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Old 08-30-2007, 01:24 PM   #1
97ranger4x4
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Default Loose Steering

Hey guys,

I just put a new set of tires on my truck (the same tire) but my steering feels a little loose. Almost as if there is a little bit of play in it. To be honest it might be because I didnt drive my truck for a week and drove some passanger cars while I was out of town. I dont think I need an alignment since the tire size is the same.

Also what about greasing my tie rods? It has been a 6-10k since I did it probably. What about new bushings also? I was reading the tech article. Anyone reccomend a set of bushings or is there a test I can do to see how mine are. I basically want to go cheep since the most I will put is another 80k on the truck, and that is a big IF.

Thanks,
Keith
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Old 08-30-2007, 02:24 PM   #2
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There simply is no replacement for manhandling the front end to find out where the looseness is. Put it on jackstands and go to town. To check bushings, put the FRAME on jackstands.

You can spend a ridiculous amount of money guessing.

If your tie rod ends are worn out, it's far too late to be thinking about greasing them.
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Old 09-10-2007, 12:16 AM   #3
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Default Loose Steering- Here's what I found.

Hi!

I have ben fooling with a '94 Mazda B4000 (Ranger 4.0 clone) for one of my kids. We also noticed some play in the steering.... maybe 1/4" to 3/8" movement at the rim of the steering wheel. Had the kid gently work the steering wheel back and forth (just shy of enough steering wheel movement to make the front wheels turn) as I looked for movement between the joints (tie rod ends, etc) underneath. First thing I noticed was that there was NO movement coming out of the steering box. Kept checking and finally found that the play is at a joint in the steering column. The rubber/canvas 'flex joint' moved, but there was no movement at the steel universal joint (inside the plastic cover) that is right at the steering box input. The steering shaft between the flex coupling and the U-joint has a 'rod-and-tube' telescoping sliding joint. This is where the play is located on our truck. From the rubber 'flex joint', there is a solid round rod with a flat on opposite sides. This rod slides into a tubular section, the tube has a round hole with 'D' flats on each side, so the solid rod can transmit torque to the sleeve. The sleeve is supposed to fit snug on the rod. After 170,000 or so miles, a few thousandth's of clearance has developed between the 'flats' on the rod and the 'D' flats on the sleeve.
To check for this, open the hood, open the driver's door, unlock the steering. Do not start the engine. Locate the rod-and-tube joint. Watch the joint closely as you gently rock the steering wheel back and forth. You may also try placing the ball of one finger of your left hand so that it is across the joint (touching both the rod and the end of the sleeve), and feel for relative movement as you VERY gently rock the steering wheel back and forth with your right hand. This is how I found the play in our steering. Remember, just a few thousandth's of an inch of play at this joint can translate to a noticeable 1/4 to 3/8 inch of play at the rim of the steering wheel.

I hope this helps!

Jim Jelinski
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Old 09-30-2010, 12:31 AM   #4
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Default what is the part called?

Jelinski,
My steering has play in the exact spot that you are describing. I have been searching for a part to replace this with or a solution to the problem but haven't had any luck. Can you possibly post a link to a similar part or let me know what the part is called? My 1991 4.0 ranger has a new engine but the steering system has over 200k miles on it and is very loose. Anyone who could aid me in finding the correct parts to replace would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks guys
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Old 10-03-2010, 03:45 PM   #5
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Default Part named lower coupling

Leroy,

I believe the part you are seeking is a "lower coupling" if you have a service manual, you may want to verify that....I noticed that for my 94 it is rather spendy @approx $300.00, but considering its vital function, this might not be something you would want to economize....hth,

BSG
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Old 10-04-2010, 10:16 AM   #6
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In pre-'90 steering....there are 2 plastic D-shims(bushings) that take up the slack between the d-shaft & d-sleeve......I don't know if newer vehicles use the plastic shims....but it's a cheap easy fix to replace the worn shims(bushings).....
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:58 PM   #7
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Anybody got a part number or anything for these d-shims?
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Old 07-29-2011, 09:18 AM   #8
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I have the same issue, how do we change the D shims?
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