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Old 03-05-2019, 03:52 AM #1
6wheelin 6wheelin is offline
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Crooked steering wheel after off roading.

I get the rig aligned go wheeling and in the middle of my trail run the steering wheel is crooked, biased to the driver side.

From what I've read this is the driver side outer tie-rod lengthened and the passenger side shortened , ah maybe I have that backwards. Is this the shop simply not tightening down the lock nut? I'm planning on doing this adjustment in my driveway this weekend.

Is this a common issue? My buddy down in San Diego with a similar 4th gen has the same issue.

Build has a 3" Icon Stage 6 tubular suspension lift, DK LCA's, gusseted spindles, new Inner and outer tie-rods. Rolling on Method 17x8.5 701's wrapped with 285/75/17" Toyo Open Country MT's.

looking for constructive feedback. Really curious whether this a common issue and I need to start doing trail side adjustments?

TIA,

Hugh
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Old 03-05-2019, 05:11 AM #2
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Mine has done this twice after hitting the trails. My Alignment tech is very good and says it was not out of spec either time. Steering wheel was off between 10 and 11 o'clock to the passenger side the first time, then about the same to the drivers side the second time. We're thinking the bushings in the steering rack need replaced. Unfortunately not an easy fix, so I'm leaving it alone for the time being until I have the time to do it.
Post an update if you find a solution.
Good luck!
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Old 03-05-2019, 04:18 PM #3
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I can't see how this would be bad steering rack bushings? From what I have read and watched on YouTube it seems a tie-rod adjustment issue. When others adjust those the problem is corrected. Can anyone explain how the steering bushings would cause this? I'd think they would manifest as sloppy steering.

To be clear the truck drives pretty straight, but it's been sitting in the drive way for two weeks so I can't recall if it pulls or not, I don't believe it does.

Has anyone encountered this and resolved it?

Yes if I find a fix I'll do an update.

Hugh

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Originally Posted by 4RunnerAquasport View Post
Mine has done this twice after hitting the trails. My Alignment tech is very good and says it was not out of spec either time. Steering wheel was off between 10 and 11 o'clock to the passenger side the first time, then about the same to the drivers side the second time. We're thinking the bushings in the steering rack need replaced. Unfortunately not an easy fix, so I'm leaving it alone for the time being until I have the time to do it.
Post an update if you find a solution.
Good luck!
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Old 03-05-2019, 04:51 PM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6wheelin View Post
I can't see how this would be bad steering rack bushings? From what I have read and watched on YouTube it seems a tie-rod adjustment issue. When others adjust those the problem is corrected. Can anyone explain how the steering bushings would cause this? I'd think they would manifest as sloppy steering.

To be clear the truck drives pretty straight, but it's been sitting in the drive way for two weeks so I can't recall if it pulls or not, I don't believe it does.

Has anyone encountered this and resolved it?

Yes if I find a fix I'll do an update.

Hugh
Just a theory, something is moving around in there. If my specs are in alignment and the truck drives straight both times I did it, I have no idea what causes it. My situation might be different with the 35" BFGs. They are a few pounds heavier than a 33". I have hit this thing pretty hard both times. It might be just enough to move the rack a hair, but not enough to cause sloppy steering? I'm curious what everyone else might think on here.
Sorry not much help, good luck.
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Old 03-05-2019, 06:17 PM #5
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Are you sure your pinion isn't jumping a tooth on the rack? A hard hit could conceivably do that if parts were old and worn. You could try centering the wheel and then measuring how much the rack arms extend from the box on either side. Should be the same with the wheel centered, I would think.
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:40 PM #6
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If the rack and pinion bushings are worn and the rack moves L or R, the tie rods move as well, this will not cause the alignment to change, cause slopply steering, or cause it to pull, but it will cause the steering wheel to be off center, this is what I think is causing the issue ya'll are experiencing, you can adjust the tie rods to get the steering wheel centered...BUT if the rack moves back the other way the steering wheel will become off centered again opposite of what it was before the adjustment.
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:56 PM #7
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If the truck drives true without pulling to one side or the other and the only symptom is the steering wheel is off center it is most likely that your steering rack has been bumped out of position. It's extremely unlikely that both the left and right tie-rods would slip but still hold proper toe. If you adjust the tie-rods to bring the steering wheel on center, but don't fix the underlying cause (which I believe is the rack) the truck WILL pull to one side or the other, or will alter its turning geometry at extreme steering angles.

I doubt the rack jumped a tooth but it's not impossible. Check the rack sooner rather than later. If you bumped it hard enough to move it you may have damaged the bolts holding it in place and it could be holding on by a thread and the next pothole could give you more of an adventure than you bargained for.
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Old 03-05-2019, 11:43 PM #8
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Had mine aligned before and the next day, no off roading, had the steering wheel sitting at 1oclock.

Turned passenger tie rod out, driver in. Equal amount of turns on each. Or the opposite cant remember.
Take out for a drive and see if you need to do it any more.

Plenty of hard off road runs since, no change or problems.
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Old 03-06-2019, 03:12 PM #9
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Interesting since I had a Firestone tell me that my steering rack bushings were the reason my wheel wouldn't stay straight after off-roading. Same symptoms since it is technically aligned and doesn't pull, but yeah, it's just cocked to the driver's side at about 10 o'clock.

I thought Firestone was full of bologna, but it sounds like there might be some merit to what they said.
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Old 03-06-2019, 03:57 PM #10
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Have someone turn your wheel left and right, while looking at the rack, you'll see if the bushings are bad by the excess play.
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Old 03-07-2019, 04:19 PM #11
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At this point I'm not sure of anything. I've replaced the all the inner and outer tie-rods so maybe it is the rack. Absolutely no idea whether it's the pinion slipping? I'll give the measuring a try.

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Are you sure your pinion isn't jumping a tooth on the rack? A hard hit could conceivably do that if parts were old and worn. You could try centering the wheel and then measuring how much the rack arms extend from the box on either side. Should be the same with the wheel centered, I would think.
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Old 03-07-2019, 04:22 PM #12
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The steering wheel has never moved the other way. Always to the driver side. I appreciate the clarification on symptoms. I'm leaning towards having the rack looked at.

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If the rack and pinion bushings are worn and the rack moves L or R, the tie rods move as well, this will not cause the alignment to change, cause slopply steering, or cause it to pull, but it will cause the steering wheel to be off center, this is what I think is causing the issue ya'll are experiencing, you can adjust the tie rods to get the steering wheel centered...BUT if the rack moves back the other way the steering wheel will become off centered again opposite of what it was before the adjustment.
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Old 03-07-2019, 04:24 PM #13
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Well I'm happy your problem is solved. I think tomorrow on my day off I'll do the same.

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Had mine aligned before and the next day, no off roading, had the steering wheel sitting at 1oclock.

Turned passenger tie rod out, driver in. Equal amount of turns on each. Or the opposite cant remember.
Take out for a drive and see if you need to do it any more.

Plenty of hard off road runs since, no change or problems.
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Old 03-07-2019, 04:27 PM #14
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Interesting. What was the condition of the other components? Relatively new? Did they give you anymore information to why they thought it was the rack?

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Interesting since I had a Firestone tell me that my steering rack bushings were the reason my wheel wouldn't stay straight after off-roading. Same symptoms since it is technically aligned and doesn't pull, but yeah, it's just cocked to the driver's side at about 10 o'clock.

I thought Firestone was full of bologna, but it sounds like there might be some merit to what they said.
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Old 03-07-2019, 04:27 PM #15
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I will.

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Have someone turn your wheel left and right, while looking at the rack, you'll see if the bushings are bad by the excess play.
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