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Old 05-21-2012, 09:37 AM   #1
judgethis
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Default 2000 Ford F250 steering wander.

My friend has a 2000 Ford F250 he just recently purchased. He was told it needed gear box for steering wander/play. Truck has 350,000 and looks like new. very well maintaned. over $100,000 worth of maintenance including the price of the truck. Has all reciept. Anyway we replaced the steering gear box and he said it's 60 to 70% better but still has play/wander. I drove it and at high way speeds it feel like there is some play. It feels like if you hold the wheel when driving you can turn the wheel left or right about an inch before the truck starts to turn then you tend to over compensate for it and it starts to wander in the other direction so you constantly working the wheel. All the steering linkage seems tight-didnt feel any play. Is this a normal feeling or something else I could look at? I Googled it and some say its normal, others replaced every other part to fix it. If it were mine Id be fine with it. Thanks
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:53 AM   #2
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Default Re: 2000 Ford F250 steering wander.

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My friend has a 2000 Ford F250 he just recently purchased. He was told it needed gear box for steering wander/play. Truck has 350,000 and looks like new. very well maintaned. over $100,000 worth of maintenance including the price of the truck. Has all reciept. Anyway we replaced the steering gear box and he said it's 60 to 70% better but still has play/wander. I drove it and at high way speeds it feel like there is some play. It feels like if you hold the wheel when driving you can turn the wheel left or right about an inch before the truck starts to turn then you tend to over compensate for it and it starts to wander in the other direction so you constantly working the wheel. All the steering linkage seems tight-didnt feel any play. Is this a normal feeling or something else I could look at? I Googled it and some say its normal, others replaced every other part to fix it. If it were mine Id be fine with it. Thanks
Lower Ball Joints.

There used to be a service bulletin for it?

There is a diagnostic procedure but I am not sure if you would have the right equipment to do it. You could wing it by jacking the front end up, disconnecting the tie-rods from the knuckles and seeing how hard the knuckles are to rotate by hand.

Use your best judgement as to whether they feel stiff or not.

And the that track bar bushings....but that usually usually results in clunking and all sorts of noise.

Last edited by checkthisout; 05-21-2012 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:56 AM   #3
dlewis
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Default Re: 2000 Ford F250 steering wander.

Put it on jack stands knock the drag link loose and turn the tires side to side and see if it's bound up,if they turn free try adjusting the box if it's rebuild they might have it adjusted to tight.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:19 AM   #4
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Default Re: 2000 Ford F250 steering wander.

Did it get a recent wheel alignment?

I have used a ratchet strap wrapped around and tightened down to hold the "input" shaft tight so you can confirm it is not between the steering wheel and box.

The front wheel bearings are confirmed good?
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:35 AM   #5
theoldwizard1
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Default Re: 2000 Ford F250 steering wander.

4WD or 2WD ? Makes a big difference.

Take it to a shop that specializes in front ends. If all parts check out good, have them add about 1-2 degrees of positive caster above the spec. Additional caster does not cause tire wear, but will require a bit more steering effort to move from center.

If you live in an area with high center crown roads, the caster needs to be different, left to right.

A "good" front end mechanic will know all of this.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:47 AM   #6
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Default Re: 2000 Ford F250 steering wander.

That vintage of F250/350 has some unique issues with steering. There are several things that can make them wander all over the road. . .

Suspension bushings - If they haven't been replaced with good polyurethane bushings, I would do it immediately without hesitation. . . makes a world of difference in how these trucks handle. Anti-sway bars and leaf springs/shackles. . . they all can wear and make the truck wander like a drunken sailor.

Power steering pump - These need to run synthetic ATF and can fail prematurely if you try and run standard power steering fluid. Dad's truck wandered all over the place and we threw a new pump on and it fixed the issue.

Then you have all the standard steering stuff. . .ball joints, TRE's and wheel bearings. Those are easy to check and not rocket science to replace.

If all these things listed above are in good working order and you have a new steering box, the truck should be solid as a rock.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:50 AM   #7
judgethis
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Default Re: 2000 Ford F250 steering wander.

Had a front end alignment after putting on the gear box. Wheel bearing felt tight, had no play. New traction bar installed recently as the Ford sticker still on it. Looks as if the drag link was replaced also. All linkage looks clean likes its been changed. Ball joints were replaced at one time but will check by knocking the linkage free from gear box and check them. Thanks for the input everybody.

Its a 4wd, 7.3 diesel.
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Old 05-21-2012, 11:16 AM   #8
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Default Re: 2000 Ford F250 steering wander.

As I said, double check the PS pump. Even if you have to drain it and refill. Make sure it's strong and has the right fluid. It can really be evil in these trucks. . .

