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loose steering?

schlutzer

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I have an 88 ranger and Ive own two different rangers in the past. they ALL had the same issue.

play in the steering wheel.

even if i have the truck off and parked I can wiggle the steering wheel back and forth a good inch or two each direction from center. or about 4 inches total play.

It's very annoying and I'm planning on a 2.3T swap plus lowering the truck. If possible i would like to tighten up the steering and even make it feel sportier. I know the twin I beam suspension isn't sporty in any way but right now the truck is *NOT SAFE* and higher speeds. even just being on the highway with somebody beside me I can barely keep it in the lane.


What can I do to at least tighten up the play in the steering? but secondly can I change the ratio to make the steering faster and "sportier" feeling?
 


4x4junkie

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I don't believe there's a way to change the ratio, other than maybe getting a longer pitman arm for it (not sure if this might cause an interference issue somewhere).

As for the play, have you checked all the joints in the steering linkage for looseness? Column joints/rag joint, etc.?
If all these parts are OK, then the play could be in the box itself. You could try adjusting the meshload on it, although if the box is severely worn, it may need to be replaced.
 

canyoncritter

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steering quickener's can be had. google it. But I dont know of any "bolt in" they all will take some kind of fab work.
 

schlutzer

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actually the longer pitman arm crossed my mind. off to the junkyard I guess. Should i look at full size trucks? cars? lol or just every older ford I can find. I'm assuming trucks because everything pretty much is bigger in the full size trucks.
 

Beanmachine7000

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actually the longer pitman arm crossed my mind. off to the junkyard I guess. Should i look at full size trucks? cars? lol or just every older ford I can find. I'm assuming trucks because everything pretty much is bigger in the full size trucks.
Actually I believe all Ford TIB trucks have the same length pitman arm... The only difference is how much they drop... Also, I'm not sure if I would get a steering quickener for a truck that's driven on the street...
 

4x4junkie

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I forgot about steering quickeners, but yeah, they aren't all that practical in this application.

I think your best hope for a longer pitman arm is '99 or so F-250s. The 2WD ones should be flat like your Ranger arm, but may be longer (I know some 4WD ones are longer, but I think they also drop down too). Somewhere along the way the F-250/350 boxes changed to a different (larger) spline, so watch out for that on anything later.
 

kwellst

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the wiggle your feeling could be a loose gearbox, there is a nut with a hex set screw ontop of the box, loosen the jam nut and tighten the set screw, be careful tho, too tight and you will wear out your gear box, make sure u dont have any loose steering components(pitman arm loose, ball joint bad.
 

highwayman

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I'm actually going through the same dilema w/my B-2. After replacing all the steering components (box to tie rods) they were all junk BTW. The previous owner felt it was a better idea to keep dumping PS fluid in it instead of an easy box swap w/hoses & tear up the front end components w/fluid leaks. It looks like the 1-2" of slop is left in the upper column & I'll be doing that swap this weekend.
 

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