New member need some knowledge.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Lesnocker, Oct 14, 2017.

  1. Lesnocker

    Lesnocker Junior Member

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    Hi, Just got this truck today. Wheeled and dealed a 05 Malibu for this. We just bought a house on a acre and desperately needed a truck. It's a 360 5 speed 4x4. Shows 202000. Just a old hillbilly truck. But I love this thing! The 360 just flys! However Im not sure what the steering wheel is attached to......peice of spaghetti?......maybe a beach towel? I had to slow way down in the bends 35/40 tops. My steering input takes a few seconds before the truck turns. Got to 65 and literally I felt like I was tempting death. Wanders and rolls all over the road. Where should I start? No clicks or banging.My father said about the damper "Shock" on the steering linkage.
     

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  2. MADDOG

    MADDOG CTD Driver Staff Member

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    Track bars on the gen 2 trucks go bad pretty quickly. I'd inspect that, the pittman arm and your bushings across the front suspension.

    Welcome to the forum and congrats on gettin' a Ram.
     
  3. dodge dude94

    dodge dude94 Senior Member

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    Tie rod ends, drag link, and track bar. Then drop a new steering gear from Blue Top Steering gears in it.
    Align it, add some caster into the alignment. Be good as new.
    Don't bother with the steering damper. They rarely actually do anything, all they do is band aid problems.


    Welcome to the forum.
     
  4. Yeret

    Yeret Senior Member

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    I don't agree with ignoring the steering damper. I just got my truck back from the shop and both it and the attached passenger side tie rod were shot. Even if the damper was healthy, I doubt that it would have masked the clunking and binding that was going on in my steering.

    Being attached to the tie rod, I figure that the damper had failed long ago and was no longer absorbing shock to the tie rod but was instead transferring shock to it, greatly accelerating wear on it.

    Being as the passenger side tie rod is directly hooked to the steering via the drag link (in the 4x4 trucks anyway), it seems to me as a "high wear" part so it makes sense for a damper to be in place to absorb at least some of the shock encountered from bumps and holes in the road during cornering.
     
  5. Jeepwalker

    Jeepwalker Senior Member

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    Just take it to a 'decent' shop that does front end work and get a 'free' estimate, see what they think. Probably needs everything all the other guys suggested. I would hold off on the steering gear until all the other stuff has been replaced. It's probably not bad ..and there should be an adjuster on it to slightly tighten.

    Really the only way to properly check/tighten (adjust) a steering box is to remove it off the vehicle, put it in a vise and use an inch/lbs torque wrench on it and measure the rotating force and check lower bearing play. 99% of the shops out there won't know how to deal with steering boxes other than to replace ad it's highly unlikely yours is bad, they're way overbuilt made to live the lifetime of your truck ..they need to be for safety. And most of the shops won't even have an in/lbs torque wrench either. Usually guys replce steering gears along with a bunch of other parts and think it was part of the problem when it was probably the 'other parts' which were worn! And plus, a lot of so-called reconditioned steering boxes are just cleaned and new top/bottom seals put in and repainted. Very few have new internal parts (those are the $400 ones!). Read the reviews on Amazon on replacement steering gears.

    To check, I've kind of figured out that 18 in/lbs is about as much torque it would take to rotate a deep well 5/8" socket if you squeezed as tight as you could and rotated it with a regular length 3/8" ratchet. The rotating force is about 18 in/lbs. So as you rotate the steering shaft it should have about that much resistance. If it doesn't you'd need to adjust the tensioner a touch more. Most specs are between 18-21 so there's a fair amt of latitude. For reference, my GM truck has 265k mi on it. It was getting really loose and very annoying, probably like yours. Earlier in the year I removed the steering box with the intention of rebuilding it (I've done a few). I even bought a new kit prior to taking it off. Well, after having in the vise and checking it out, it didn't even need adjusting. The real problem was 'play' in the steering shaft between the steering gear and the steering column, which was not immediately detectable. Replaced that short intermediate shaft and she's tight as new now! All the other steering parts were still nice and tight too. So, another thing to check is that intermediate steering shaft. Some of them have 2-3 universal joints or even a rag joint which can wear. Mine had a rag joint that was worn, and a slip joint which also had play.

    To check, put a large vise grips tight on the lower part of the shaft and hold it against the frame or something solid so only the area above the vise grips can move. Then have someone in the cab slightly rotate the steering wheel back/fourth and look for play in the joints. It only takes a small amount to make a big difference at the wheel. So, for now, forget about the steering gear and replace all the other bushings, joints and shafts which show excessive wear.



    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017
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  6. dudeman2009

    dudeman2009 Senior Member

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    Welcome to trial by fire of Dodge ownership :roflsquared:

    This is affectionately called the death wobble, the fixes are listed above pretty well. As bad as the steering gets over time, its not really a huge indication of the truck, once you get some of those components replaced it'll feel like new.

    Its not any worse than the jeeps or older GM products with solid front axles. The Jimmies and suburbans are horrible for this issue too. Though the GM products use a slightly different setup they are usually way worse with the sloppy steering but not as bad with the feedback.

    Overall, its a pretty easy fix that you can do yourself if you have a pickle fork and hammer. I'd start by getting underneath and having someone turn the steering wheel back and forth with the engine off and feel each joint by hand to feel for play or clicking. It may not be that everything has to be replaced right now. Most common issues I see is the pitman arm having excessive play between itself and the centerlink. Second place I see a lot of play is the connection point between the center link and tie rod. All that excluding the ball joints on either the center link and tie rod, but thats an issue with any vehicle.
     
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  7. dapepper9

    dapepper9 Senior Member

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    This. Damper is a joke, like he said they just bandaid problems. Double dampers rides really good until you snap a tie rod on the highway. Then masking the problem will bite you in the ass
     
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  8. 2001Ram1500SL

    2001Ram1500SL Junior Member

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    Jack your truck up and push and pull tires and also go under it and try and twist the tie rod ends if anything under the front wiggles or has play replace it
     
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  9. Kickkem

    Kickkem Junior Member

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    Welcome to the forum and to the world of Ram trucks. Every previous post has merit and you should consider/check them all. I just wanted to point out that checking the track bar (which is the thick rod attached higher up on the frame on the drivers side and lower down on the axle on the other side) is real easy to check. Use a real bright light and have a helper move the steering wheel and see if the Track Bar moves at all. Replacing The Track Bar is fairly simple and not hugely expensive. Save your self some trouble and by a good one. The thicker the better. Thin ones tend to flex and act like a spring adding to your steering woes over time. Good luck!
     
  10. Kickkem

    Kickkem Junior Member

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    Sorry, but if you have a 360 it would be a 5.7 liter. The 318 is a 5.2.
     

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