Question about 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 4WD

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The truck is loose in the front end causing it to wander a little to much for my liking. What can be the cause. Steering wheel has some play in it as well.

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Front end component worn or steering rack/box worn. I would jack up just one front tire. Grab the tire on the front and back tread (9 and 3 o'clock positions) and try and move the tire like you were turning the truck right and left. If there is movement, look at all the connecting parts of the steering (tie rod ends, etc). Also look to see if there is excessive play at the steering box/rack. Now take your hands and grab the tire in the 12 and 6 o'clock postions and see if there is play there. If so it is a hub or a ball joint. Lower that side and repeat with the other side to help isolate the play. Hope that helps.

Posted on May 27, 2010

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A worn tie rod end
Check them for play with the wheels up in the air jacked up securely
If you can move the tire in a turning motion you can see the tie rod socket flex if worn

Posted on May 26, 2010

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1 Answer

Nissan problem


This is a very typical issue on lifted vehicles being driven on the street. It is important to know that when a vehicle is lifted, the steering and suspension geometry change and characteristics will change as well.
My first concern would be with front wheel alignment. If front caster angles are too severe, the will fight each other over rough surfaces and cause the truck to wander or feel like a shake.
Also, front toe angles are crucial for proper tire wear and stability.
Have the front end aligned and checked. If there are no alignment issues, focus on the shocks and that steering stabilizer. Was the problem there before you installed the stabilizer? If not, check it for proper oil/ gas charge.
Weak or worn shocks will cause the tires to bounce and leave the road over bumps. Since the truck and been lifted, make sure the shocks are the proper length. If they are too short (even by as little as 20mm), they cause rebound problems and make the opposing side overcompensate with a bouncing effect.

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Play in stering linkage


The most common of all problems in a steering system is excessive steering wheel play. Steering wheel play is normally caused by worn ball sockets, worn idler arm, or too much clearance in the steering gearbox. Typically, you shou Id not be able to turn the steering wheel more than 1 1/ 2 inches without causing the front wheels to move. If the steering wheel rotates excessively, a serious steering problem exists.

An effective way to check for play in the steering linkage or rack-and-pinion mechanism is by the dry-park test. With the full weight of the vehicle on the front wheels, have someone move the steering wheel from side to side while you examine the steering system for looseness. Start your inspection at the steering column shaft and work your way to the tie-rod ends. Ensure that the movement of one component causes an equal amount of movement of the adjoining component.

Watch for ball studs that wiggle in their sockets. With a rack-and-pinion steering system, squeeze the rubber boots and feel the inner tie rod to detect wear. If the tie rod moves sideways in relation to the rack, the socket is worn and should be replaced.

Another way of inspecting the steering system involves moving the steering components and front wheel BY HAND. With the steering wheel locked, raise the vehicle and place it on jack stands. Then force the front wheels right and left while checking for component looseness.

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I have 97 chinok motorhome on e350 chasis. have replaced all 4ball joints, new shocks,front end inspected,new steering stabilizer,new tires but still hve a wander in steering. would any one have any ideas?...


You said that you had the front end inspected so I assume that all 4 tie rod ends are good and the front end was aligned. Changing parts without re-alignment can create a wandering condition.If that is the case then your problem could be play in the steering box, which should have some adjustment. You should also check the bushings in your control arms. They are rubber and will deteriorate over time, creating excessive play in the front end. Hope this helps.

Mar 17, 2011 | Ford F-350 Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

Steering was loose while driving and turning, then suddenly would **** to the right


It sounds like you have at least one bad tie rod end....this is the most likely problem, but I have listed other things to check out.

To figure out which tie rod end(s) are bad, you need to jack the front end up and put it on jackstands, or if you have a buddy that works at a shop that can put it on a lift, that is even better.

With the front end jacked up and the steering unlocked, have somebody turn the wheel left and right and watch as the tie rods (the rods that actually "steer" the wheels) move - there should be no "play" or looseness in either the inner or outer tie rod ends.... the large turnbuckle looking ends on the rods. Most often, it is the outer tie rod ends that go bad, and if it is pulling right on you the one on the right side is most suspect. Also try and hold one wheel at a time still while your buddy steers and see if there is any slop.... there should be ZERO play or slop between the steering wheel and the front wheels.

Bad ball joints can also cause steering problems. With the front still jacked up, grab a wheel and try and shake it up and down, in and out. If you feel it move, replace both the upper and lower balljoints on that wheel (only one set may be bad, but if so, the other is certainly worn!).

Bad wheel bearings can also cause steering problems, and allot of shaking and vibration when you are driving. If you can shake your jacked up wheel any which way and it is loose, or if you spin the wheel and hear allot of crunching noises, you have bad wheel bearings.

All of these problems are serious, and if you have a sudden complete failure of the bad part while you are driving, you can lose control of your truck. You need to determine which of the above is causing your problem and take care of it immediately. The best answer is to go to a qualified mechanic, but if you are up to doing it yourself, be careful and don't try and do it all alone.

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What could be causing my tires to wear weird and cause a vibration in the steering wheel?


badly balanced tyres will do it every time.also wheel bearings loose,but you would hear them,and track rod ends worn,car would wander...

Aug 25, 2010 | 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 2WD

1 Answer

I have a 97 K1500 with some loose steering issues. I have replaced everything that has anything to do with steering except steering gear and powerstearing pump and it all helped a lot but it still seems to...


Have the front end alignment checked as it may the cause of wandering. With the truck parked and the steering centered, but the engine running, wiggle the steering wheel back and forth while watching the left front wheel. It should respond to the steering action without any observable slack. Have someone watch both front wheels while doing this and see if there is slack between the two wheels. Any slack here is indicative of slop in the cross-wheel coupling. Hope this helps!

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3 Answers

Wandering steering on Isuzu Bighorn


Why, of course, Get an alignment because your front end is too much in the positive caster. Don't let anyone tell you it's the nature of the beast. Good Luck. Ask for the before and after settings to be put on your receipt._Ned_

Nov 18, 2009 | 1992 Isuzu Trooper

1 Answer

1995 Ford Crown Victoria - shakes/vibrates @ highway speeds.


Alignment has alot to do with the tires not shimmying.. Like zero toe setting. Loose componants like tie rod ends and the idler ar worn. You can ck for excess front end play by holding the front and back of the wheel and pushing and pulling on it, like rocking it. OR have someone rock the steering while you watch where the play is from underneath. By rocking I mean turn the steering wheel back and forth. Look at all th joints and pivot points for excess play, which is, movement not immediate to the rest of the steering system. Tire balance is very important. Wheel hop is a sign of a bad tire and it overtaxes the shock absorber. Shocks don't cause shimmy because they are a vertical movement controlA shimmy is lateral or side to side.Wheel balance weights must be spit. If a 2 oz. weight is needed to balance the tire, Oe once should be on the inside of the wheel and one ounce on the outside directly across from each outher.. Loose wheel brgs will cause shimmy, but they would not last long. Caster setting on the wheel alignment will also cause shimmy. Like on a shopping car. too much caster causes the wheel to start fluttering and is very hard on other componants. This may be why you have worn tie rod ends and a bad pitman arm. Worn control arm bushings and ball joints directly affect titre wear and can only be feltwhen the front end hits a dip and detected by side wear on the tire edges. Summary: replace the tie rod end and have the car aligned. Good Luck, -Ned_ sorry about the book

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Even if the ball joints are tight and no or little play if they are still the factory seeled ones the are probabley dry and that causes them to wander or another thing that would help is add a steering stabilizer shock on the front end or if it has one replace it but balljoints are the likely cause.

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