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Username Post: 91 C1500 Steering Issues / Excessive Play        (Topic#187859)
91ChevyC1500 
Newbie
Posts: 4

Reg: 04-21-08
04-21-08 05:37 PM - Post#1416787    

I am the owner of a 1991 Chevy Cheyenne C1500 with a 305 V8, boo . This truck is spartan basic, but its been good to us. I bought the truck about 9-10 months ago and when I bought it I noticed that the steering was a little loose. Still I bought it because the price was too good to pass up. Anyhow, it's been months and the problem hasn't gotten worse, but it's annoying. The steering wheel turns in either direction roughly about 1-2 inches before it will actually turn the wheels. I've had the truck aligned and the shop that aligned it said that all the steering parts underneath were good. The power steering works fine and its full of fluid. Anyone know what could be wrong? Too have that much excessive play seems as if it's not only annoying, but unsafe as well. I noticed some posts talking about bad/loose tilt wheel columns. This truck doesn't have one. Its just a steering column, no tilt, just accept it in the position its in and drive. Like I said earlier, its spartan basic.

 
59 EWW 
Very Senior Member
Posts: 1871
59 EWW
Loc: Kansas City Kansas
Reg: 08-31-03
04-21-08 06:20 PM - Post#1416832    
    In response to 91ChevyC1500

Hi 91chevy
Welcome to the forum

Thats a fair amount of play, time to get underneath it to see whats loose.

Easy way to check some componets, lock the steering wheel, place a floor jack under the left or right lower A-arm, jack the tire off the ground 1-2 inches.

Have a helper, grab the tire at the 3 & 9 oclock positions, have the helper move the tire back and forth as if he's tring to turn it left and right.

As the helper is doing this, you slide under the truck and look for loose steering componets moving back and forth.

After you do one side, jack up the other side and do it again.

Most common parts to be worn will be, idler arm, pitman arm, tie rod ends, ball joints, there maybe some play in the steering gearbox also, some of this play can normally be adjusted out of the box.

Ball joints will require a little different test, I normally use a long pry bar under the jacked up tire, prying up and down too see if theres any movement in the ball joint.

Ernie

59 Biscayne 2dr
65 Elcamino
97 Z71,K1500,5.7
06 GMC Canyon


 
Boog 
Super Senior Member
Posts: 3530
Boog
Loc: Central Arkansas
Reg: 04-28-02
04-21-08 06:30 PM - Post#1416849    
    In response to 91ChevyC1500

The truck doesn't have 10" wide rims on the front does it?
Boog
69 Chevy step
06 GMC ccsb Z71
00 GMC excab Z71
All GM...'nuff said!
JR Nation


 
someotherguy 
Moderator
Posts: 25541
someotherguy
Age: 44
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-01-03
04-22-08 04:39 AM - Post#1417144    
    In response to Boog

Great advice from Ernie, and I'll add that you might want to find a different alignment shop. If they can't detect worn parts in a front end with that much play, then they're not very good. There's nothing mysterious about these front ends; it's very close to the same way Chevy has been building truck front ends since their first coil spring & control arm truck in 1963.

Another way I like to check is with the tires on the ground, engine running, have someone turn the wheel from lock to lock, slowly. You watch from underneath and either somewhere in the travel or at least once it reaches the end of travel, you'll be able to see if the tie rods, idler arm, pitman arm, or center link have slop in them.

Steering gearbox play can be detected by watching under the hood to see if the steering shaft movement into the gearbox corresponds with immediate or delayed movement of the tire. Engine running, have your helper move the wheel slowly from side to side, just past the point of feeling resistance from the steering, while you watch.

Play in the gearbox can be adjusted somewhat, like Ernie says, but you have to be careful how far you go with it. Sometimes they're too far gone to adjust and trying to tighten it up will just make it wear faster, or even worse, cause rough spots in it where it "snags" while turning.

Richard
94 C2500LD / 94 C1500 / 06 300C SRT8
Check out my truck shop projects


 
91ChevyC1500 
Newbie
Posts: 4

Reg: 04-21-08
04-22-08 09:42 AM - Post#1417366    
    In response to Boog

No, the wheels are stock. 15in I believe. I am looking to get other wheels, but that will come later.

 
91ChevyC1500 
Newbie
Posts: 4

Reg: 04-21-08
04-22-08 09:44 AM - Post#1417369    
    In response to 59 EWW

Excellent advice, I think I'll give what you recommended a shot. I'll post later when everything is said and done so I can advise others on what I did to remedy the problem.

