Question about 1998 Chevrolet Tahoe

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1998 Tahoe with loose steering

I installed two new front tires last year and had the front end aligned by a reputable shop. They told me that the alignment was out quite a bit at the time. Between August of 2007 and November 2008, the passenger side front tire showed signs of critical wearing on the outside edge. The tires have been rotated a few times during this period.
I just replaced the front tires and had a new alignment performed. Now the steering seems loose. When the truck was new, only a small amount of steering correction was needed to keep the vehicle in a straight line during normal speeds. Now, after the alignment, new tires, and a replacement of the idler arm, it is necessary to over correct in order to keep the truck in a straight line.
Also imagine holding the wheel steady while making a right or left turn in a sharp radius, such as on an exit ramp of a highway. While holding the wheel steady, it seems to let go all of a sudden, just as though the wheels hit a patch of ice while negotiating the turn. It happens in both directions. This same symptom also takes place on level ground while driving in a straight line periodically. I was told by the mechanic that it was my imagination, and that I would have to get used to the new feel as provided by the alignment and the new bushings in the idler arm. I don't buy it! This has been happening over the last year, and is getting worse. Have you seen this problem, and if so, can you provide a solution? Please feel free to contact me by email, with any suggestions. Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,
Ed Pierce
Email: electric8149@comcast.net

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  • ironman43 Dec 28, 2008

    I had a similar experience with my 00 Tahoe. An ex girlfriend took it to a mechanic to get the oil changed for me at the same time took her Durango for brakes. The mechanic got mixed up on what he was to perform and started looking into the front of my Tahoe. He explained that I needed a new pitman arm and we had him replace it. At first all was fine, sort of. It was never really right after that but it wasn't exactly good before. The steering started getting really pretty loose and a couple of times I would get a severe shimmy in the front end. I looked at it numbers of times until the problem manifested itself completely. On bolt fell out and two broke holding the steering gearbox in place.!! It seems the mechanic didn't do a proper job of tightening the gearbox. I still get the shimmy once in a while and have thoroughly inspected the steering system myself since then. The mechanic should have replaced both the pitman arm and the idler arm assemblies as well as the ball ends at the same time. It's all worn and because he didn't tighten the gearbox correctly, I need a new gearbox. The Tahoes have a speed controlled variable steering valve in them which is probably what is causing the steering in your Tahoe to go limp. Also there is a recall on the steering gearbox in the 98 Tahoe I believe. I hope this is helpful.

  • sweetpeecamp Mar 06, 2009

    I have the same problem on my 1998 K1500 Silverado. Feels like you hit an ice suddenly. Did you find the fix?

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Have someone turn the steering wheel sharply back and forth while you inspect steering column and steering box for play. If your tie rods are good; you can see movement in them when checking steering box.

Posted on Nov 28, 2008

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This could only happen if the wrong part was installed or something was not tightened properly. You should get it checked by a different shop. Most will do the inspection for free. If the inspection shows whats at fault, you can take it back to the original shop and have them fix it at their expense.

Posted on Nov 28, 2008

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Sounds like the cv joint or the rack and pinion

Posted on Dec 11, 2008

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