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Thread: Loose steering:

  1. #1
    Dawn Kirshna is offline Rookie
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    Default Loose steering:

    What could cause loose steering on a truck? It's mostly a freightliner thing. There is no adjustment nut on this box.

    Alignment? Tires?

    What can we do to tighten up the steering?

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    Check your u-joints in the steering links also the tie rod ends and drag links plus the splines in the the slip yoke on the telescoping steering linkage. If not there then more than likely could be in the steering gear itself and look out if it is in there have to replace the box itself.

  4. #3
    yoopr is offline Board Icon
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    Steering Knuckle going bad?

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    Dawn Kirshna is offline Rookie
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    The joints and all seem ok. Our mechanic says that the boxes normally don't go bad and thinks that it is the tires that is causing the problem----Goodyear RSAs.

    I've noticed that this is mostly a freightliner thing.


    This is the TRW box with no adjustment nut ( i think?).

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    Do you seem to be going all over the road when driving, or are you checking it with the engine shut off and wiggling the wheel?

    If it seems loose when driving, it may be an alignment problem.
    If you're wiggling the wheel and have "play" in it, look to see where one shaft is moving and the others are not. That would show you the joint that needs to be replaced.

    It seems that some models of Freightliner need to have an alignment done every 3 to 6 months. I got lucky in that respect. Century's seem to need it most.
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    bob h's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loose steering:

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawn Kirshna
    What could cause loose steering on a truck? It's mostly a freightliner thing. There is no adjustment nut on this box.

    Alignment? Tires?

    What can we do to tighten up the steering?
    Loose steering shaft/column; stand on the step, and slowly move the steering wheel back and forth while watching the u-joint at the steering box... you shouldn't be able to move the steering wheel without moving the u-joint.

    Freightliner thang, huh? Maybe this model inherently feels sloppy, in a poor suspension/linkage design, the problem might be irrepairable.

    Steering gear? Again, move the steering wheel back and forth, the output shaft (pitman arm), should react to any movement in the input shaft (u-joint at top of steering gear). If it doesn't fire it up and try again as some POWER steering gears will "tighten up" once they have hydraulic pressure.


    Alignment certainly can cause a sloppy feel, wander, oversteer, etc.

    An alignment "toe-out" condition is a common cause, this can usually be checked by moving your hand back and forth across the driver's side tire, toe-out will cause the tread to feel rough in one direction and smooth ion the other (feathered, or sawtooth wear), often accompanied by more wear on the inside edge...

    An alignment wheel caster condition can cause a loose, non-responsive feel, although it does not show/cause tire wear. Loose spring pin shackle bushings can cuase caster problems as well as sagging springs.

    The absolute most common cause of loose steering feel is low air pressure, without any doubt.

    What can you do to tighten up the steering? Easy... find out what's loose, then repair it.

    I've already given you what I can, based on the very vague information you have presented... MORE DETAILS!!!
    Bob H

  8. #7
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    great replies, I have nothing to contribute :wink:

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    roadranger is offline Board Regular
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    The gear boxes start to get loose at 500k or so. They are about $400 wholesale and not a big job to change out. That old truck would feel a lot less like an old P.O.S. with a new box I'd bet! 8) Definitely check out and fix the other stuff first but don't let the mechanic or boss say "it's OK" when it's not! It gets pretty tiring to keep a truck with a loose box pointed where you want it...

  10. #9
    Rev.Vassago's Avatar
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    Duct tape will tighten it up. :wink:

  11. #10
    Porchclimber is offline Member
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    Everybody has pretty much got everything covered.
    The only thing I could add is to check the bottom kingpins.
    It's very seldom that anybody jacks the weight off the front end when they grease.
    I find this makes a big difference because it lets grease get down into the kingpin and for kingpins you should use a graphite base grease because it will coat the bushing.
    I've had several Freightliners and the front end was always tight on them.
    If I even think that a U-joint is loose on the steering I change them out.
    It's a good idea anyhow but it's also an OOS item.

  12. #11
    bob h's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Porchclimber
    Everybody has pretty much got everything covered.
    The only thing I could add is to check the bottom kingpins.
    It's very seldom that anybody jacks the weight off the front end when they grease.
    I find this makes a big difference because it lets grease get down into the kingpin and for kingpins you should use a graphite base grease because it will coat the bushing.
    Arvin meritor wants king pins greased with the vehicle weight on the wheels. This forces the grease to flow through the thrust bearing instead of purging out around the bearing, which is what happens when the front-end is jacked up (weight off the wheels).

    Keep in mind - the grease goes through the bushing before the thrust bearing.

    You should use a NLGI #2 EP grease... IMO.
    Bob H

  13. #12
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    Could be worn tie-rod ends or pitman arm. Any good mechanic can find the problem easily.
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  14. #13
    mrpersons is offline Member
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    dawn If you mean by "loose" steering the truck tends to wander all over the road and follow the pavement seams, try raising your steer tire pressure. I normally run 110-115 cold in my steers, and seems to help a lot.

    Even though I have one, I don't think having a Frieghtliner has much to do with it....JMHO!

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