Steering issue

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LagunaH1
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Steering issue

Post by LagunaH1 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:32 pm

Hi everyone,

A couple of months ago, I was in a minor accident when an idiot pulled into the lane I was driving in. I managed to slow the truck enough that the idiot only clipped my front right corner. The idiot was at fault and my insurance took care of things despite him being uninsured.

Ever since the accident, I feel like the steering has changed a bit. It is like the steering feels tighter / heavier when Turing to the left, than when turning to the right. The best example of this is when driving down the freeway and changing lanes, or when countering crosswinds and / or road crown.

The steering feels lighter / looser / softer when turnning the wheel 10 - 30 degrees right, then when turning the wheel 10-30 degrees left.

I've had the shop check the alignment of the truck and they tell me it's within spec. I believe them, because the truck *does* steer straight when I'm on a road with no road crown (and those are not real common where I live) and the steering wheel is perfectly straight in those situations.

I've been under the truck but there's nothing my un-trained eyes can pinpoint. Everything *looks* fine.

What do you guys suggest? Anything I can do to diagnose this any further? I'm kinda leery about taking the truck to the shop without being able to provide them with something a bit more tangible to work on.
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Re: Steering issue

Post by DamageWagon » Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:06 pm

Sounds like possibly a bent knuckle or upper ‘C’. Could go straight down the road but if a ball joint is fighting the turn or if your instant camber is off during a turn that could cause turning issues. Just throwing ideas out, never experienced either of these.

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Re: Steering issue

Post by LagunaH1 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:16 pm

Maybe I'll jack up the front end and move the wheels from lock to lock and see if anything feels "off", as in... binding up, clunks, play, so on and so forth
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Re: Steering issue

Post by waldo » Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:49 pm

Check the steering damper to see if the rod is bent. Happened to a 1500 my wife was driving and got hit (back when they were still SFA). Came back from the body shop that way.
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Re: Steering issue

Post by RustyPW » Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:57 pm

Could be steering box. Mine did something like that when it went bad in Moab. It was hard to turn left, but easy to turn right. Plus it had a dead spot at dead center. It wouldn't turn the wheels until you turned the steering wheel 2 inches in either direction.
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Re: Steering issue

Post by LagunaH1 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:46 pm

Today I dropped the truck off at the local dealership body shop. Within 5 minutes, they determined that the front axle was not centered. The left front wheel sticks out farther than the right.

To make it all better, it also appears that rodents have been seeking shelter in my truck's engine bay.
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Re: Steering issue

Post by olyelr » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:56 pm

LagunaH1 wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:46 pm
Today I dropped the truck off at the local dealership body shop. Within 5 minutes, they determined that the front axle was not centered. The left front wheel sticks out farther than the right.

To make it all better, it also appears that rodents have been seeking shelter in my truck's engine bay.
Neither of those are good!
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Re: Steering issue

Post by DamageWagon » Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:06 pm

LagunaH1 wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:46 pm
Today I dropped the truck off at the local dealership body shop. Within 5 minutes, they determined that the front axle was not centered. The left front wheel sticks out farther than the right.

To make it all better, it also appears that rodents have been seeking shelter in my truck's engine bay.
Good, you’re getting somewhere. The first thing you need to do is fire that shop and find one that has at least worked with a solid axle truck once in their lives before letting them touch your truck!

THE AXLES ARE NEVER CENTERED ON THESE TRUCKS. We either have a 5-link or radius arm setup, both requiring a trackbar, both swinging the axle up-down, fore-aft and side-side during any suspension movement. Have a buddy stand on your front bumper and drive it ten feet, your axle is going to be more toward the passenger side. Jack up the truck by the frame and the axle will be more toward the drivers side. If they think that’s the problem, they’ve never touched a Dodge, Ford, Toyota, etc. solid front axle truck that had coil springs. It doesn’t hurt anything at all, it’s totally normal, it’s just aesthetics.

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Re: Steering issue

Post by olyelr » Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:20 pm

The side to side movement is relatively minimal at ride height + or - a little each way. At full droop or full stuff, well yea it would be blatantly visible. And if his is blatantly offset one way or the other at ride height, something aint right.

My truck with the 1.5” leveling kit has the axle shifted a very small amount. Hardly even noticeable without a level and tape-measure.
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Re: Steering issue

Post by olyelr » Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:23 pm

The fact that he is having steering issues, the truck got hit by another vehicle, the axle is off-center, would leave me to believe something is bent.
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Re: Steering issue

Post by DamageWagon » Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:25 pm

Unless you crash into something and blatantly destroy the frame side trackbar mount, it’s goong to be in a normal spot. The axle does not sit centered due to the limits the trackbar has to exist in.

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Re: Steering issue

Post by Reloaderguy » Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:31 pm

The axle under my truck has never been centered.