 
91ChevyC1500 
Newbie
Posts: 4

Reg: 04-21-08
04-22-08 09:46 AM - Post#1417373    
    In response to someotherguy

Thanks for the advice as well. I'll try 59 EWW's advice and yours as well and see if I can't narrow down the problem and get it fixed.

 
Marv D 
Contributor
Posts: 218
Marv D
Loc: Arizona
Reg: 05-29-07
04-22-08 11:17 AM - Post#1417433    
    In response to 91ChevyC1500

I spent nearly $1500 chasing the same issue. My stupidity and the moron "parts changers" working at the shop I was using. We replaced control arm bushings, ball joints, idler arm, tie rod ends wheel bearings, nothing seemed to help. Finally replaced the steering box and it was STILL was sloppy as all get out. I grumbeled to the shop asking what they had missed. Their answer was EVERYTHING is new, there is nothing to be loose, that's just eh way a 4WD is. Well BS, I drove this truck off the lot with 3 miles on it, that is NOT the way they are!!! But part of their statement was true,, they had replaced EVERYTHING from the steering gearbox to the lug nuts and it was still STUPID loose. Like you mentioned hand would move 1-2" trying to gather up the slack when you hit a ridge in the road. It was flat unsafe. I was at wits end. Sitting looking underhood one day it FINALLY hit me.. Yup they had replaced everything from the steering gearbox down all right,, but the original 1994 rag joint was still there. Replaced that (for something silly like $19 charge) and all my handeling troubles were GONE. VERY expensive lesson.... always check the easy stuff FIRST.

In the end, all the front end work would have been done anyways. I'm at 200,000 miles and just completely rebuilt the truck so the front end would have been totally rebuilt anyways. It's just frustrating to spend so much $'s at a shop on something tht could have been fixed for 1% of the cost if they had 'mechanics' instead of 'parts changers'. That's why I took it there because 'I' don't do suspension or rearend work.. I could get off on a real rant here, but let's just leave it at,, CHECK THE SIMPLE STUFF TOO.
1966 C-10 street toy 12.06@107
1964 chevyII 9.14@145
all the junk in one place


 
someotherguy 
Moderator
Posts: 25541
someotherguy
Age: 44
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-01-03
04-22-08 11:24 AM - Post#1417440    
    In response to Marv D

Marv, I was never a big fan of the idea of doing suspension work - but when it came to rebuilding the front end on my '92 C1500, I dove in and got it done with the help of an experienced friend. It fought the whole way, too; 255K mile parts did not want to come out, holding on for dear life. I even had to use a porta-power with the claw attachment to gently spread the pockets in the frame for the lower control arms to re-install them without murdering the new bushings.

Later, after that truck got stolen and stripped, I moved the entire still-new front suspension from it to my new project '94, essentially swapping front suspensions between the two trucks - in my driveway, with hand tools, no compressor. Wasn't fun but really wasn't that bad of a job. Mind over matter, mind over matter.



Good tip on the rag joint, and something that can be observed while doing the "watch from under the hood" test. By the way, Borgeson offers some heavy duty replacements for the steering shaft - you might want to check them out! http://ww2.borgeson.com/TRUCKS/CHEVY.html# and click "Go shop!" to see the different offerings. Not sure why they don't offer one for 1995-1998 but they have the other years covered.

Richard
94 C2500LD / 94 C1500 / 06 300C SRT8
Check out my truck shop projects


 
ItzBACON 
Newbie
Posts: 5

Reg: 08-18-08
08-18-08 11:52 AM - Post#1502191    
    In response to someotherguy

Hey guys, I realize I'm digging up an old thread, but I have the same problem with my '94 K1500. I'm just wondering where that rag joint is at specifically so I can check that out and see if it fixes my problem. Thanks guys...

 
CDAUSA 
Needs to Get Out More Member
Posts: 12906

Loc: Texas Panhandle
Reg: 12-31-01
08-18-08 01:45 PM - Post#1502259    
    In response to ItzBACON

The "rag" joint is located at the very bottom of the steering shaft, coming out of the firewall. So if you grab the shaft up above and can turn it, then the steering gearbox shaft doesn't turn when the upper shaft does-----it's likely that joint.

You may have a plastic cover over yours that you need to slip back to see it.

