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2008- 2010 General Questions General questions related to 2008-Up Super Duty trucks. If it doesn't fit the other categories, post it here. Gas engine discussion that pertains to all models is allowed. Specific gas engine questions should use the Gas Engines forum.

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Old 03-07-2011, 08:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Steering Play

I have a 2008 F450, just over 75k miles. There is a bit of play in the steering at dead center. While stopped or while driving in a straight line, I can move the wheel approx 1/4-1/2" to either side and nothing happens at the wheels. With the truck stopped and not running I can get underneath, grab the intermediate shaft (I think that's what it's called, the shaft from the steering wheel to the steering box) and move it by hand, thus moving the steering wheel. According to the dealer, this amount of play is within spec. However, it is annoying to me. The play is from one of two places- either it is play in the steering box itself, or it is play in where the intermediate shaft attaches to the steering box.

Anybody have any idea how likely either one is? Unfortunately if it IS the steering box, replacement is the only option as the F450's isn't adjustable like the 250/350 box is. A new one from Ford retails for $1100, a reman from NAPA is $400. Install is either myself or around $500 at the dealer. Not sure I'm that much money bothered...yet.
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Old 05-22-2011, 09:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Steering Play

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Originally Posted by tfunk88 View Post
I have a 2008 F450, just over 75k miles. There is a bit of play in the steering at dead center. While stopped or while driving in a straight line, I can move the wheel approx 1/4-1/2" to either side and nothing happens at the wheels. With the truck stopped and not running I can get underneath, grab the intermediate shaft (I think that's what it's called, the shaft from the steering wheel to the steering box) and move it by hand, thus moving the steering wheel. According to the dealer, this amount of play is within spec. However, it is annoying to me. The play is from one of two places- either it is play in the steering box itself, or it is play in where the intermediate shaft attaches to the steering box.

Anybody have any idea how likely either one is? Unfortunately if it IS the steering box, replacement is the only option as the F450's isn't adjustable like the 250/350 box is. A new one from Ford retails for $1100, a reman from NAPA is $400. Install is either myself or around $500 at the dealer. Not sure I'm that much money bothered...yet.
I just had to have the shaft (maybe rocker arms) replace on my 2008 F350 at 63,000 under extended warranty. Same symptoms as you describe. Sure drives better now.
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Old 05-22-2011, 10:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Unfortunately if it IS the steering box, replacement is the only option as the F450's isn't adjustable like the 250/350 box is.
I just had my 2010 F350 (9k miles) into the dealer last week for the exact same irritating issue which you describe. They test drove and inspected it and told me the same thing: "within spec". They also told me that there was NO adjustment possible.

I told them that my old 99 Exploder 4x4 with 202k miles steered much better and no variations on the exact same roads. They said that was because my Exploder had rack-and-pinion steering while my F350 has straight gear steering.

The next step they suggested was to go drive another 2010 at their shop and see if it drives the same ??? Guess I'll have to do it. The wandering is not bad yet, but it seems to be getting looser over time.

- Don
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Old 05-23-2011, 07:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I have been told these guys are the go to if you are doing a replacement..rather then the factory one:
Red-Head Steering Gears, Seattle WA - Red-Head Steering Gears Home
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Old 05-23-2011, 02:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have been told these guys are the go to if you are doing a replacement..rather then the factory one:
Red-Head Steering Gears, Seattle WA - Red-Head Steering Gears Home
Thanks! I actually called them a few weeks ago, was told it would be around $1300...which is $400 more than a new one from Ford. I can get a rebuilt one from NAPA for $400, but they are out of cores so truck would be down for 2 weeks while they rebuild mine. Maybe I can find one from a junkyard.

I got off the phone with Red-Head a little bit ago today...$750 for their version vs. $400 from NAPA. They tell me theirs is worth the extra $350...hmmm...
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Old 08-16-2011, 12:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks! I actually called them a few weeks ago, was told it would be around $1300...which is $400 more than a new one from Ford. I can get a rebuilt one from NAPA for $400, but they are out of cores so truck would be down for 2 weeks while they rebuild mine. Maybe I can find one from a junkyard.

I got off the phone with Red-Head a little bit ago today...$750 for their version vs. $400 from NAPA. They tell me theirs is worth the extra $350...hmmm...
Did you happen to get your steering problem fixed? Mine has the same issue but much worst. I have almost 1 to 1.5 inches of play, and the steering is really loose. I did put on a stiffer steering stabilizer which helped but it is still not as tight as I would like.... "Thats what she said"
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Old 08-16-2011, 05:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Did you happen to get your steering problem fixed? Mine has the same issue but much worst. I have almost 1 to 1.5 inches of play, and the steering is really loose. I did put on a stiffer steering stabilizer which helped but it is still not as tight as I would like.... "Thats what she said"
Which truck do you have? If 250/350, there is some adjustment you can do on the steering box. If 450, the only solution to steering box play is a replacement box.

