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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i need some help!!! I have a 92 Dakota 4x4 V8 with a swaying front end it feels like the whole body wants to roll over and will sometimes pull to the right but if you jerk the wheel back to the left it will sometimes stay straight...I've replaced all the tierod ends pitman arm idler arm had it aligned and still the same so i replaced the ball joints new tires upper control arm bushings shocks and swaybar bushings and had it aligned again and still no change i think Ive replaced everything in the whole steering system with no improvement any help or ideas would be great as I'm about to put a match in the gas tank
 

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have you looked at your body mounts, Two of mine are rotted out completley to where the whole bolt and washer fell off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
found this on another site sounds like my problem......

In a previous posting written by ???? (don't remember), they were
complaining about a shimmy after striking bumps in the
road.
I suggested that the front end alignment has either too little or
too much caster, thus causing a caster shimmy. He did not like my
response and changed his concern from a "shimmy" to a "bounce" (big
difference), and insisted it was the shocks. Maybe it is, I haven't
driven it. He also said the alignment "checked out". Here's the
problem:
Alignment programs (and service manuals I believe), give a wide
acceptable range for front caster on the 4x4 Rams. I believe the range
is 2 degrees to 5 degrees (if that's not correct, it's pretty close).
The problem occurs when the alignment tech (independent or dealer)
tells you that the measurements "checked out fine", just because they
were in this broad range of acceptance.
Caster readings that fall on either end of the scale are subject to
caster shimmy, even though they are "acceptable". I had to align some
30 trucks and attend a 9 hour "Dodge Ram Chassis Dynamics Diagnostics"
training session (fancy name, ehh?), before finding out that 3 degrees
to 4 degrees is the optimal caster setting for 4x4 Rams that eliminates
caster shimmy.
Below I will post what specifications I set Ram trucks to. First
I want to give a little more info on correct Ram alignments so you can
see if you had a job well done,
The eccentrics on the lower control arms ARE NOT for individual
wheel caster adjustments (even though our alignment machine says they
are). The eccentric sleeves in the upper ball joints are for adjusting
individual camber and total cross caster (difference in caster between
two front wheels). This is why replacement eccentrics are positionable
in eight different ways.
Once camber and cross caster are attained with the eccentrics, the
lower control arm eccentrics are then used to swing the caster readings
into specifications. The two eccentrics must be swung in the SAME
direction in EQUAL amounts. If they are not, it will create a setback
condition (one front wheel further forward than the other).
FYI - Comparing between the two front wheels, caster will cause a
pull to the smaller value and camber will cause a pull to the larger
value. A truck set up with caster pulling in one direction and camber
pulling in the other direction, can lead to a wandering truck; even
though it is "in specifications"!!!!!!
If the eccentrics on the lower control arms of your truck are not
pointing the same direction, the alignment was done incorrectly and the
axle was "twisted" or "forced" into position to attain the acceptable
values (seen them from the factory this way, go figure).
A correct alignment will set the truck up with a slight negative
cross caster (truck has slight pull to left) to compensate for right
hand road crown. Camber will be equal side to side slightly on the
negative side. This will help maintain acceptable camber when hauling
heavy loads, as the truck tends to lift in the front when towing.
Camber will then fall slightly positive when towing.
Just because the alignment shop says "it's in specifications", that
does not mean it is set up for proper performance and handling!!!!!!!!!


Specifications (my personal settings for every Ram I align): all specs
below are in degrees.


Left Wheel Right Wheel
-------------- ----------------


Caster 3.2 3.5
Cross Caster -.3


Camber -.10 -.10
Cross Camber 0.0


Toe - standard specs, (maybe a little out if you tow a lot, they will
pull in as the front end lifts up).
 

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I rebuilt the front end on mine as well, and like a dumbass i went straight from the alignment shop to the trails.. I went off roading and somehow both bolts holding my idler to the frame came loose, and it was wobbly as hell for about a week. I finally jacked up the front end and saw it, tightened it immediately. It really suprised me because I torqued everything down as the book says... Thank God I thought to look. All is well again.

Maybe you should check the torque on your bolts again. Don't want you to have the same problem I did expand any further than mine did

good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
im at my wits end here...i've now replaced EVERYTHING in the front end new steering gear, ball joints, tierod ends inner and outter new pitman arm and idler arm new control arm bushings, shocks, swaybar bushings and new 31x10.50 tires.....and it still wont stay on the road....it feels like the wheels have about 4 inches of play and the warmer it gets from running it gets even worse yet at a stand still if you mover the steering wheel back and forth you can see the tires move with no slop at the wheel.....people tell me it's in my head until i hand them the keys and let them drive it any ideas???...anyone???....oh yeah...one other thing...from lock to lock it's almost 4 turns with the steering wheel....is that right???...just seems like alot
 

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Sounds like you have replaced a lot of parts with no results. Hate hear that, but I've been there too. The only other thing I can think of would be the steering shaft in the engine compartment. It has two universals on it. Just a thought, hope you get it.
 

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front end

I do not know if 4x4s have the same joint in the steering shaft as was just pointed out. But the ones in the 2x4 get alot of play in them over time.
 

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I've seen the same type of play in steering U-joints on an '88 Dakota front end I have under my '50 panel truck. In my case a new Rack and Pinion took care of the issue, not true with the 4x4, but still... check the U-joints.

Also, I'm not sure how, but it sounds like you may have over-looked the wheel bearings. You should be able to hear them if they were bad enough to cause a sway like you're suggesting. And the alignment shop should have checked for them and suggestion replacement... But still... It's another item to check.

Another thing... Wheel offset... I threw away my original 15x6 (I think 6) rims in favor of a set of Rock Crawler 15x8's with a pretty severe 4.5" backspacing. Man did my bump steer problems increase! I've also been told that I'll be buying new ball joints every couple years... we'll see about that though. So, if you're running after-market rims, backspacing may be an issue.

Good luck and don't get too p'd off!
 

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