Otherwise, have someone turn the steering wheel back and forth while you lay underneath the front end, watch for anything that doesn't move 1-1 with each other. Also check to make sure the opposing shafts in the gearbox are pretty close to exactly, 1-1. There's some adjustment on it, but it's pretty minimal.

 
ItzBACON 
Newbie
Posts: 5

Reg: 08-18-08
08-18-08 02:53 PM - Post#1502328    
    In response to CDAUSA

Yeah, I've tried adjusting the gear box, and it didn't take out much slop, just made it harder to turn. When it stops raining I'll go out there and see what I can't find out, see if that joint isn't worn out or something. Thanks

 
CDAUSA 
Needs to Get Out More Member
Posts: 12906

Loc: Texas Panhandle
Reg: 12-31-01
08-18-08 02:57 PM - Post#1502333    
    In response to ItzBACON

Just a word, you don't want to ever adjust them to the point of being hard to turn. It's time for a gearbox at that point.

 
ItzBACON 
Newbie
Posts: 5

Reg: 08-18-08
08-18-08 03:09 PM - Post#1502346    
    In response to CDAUSA

Yeah I adjusted it back to where it was before....

 
someotherguy 
Moderator
Posts: 25541
someotherguy
Age: 44
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-01-03
08-18-08 08:15 PM - Post#1502606    
    In response to ItzBACON

What CDAUSA said. Pretty much if you're adjusting it that far, at worst it's going to bind up on you, at best, it's going to accelerate the already extreme amount of wear.

Richard
94 C2500LD / 94 C1500 / 06 300C SRT8
Check out my truck shop projects


 
ItzBACON 
Newbie
Posts: 5

Reg: 08-18-08
08-19-08 01:40 PM - Post#1503026    
    In response to someotherguy

Well it stopped raining long enough for me to check it out. I couldn't ever see that steering coupler because it had some long plastic cover over it. Took that off and sure as poopoo, it's bad. Like, REAL bad. Surprised it's still even there haha. So now I just have to find one to replace it. Thanks guys for your help, will be nice to have the truck steer like a normal vehicle again.

 
stricker76 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 2370
stricker76
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Reg: 05-17-06
08-19-08 01:48 PM - Post#1503028    
    In response to ItzBACON

Well now i feel like an idiot. I have the exact same problem with my truck. Replaced everything from the gearbox to the wheel bearings and it still has this problem. I just figured it was the gearbox, and i would swap it when i swapped my motor. After reading this lastnight i check it and sure enough, the ragjoint is SHOT.
2007 Avalanche LT
1998 C2500 Reg cab 6.5L
1973 Monte Carlo - On the chopping block
1995 C1500 - R.I.P

http://www.cardomain.com/id/stricker76


 
ItzBACON 
Newbie
Posts: 5

Reg: 08-18-08
08-19-08 07:01 PM - Post#1503233    
    In response to stricker76

Replaced it earlier, let me tell you it was hard to find one to replace it. I guess they aren't really made to replace on my truck. It was riveted down instead of bolted. Anyways, took it for a drive and it was a LOT better. Haven't hit the highway with it yet, but already around town it's 90% better. Thanks you guys for the help, I really appreciate it.

Edited by ItzBACON on 08-19-08 07:01 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
Boog 
Super Senior Member
Posts: 3530
Boog
Loc: Central Arkansas
Reg: 04-28-02
08-20-08 06:05 PM - Post#1504060    
    In response to ItzBACON

Sounds like you've found the main culprit. I suggest checking the idler arm on the passenger side of the steering linkage. They don't last long on these trucks and can cause a bit of wander. If it's also bad I suggest you buy a Moog idler. There is a difference.
Boog
69 Chevy step
06 GMC ccsb Z71
00 GMC excab Z71
All GM...'nuff said!
JR Nation


 
someotherguy 
Moderator
Posts: 25541
someotherguy
Age: 44
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-01-03
08-20-08 06:23 PM - Post#1504083    
    In response to Boog

I've got an '88 outside that I just changed some tires out on; it had flats on the front and I hate even having a junk truck sitting around on a flat. Anyway while removing the passenger front, it flopped around BADLY, I grabbed it and shook while watching and the idler arm was literally, no kidding, moving up and down with a travel of over 2 inches. Can you imagine what it must have been like to drive that truck before they killed it?

Richard
94 C2500LD / 94 C1500 / 06 300C SRT8
Check out my truck shop projects


 
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