cams on the lower control arms to get max caster, helps it track straighter and you can not et too much caster on our rigs that is why you can max out the adjuster cams.

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I have the steering box brace from PSC.  I believe now they sell a synergy, but it looks just like mine.  Anyway.  I ran 35's on my 3rd gen mega cab just like my current 2nd gen.  The steering components on my 99 are tighter than that of my CR.  However, with this said, all the front end in my 99 is newer also.  I personally think for what little money ($155.00) is invested the brace is a wise purchase to make.  Common sense tells me its going to create a better functional environment for my steering components as it has to eliminate some or most of the slack associated with cranking the stock steering box around all the time.  Every time you turn the wheel your frame rails go from    I I    (vertical) to / / (stress lean) \ \. and your steering components face unintended stresses also. So when you brace it it keeps your rails closer to     I I   (vertical) obviously the intended placement. This truck feels totally different to me going over bumps and such as compared to my CR.  I would agree simply bolting on the brace your not going to really feel a "OMG" steering difference in tightness, but I think you will see both an improvement in steering response, and a longer life of your steering components.

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I didn't know there was any camber adjustment at all.

There isn't any camber adjustment unless you put adjustable upper ball joints in. I said caster and it is adjustable by the front cam on the lower control arms, positive caster is when the lower ball joint is ahead of the centerline of the spindle visualizing a verticle line from upper to lower ball joint, this is what is wanted to help wandering issues.

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What has been done to the steering system to date?

 

I have done the brace on 2 second gens and one 3rd and to be honest unless you have large tires or a snow plow or heavy bumper it is not a big advantage to doing anything with tightening up the steering on a second gen.

 

The one must do and best steering improvement is to put a Borgeson steering gear and shaft on goes from 4.5 turn lock to lock to about 3.3 turns, much tighter, more responsive and easier to drive, second is to max out the cams on the lower control arms to get max caster, helps it track straighter and you can not et too much caster on our rigs that is why you can max out the adjuster cams.

I respectfully disagree Wild and Free. Like I posted before I put one on my second gen when it had only thirty thousand miles and standard 16'' rims/ tires. It made a sizable difference in tightening things up.

 

If you turn the wheel radically left and right ignition on but not start the engine, you can see under the truck all the movement in frame and pitman arm shaft. It's a weak area down there around the steering box and the steering box bearings get a beating that way.

 

Go for the frame to frame DSS.

 

My 1st gen steering box mount has had to be reinforced twice by a certified welder in over 400 thousand miles and the first gens have stronger frames.

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I tend to look at it a different way. Since I've lighten up my tires (235/85 R16) and lighten up the wheels (16x7.5 to 16x7 Aluminum) I've never had any stress on the front steering components. Even with all my offroad use, heavy hauling of firewood, and rough roads (washboarded & potholes) absolutely no steering issues. Gearbox is still tight.

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^^^^Doesn't mean you still couldn't benefit from it. I don't know why some trucks tend to suffer from steering issues and others don't but it's not solely based on tire/wheel size. My 98 with 34s tracks straight as an arrow down even the roughest of back roads, yet here you have Russ with an extreme low mileage all original never been abused; truck with OEM sized tires and his is all over the road....pretty sure it's not the tires or the driver in this scenario. My 00 with OEM sized tires wandered all over the road as well Even after I went through and replaced every single component under the front of that truck Including the gear box and shaft. I eventually gave up and just drove it. Never knew about the steering brace at the time either.

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That's where I get hung up. Here is Russ where he not putting any stress on the frame horns and has a requirement for a gear box brace. Here I am back in the back country going from lock to lock turning around on narrow dirt roads, tight switch backs, ruts you name and don't need gear box brace. So can someone explain the requirements for needing a gear box brace because I'm missing something here. :think:

 

I could understand if you leveraging again the front tire is so excess that you flexing the frame horns. Russ is a pavement queen for the most part. The only thing I can come up with Russ issues would be the excessive amount of rust might of weaken the frame or other pivots. Like his rear axle issue earlier where it jumped the perch.

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Edit; earlier I said I put on the steering brace at around 30,000.....checked my records and it was put on at 54,000 miles.

