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E-Series Vans Technical discussion of topics related to vans powered by any of the Navistar engines. This covers a broad number of years, but there isn't enough demand to split it any further.

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Old 04-21-2005, 12:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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How to straighten steering wheel w/o getting aligned

E450 Van with a 24' Tioga attached to the back. The alignment is fine but, the steering wheel is turned a little to the left. Wanted to know if there was a way to get the steering wheel straight without having to bring it to an alignment shop.

Anybody help?

Thanks,

Chris
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Old 04-21-2005, 12:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: How to straighten steering wheel w/o getting aligned

It is fairly easy to straighten the wheel.

- Drive on a level road and determine exactly where the steering wheel points, maybe even mark the top with white tape. Drive some more and make sure the mark is correct

- Park in your driveway (or parking lot at work or some other convenient work surface) and make sure the mark is at the top of the steering wheel

- Locate the steering box under the front of the truck. Find the rod that goes from the steering box to the passenger side wheel assembly. What you need to do is to adjust the length of this rod to center the steering wheel. The length of this rod does not affect alignment, only the centering of the wheel. DO NOT ADJUST THE ROD THAT GOES FROM DRIVER'S SIDE WHEEL TO THE PASSENGER SIDE WHEEL.

- Find the adjuster on the that rod. It will be a round clamp about 3-5" long with bolts on both ends. One end is left hand thread, and the other side is right hand thread.

- Loosen the two clamp bolts (pay attention to how tight they are - you will need to tighten them about the same when you are done) and rotate the adjuster in one direction. Check the steering wheel - did it get better or worse? If better, continue adjusting in the same direction until the wheel is centered. If worse, adjust in the opposite direction until the wheel is centered.

- Retighten the clamp bolts. You don't want this to come loose when you are driving

If you get it wrong, don't worry about, just readjust it as many times as it takes until you get it right. I carried the tool with me for a week and adjusted it a few times on different roads until I was happy with the results.

Mike
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Old 04-21-2005, 01:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: How to straighten steering wheel w/o getting aligned


[ QUOTE ]

- Locate the steering box under the front of the truck. Find the rod that goes from the steering box to the passenger side wheel assembly. What you need to do is to adjust the length of this rod to center the steering wheel. The length of this rod does not affect alignment, only the centering of the wheel. DO NOT ADJUST THE ROD THAT GOES FROM DRIVER'S SIDE WHEEL TO THE PASSENGER SIDE WHEEL.


[/ QUOTE ] This procedure will not work on a normal Ford van steering linkage, any movement of the adjusting sleeves will alter the toe settings. The only correct way is to have it realigned.
On a Super Duty or Excursion 4X4 this method will work.
FMT
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Old 04-21-2005, 02:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: How to straighten steering wheel w/o getting aligned



[/ QUOTE ] This procedure will not work on a normal Ford van steering linkage, any movement of the adjusting sleeves will alter the toe settings. The only correct way is to have it realigned.
On a Super Duty or Excursion 4X4 this method will work.
FMT

[/ QUOTE ]

Thanks for pointing that out. My van is a 4x4 with a Super Duty front axle, which explains my confusion.

Mike
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From Cal to Alaska, Key West, Labrador/Newfoundland and points in between
Salem Kroger coil spring 4wd conversion - 4" lift
05 F350 front axle and aluminum wheels 275/70-18 tires.
46 Gal tank - harpooned pump vent tube.
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Old 04-21-2005, 02:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: How to straighten steering wheel w/o getting aligned

that is what I was afraid of. Other option might be steering wheel removal but, having to deal with the airbag and stuff kinda deters me from attempting.

Chris
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Old 04-21-2005, 09:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: How to straighten steering wheel w/o getting aligned

The older vans, 1987 and down, with one tie rod adjuster sleeve had the option to remove the steering wheel to straighten but when they went to the newer two adjuster sleeve steering linkage they keyed the steering wheel to the shaft in one position so that will not work for you either.
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Old 04-22-2005, 11:08 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: How to straighten steering wheel w/o getting aligned

Tighten the right side adjusting sleeve, and loosen the left side adjusting sleeve the same amount. Try 1/4 turn at a time. This will alter the steering wheel alignment without changing the toe-in (as long as the sleeves are moved exactly the same distance).

You can actually set your toe-in pretty easily with a toe gauge from JC Whitney. Since that's all you really set of the Ford trucks, it's a ton cheaper than having a shop put it on a computerized apparatus to do a simple setting.
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