Simple Inspections

For those of you who are mechanically skilled, the following instructions are designed to help you inspect simple steering and suspension components. You will need two persons, one inside the vehicle and another outside inspecting the components.

  1. Always check your steering and suspension while the vehicle is on the ground. Do not inspect while the vehicle is up in the air on a lift. This will cause the suspension to hang and put tension on the components, and any issue may not be revealed.
  2. With the engine off and the parking brake on, unlock the ignition. Steadily turn the steering wheel back and forth from the 10- to 2-o'clock position. Second person should be on the ground under the front bumper, inspecting the steering components.
  3. Watch both the Drag-link ends and the Tie-rod ends for play. Each should move instantly from left to right, NOT in or out of the socket.
  4. Inspect the ball joints for play. Grasp the top and bottom of the tire from the outside and try to "rock" it back and forth, while the second person is checking for play. Sometimes the wheel bearings have the play and not the ball joints, so play close attention.
  5. Next is the Track-bar ends. Look for play in a left or right movement. Make sure the bolts DO NOT move in the holes. If there is a reddish-brown rust powder around the track bar bolts, then this would indicate the bolts are moving slightly in the hole. Make sure the brackets are pinched tight on the track bar brushings. The Track-bar cannot move front to back in the brackets.
  6. While still working the steering wheel, check the steering stabilizer mounts for play, especially the mounting bolts.
  7. Stop working the steering wheel and inspect the steering stabilizer for leaks. Disconnect one end of the stabilizer and cycle the stabilizer in and out by hand. You are feeling for air pockets or low resistance. These stabilizers are valved and quite stiff, requiring a good deal of effort to cycle.

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