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Generations 8-9 1987-1996 F150 + 1987-1997 F250, F350

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  #1  
Old 09-20-2020, 06:13 PM
Kaajot Kaajot is offline
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Post Add Steering Gear Dampner?

Had Firestone perform an alignment, it's better now on 1992 F-150 4.9L.

Found an issue, paid $10 to have them look it over -- cracked/broken leaf springs on right side. So that may have caused the continued wear and tear on the front of the truck necessitating 3-4 changes on bearings, tie rods, etc on top of all my other symptoms. :-( Learning here, not great as the bed has been tilted for awhile, now I know what to look for.

I don't think when I first hit my 12 pt buck with Red in late 2013 that I had any issues or missing parts, so I doubt I had a steering gear dampner to begin with.

Is this something I should consider? I know the leaf springs are part of the remaining problem, but could adding a steering dampner fix shimmy in the drive? And is this possible if it was never there to begin with, can I add one afterwards?

Considering adding new rear shocks at this point when the new leaf springs go in just to be thorough. And then I have to pull the engine, send back to Washington to S&J, etc and wait for a replacement. If I hadn't effectively replaced every major component on the 300-6 engine, I'd almost be inclined to entertain a V8 upgrade but would have to buy all new components for that engine after just doing so for the front end.

Big question, is there an easy way to determine if a steering dampner had been ripped off during the 12-pt collision and I didn't realize it? And if that's not it, is there an effective way to add a steering gear dampner? There's just always this shimmy in the steering wheel and I'm sick of replacing bearings and tie rods every year, want to fix those probs so I can only have an engine (and an abs light) left to worry about.
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  #2  
Old 09-20-2020, 09:08 PM
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Sparky83 Sparky83 is offline
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i couldnt say on the shimmy.. but i know when i added them to my 6.0 it cut down on the amount of sudden counter steering i had to do everytime the road changed pitch from side to side...
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Old 09-20-2020, 09:53 PM
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Im trying to remember if that truck is 2wd or 4wd? In any event a dampener can help but is typically seen as a bandaid for underlying issues. You shouldn't be replacing wheel bearings or tie rods every year by any means. Are you sure you don't have a bent wheel or something? Did they say how much adjustment was required when they aligned it?
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Old 09-23-2020, 11:52 AM
Kaajot Kaajot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperCab View Post
Im trying to remember if that truck is 2wd or 4wd? In any event a dampener can help but is typically seen as a bandaid for underlying issues. You shouldn't be replacing wheel bearings or tie rods every year by any means. Are you sure you don't have a bent wheel or something? Did they say how much adjustment was required when they aligned it?
Sorry, it's 1992 F-150 4.9l 2WD Automatic Custom (1991 surplus body style with 1992 release/build, per Dusty, which I quite believe as I've dived through a few 1989-1994s so far).

So, I actually bought 4 new aftermarket rims and new hubs for the same reason as I put new tires on, so the bent rim is no longer a factor.

I can get the print-out later, it's in the truck, and report back with the adjustments.

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Originally Posted by Sparky83 View Post
i couldnt say on the shimmy.. but i know when i added them to my 6.0 it cut down on the amount of sudden counter steering i had to do everytime the road changed pitch from side to side...
That's definitely the other thing I deal with besides the shimmy in the steering wheel colum.

There's no looseness at the wheels themselves (new bearings, tie rods, rims, tires, etc) but they were definitely pulling and adding to the counter-steering issue earlier. Also bumps were a nightmare at high speeds, but shocks got replaced (Gabriels) as well and it's floating, which is amazing. Think the ranchos were defective pretty early on or gave out early and I've been riding bad shocks for 3 years.

Probably going to replace shocks in back when I replace the leaf springs since right leaf is cracked, just gonna do it all up and add new rear shocks after those are installed.
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  #5  
Old 09-23-2020, 01:16 PM
Kaajot Kaajot is offline
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I found two pieces of wisdom.

1. From F150.Net, they mentioned if you've got up to 35's but larger tires than the 235 stocks, then you will want a steering wheel dampner (this is true for me, running 30.5s all around now). They suggest over 35s to get the dual dampner kit, so I'm guessing I don't need that.

2. Not trying to throw more shade at my mechanic that's out of business now, as he helps out where he can, but after-install fine-tuning of parameters is not his specialty. I dropped my right front wheel into a grotto at my farm before it was filled with crusher run, dropped 2' and tore the Steer Gear Box out, hydro everywhere, etc. We put an new Steering Gear Box in that year (Fall 2016) and well, I'm guessing it has not been calibrated correctly to take slop out of the wheel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4hISEA0OIo <--- Buddy doing the adjustment in his gear box, looks pretty easy to do and easy to overlook. Crike! This explains a lot.

I think the right side tire wear was indicative of a bent right rim, so that's corrected with 4 new rims and new tires on the front (thanks Dusty!). Then new bearings, rods, etc and alignment help out with correcting the sheer sharp pulling.

Dampner will correct my steering wheel over-corrective issues and wandering due to oversized tires.

Taking slop out of the steering column would be fixed by adjusting steering gear box.

The last thing is I believe my 1" spacers are not spacious enough for the upgrade from 275 to 30.5" tires (now 30.5" all around). I think I need to get 1.5 or 2" spacers on the front end to stop rubbing when going backwards with a turn. Is it recommended to get spacers all the way around at the same size, or can I have wider at the front with 1.5 or 2" while the back has 1" installed?

