Repairs & Mods Steering Edition

up and at them

I’m at it again with truck repairs. Last summer I had a new steering gearbox installed and now I’m finishing the steering system with new everything else. We’re replacing all the tie-rod ends and the idler arm in the hope that it will tighten the steering up. With almost 300,000 miles on the original parts it’s time to retire them anyway.

A lot of hammering and a pickle-fork to get to this point

When we inspected the steering system we discovered that most of the play appears to be in the new steering gearbox (new parts bad from the factory – thanks China). Still we replaced all the other bits with moving parts in the faint hope that it will cure what is probably a Dodge design malfunction. Here is a curious case: There is a mount for a steering stabilizer on the truck, but no stabilizer has ever been installed on it. I looked for one online and didn’t see where one was a stock item, but Dodge, ya know

fancy new bits

So my new friend Al (Jim & David’s neighbor) has a cool shop with a truck lift and since he is a retired Snap-On dealer he has all the best tools! I ordered the premium line of parts from RockAuto.com for truck 2.0 since I am hoping good parts will improve the steering. It took a couple hours to get the parts R&R’d and only one knuckle got busted.

More new parts

After the install we set the toe-in and took it for a drive. The low speed test (50 mph) seemed fine and the steering seemed a bit more responsive.

Clean new idler arm

The high-speed test revealed that the steering wheel was a bit crooked to the left and the steering is a bit more responsive. It feels like about 1/2 as much play in the steering wheel with the new parts. I set about fixing the crooked wheel, but I turned the rod ends the wrong way the first time so I had to crawl under there again and do it over. Seems I got it right the second time. In a few weeks I’ll have the trailer towing test drive and I hope that turns out as well as the first two tests.

If your are still playing along at home we’re up to $12,250 in truck repairs and modifications

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