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.
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.
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.
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