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Steering jerking


89Rager

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My 1989 Ford Ranger 4wd manual has a problem with the steering. When going down the road it would pull to the right but if you had to make a left turn it will jerk to the left once it reaches a certain point. I jacked the front end off the ground looking for bad bushings in the front end but found none. With it still jacked up I turned the steering wheel and you could feel it. So I disconnected the steering linkage below the steering box. The steering box is smooth. Then I disconnected the tie rod linkage on the drivers side. The passenger side turns free but the drivers side does not. When you try and turn the drivers wheel by hand it locks up in the center. When it locks up and you jerk it free the front driveshaft moves even though the manual locking hubs are unlocked.

I don't think its the ball joints, I'm leaning towards front u joint. Is there something I am overlooking? Can a bad u joint cause the steering problem? :dunno:
 


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JOLENE_THE_RANGER

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My 1989 Ford Ranger 4wd manual has a problem with the steering. When going down the road it would pull to the right but if you had to make a left turn it will jerk to the left once it reaches a certain point. I jacked the front end off the ground looking for bad bushings in the front end but found none. With it still jacked up I turned the steering wheel and you could feel it. So I disconnected the steering linkage below the steering box. The steering box is smooth. Then I disconnected the tie rod linkage on the drivers side. The passenger side turns free but the drivers side does not. When you try and turn the drivers wheel by hand it locks up in the center. When it locks up and you jerk it free the front driveshaft moves even though the manual locking hubs are unlocked.

I don't think its the ball joints, I'm leaning towards front u joint. Is there something I am overlooking? Can a bad u joint cause the steering problem? :dunno:
it could be an alignment issue. your statement about the truck jerking to the left once reaching a point in a left turn makes me think caster. not enough caster will cause the wheels to feel " flimsy" when steering.
 

BlackBII

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Sounds like the u-joint on the drivers side axle shaft is locked up.

Have they ever been replaced? I bet if you pull that shaft out, you'll have a hard time rotating that u-joint by hand. It's probably really tight.
 

Denisefwd93

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Exactly what happened on my truck! in addition to that, the automatic hubs, one was locked, it's amazing how much better the truck handled with everything is put back the way it was supposed to be with manual hubs LOL
Sounds like the u-joint on the drivers side axle shaft is locked up.

Have they ever been replaced? I bet if you pull that shaft out, you'll have a hard time rotating that u-joint by hand. It's probably really tight.
 

4x4junkie

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Jack up the suspect side, steer it all the way to lock, and see if you can spin the wheel by hand while the 4wd hub is locked (be sure the t-case is in 2WD and/or the opposite-side hub unlocked). If not (or it rotates very stiffly), then yep, your u-joint is frozen with rust.
 

89Rager

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I ordered some u-joints so I'll give that a try. Thanks for the advice.
 

Denisefwd93

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I ordered some u-joints so I'll give that a try. Thanks for the advice.
It's one of those "and why you're in there you should also change".. the axle bearing, the seals, repack the wheel bearings... Replace the wheel bearing seal, clean the excessive grease out of the locking hub (because they don't need a lot of grease).
 

89Rager

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I ordered the bearings and seals too. This evening I started tearing it down. I got down to what I'm calling the spindle ( 5 nuts hold it on, where the bearings ride). It does not want to come off. First I just tried around the edge with a chisel, then I heated up the face for a while. Still no luck. Any tips or tricks?
 

Denisefwd93

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stock, may get leveling springs in front "somday"
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I ordered the bearings and seals too. This evening I started tearing it down. I got down to what I'm calling the spindle ( 5 nuts hold it on, where the bearings ride). It does not want to come off. First I just tried around the edge with a chisel, then I heated up the face for a while. Still no luck. Any tips or tricks?
I actually know the answer. it's tight. will come off but you need a very thin edge to get behind the flange, then the other side. I like to have those multi purpose window sash tools.
 

4x4junkie

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Any tips or tricks?
Slide hammer w/adapter to thread onto the spindle to pull it off.

Beat on it with a hammer to loosen it, using a block of wood or 2x4 to protect the spindle surface from nicks.

Beat on it with the 2x4 itself.
 

Denisefwd93

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stock, may get leveling springs in front "somday"
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LOL there you go, soft vs hard touch.
 

89Rager

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Got the spindle off and the u joint was the problem. The u joint rusted solid and was not easy to change either. Everything in this job seems to be rusted.
 

Denisefwd93

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stock, may get leveling springs in front "somday"
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Got the spindle off and the u joint was the problem. The u joint rusted solid and was not easy to change either. Everything in this job seems to be rusted.
It is an OLD truck. I just take the things like that to a machine shop. it's just not that expensive.
 

4x4junkie

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meh
If something is being stubborn from rust, I just chuck it up in my press, put a good amount of pressure on it, then smack it once real sharp with a hammer. A very loud *BANG!* and parts coming apart & falling off the press generally ensues very rapidly. :)

Just have to be careful with stuff like axle u-joints, as too much pressure can bend the yoke pretty easily.


Glad to hear you found the problem. Thanks for the update.
 


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