Jan 272017
 

2003 Ford F250The steering became really easy to turn the wheel. Also it will not return to straight after turning it. If I am making a turn, I have to return the steering to straight manually. Any ideas of what this could be?


RESPONSE

Steering return ability

Typically, poor steering return is caused by a steering gear issue. One that is too tight or improperly adjusted. If the steering sector is over-tightened, it causes the sector shaft to put too much pressure against the gear. This can occur when someone attempts to remove excess play from the steering system. Sticking or binding components may have an impact. For example king pins, ball joints or even the steering column can prevent the steering wheel from returning to center. Alignment can also be a factor. Improper caster, and to some degree, improper toe-in, can be contributing factors.

Diagnosing return ability issues

The first step to curing a return ability problem is to trace down what component or components is causing it. What we’ll typically do first is determine if there is anything sticking. We start at the steering wheel and work our way down. Often, we’ll disconnect components along the way to isolate them from the rest of the system. For example, we may disconnect the pitman arm from the steering gear to see if it’s the steering gear. Or  we’ll jack the front axle up, move the wheels side to side to see if we have binding in the steering linkage, ball joints or king pin. If there is binding at that point, we’ll disconnect individual tie rods from either side to find out which side is sticky.

If nothing appears to be binding or sticking in the, we then check the wheel alignment and see where the caster and toe are set. It may seem counter intuitive to check the alignment after the components, but if anything is worn out, it must be replaced before it can be properly aligned.

Source: Hendersons Line-up

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