First, check your track bar/tie-rod ends to make sure there is no play there. Then check the steering box. With the engine off I could reach in and turn my steering wheel shaft by hand (no comments, please) a bunch in each direction easily. I got mine fixed by buying a "new to me" truck.
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Old 08-16-2011, 11:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have a 2009 f350. I climbed under the truck and saw this on the right front. Not sure why this seal is out? I lifted up the tire and try to move the tire... seemed pretty solid.
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Old 08-17-2011, 05:11 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I have a 2009 f350. I climbed under the truck and saw this on the right front. Not sure why this seal is out? I lifted up the tire and try to move the tire... seemed pretty solid.
I don't see anything wrong in the pic.
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:44 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I have a 2009 f350. I climbed under the truck and saw this on the right front. Not sure why this seal is out? I lifted up the tire and try to move the tire... seemed pretty solid.
Sucks the seal is busted...is the truck still under warranty? If you don't have play in any of the joints then your next option is to have the steering box adjusted. It will help for a while, then it'll need it again, and eventually replacement. Oh, and it needs to be done in the proper manner, apparently it is pretty sensitive and easy to mess things up by going just a little too tight.
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:29 AM   #11 (permalink)
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i had the same problem in my 05 350 i took it to my mechanic and it turned out to be the pitman arm was bad. He replaced it for me and i got my tight steering back. Just my two cents lol. Dan
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:07 AM   #12 (permalink)
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i had the same problem in my 05 350 i took it to my mechanic and it turned out to be the pitman arm was bad. He replaced it for me and i got my tight steering back. Just my two cents lol. Dan
Yeah, you can check to see if it's the steering box (or at least that the steering box is PART of the problem) very easily by reaching in and trying to turn the steering wheel shaft. If it moves back and forth, turning the steering box input shaft with the truck not running, it's got definite play.
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:28 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I have a 2009 f350. I climbed under the truck and saw this on the right front. Not sure why this seal is out? I lifted up the tire and try to move the tire... seemed pretty solid.

I got this fixed by Ford under warranty and they did the alignment under warranty as well. It does seem to be a little better, but still a little bit of play.
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:51 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I just had my 2010 F350 (9k miles) into the dealer last week for the exact same irritating issue which you describe. They test drove and inspected it and told me the same thing: "within spec". They also told me that there was NO adjustment possible.
In late July (a month after that June post above) I was down in Henderson NV and the play in my steering kept getting worse and more noticeable on the 750+ mile drive down there, so I took my truck into Ford Country in Henderson NV to check the steering out again.

This time I was able to go for a drive with the SM and he agreed that my truck had "unacceptable" play. He called Ford and they suggested a one-time 1/8 turn adjustment to the steering box done "exactly per instructions" so he called me back in to do it. I left it overnight, and they tried that first thing in the morning.

I had been quite insistant that this problem needed to be completely resolved this time as it was a severe safety issue for me and I didn't want to drive back home another 750+ miles wandering all over the road. Because of 1) my insistance, 2) the SM's agreement that it was a very *real* problem, and 3) I had asked Cory to get Ford involved ... the SM made the call that the adjustment wasn't enough and they *replaced* the steering box under warranty. MUCH better. My thanks to all involved.

The regional manager of Ford Customer Sevice had gotten immediately involved by phone/email (very nice guy, thanks!) thanks to Cory, but I think that the Henderson SM was really on my side this time (unlike the SM in Idaho). Plus it's easier to diagnose the problem with flat even roads, unlike all our capped and bumpy roads up here in East Idaho.

Anyway: Ford has replaced at least one steering box on a 2010 F350 under warranty due to excessive wandering on the road (and I'm damned happy that they did). BTW: It really helps to have the SM personally/fully understand the issue.

HTH,
- Don
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Rant: Do you know what you actually pumped into your tank on last fill-up? (cetane level, fuel quality, water, etc)
Notice: Anything that I or anyone else writes about my vehicle on this, or any other, website pertaining to modifications or alterations, is only for discussion purposes and/or to gain acceptance from my peers, and may not actually represent anything existing on my truck, and thus, can not and should not be held against me in any issues, i.e. warranty claims, whatsoever that may arise for any cause.
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