Steering Problem on Truck

sue36December 13, 2006

A friend of mine is having an issue with his truck I am hoping one of you might be able to identify. The truck is a new Ford F350 diesel, still under warranty, 10k miles. He noticed leaking fluids (ended up being a loose hose), so he called the dealer who said they would come get it and fix it. They towed it on a flatbed to the dealer and then pushed it into the shop, which required a sharp turn. I don't know why they didn't run the truck, but they put it in neutral and then tried to turn the wheel. My friend said this is difficult to do, that the steering wheel is hard to turn when it isn't running, so they really had to lean on the wheel. Fast forward and the truck is repaired and my friend drives the truck home. But now something is wrong with the steering. The steering wheel doesn't lock when the truck is off (he went to another dealer and verified that it should lock), and he said the steering is very loose now. He said that before it was very crisp and tight, that it felt like it drove itself. Now you have to constantly slightly adjust the wheel to go straight. Do you know what I mean? My DH's ancient Dodge is like that, so I know what he means.

He brought it back, and the dealer says there is nothing wrong with it and that they cannot "duplicate the problem". My friend is very frustrated. Any idea what the issue could be? Thanks for the help.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
john_g

That's some pretty good information to work from. Let me start with the handling complaint, and work from there. A vehicle drifting to the right could have an alignment issue, a tire issue, or could simply be following the crown of the road. Roads are not flat, they are high in the center to help water run off, or they could be sloped all the way across as in a banked turn. There are specs that have a technician check for just how quickly a vehicle leads to one side. If the lead is less than a given amount, then no repairs are indicated. This is somewhat subjective, but can in fact be proven by an experienced tech.

As far as why didn't they start the truck and drive it in? I have that answer right away. I can just hear someone saying, "WE TOLD YOU XXXX WAS LEAKING, WHY DID YOU START THIS UP???" You see sometimes no matter what the tech does, he/she is going to be wrong somehow, to someone. But think about it, if the tech is wrong no matter what they do, then that is not fair and if you were the tech you'd be the first to protest. I don't know what was wrong with the truck, but the fact that it had to be towed, and pushed into the shop suggests the leak was serious, and maybe the truck didn't even run. Turning the wheel without power steering assist is a hard thing to have to do. Ford knows this, and has built the system to be able to do that if necessary. Having to push it into the shop, without the engine running will NOT hurt the steering on the truck.

Read this next sentence and stop for a second and think about it before you go on.

"I never noticed the truck pulling to the right, before the truck went into the shop last week."

Does that sound like your friends current statement? Tell me where in that sentence does it say that the truck did not in fact actually lead to the right before it went into the shop? The answer is, it doesn't. It simply says he didn't notice that it did and in that you are likely to find the greatest explanation of what is going on. Once the truck went in for the last repair, what ever it was. Now your friend is looking at the truck closer and noticed something he does not like. From there it's not a big stretch hor him to assume that turing the steering without the engine running had something to do with this percieved difference.

Which brings us to the last part of the post. The steering wheel lock only applies in one position. If you want to test to see if it still works, jack up the front of the truck so both front wheels are off the ground. Now with the keys in your pocket, turn the wheels side to side by hand and see if the column locks.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 1:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kalining

Hi john. How did the tests go? Sounds like something i've
have personal experience with. A customer came in with a
72 Chrysler 440. He wanted a MAJOR turn up. We remove the
distributer for that and put it on the SUN machine. Well
after his bill, which was about $150.00 ( in the seventies
that was a lot of money ) he came back a week later just
screaming. " I've just spent $150.00 for a tune up and i'm
only getting 15 miles to the gallon" ). I did the work on his car and he WANTED ME. So, i told him. " You never checked your mileage before the tune up and you don't know
what it was. You are trying to justify your exspence and only now checked your mileage. How do you know your mileage
was only 10 or less before the tune up ? You never checked
before you brought it in, did you ?" I never got an answer.
" It never did that before i brought it here. " " I don't
know what you did but it never did that before ". " It ran
better before i brought it here " . Does that ring a bell ?
Anyway, Just trading thoughts. Hope everyone has a good
Christmas and all the best to everyone.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2006 at 11:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sue36

I realize this is hard to explain, but my friend is the sort of detail oriented person that would notice a change. He is very sure that the steering is different, especially because it is so different. I understand what he means, because my husband's truck used to have tight steering and now has very loose steering. When I drive my SUV and then drive DH's truck I see a huge difference. He is also not the type to go after the mechanic because he wants free work. He is well off, but comes from a blue-collar background. He is generous with people and not one to just complain to throw his weight around.

