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Discussion Starter #1
Alright, something that is really blowing my mind.

If I drive in a straight line, everything is perfectly ok. But when I turn a corner left or right. all hell breaks loose.

As soon as I turn a 90 degree corner, that's when my steering is gets so jacked up that it is straight up DANGEROUS. It's like the truck doesn't care if your behind the wheel. I literally have to have both hands on steering wheel to maintain it as it can immediately decide, HEY I'M GOING RIGHT...WAIT NO, LETS GO LEFT! As soon as I stop then go once again, it's fine.

Radius arm bushing and brackets seem ok. There's no play in them. That was my first thought.

Steering seems smooth while in driveway, doesn't feel like there's binding in gearbox. Second thought. But could a steering gear box give me the symptoms I'm feeling? I've never had a steering box take a crap other than being a little sloppy.

My next thought is, I thought maybe a spindle nut has come loose. Because what I'm feeling is almost feels like the wheel bearings are jumping grooves or chamfers on the spindles. Hmmm... Right side tire feels nice and tight, whereas the left side tire "felt like a little play", so I pulled the tire and the brake caliper and pushed and pulled on the rotor. I don't feel play now.

Can the rim be at fault? I'm looking at the seats of the rims where the lug nuts seat and they look eehh....ok.....but I'm not sure?

I'm going to swap this rim to the back and see what it does.....

I swear in the 28 years of driving these trucks, I have NEVER EXPERIENCED this before.
 

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9,958 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Yeah everything else is fine....
I think I've found the culprit.

I never use 4WD.... hardly ever. I think the axle u-joint is seizing.

I just had the wheel turned to the left, locked the hub and had a hell of a time turning the rotor by hand. Sprayed the u-joint down with some Kroll oil, used some leverage to turn the rotor and now it seems to turn better by hand. Guess I'll need to inspect and drive it some more.

I threw my spare axle shafts in there a couple years ago and they moved freely with no play. But I didn't change the u-joints then (if it ain't broke....)......ugh.

I'll report back tomorrow. Not going anywhere tonight.
 

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The Tennessee Warden
96 XL, 5.8L, E4OD, BW1356, 4.56 gears
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3,283 Posts
I experience some difficult turning when locked in 4wd - where I can’t even turn the front wheels when stopped. I have to give it throttle and get rolling to turn the wheels. After asking on here a while back, I was told it could be axle u joints seizing. I have no trouble at all in 2wd though. Could be a Detroit locker thing too.

Anyway - have you looked at your rag joint? If it’s tearing up, that could be dangerous too. Unlikely, but possible. Or maybe steering shaft u joint near the brake booster or at the tilt mechanism in the column?

Just trying to think of other ideas...
 

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4,767 Posts
Years ago, I think in my '87 Bronco, I had a front U-joint seize and would twist the steering wheel right/left/right/left at what seemed wheel rotation frequency. I had it fixed by the dealer at about 49,900 miles with a 5-year, 50,000 extended warranty.
I remember putting it up on four jack stands and put it in 4WD. With the engine idling in gear, I turned the steering wheel almost to lock and the front wheel started doing the right/left/right/left thing and it scared the crap out of me, as I thought the jerking would rock it off the jack stands.
Good Luck
 

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I doubt it's U joints. Even if they did start to seize from lack of use they're still gonna move some to account for movement when turning and won't keep the wheels from turning properly. and they shouldn't have an effect in 2wd.
 

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Addicted to Junk
85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
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11,935 Posts
Is the truck bucking at all while this happens?

I had a similar issue in a 95 f250. The pivot bracket for the drivers TTB axle beam had sheared two of its bolts off and the other two were loose by 1/4". It took me months to find the culprit.

When it happened, I thought I was literally going to crash and flip over.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I can't say that it's bucking. But it's like driving a antique car at an amusement park with a center track and not holding the wheel. The track decides which direction you're going to go....I guess that's the best explanation.

I really feel it's the ujoint that's causing the issue. Maybe it is, maybe it's not. But I just finished pulling and replacing the ujoint in my spare axle shaft I had in my garage.... damn them C-Clips are a pain in the ass specially being 25 years old. Regardless, I'm going to swap the driver side axle shaft out.

I should be able to pull the axle shaft and replace it tonight. Haven't started to pull it apart just yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Axle shaft drivers side swapped out with new u-joint. Took for a 4 Mile drive. I'm thinking that was it. Never did it.

The old axle shaft would pivot back and forth one way but was seized solid the other direction.

New u-joint axle shaft pivots all directions.

That god damn ABS sensor housing bracket can kiss my a$$.... damn 12 pt bolt, what were they thinking? And to think I removed it 2 years ago.... I had to break the housing off.

Going to drive it to my essential job tomorrow and see how it does. Will report back with more miles on the truck.
 

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Best way to diagnose something like that is from a lift or put the entire front end up on jack stands, start it, and have a friend turn wheel left to right.....

Actually, in this case this method would not have worked unless you had another assistant rolling the wheel to simulate driving
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It's been 3 days. I'd say that was it. Haven't had it happen again.

I'll plan on doing the passenger side u-joint soon, as I purchased one for it as well. But not today...lol
 

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The Tennessee Warden
96 XL, 5.8L, E4OD, BW1356, 4.56 gears
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3,283 Posts
It's been 3 days. I'd say that was it. Haven't had it happen again.

I'll plan on doing the passenger side u-joint soon, as I purchased one for it as well. But not today...lol
Glad you fixed that. Has it been a while since you engaged 4x4 or locked the hubs? I can see if it’s been in 2wd for a while and the u joint had been moving freely in that one way (when you turn). I’m just wondering how the axle turned randomly if you were in 2wd and hubs unlocked.

Glad you got it fixed.
 

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Ultra Premium Member
1996 EB w/5.8 TOO much lift, 44" Mudders & 5:43-5:38's
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4,857 Posts
If it’s seized, it will bind when you turn the wheel.
 

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If it’s seized, it will bind when you turn the wheel.
I Agree with you on a binding symptom CJ.

It's the whole "Bumper Car" steering symptom vs axle u-joint
that confuses me.
 

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Premium Member
84 Bronco, 351w, c6, custom doubler, np208, 5.13’s, TTB44, 9”, locked f/r
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830 Posts
Did you check your hubs actually dis-engage? I agree a bad joint can cause the bind, but the “jerking” would make me think it’s rotating. I’ve “broken” hubs to where they still work off-road, and the dial still turns normally, but the hub still stays engaged when it’s in “free”
 

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Discussion Starter #20
When I took the tire off (post #3), the rotor turned without the axle shaft turning. I locked the hub at that point to see what the axle shaft was doing. And it was then that I couldn't turn the rotor when the steering was at full left turn.

When in 2wd, the axle shaft has to pivot at the u-joint when turning. But it was when the axle shaft was in the position of seizure when the wheel was turned, the axle shaft didn't want to return to straight. The power of the power steering forced the axle shaft to turn, but it would not center back on it own then reeked havoc on the steering.

Hubs work as they should.
 
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