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Old 05-07-2010, 11:10 AM   #21
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Re: Finally

My one question to you all is regarding the "float" in the steering, at freeway speeds it takes active participation from the driver to keep going straight. Not bad, just much different than the Audi or BMW previously driven. Being a van/4x4 novice, I am chalking it up to the fact that it's a big heavy 4x4 van with big wheels and tires, but thought I would ask. It was checked out prior to purchase and nothing came up regarding any issues with the front end, just curious to get some feedback from the experienced SMB owners here.

Thanks![/quote]

Congrads Seattle,

Just a note on "float" and alignment in general. After having owned and built numerous 4wd vehicles including 4wd vans and many Jeeps, Here is my .02 cents:
Upon purchase of any used vehicle, one should inspect all steering components (ball joints, tie rods, steering box, and suspension bushings) and hit the fittings with a grease gun. The second thing is have an alignment done and get a printout. If the shop does not have a machine that will give a printout, go elsewhere. The printout is very important in diagnosing any future change and component wear. The float or wander is a result of caster (or worn parts). Too much positive= vague steering and a feeling of too much play at the wheel. Too little and the vehicle wanders. The printout will show you where the caster is set and most will give you min and max degrees. You will probably find that being closer to the min side will feel best although that is entirely subjective.
While the front is being done check the brakes and wheel bearings. All replacement parts should be top quality not inferior econojunk. Lastly, tires. IMO Sportsmobiles need E rated tires period. Tire pressure is very important and will vary from vehicle to vehicle but definately do not run at or exceed max pressure. Usually the front tires will run at a different pressure than the rear.
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Old 05-07-2010, 11:41 AM   #22
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Location: Denver, CO
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Re: Finally

Icebox,

Thanks for the info, I had it looked at by a Ford dealer before purchase and the van had a recent alignment. The bad news is it has new tires, but are D rated, not E. I will take it to a shop locally and have the front end looked at in more detail. Thanks again.
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