2002 Ram hard to steer - NEED HELP - DodgeTalk : Dodge Car Forums, Dodge Truck Forums and Ram Forums
 
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#1 Old 07-04-2012, 09:28 AM
Ronnie Hale
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2002 Ram hard to steer - NEED HELP

Newbie here. I have a 2002 Ram 1500 QC with a 5.9L. Automatic.2WD. Stock tires. No mods. 99,000 original miles. My front end needs some work, i.e. the ball joints and bushings need to be replaced. The truck was running fine and still runs fine. I put some new tires on about a month or so ago and it started pulling to the left pretty hard. I've been driving it like that and waiting for a break from work to get in and replace all the front end components and get an alignment. Yesterday on the way home I slowed down to make a right turn and the steering wheel felt like it had a hitch in it and wouldn't spin freely. I grabbed the wheel and completed the turn without too much effort. The very next right turn (less than 50 feet), it did the same thing. I was only traveling a few miles an hour and turning in a residential neighborhood. Once home, I made several turns and backed it in the drive to take a look. When idling and not rolling, the wheel is hard to turn in either direction. If I jack up the truck and put on jack stands, the wheels turn fine with no noise or issues. The PS fluid is full and there appears to be no leaks ( I say no leaks but my boots on the steering rack are "damp" like maybe the seals are at the very beginning stages of going out on my rack and pinion. The wet area is not really even wet and zero fluid is dripping out anywhere). I checked all the hoses and lines and there are no leaks or crimped lines and I have not had to add any PS fluid. Guys at my local shop here say my steering rack is shot and to replace it. Does this sound right? I have no problem replacing it, I'm just concerned I would spend the 200 bucks on the rack and then the real culprit would be that my ball joints are so worn, they're just getting in a bind when turning at low speed. I know I need to do both, but I only have time to fix one or the other before duty calls again until next weekend. Any way to be sure my rack is the problem and not just the ball joints being "too" worn out? Could the bad ball joints put my steering in a bind when at idle or low rolling speeds and trying to turn? I defer to the experts here on the forum. Please weigh in. Thanks

Last edited by Ronnie Hale; 07-04-2012 at 09:39 AM. Reason: Forgot to add mileage of vehicle
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#2 Old 07-04-2012, 12:12 PM
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I'm not sure if the 2Gen trucks has the high pressure sensor on the PS or not. The sensor is normally closed and when it senses high pressure, the sensor opens and then signals the PCM to raise the idle. This makes moving the steering easier at slower speeds. The only other thing I can think of is a weak PS pump itself.

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#3 Old 07-04-2012, 01:10 PM
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I appreciate the response. Mine is a 3rd Gen Ram (2002 - 2008). I went ahead and got the parts for the front end and I'm in the process of tearing it all down now. I figure they need to be replaced at this point so why not start with what I KNOW is broken. LOL. Upper/lower ball joints, new upper control arms and bushings are not that hard. Well, hard physically with hand tools, but definitely not rocket science. Plus the replacement parts have grease fittings and thats a plus down the road. I'll update when I get it all back together and take it for a spin. I'm just hoping I don't end up being one of those stories where I start here and end up with every single steering and suspension component in the entire truck being replaced. Ha. I still would like to hear from all the ram experts on my issue. The ball joints/bushings are something I should have done long ago anyway.
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#4 Old 07-04-2012, 01:11 PM
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Oh, and I did rev the engine up to around 3000 rpm's while it was parked and it had no effect on the steering. I thought maybe the pump was just going out.
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#5 Old 07-04-2012, 01:19 PM
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While you have it apart, I flush the whole PS system and check for blockage.

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#6 Old 07-04-2012, 01:31 PM
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replace the belt, the pump has to work harder at idle... your belt might be slipping

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#7 Old 07-04-2012, 05:32 PM
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New belt about 8 months ago.
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#8 Old 07-04-2012, 05:33 PM
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I'm ready and willing to flush the PS system. How do I do that?
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#9 Old 07-04-2012, 10:28 PM
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The easiest way would be at the cooler connections with a tranny flusher.

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2002 Ram 1500 SLT 4x4 QC
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~ Waiting to replace my Ram! ~ 2014 October 23rd WAS Judgement Day! ~
*** After 849-Days (2-Years 119-days) We Nailed Their A$$ to the Barn Door ***


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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Tickets are now available for purchase directly from the Rio Grande Valley Make-A-Wish office. They can be reached at (956) 686-9474. Even if you are from out of town you can participate because you do not need to be present to win.

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