Tight Steering Wont Return to Center and will not track in a straight line.

Discussion in 'General Chevy & GM Tech Questions' started by americanthunder, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. americanthunder

    americanthunder New Member

    Hi All - First of probably many posts here. I recently purchased a K2500 Suburban with 95000 miles to use infrequently to pull my families travel trailer. The old burb is great except for one problem which in search the internet for answer is how I found this awesome forum.

    The problem is the Burb will not run in a straight line no matter the speed. It will either wander left or right and requires alot of effort (steering seems stiff as heck at center) to correct it in the opposite direction causing it to wander in the other direction. If I turn to the left it just keeps going left and the same thing happens going right. It just will not go back to center on its own. Before I throw more money at it I figured I would ask the experts around here as I have already read all the other threads that are similar to mine. Here is what I have done so far:

    - Checked Tire Pressure
    - Found Pitman and Idler arm shot so I replaced
    - Had truck aligned problem still there
    - Replaced Lower Ball Joint on Passenger side which had a tiny bit of play
    - Had truck aligned problem still there
    - Replaced EVO sensor on steering column problem still there

    Yesterday in frustration I took the truck into another place and had it aligned. Before the alignment the tech and I took it for a drive and he called it SCARY (and it is at times)to drive, like the steering box is too tight. He checked out the entire front end and could find nothing causing it and checked the alignment and it was dead on. He suggested adjusting the steering box but felt that it would require replacement. I've never personally seen a steering box shot at these miles but I would guess it happens!

    Opinions appreciated! Thanks in advance.
  2. zippstripp

    zippstripp Member 1 Year

    That's what I was thinking also, about adjusting the gear box. It doesn't take much to make a big difference.
  3. americanthunder

    americanthunder New Member

    Thanks for the reply. I actually spent my entire weekend screwing around with the new to me burb and figured out what it was...The steering box preload WAS too tight. The only theory I have is the previous owner attempted to take out the slop from the worn steering components by over tightening the box itself. I started by backing off the preload 1/16 of a turn at a time, test drive, and repeat. After 1 1/16 turns OUT it drives like a dream. Now I've read that over tightening can damage the box so how do I tell if mine was damaged?

    BTW I hooked up to my 9K Travel Trailer and finally got to set up the hitch. These Suburbans tow like a dream...Better than my previous Duramax except for one thing, POWER! Its a bit mountainous in AZ so my next order of business is getting more power from the big 7.4 gasser.
  4. Jamm3r

    Jamm3r Member 2 Years 100 Posts

    Rebuilt steering gear for those is under $200, I know because I have to replace mine in my K2500 pickup after 100,000 miles. Truck has plowed snow which is tough on steering, but still, the steering gear won't necessarily last forever. When they get older they develop play, also, so if there's still some slop that may be the reason.
  5. Dana W

    Dana W Rockstar 3 Years 500 Posts

    The preload adjustment really isn't meant as a maintenance item, it's the same as the preload in a differential. It is meant to set it up at installation. Once there is slop in there, it's a losing game. Sure, for a while you can adjust it up some, but it's like herding cat's, there's no successful end to it.

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