What causes loose steering? Maybe the change is something that coincidentally happened when then truck was being repaired and has nothing to do with the towing or the work they did.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2006 at 10:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
john_g

It is hard to explain a condition that "feels" different, it is harder yet (impossible actually) for me to confirm the reported symptom, in order to attempt to diagnose it, VIA a forum on the internet. The best that I can do is take my experience from servicing vehicles, and from the interaction I have had with vehicle owners through the last thirty years, and attempt to shed some light on what both parties might be seeing, as well as thinking. Not to mention, what might actually be wrong with the car, if anything actually is wrong to the point of requiring service.

Tell you what, if you request the vehicle gets the front end aligned because it "leads to the right" and they do it, also request in advance a print-out of the before and after alignment settings. Then post them here, the camber and caster measurements, for both sides. If you give me those numbers, I can tell you if the front end alignment was causing a lead or not. Tell me also if in the process of attempting to cure the lead if they rotate the tires.

Now, from there, you cannot compare your SUV to your husbands truck for steering feel, let alone use that as a valid basis for your friends truck. Besides that, having a loose feeling steering, VS a car that is pulling to the right are totally different symptoms.

It's nice to see you say your friend is not the kind of person that would make something up, and then go looking for free work from a mechanic. sadly though, there are people that do just that. They damage the relationship that many people could have with their local shops/mechanics. Not to mention cause financial losses for the shop, that ultimately get passed onto the shops other good customers.

Loose steering, can be caused by any number of parts that are worn/failing. Although that is quite unlikely in this case. These front end parts are easy to check, so it's unlikely any would be bad and get overlooked. .

    Bookmark   December 17, 2006 at 3:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bowtiemechanic

Posted by john_g (My Page) on Thu, Dec 14, 06 at 13:07

That's some pretty good information to work from. Let me start with the handling complaint, and work from there. A vehicle drifting to the right could have an alignment issue, a tire issue, or could simply be following the crown of the road. Roads are not flat, they are high in the center to help water run off, or they could be sloped all the way across as in a banked turn. There are specs that have a technician check for just how quickly a vehicle leads to one side. If the lead is less than a given amount, then no repairs are indicated. This is somewhat subjective, but can in fact be proven by an experienced tech

After reading your response to the posters question, I thought "I feel sorry for anyone taking thier Car to YOU for repair work " NEVER was it said that the truck pulled to the right ! You're as bad as that "EARTHWORM" guy.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2006 at 6:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
john_g

Yea, I see what your saying, the word "tight" in the sentence above this one stuck in my mind as the word "right", from there this sentence "Now you have to constantly slightly adjust the wheel to go straight. Do you know what I mean? My DH's ancient Dodge is like that, so I know what he means. " Had me thinking the truck is leading to the right, so I addressed the answer as I "saw" the question.

So, how do we get to your statement here? "After reading your response to the posters question, I thought "I feel sorry for anyone taking thier Car to YOU for repair work"

You want to attempt to qualify my entire careers experience, based on a single verbal missinterpretation. I hope you hold yourself up to the same standard.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2006 at 11:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bill_h

turning the wheel on a truck with that much weight over the front wheels, without using the power steering, along with the comparison to the older dodges steering. 1st thing that comes to my mind, is a damaged rag joint on the steering shaft.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2006 at 10:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
john999

The "leaking fluid" is power steering fluid, right ?

You might need to bleed the fluid for the power steering, I'd imagine a system with air in it might be a bit spongy.

They may have sucked some air into the sytem when they pushed the car into the garage.

They didn't turn on the truck because fluid would leak out. They may have damaged the lock mechanism if they were too rough. Or it may be that the hydraulic piston is in the wrong position so the wheel doesn't reach the "lock" position.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 10:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sdello

The truck was leaking power sterring fluid pretty badly. Could it be, that before the repair the driver was not getting full "power assist" because of the low fluid resulting in the feel of "tighter" steering and now that it is fixed and he gets full assist it appears "loose" because it turns that much easier?

just a thought.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 8:51AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Car accelerating on its own
Hi! First time poster here and am sure hoping you can...
twinklenose
99' Blazer won't start when it's cold!
I would love to talk to John_G. I read some responses...
fastedy
Honda Accord 2014 or 2013 navigation
I'm looking at a 2014 Accord and wondering whether...
maryann0625
car alarm going off at odd times
We have a Hyundai that suddenly decided the entire...
Chickey Wingz
1992 Chevy Truck 1500 running BAD!
About 2 1/2 years ago my truck was running bad, had...
arkansas_girl
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™