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Re: Steering issue

Post by LagunaH1 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:06 am

The shop foreman at the dealer's shop was who made the visual inspection. The truck was sitting in a level parking lot with the wheels almost entirely straight. The right side tire is aligned perfectly with the fender. The left side tire sticks out. -This is regardless of the tiny amount the wheels were turned. In other words, my truck does not look like Reloaderguy's pictures.

I totally hear what you guys are saying about track bars and suspension movement, but I am *assuming* that the front axle is supposed to be really close to centered when the truck is sitting level on level ground.

I'll let you guys know what the shop finds after a closer inspection with the truck on a rack.
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Re: Steering issue

Post by olyelr » Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:04 pm

My front axle is shifted exactly 3/8 of an inch further to the drivers side. That is with the leveling kit installed. That is leveling down from the fender flare and measuring to the center cap on the wheel at each side. Passenger side is 7/8" in from the flare, while the drivers side is only a 1/2" in. 3/8" total, so really that is only 3/16 of an inch off center. Pretty frickin' centered under the truck if you ask me. I imagine it would have been much more centered before the leveling kit was installed, but I did not measure it before hand.

So slightly off-center one way or the other would certainly not be uncommon given the design of a track bar. But a big visual difference should draw some concern. Reloaders axle to me looks damn close to being center, maybe a little to the drivers side then anything.
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Re: Steering issue

Post by DamageWagon » Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:24 pm

Again, if you make your axle sit 3” more to either side, it won’t change your alignment or handling. That isn’t the problem.

Something that comes to mind, do you have your alignment specs? The alignment shop told you it was within spec, but their specs can suck. What are the numbers?

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Re: Steering issue

Post by olyelr » Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:58 pm

DamageWagon wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:24 pm

Again, if you make your axle sit 3” more to either side, it won’t change your alignment or handling. That isn’t the problem.
I understand what you have been saying... but, the axle is nowhere near off center that much from the factory. It is certainly not so far off center that is visually noticeable, that is for sure. So if they can stand there and say "wow, this axle is way off center", then something aint right. Maybe they have some shitty eye's, though, so who knows.
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Re: Steering issue

Post by olyelr » Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:01 pm

LagunaH1, have someone drive the truck while you follow and see if it looks like this :lol:
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Re: Steering issue

Post by Reloaderguy » Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:26 pm

LagunaH1 wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:06 am
The shop foreman at the dealer's shop was who made the visual inspection. The truck was sitting in a level parking lot with the wheels almost entirely straight. The right side tire is aligned perfectly with the fender. The left side tire sticks out. -This is regardless of the tiny amount the wheels were turned. In other words, my truck does not look like Reloaderguy's pictures.

I totally hear what you guys are saying about track bars and suspension movement, but I am *assuming* that the front axle is supposed to be really close to centered when the truck is sitting level on level ground.

I'll let you guys know what the shop finds after a closer inspection with the truck on a rack.
I think I originally had 3/4" of offset. If you suddenly have 3" of offset (just an example) then you obviously have a problem.
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Re: Steering issue

Post by cb1987 » Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:42 pm

ive checked these newer trucks with stock suspension and the axle is pretty centered on the ones ive seen .within 1/8" or so. be sure the cab is sitting straight on the frame or it will appear the axle is shifted. i would take axle lateral measurments from the frame but thats just me

another thing to watch for is camber differences. if the top of one tire is leaning in and the other leaning out, it may give the illusion the axle is shifted to one side

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Re: Steering issue

Post by LagunaH1 » Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:37 am

Hey guys,

Update: Got the truck back from the dealer's collision shop and it is SIGNIFICANTLY better now. The axle is no longer visibly off center and they also found that the wheels were 2 full degrees out of alignment so they fixed that.

They did all of this without me having to make a single call to my insurance company. I feel like they did right by me.
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Re: Steering issue

Post by Reloaderguy » Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:22 pm

What cause the axle to be offset? The track bar isn't adjustable so I assume it was all alignment. Wonky caster and preloaded rubber joints?
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Re: Steering issue

Post by LagunaH1 » Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:27 pm

Reloaderguy wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:22 pm
What cause the axle to be offset? The track bar isn't adjustable so I assume it was all alignment. Wonky caster and preloaded rubber joints?
Yannow..... they didn't actually mention that and I forgot to ask. In my layman's eyes, it DOES seem like it's centered more now than it was when I dropped it off. Sorry, wish I had better feedback on that.
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Re: Steering issue

Post by olyelr » Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:04 pm

LagunaH1 wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:27 pm
Reloaderguy wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:22 pm
What cause the axle to be offset? The track bar isn't adjustable so I assume it was all alignment. Wonky caster and preloaded rubber joints?
Yannow..... they didn't actually mention that and I forgot to ask. In my layman's eyes, it DOES seem like it's centered more now than it was when I dropped it off. Sorry, wish I had better feedback on that.

Ha, there is no way I could have drove away without first knowing what was wrong and how they fixed it.
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