Loose steering problem on a 98 Ram 1500, 4x4

Have a 98 Ram Quad-cab 1500-4x4-5.2L
My truck wanders all over the lane while driving on a flat road and pulls to the right when driving in the outside (slightly crowned)
lane. I bought this truck new with 25 miles on it and it now has 48,500 miles but drives the same way. I had the dealer check the front end alignment many times but it always drives the same. They always say everything is in spec. It seems to have a lot of neutral slop in the steering wheel -about 1" and I'm always correcting left or right instead of holding it steady. The steering box seems to have no adjustment screw on top like the older Dodge truck I had. Also I put on new tires & shocks at 43,000 miles but it's still the same.
Anyone have any ideas.
Ed
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

There is an adjuster nut there - but first you need to determine if the slop is in the steering box or the intermediate shaft. Have someone grab hold of the coupler right at the steering box with a big pair of pliers. Then, while holding firm, you try and turn the wheel. If the slop is still there, it's due to worn U-joints in the steering shaft. If everything is tight, then the play is in the box.
If it's the shaft, there's not much you can do but replace it. If it's the box, the adjuster nut is located in the center of the sector shaft cover plate, on the top of the box (opposite the pitman arm). It's a lock nut around an allen-head adjuster screw. Loosen the locknut, tighten the adjuster screw, then re-tighten the locknut. Now, you need to be careful not to apply too much preload via the adjuster - you'll cause even more wear to the gear. I wouldn't go any more than 1/4 turn on the adjuster screw.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Tom Lawrence wrote:

I've been told that it's best to adjust the steering box at the full left or right turn steering wheel stop. The gear in the steering box wears the most in the center (straight ahead) position. If you adjust the play out of the gear in the center position it could bind at the full left/right steering extremes. Can anyone back this theory up? It sounds reasonable to me.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Along with that iirc there was some discussion at some point regarding adjustments with the wheels in the air or on the ground.
Roy
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.