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Discussion Starter #1
Ok. 2002 F-250 4X4

Just R&R most of the front end. been chasing a steering wondering problem and just simple maint. combined. Replaced my front leaf springs (U code to V code), Shocks (Bilstein 4600), Tie rods-drag link(XRF and Moog), Ball joints a year or so ago(Moog) and a new steering gearbox(Redhead), new sway bar links and bushings a few years ago as well(moog).

Needless to say all this really tightened my front end up a lot. Especially the steering gearbox. However the truck still seems to slightly wonder around. it feels like the truck will "catch" and take off in one direction or another. it almost feels like the truck rolls into this. Kind of hard to explain. almost feels like driving on a very under-inflated tire when it rolls. On backroads when one side of the truck will hit an uneven spot and shift the weight of the truck this will trigger it to start pulling that way. I am running Toyo open country AT II and have tried from 63-80 PSI with little change. best ride seems too be around 65-67 psi. That is where they are now.

My buddy said that he had an issue like this and it was a bad wheel hub assembly. Any chance of this? I felt the tires when it was jacked up and didn't see any noticeable play or noise.

what about the track bar? It is the only thing I haven't changed. It cant feel any play in in by hand and I do not get any bump steer with the truck.

any suggestions. it is kinda annoying honestly......
 

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I think you'd need to unload the front end a bit to really check the track bar end bushings. With the truck sitting on the wheels, it's probably under a bit of load and you wouldn't be able to see any movement.

I would think for the bearing hub to cause wander like that you'd easily be able to feel play and roughness in it.
 

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I didn't see this in your description other than "most of the front end": How are your front U-joints? When they get rusty, they stick. so when you turn left or right you must turn back. your steering box a and caster do not have enough power to pull the joint straight again. Been there done that. Also, after your Ball Joint replacement it is always possible that your caster is off. Caster keeps the front end going straight and helps the wheels straighten after a turn. Caster in your truck is simply having the center of the top ball joint behind the lower ball joint. Different ball joints or things that happen when pressing them into place can affect caster. Caster stagger is what oval track racers use to help their cars turn left.
By you talking about "rolling" into the "wandering" you may be trying to take us down a preconceived path. As for a wheel bearing issues? No, if yours are bad you will notice the signs that are well documented on this site and wandering comes into play way down the worn out path. One last thought is do you have a sticking caliper? Our Ford vehicles are well known for sticking caliper pins and pistons almost to the point of them being an annual service item.

I'm not a moderator, Ford Certified Technician nor have 15,000 posts but I have owned one of these beasts since 2003 and done every but of work on it myself.

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies. I figured the track bar would be under a fair amount of load.

As for the rest, I did have an alignment performed on the truck after replacing all the steering components. the fact that they were able to perform the alignment suggested to me there was no play in the bearings...anyhow... everything was in spec except for the toe, which they adjusted.

As for the calipers, I have gone through the sticking pins already.. both front calipers are new with new pins as well. (last summer I think)

As for the U-joints. It is manual lock hubs and they stay unlocked most of the time ( so U joints aren't rotating) I have honestly never changed or even thoroughly checked them. With the tie rods off, both knuckles seemed to flop around easy as can be though. That is about as scientific of a test I have ever performed on them.... If I ever have to replace a hub, I will probably do the U-joint as well since I am right there at it.. Never noticed a difference with them locked in or in 4X4 either..

Any other bushings or wear parts to check? pulling a wide trailer on narrow roads, or even worse through a tunnel, has a real pucker factor..
 

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On the U-joints, its not about being rotating. In fact you would be less likely to have a problem if they were. When the hub is UNLOCKED is when this will happen. If they are greasable, and you grease them and it comes out of ALL 4 CAPS it is unlikely this is a problem. If they have never been replaced, are seldom locked in and you live where there is snow and salt from time to time, it is a likely problem. eventually the problem may go away when the joint is completely destroyed. I go down an "S" curve along a river on the way to work every day. When my joints were sticking, while unlocked, I would swerve all over the road on these "s" curves. (Even more than normal LOL)

Your Panhard bar links could be bad but both my trucks had over 200k and I never had that problem. (Panhard is the original name as it was first used by the french company of that name. "track bar" is the modern generic term) IMHO track bar/Panhard issues would effect the coil sprung crap front ends more than our leaf sprung fronts. just my opinion. Can't hurt to replace it but if you just did your springs it's likely that change alone would tighten things up.
 

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Also, if you have the energy, following Moderator Klhansen's idea of unloading things, you can jack up the front end and check it all for free play. You will have to pop the tie rod off and try to turn the spindles left and right by hand. If its difficult, it's likely its your u-joint.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If they have never been replaced, are seldom locked in and you live where there is snow and salt from time to time, it is a likely problem.
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Hmm this describes my truck to a T.. Best of my knowledge they are original and I know they are non-greasable.. Truck has almost 200K on it. I'll look into them farther..


I have a 2012 F-250 truck for work, and you are right about the trackbar being more evident on Coil springs. when I hit a bridge joint on an onramp while making a slight left turn, it wants to pull left hard... Never really had this issue with my 2002 though.
 

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One last thought.

You said you replaced several parts including the steering box and tie rods and drag link.

Many steering boxes need to be centered when driving down the road. they hydraulically try to center themselves. If you have yours off center from the new parts then its possible the steering box is pulling on your steering wheel. Now I don't know that OUR steering box is this way but many boxes and racks are.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
One last thought.

You said you replaced several parts including the steering box and tie rods and drag link.

Many steering boxes need to be centered when driving down the road. they hydraulically try to center themselves. If you have yours off center from the new parts then its possible the steering box is pulling on your steering wheel. Now I don't know that OUR steering box is this way but many boxes and racks are.

Yea it was a little ways off after the repair. I Had them recenter it when they did the front end alignment. it is pretty much where it was before hand. My thumb lies right on the warn spot on my steering wheel cover lol.

The truck tracks straight for the most part, just every now and again it decides it wants to wander left or right. sometimes suddenly. if you have ever been driving down a straight rd on a very windy day and a gust hits you from the side and pushes your truck over and you have to correct to maintain straight, it kinda feels like that only less severe and not as drastic.
 
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