bonkers

I've got a friend going bonkers with a steering problem on a '96 2500, diesel, 4x4. The truck wanders at highway speeds - especially on two lane roads. If he hits a rut or a defect - the truck follows it even tho the
steering wheel position has not changed. Think steering behavior like bad ball joints.
When he first got the truck, it had been in storage. It would make a "clunk" sound when starting from rest and make another "cluck" sound when braking to stop. I think something in the front end is loose or worn out. So far, the owner has spent several thousand dollars replacing parts trying to eliminate the problem. Several mechanics can't find any problem.
I've driven the problem 2500 and another '97 2500 - there is no comparison. The '97 2500 tracked a straight line with no problems. It's apparent something is wrong with the '96 - but what? Should the front end be jacked up to test the components because of the weight of the diesel?
Any ideas on how to diagnose this problem?
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sounds to me like a possible track bar problem. there are several threads about the "Death Wobble" and you can goggle them if ya wish. but they all end pretty much the same way, you need to do something about the track bar.
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On Thu, 07 Dec 2006 19:38:04 -0600, Tom Matigan

beekeep
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On Fri, 08 Dec 2006 10:41:05 +0000, beekeep wrote:

I dunno. The alignment is supposed to be within normal specs. My father also asked about the alignment. He believes that some combinations of camber/caster could produce poor tracking - even if the overall alignment was in spec.
What is the significance of the eighth inch toe-in? If it produces unstable tracking, shouldn't one of the professional mechanics have caught it??
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I believe the toe in is the only adjustment that can be made on that truck. About 1/8" in sounds right to me, but an alignment shop should be able to tell you for sure. Parallel or toe-out will make the truck wonder as you describe, but wouldn't produce the cluck sound. I think your idea of lifting the front wheels to relieve weight, then looking for loose parts sound like a good way to approach it. My guess is it will be ball joints, but that's just a guess. If you find just one side needs replacing, I would go ahead and do the other side.

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No - caster can be adjusted with the adjuster cams on the lower link arms. Camber is fixed, but offset sleeves for the (I believe - been a while) upper ball joints are available if needed.
My vote goes for a worn joint on the track bar, as well.... very common wear point on these trucks.
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You are correct. I learned 2 things from this thread.
1) Don't believe everything the tire/alignment shop tells me. 2) Open the D@<^ shop manual!

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On Fri, 08 Dec 2006 09:36:16 -0600, Tom Matigan

measure both on the front and on the back of the tire. The front measurement should be about an 1/8" less.
beekeep
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This is how you check the tow:
http://www.loadstar.se/images/tow-truck.jpg
This page mentions toe: http://www.familycar.com/Alignment.htm
The only time I had to check the tow on my Dodge, was when AAA came and got me. And the guy looked like he knew what he was doing. I don't think a tape measure will help tow a Dodge.
I did have to check the toe one time, used a 1 x 4 board, 8 feet long.
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wrote:

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wrote:

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for either spelling so I took a guess. Maybe I should have spelled it tough but that would have been tuff.
beekeep
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No sweat, we knew whatcha mean't... but we never miss an opportunity to give ya' shit.
:^)
Mike

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