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professor229

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Location
Minnesota
Vehicle Year
2004
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Transmission
Automatic
My $500 project Ranger has been fun to work on... I have learned a lot and fixed a lot of problems all with the budget goal of not throwing in my billfold by doing all the labor by myself... I have the time. One of the issues I found when I was doing an oil change, was looking at the tie rod ends.... geez.... and the gal had been driving this out on the highway to work.... I hesitated driving it out of my driveway...... so I replaced the tie rod ends and counted the turns etc.... it all went well... and then watched several You Tube "how to" videos to learn about doing a decent job of alignment in your driveway.... old school... and it worked... I combined the information from several of the videos and used some of my own ideas.... IE colored fish string instead of construction cord..... and worked with 32nds of an inch instead of a 16th of an inch.... and found out my eyes aren't what they used to be....

Bottom line, I did the basic alignment myself .... is it as good as a pro alignment? Certainly not, but for a $500 project it is good enough.... I was happy... until I did the test drive and the steering wheel was not level and straight going down the road.... When going down the road, it is about an 1/8th turned to the right... to go straight... annoying but OK.... for now... Yesterday I had the time, and decided to tackle this problem, again... The first time, I made sure my steering wheel was straight in the driveway and had the front wheels on cardboard so they would adjust and move easier.... but the final result was that aiming to the right steering wheel.... This time, I made SURE I had the steering wheel level and pointing straight ahead, on cardboard, and shut off the motor/ignition which locked the steering wheel level and straight..... Then I jumped through the hoops and took my time adjusting the tie rods and measuring, back and forth until I had both sides towed in perfectly at 1/16 of an inch, locked the tie rods in place, cleaned up and life was good.... until, I got in the cab.... thinking the steering wheel would be where it should be.... straight and level.... It wasn't ..... it was now 1/8th aiming left.....

I thought once the ignition was locked, the tie rod adjustments re-done, that it would be all good... So... help a novice at alignment understand.... What did I do wrong? Moving/adjusting the tie rods can somehow move the steering shaft/wheel????

PS... test drove it and it is fine going down the road... but time will tell on the tire wear..... I do my own tire work... used tires... and there is very little cost in tires.... also restore my own steel wheels for it and they always come out great.....

And please..... taking it to a professional alignment shop is NOT in the budget..... so any suggestions/help on getting that steering wheel straight would be appreciated....
 


superj

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U.S. Military - Veteran
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Location
corpus christi, texas
Vehicle Year
2004
Make / Model
ranger edge
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Engine Size
V6 of power
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
none
Total Drop
none
Tire Size
235s
My credo
Grew up in the 70s, 80s, and 90s
you cannot adjust the steering wheel alignment on its own? i am asking because i have only done my own alignments on bmws and jeeps and those you can do the steering wheel on its own after the wheels are set
 

rumblecloud

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Location
48022
Vehicle Year
1994
Make / Model
Ranger Splash
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
1-1/2 inch front leveling
Total Drop
Stock
Tire Size
P235/75R15
My credo
What's the worst that could happen?
Toe-in is only one part of the alignment process that affects steering wheel centering. I believe castor and camber (castor mostly) helps with turning and self-centering of the steering wheel.
 

Ranger850

Banned... except Florida... and here soon
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2001
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Ford
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Born with a 3.0, looking for a donor V8
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
Stock 2"
Tire Size
Stock
My credo
Doing things wrong, until I get it right.
I had a crooked steering wheel on my Ranger. I had a shop repair it, no alignment was needed. I think it cost me around $75, many years ago
 

professor229

Active Member
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Messages
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Location
Minnesota
Vehicle Year
2004
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Transmission
Automatic
I just looked for a You Tube video on how to pull the steering wheel, thinking it was going to be old school with a "splined" shaft and you simply put the steering wheel back "straight" or close to straight.... I have done this on cars from the sixties many times and on my American Sterling when I had to downsize the steering wheel from a Pontiac wheel to a cute baja steering wheel..... It wasn't that hard to do.... and the video I watched (A1) showed the process or taking the steering wheel off... not a problem, but then it shows him putting it back ... and there is what the guy calls an alignment tab and he jockies the wheel until it drops back in place.... the same orientation as when he pulled it out.... Then in the comment section, someone asked the exact question that I have.... something like..... "I had mine in for alignment and it came back with the steering wheel slightly off center so I asked them if they could get it straight... they said this was as good as it gets".... and then the guy asked if he could center the steering wheel by pulling it like the video shows... There was no reply from A1.... So I will keep looking/researching for an answer to this and in the meantime, live to like the steering wheel off a bit... it's no big deal.... I guess my question is why the steering wheel is locked in place, alignment done, and the steering wheel and shaft must have moved when I moved the tie rods in and out.... ..... so I will keep looking... thanks!!!
 

RobbieD

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Location
Georgia
Vehicle Year
1984,1990,1994
Make / Model
Ford
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
My credo
Toonces drives a Ranger . . . . just not very well.
I know that on my '90 model there's just a flat on the column shaft and steering wheel hub, so no adjustment there.

On the column lower end, a bolt secures the upper end of the rag joint, so no adjustment, and I'm not sure how the joint lower end goes onto the steering box input shaft.

If the steering, or alignment, feels OK driving, you could try turning the tie rod ends each a full turn (one in, one out), to move the front wheels in the direction needed to center the steering wheel. I have a feeling, that if you paid a shop to center the steering wheel, this is probably how they'd do it (and likely using the adjustment sleeves [same principle], and on an alignment machine).
 

alwaysFlOoReD

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Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
^^^
Yes, adjust the tierods as needed. One in, one out.
 

Shran

Junk Collector
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V8 Engine Swap
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Everything on the Ranger platform steering column is fixed in one position except the upper rag joint to column connection which can go two ways - in any case, not useful for fine tuning. It all has to be done with a combination of tie rod sleeve adjustments, camber bushings and caster adjuster bushings at the radius arms.

Finding a shop that knows how to align a TTB truck can be difficult. I have a place that does good work, my wife has always taken her cars to a different shop and her '95 needed an alignment so she took it there... they are morons, they told me they can't correct the crooked steering wheel without first installing new springs that will "fix the caster."
 

pjtoledo

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Location
Toledo Ohio
Vehicle Year
20002005199
Make / Model
Fords
Engine Size
3.0 2.3
My credo
get outta my way, I'm falling!
don't forget thrust angle.
ever if the front alignment is perfect a rear that is off will make the truck steer crooked.
.
 

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