I have a 98 Dodge Ram 1500, 2wd, 155,000 miles, 5.9 engine.
I have been having issues with excessive play in the steering control on the above truck. I also was having a lot of metal to metal bumping sound coming from the front suspension.
In the past couple of weeks I have had this vehicle into the shop. First they had replaced the upper and lower ball joints, replaced both front shocks and performed an alignment. This caused the excess play to be more pronounced and dangerous as it was difficult to control to stay in vehicle lanes. I returned to the shop where they determined that I needed to replace the steering gear box (I was advised that they don't do this automatically, as the gear box is not always worn and in most instances replacing the ball joints remedies the problem, and the gear box is an expensive part). I had them replace the gear box and when I picked up the vehicle I was advised that I needed to replace the tires, which should also help, but they would not be able to eliminate all of the " play" in the steering. It was now tighter and not sending me off into other lanes of traffic. I have now also replaced all 4 tires and still have play and wander, about 2-3 inches in the steering wheel. It is most pronounced when I round turns and at lower speeds. It feels like I've got a real heavy load in the bed and the front end is almost floating. If I am going down the road at 65-70 with no lane changes or turns it's not too bad. Are there any suggestions on what may still be the cause of this? The shop just tells me that I am going to have to live with some play, but I don't believe this is an acceptable tolerance.
I appreciate any ideas. I have considered taking it to a different shop just to find out what they have to say. The shop I went to had glowing recommendations from several persons I know that I can trust in judgement, so I'm not sure what's up here.
Thank you, Joni C.
Did they check the pitman arm and grease the rest of the tie rods when they did the suspension work?
Are the tires the proper size and load range for that truck?
July, 2, 2007 AT 10:30 PM
Yes, the pitman arm was checked and it appears that all of thay was lubed and in good order. I also had my brother look to mak sure on those items. The new tires are the ones to replace the worn ones that had previously been on there (had about 45K on them). The new are BF Goodrich LT265 75R-16/D-1 120S All terrain TA KO BAZ W. The old tires were BF Goodrich LT265/75R-16/D RWL All Terrain RA KO RWL. In looking it seems that there may be some difference in the old and new tires? Or it may b e a new designation?
My brother increased the air from 40 to 50. This seemed to actually make the problem worse so I will be lowering it back to 40. My brother felt the play was not an issue (tolererable), but did agree that I had that floating feel when changing lanes/turning.
July, 3, 2007 AT 11:34 AM
Try dropping the air pressure to 35 and see if it changes the floating. Those tires are Load Range D, where the truck calls for a p-metric tire (4 ply). This might help.