Don't dirt roads act like little pebble ball bearings under the tires making it easier on the steering box? I don't know, but, I recommend the wifey running the wheel left to right with you looking at all the steering stuff underneath. You might be surprised.

Remember too that my first gen steering box mount bracket broke/ tore two times and all the steel is thicker around there. Steering box was suddenly flopping back and forth. Luckey no wrecks with the two times it happened. It was last year it happened the second time. Mount bracket just sort of tears with metal fatigue. I had a certified welder reinforce it as new brackets no longer available.

Edited by JAG1
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I would agree with jag, the laws of physics are the laws of physics, no matter how good your truck is, it cannot eliminate Newtons laws only make it less prevalent.  You can go to a smaller tire, but somewhere (probably many times) your horns have been offset by a force holding against the steering, whether you were setting up against a log you didn't see or a curb, had to swerve to miss a jackwagon....options are numerous. All I am saying is any potential force against those rails is also a force against your steering box, no matter how small, and while it may take a long time to rear its head, its not improving your box life.  The frame has to flex some, but not like these are capable.  

 

Mike, Maybe you just think its tight cause you don't have a brace on it to know the difference. :poke: J/K LOL

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I put the BD steering box brace on my 3rd gen and the results were VERY noticeable.  I would recommend it if they make one for the 2nd gens for sure!!

 

Maybe I'm HYPERSENSITIVE;  I dunno, but most everything that I do, and have done to my truck over the years, I can and do notice a difference.  That difference my just be the SOP or "butt-O-meter, or actual calculations like mileage.  For example:  my Smarty is way better than the Edge J w/A I ran.  That's an SOP feeling as that I never actually compared the 2 side-by-side with actual dyne numbers.  Another example:  my mileage has picked up by at least 1mpg since I installed the "free-spin" hub kit on my truck.  The recent trip I took to KY that got me 22.1mpg would've been closer to the 20mpg mark prior.  I've posted lots of other mileage stuff here also for any doubters.  That's not SOP,  but real world calculations.   Yet another example:  the BD steering box brace I added years ago.  Twas an instant improvement in wheel response and feel...............before/after.

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I put the BD steering box brace on my 3rd gen and the results were VERY noticeable.  I would recommend it if they make one for the 2nd gens for sure!!

 

Maybe I'm HYPERSENSITIVE;  I dunno, but most everything that I do, and have done to my truck over the years, I can and do notice a difference.  That difference my just be the SOP or "butt-O-meter, or actual calculations like mileage.  For example:  my Smarty is way better than the Edge J w/A I ran.  That's an SOP feeling as that I never actually compared the 2 side-by-side with actual dyne numbers.  Another example:  my mileage has picked up by at least 1mpg since I installed the "free-spin" hub kit on my truck.  The recent trip I took to KY that got me 22.1mpg would've been closer to the 20mpg mark prior.  I've posted lots of other mileage stuff here also for any doubters.  That's not SOP,  but real world calculations.   Yet another example:  the BD steering box brace I added years ago.  Twas an instant improvement in wheel response and feel...............before/after.

Not to HJ, but I apparently missed the post where you notified of your travel intentions to KY. What part did you go to? 

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Not to HJ, but I apparently missed the post where you notified of your travel intentions to KY. What part did you go to? 

 

 

Went to Berea, KY from my home here in northern Illinoiz.  Just over 460 miles house to house.  Here's the link to my plans...............sorry you missed them.  Post #32.

 

 

http://forum.mopar1973man.com/index.php?/topic/8516-fuel-efficiency-of-the-045-07/page-2

Edited by dorkweed
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Went to Berea, KY from my home here in northern Illinoiz.  Just over 460 miles house to house.  Here's the link to my plans...............sorry you missed them.  Post #32.

 

 

http://forum.mopar1973man.com/index.php?/topic/8516-fuel-efficiency-of-the-045-07/page-2

Yep, thats entirely my fault, and I send my apologies.  I live just a few counties up from berea on I 64 and I 75.   (right where you passed through to get there) I would have been happy to meet you while you were in the area. 

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