1995 Dodge Truck front end shakes bad

Tiny
SPAREB
  • MEMBER
  • 1995 DODGE TRUCK
  • 6 CYL
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 190,000 MILES
The front end on my 95 / 2500 / 4x4 / long bed / deseil cummings 5.9
truck shakes vonletly when I hit some bumps / front end rocks back and forth up and down side to side

another issue is the filler tube on the truck is leaking can this be fixed?
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Friday, March 20th, 2009 AT 2:00 AM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
First of all, check the steering damper. It looks like a shock absorber, but moves equally hard in both directions while shock absorbers pull apart hard and push together easily. The damper is in front of the front axle, attached to the steering linkage and the axle housing. One end of it is almost exactly in the center of the truck. This is the end where you will see oil leaking from.

After a front end alignment, it is possible to tighten one of the tie rod adjuster clamps in such a position that the bolt rubs against the damper and chews a hole in it.

A related, very common problem is a worn track bar. This bar is about 1 3/8" in diameter, attaches to the passenger side of the axle with a rubber bushing, and has a ball and socket that attaches to the frame just under the power steering pump. It has a big curve in it to go over the differential too. The ball and socket is what wears out at very low mileage, and causes steering wander. Chrysler allows.080" of vertical movement before it must be replaced, but that much movement would render it almost uncontrollable. At.020" play, driving the truck will be irritating.

The procedure for checking the track bar involves attaching a dial indicator, but experience has shown that isn't necessary. Start the engine and have someone move the steering wheel back and forth about 1/8 turn once per second while you watch the ball and socket. If you see any movement up and down, the bar must be replaced. The weight of the truck must on the tires for this to work. Keep in mind the track bar won't cause the shaking, but it will definitely aggravate it.

Caster is one of the three primary alignment angles. It has very little effect on tire wear, but a big effect on pulling to one side, easy vs. Hard steering effort, and steering wheel returnability. If it is too high, it increases road shock over bumps and can aggravate the shaking sensation from the steering wheel returning to center so fast that it overshoots and goes the other way. On Dodge trucks, caster can not be adjusted on only one wheel; the entire axle can be easily shifted during an alignment but both wheels will change equally. That means caster can't be used to fix a pull, but it can adjust road feel and steering effort.

The first thing to do is have a professional inspect the entire steering and suspension system. Some shops, such as Sears Auto Centers do this for free as a way to get you to come in. They get paid when they sell you something. Dealerships charge for this service because no one wants to work all day for free. They are often so busy, they aren't interested in selling unneeded repairs. They also have a vested interest in making their product perform like new.

It should also be understood that my caster, track bar, and damper stories only apply to four-wheel-drive Dodge trucks. Two-wheel drive trucks do have separate caster adjustments for each front wheel, and don't need a track bar.

Caradiodoc
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Friday, March 20th, 2009 AT 10:02 PM
Tiny
SPAREB
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Thanks can the shocks also cause this? Or make it much worse? Thnaks for the info it was very detailed and helpful
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Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 AT 8:06 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The shock absorbers won't cause the shaking, but could aggravate it. They stop the up and down bouncing of the truck. They are designed to pull apart hard to reduce the chance of a tire dropping down into a pothole, and they push together real easily so the tire doesn't push the truck up when it hits a bump.

There are a few things to do in checking the shock absorbers. First of all, look for signs of oil leaking from the body where the shaft comes out. A little seepage is common but if the oil is leaking down the body or dripping, both shocks on that axle should be replaced.

Grab the body of the shock absorber and shake it sideways. If the shaft moves back and forth where it comes out of the body, the oil leaked out a long time ago. That corner of the truck will bounce excessively too.

Look at the rubber mounting bushings. Bushings trapped inside a metal loop can deteriorate and allow the loop to rattle against the mounting bolt. The top of some shocks have a threaded stud that goes through a mounting hole, and half of the rubber bushing is on either side of the hole. There is a metal washer above and below the bushing. These bushings rarely cause a problem unless they were installed incorrectly. When tightening the nut on the replacement shock absorber, many people over-tighten it and squish the bushings so much they can't flex freely. The nut has been tightened the proper amount when the rubber bushings expand to exactly the same diameter as the metal washers. That often makes them appear loose, but that allows them to flex as necessary.

The last thing that can happen is excessive bouncing over bumps, or a thumping similar to an out-of-balance tire that appears after a long trip of an hour or more. The oil in the shock becomes quite hot and thins out allowing it to flow through the restrictive valves too easily. This can not be diagnosed in the shop with a visual observation unless the truck is brought in right after a long drive.

Your steering damper is built like a shock absorber except it moves equally hard in both directions. Have you checked yours yet for oil leakage?

Caradiodoc
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Monday, March 23rd, 2009 AT 2:34 PM

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