OR, should I just try to lift the front end a little higher instead? I need to get a look at exactly which part of the wheel well/suspension is touching the tire in reverse with a turn (getting out of my driveway each day).
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  #6  
Old 09-24-2020, 11:32 AM
Kaajot Kaajot is offline
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Firestone Alignment specs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperCab View Post
Did they say how much adjustment was required when they aligned it?
Ok, so big things from Firestone Alignment, which I partially already knew.

Front Total Toe was .87 deg, now -0.08 deg. Steer ahead went from 0.03 to 0.02, more on center. Does have a bit of a right tendency now so this makes sense.

Left front camber and caster reduced from -0.6 and -0.8 to -0.5 and -0.8, still technically not within their parameters.

Right front camber and caster degraded slightly as they corrected the toe, went from -0.8 and -0.1 deg to -0.9 and -0.1 deg. Parameters say acceptable is between -0.3 deg and 0.8 deg camber and 2.0 and 6.0 deg caster. So I'm a bit off, but they said they couldn't do much about it.

I have moog adustable joints in the front, so maybe they didn't know how to work those. Heck, I don't even -- have to ask Keith, he did it manually to get it "kinda close" way back when he installed them. My truck is a little difficult to get this worked out with leaf springs from F250 series and upgraded Spring Coils on front (went to a heavier duty for extra load, went too big once and had to send those beefy things back, couldn't make any shocks work with them). So I'm somewhere in between a Super HD F150 and a Light Truck tow suspension. It was a legitimate match off Advance Autoparts for the Springs that eventually went in, think they were same length but with more load capacity.

Overall it is getting close to driving straight and I think I'll be able to fix the shimmy by adjusting my steering gear box. Leaf Springs repaired probably needs to happen before I bring it back to Firestone to demand they try to fix the camber/caster again (and maybe I can adjust a little on my own to get closer).

The biggest thing is since the new coils/springs went in a few years ago the truck does feel a little lighter on ground contact at the front. I test drove it with the big oversized coils once and it practically wanted to leap off its front tires at 50+ mph, so those came out immediately.

Any advice on back shocks also? After leaf springs I'll put new ones in, but looking between some Gabriel Nitrogen shocks and some Munroe adjustable. MY back end is HIGH, so it might actually be useful to be low to connect to a trailer, pump'm up, then when I'm ready to disconnect just bleed them down again. Truck's stance is currently a bit like a crimson puma -- a big cat with its back arched up.
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  #7  
Old 09-26-2020, 05:24 PM
Kaajot Kaajot is offline
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Quick Update:

Ordered Magnum Steering Damper Kit SA1930, believe this is the right one for a 92 F-150 RWD with sub-35" tires (30.5"). Will get that installed to take out some of this shimmy. Will tighten up the steering gear box before installing so I can get progressive iterations to perfection and know what's doing what effectively.

Also rubbing may just be a plastic tire wall on front right fender, need to get some plastic clips and pull it tight -- hopefully that'll ease up the rubbing to non-factor.

Changed oil, it's black as heck but not burnt. Hoping to send the engine back in November and get a new engine in the truck through S&J since this one was a lemon (piston rings defective since the get go).

Still looking to find a better oil dip stick tube, the one I'm using was a cobb job by Keith, would prefer a correct dip stick -- any leads for getting that mounted body part, great. I don't have my original, probably was scrapped or stolen when the used 1989 300-6 donor engine went into the truck in 2015.

Still considering when I fix up leaf springs/remove rust and paint/rubberize whether I should go with nitrogen Gabriel or Munroe adjustable (lowering/raising) rear shocks. Leaning towards adjustable to make connecting up to loads easier.
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  #8  
Old 09-27-2020, 09:19 AM
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Fellro Fellro is offline
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I have bought original dipstick tubes from the dealer for the less that common ones. Found one on Amazon as well. They were a bit proud of it, but not extremely.
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  #9  
Old 09-27-2020, 11:50 AM
Kaajot Kaajot is offline
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fellro View Post
I have bought original dipstick tubes from the dealer for the less that common ones. Found one on Amazon as well. They were a bit proud of it, but not extremely.
I'll keep looking, will check Amazon and ebay. Wish I knew the NSN or Ford Stock Number (FSN?).

Supposedly there are a few ports on 300-6 engines to mount the dip stick to, so several different dip sticks. The one I got is an aftermarket in a very tight place. It's kinked massively at the head and I think very high on the oil level too (so you have all your oil in and it's literally registering on the lower part of the stick yet it's full).

Worse case scenario I'll try a pick n pull I think near Syracuse or one in Michigan and look for an engine with one mounted on it. Preferably one that has had the intake and distributor already removed so I've got some room. Radiator and PSP out of the way would be good too. I can wish.
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  #10  
Old 10-03-2020, 11:13 AM
Kaajot Kaajot is offline
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Would anyone have any opinions on what to do first?

I have my new single-damper kit to install on the truck. Munroe or Gabriel, good brand off Rock Auto for my truck style.

Should I tighten (very carefully/slowly) the steering gear box first, get that perfect, then add the dampner? Or should I put the dampner on, then do the steering gear box adjustment?

I'm leaning towards steering gear box first before adding the re-enforcement via steering gear dampner.
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