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Old 02-09-2011, 11:07 AM   #1
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Steering Slop

I just purchased a used 2001 SMB with 65,000 miles on it.

See thread here....
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=6228

It feels to me like the steering has a bit more "slop" in it than I would like. Although, this machine was obviously babied, not sure if this is just the way they drive, or not? Would 65,000 mostly highway miles make the steering feel sloppy?

Either way, what are the best culprits to attack to try to tighten it up?

Thanks
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:38 AM   #2
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Re: Steering Slop

First, crawl under it while someone moves the steering wheel back and forth. Make sure you don't have a loose or worn out component.

You may find the steering gear is loose on the frame, a worn out bushing or??

It is also possible the toe-in is not set properly. Toe-out can cause wander.

Another thing to check is the steering box cross-shaft adjustment. Or, maybe it is best left to a pro. The adjustment is extremely difficult to do in a van, limited access to the nut and screw. And it is easy to make it too tight and destroy the steering gear. The most accurate way to adjust it is to pull the box out and adjust it on a bench, checking the clearance from stop to stop after any adjustment.

Mike
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:39 PM   #3
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Re: Steering Slop

If everything there is kosher, jack it up, put the front axle on jack stands, and remove the front wheels. Test how easily the hubs move through their steering range of motion. You may need to remove the tie rod to best test this. In my case - similar "new to me" van at 62,000 miles - the ball joints were too tight. What I thought was steering wander was actually the ball joints sticking until I steered enough to break them free, and then the "dancing and wandering" began. Once this was corrected, there was no more need for the two-handed death grip on the steering wheel.

Edit: If this is the problem, time to replace the ball joints.
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Old 02-10-2011, 08:30 AM   #4
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Re: Steering Slop

We have a 2001 Quigley and had to replace the "Moog tie rod end" (whatever that it...I'm reading from the Invoice) and the Steering Damper at 54,000 miles. My guess is that the added weight of the 4x4 conversion (and, in our case at least, the front Reunel steel bumper and winch) puts a lot of weight of these components and they fail sooner than they would otherwise.
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Old 02-13-2011, 04:39 PM   #5
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Re: Steering Slop

If you have a SMB 4x4 I would also recommend checking the front wheel bearings. The wheel bearings need to be inspected and re-packed every 20-25K miles.

John
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