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Power Stroke Excursions Technical discussion of the Ford Excursion SUV with the Power Stroke diesel.

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Old 10-06-2012, 08:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Steering Issue

Just bought my wife a 2002 Excursion with an 8 inch lift,King coilovers in front and a Banks system. The problem Im having is that it doesnt steer worth a crap.Your all over the road and God forbid you put a trailer behind it. I've tried to tighten up the steering gear and that hasn't done anything. The mechanic I went to said all the ball joints look and feel great. It doesnt have a rear sway bar. So my question is should I put on a sway bar and change the steering gear or is there something Im not looking at.
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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How big are the tires? Did your mechanic look at the tie rods, steering linkages?
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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37's and yes he said everything looked tight.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Steering gear change isn't going to make a change in my opinion. I don't deal with lifts and don't do any suspension work on lifted vehicles. Some one with more experiences should see this and respond. I was mainly trying to get as much mechanical information.


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Old 10-07-2012, 01:19 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The deflection of pitman shaft should be checked when you steer left and right while sitting still. The steering gears on earlier SD's do have issues in that area.
I have replaced a few of them on 99 through 03's. The parts show to be the same but there must have been a tolerance issue addressed about then.
I have gotten the rebuilt complete units from NAPA and have not had a dud yet. For lifted trucks with much greater steering box loads I'd probably get a Red-Head rebuilt. They have a great reputation with rebuilts units for lifted trucks.
Dodge and Ford use Visteon (unless the steering gear division got sold) and Red-Head supposedly has some mods they do to get better pitman shaft control. It may be a longer needle bearing.
Pitman shaft wear and resulting looseness affects all of the big three trucks and is the biggest reason a steering gear gets changed.
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Old 10-08-2012, 03:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Does it have a steering stabilizer across the front of the steering rack? i wouls assume with a lift of that size it wouls have one but, When I put my lift on I didnt have a stabilizer and it drove terrible.

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Old 12-09-2012, 10:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I went through all of the suspension upgrades, had PSC rebuild the gearbox since they happen to be right down the road and I put bilsteins, rear sway bar, adj track bar, bilsteins steering stabilizer, new drop links for front torsion bar wider wheels and Michelin AT2's, while there was an improvement but it is not great.. The steering is still sloppy and my F150 with the same 30 foot camper handles 100 times better than my ex. I have followed up with the folks at PSC and they recommended shimming the front axle I think to 5 degrees but I have not done this due to conflicting answers from others. One thing I was told is that ford updated the steering and made it bigger as the ones that are on the early ex's are to small or are not heavy duty enough. Not sure what I am going to do with it as I luv the truck but I hate towing with it.
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Old 12-21-2012, 05:43 AM   #8 (permalink)
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How much freeplay at the steering wheel rim? I have about 1/2" with a new (rebuilt) box from Ford. You can see from my sig I have all the mods. (Caster did not help much, but does chew the tires up. Must rotate every 2000 miles.)

Biggest single improvement in directional stabiliy was from ladder bars. Still, it's no Suburban.

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Old 12-31-2012, 06:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have the same issue, have done everything under the sun, I removed both tie rod ends from the spindles and found that I could barely turn the drivers spindle left to right with both hands. the pass. side is as free as a bird. I replaced the ball joints on the Dr. side(which had no play in them) and the end result was minimally better. Now after driving 5000 miles or so its as bad as it was before. So, if check there and if you find the fix let us all know. Thanks
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Old 12-31-2012, 09:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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You may need to check the rear end allignment it is a solid axle however it can be shimmed. With a trailer it lifts the front up and lowering your caster. A more positive caster will help stability. But if your rear end is out you will always be fighting the thrust angle

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Old 01-13-2013, 09:28 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Front caster with a solid front axle does not change as the nose comes up in the scenario you described. However, toe-in usually changes in the direction of less toe-in or more toe-out, depending on your alignment starting point at ride height (unless all bump steer has been tuned out).

That can certainly reduce directional stability. You can see from my sig that I have a lot more caster than stock, but it does not seem to make the kind of difference it does on vehicles with IFS.

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Old 01-17-2013, 07:48 PM   #12 (permalink)
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As stupid as it sounds after buying new tires and driving around I know my EX was terrible with low air. Check air pressure as with any D rated tire the side walls will roll and with 37" tires there is a whole lotta side wall. Simple and quick but it made all the difference with mine. THe old tires were shot and leaked everywhere but still low air was the problem.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:21 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Well I put the Hellwig rear sway bar on and it made it to were I can drive this thing without breaking my fingers on the steering wheel from holding on so tight.Its still not great but I can tow a trailer and take it to Vegas.
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:54 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Wondering if your steering comes back to center on it's own after cornering?
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:22 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Sorry I have not followed up but some info on my findings with all of this. In my post above I meant to say larger steering box, apparently the newer super duty's have a larger steering box. I have not gone down the road of trying to retrofit one but I was told they are to big for thd area.... However I am sure a lil redneck inginuity one can figure something out.

IRT steering wheel free play I have about the same 1/2 inch or so to maybe a tad more but when you put the camper back there it amplifies it. From what I have been researching I am thinking ladder bars on all four corners. This would eliminate fore and aft play and hopefully lock in the axle and remove all torsion (bump) steering. I have been checking out lifted trucks around the metroplex to see what they are running but have not decided on a set up yet.

As far as the ball joints, you have to be careful with them as there is a specific torque sequence as I learned. I had a local shop change them for me and they winched down on them and the steering was hanging up after install of new ball joints. I recall the increments being in 25 ft lbs but don't quote me on it.

My wheels do center when the steering whelk is let go out of a turn.
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2001 Ford Excursion Limited, 7.3 4x4
KMC XD Badlands 18x9 wheels
Michelin LTX AT2 275/70/18
V/ Mod B Spring upgrade
FABTEC ADJ TracBar
Bilstein Shocks w twin mount up front
Bilstein Steering Stabilizer
Helwig rear sway bar
31 Row trans cooler
05-07 Grill from Sinister Diesel
Isspro Gauges and triple, A Pillar Pods
New Hydroboost, Steering Box, Power Steering Pump, Master Cylinder, Condenser, Radiator, Resivoir.
Royal Purple in Differentials.
MBRP 4" Turbo back Exhaust
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