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Old 04-03-2007
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Default Frontend Steering , Death Wobble and Align Diagnos

First we need to give NMCTD props for a good writeup.

I take NO credit for this as it was his writeup.


1. Ball joints: Jack truck up to get front tires off the ground, grab the tire on the top and bottom by hand and push and pull (do it hard enough to where the tire flexes a little). If you can feel any movement in the ball joints they are bad, you'll know when you feel it. For replacement get good quality (moog or similar). If your good at keeping up on lubing zerks then get greasable ones if not get sealed they will last longer if your bad a remembering to grease them.

2. Tie rods: While the front is jacked get inside the truck and lock the steering column, then get back out and grab the tire on the front and back (3:00 / 9:00 positions), push and pull here just enough so that if the steering wasn't locked you would be turning the tires. If you can feel any "play" (again you'll know it when you find it) then a tie rod end is bad, keep doing this while a helper looks at all the tie rod joints to see which ones have the "play" in them. For replacments on these just get good quality ones (moog or similar)

3. Track bar: Set the truck back on the ground and have your helper get in the truck and turn the key on, but don't start the truck. Have them move the steering wheel side to side from where the wheel gets stiff one way to where it get stiff the other way (enough to almost start turning the tires). While they are doing this crawl under the truck and look at the upper track bar joint where it bolts to the frame. If you can see the joint move (look close it will only be about 1/8th to a 1/4 inch) if the ball socket it self moves at all, right where it bolts to the frame it is bad. Fixes for this include, http://www.lukeslink.com/ , http://www.bellefourche.com/lindstad/ , http://solidsteel.biz/tbk.htm , http://www.thurenfabrication.com/products.html , http://www.dtprofab.com , or a factory type replacement. I highly recomend staying away from the last one though because it will just keep wearing out every 10k-20k miles.

4. Steering gearbox: Have helper continue to "saw" the steering wheel. Lay down under the front bumper and look at the front of the steering gearbox, watch closely at the sector shaft and pitman arm (sector shaft is the splined shaft that goes vertically up into the gearbox and is what the pitman arm connects to). what your looking for is the sector shaft to "rock" side to side within the gearbox. If any movement is found then the sector shaft bearings are worn. If the box is not leaking it might be able to be saved for awhile with a DSS http://solidsteel.biz/dss.htm , as for replacments my first choice is http://www.pscpowersteer.com, next would be http://www.agrperformance.com/ , and last would be a reman from an auto parts store.

5. Steering column: reach under the hool and grab the lower steering column (where the long black sring is) Push and pull (sideways in relation to the column), if any play is found the lower column bushins is bad. Only way to fix this is to replace the column with a new junk dodge one or to buy or make one of these http://rocksolidramtrucksteering.com/

6. Intermediat shaft: (shaft from the column to steering gearbox) Grab on to the shaft at the slip joint and push and pull (just like the column test) any play and its bad also watch the u-joint on this shaft for play while testing. For this there is several option, stock dodge replacment, borgesson shaft, flaming river replacement, or a stainless one from PSC http://www.pscpowersteer.com/

7. Alignment: If everything above is good, steering is tight and a truck still wanders, then its probably in need of a "good" alignment because the caster is pulling one way while the camber is pulling the other way. Here is a link to some info on aligning the dodge ram http://dodgeram.org/tech/specs/00_steer_specs.html . Print it out and take it with you anytime you get an alignment, have them set it to those specs and ask for a print out after they are done so you know they did it correct.
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