I'm a die hard Ford guy. . . mine's an '01 F350 4x4 CCSB diesel, dad's is a '99 F250 4x4 CCSB diesel, cousins is a '00 F350 4x4 SCLB diesel and an '05 F350 4x4 CCSB diesel. . . these suckers are in my blood.
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:12 PM   #9
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Default Re: 2000 Ford F250 steering wander.

my truck wanders some as well, 02 f-350 crew cab long box with a 7.3. I have 285 series tires on it, not sure if that has something to with it. I just replaced all teh ball joints, front hubs, wheel bearings, seals, u-joints, etc. I will try to explain

Driving down the road, hold the wheel straight, the truck ever so slightly moves to the left, compensate with teh wheel to teh right, back and forth. The steering is tight.....all seems ok. Is it possible the ball joints need to "set in"?
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:17 PM   #10
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Default Re: 2000 Ford F250 steering wander.

On my work truck (01 F-250) replacing the steering stabilizer cured most of my steering wheel play. Not saying that will fix your ills, but I would check it.
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:04 PM   #11
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Default Re: 2000 Ford F250 steering wander.

I've got a 2000 Superduty 2wd. I have the same issues. I've done ball joints twice already with 210k on it. It didn't help much. Alingments did little to fix it as well. Tightening the lash on the steering box helped some, but not enought.

From what I have read, the only way to really cure this is a steering box from these guys: http://redheadsteeringgears.com/index.html

They totally remanfacture the box by pulling the bushings and machining the box to accept needle/roller bearings. The factory specs on the boxes have too large tolerances and that's part of what causes wander. I called them up last week, they quoted me about $350. From what I have read on all the ford forums (powerstrokenation.com, ford-trucks.com) this is THE fix. All the other things could be contributing factors as well, but it seems like this is the final solution after others have been exhausted.
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:27 PM   #12
judgethis
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Default Re: 2000 Ford F250 steering wander.

I was wondering about a steering stabilzer. This truck doesnt have one on it but dont know if it ever had one either. I see where it has the perch for the one end so its posssible it set up for one. We did drain the fluid but we didnt fill it with synthetic fluid, we just went by the owners manual.
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Old 05-21-2012, 03:31 PM   #13
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I've never seen an F350 without a stabilizer. That will help, but probably won't solve the problem. Get on powerstrokearmy.com and do some reading. Tons of info there. powerstrokenation.com ain't bad either but I really hate the Autoguide group that owns it. . .prefer to support the little guy rather than the big soulless corporation. . .
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Old 05-21-2012, 03:36 PM   #14
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Default Re: 2000 Ford F250 steering wander.

Tires, there are a couple brands out there that are known to have wandering problems on diesel straight axle front suspension trucks. Falken being one of them, ask me how i know.
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:26 AM   #15
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Default Re: 2000 Ford F250 steering wander.

Hey Judge, did your buddy ever get his truck straight?

I picked up a 2000 PSD SC LWB DRW 4x4 last week and it's painfully sloppy. Makes all those narrow roads on the way to work very intimidating, to say the least!

I have a Red Head steering gear (linked above) going in this weekend; just curious to see how your buddy's turned out.

I've read stories of people spending thousands on drag links, tie rods, ball joints, and stabilizers... and still having issues. I haven't found a single person who installed a Red Head then reported that the problem remains, so I'm going straight for the box.

If the arms and ball joints are showing to be worn out once the new gear is in, I'll drop some more cash and get MOOG drag link and tie rod with Synergy Mfg ball joints. If Synergy made steering arms I'd go that route for them, too.

A stabilizer only helps mask a problem. In the case of a worn box it helps to avoid wandering because it's essentially providing static pressure, keeping the tires straight(ish) on the highway. The purpose of the stabilizer is to help absorb the impacts of bumps and such on the roadways, not actually keep the tires straight- that's the job of the gearbox.

If everything is set up properly, most solid front axle vehicles don't even need a stabilizer. My goal with my truck is to not NEED one, but I do plan to have it to help with these awful roadways we have down here in Louisiana.
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:46 AM   #16
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Default Re: 2000 Ford F250 steering wander.

$30k truck new so $70k worth of maintenance ? I have a 01 F350 4x4. Had the same wondering issue. Interestingly enough I just had the fourth tire on the front blow a belt. BF Goodrich. LT265/75R16. Funny thing BF recalled this brand but not my size. Although they will not replace them because they no longer make them. I'm currently working with them to see what they can do. 3 years ago with another set of tires on it I had a belt go bad and the tread seperated at 60 mph. It sent me up and over a guard rail into the ditch. I'm lucky no other cars were coming the other direction.
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