loose steering

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JPVortex

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Hi, so this has been a problem now for a while on my Tahoe, the steering just doesn't feel very good, the video explains most of all of it. When feeling or hearing for play the only "clunk" I hear is from the CV Axles on either side which I believe to be normal as that also happens on my other vehicle as well. Still have that annoying clunk when driving that I've mentioned in a previous post, but that's not related I don't think. The pitman and idler arms don't look ripped, but I'm wondering if they're worn still.

Video:

Thanks!
 

OR VietVet

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You very well could have a steering shaft problem but a more thorough inspection is needed. May need steering gear, no matter how many times adjusted. Check steering gear mount at the frame. Need to have it running and have a friend rock the steering wheel from 10 to 2 and watch all the steering linkage for side to side and up and down slop. Use a floor jack and get under the lower control arms near the lower ball joints and lift the tire about 2" off the ground and then use a big pry bar to check for ball joint slop. Inspect ALL bushings. Inspect rear suspension as well. What is the tire pressure? Condition of tires?
 

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Agree with @OR VietVet on a thorough inspection.

When you're moving the steering wheel like that, how far does it have to go until the gearbox output shaft starts to move? When I adjusted mine there was a point of tightening that resulted in no shaft response. We had to back it off nearly a full turn to get it to move with the wheel. Even then there's *some* back and forth of the steering wheel, but not as much as there was before we adjusted it.
 
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JPVortex

JPVortex

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You very well could have a steering shaft problem but a more thorough inspection is needed. May need steering gear, no matter how many times adjusted. Check steering gear mount at the frame. Need to have it running and have a friend rock the steering wheel from 10 to 2 and watch all the steering linkage for side to side and up and down slop. Use a floor jack and get under the lower control arms near the lower ball joints and lift the tire about 2" off the ground and then use a big pry bar to check for ball joint slop. Inspect ALL bushings. Inspect rear suspension as well. What is the tire pressure? Condition of tires?
Alright I'll check everything out, from what I saw before the bushings and everything look alright, everything on the suspension looks okay but I'll check the linkage for play. I think the steering gear mount at the frame is alright, and how would I check if the steering shaft is worn out?
 
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JPVortex

JPVortex

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Agree with @OR VietVet on a thorough inspection.

When you're moving the steering wheel like that, how far does it have to go until the gearbox output shaft starts to move? When I adjusted mine there was a point of tightening that resulted in no shaft response. We had to back it off nearly a full turn to get it to move with the wheel. Even then there's *some* back and forth of the steering wheel, but not as much as there was before we adjusted it.
I'll check, with the engine on as soon as I start moving the wheel my tires do move, but the steering just still feels loose and not firm like it should.
 
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JPVortex

JPVortex

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You very well could have a steering shaft problem but a more thorough inspection is needed. May need steering gear, no matter how many times adjusted. Check steering gear mount at the frame. Need to have it running and have a friend rock the steering wheel from 10 to 2 and watch all the steering linkage for side to side and up and down slop. Use a floor jack and get under the lower control arms near the lower ball joints and lift the tire about 2" off the ground and then use a big pry bar to check for ball joint slop. Inspect ALL bushings. Inspect rear suspension as well. What is the tire pressure? Condition of tires?
On both tires there is a bit of a clunk on the 9 and 3 position when wiggling. I figured it was just the CV Axles making some noise, but now it's making me question if its the steering linkage, whether it be pitman and idler arms or soemthing else.
 

OR VietVet

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I can explain here but is best if you watch multiple you tubes and get the idea of how to inspect for problems. The steering shaft, I will use the sample of mine for a 2005 since I don't see the year of yours shared, there is a small u-joint at one end and the pin coupling at the top that can wallow out and they can be noisy as when you are turning.


Now, again, at idle and with vehicle on ground, move steering left to right as I recommended and look for sideways slop and up/down-in/out slop where the tie rods and idler arm and pitman arm have the threaded studs with the grease boots on them. The steering gear pressure can cause cracks in the frame where it mounts or just have loose mounting bolts. These threaded studs for the steering and at the balls joints are made to ride on a pillow of grease and have a ball down inside the end housing. Pivoting and rolling is normal. In and out and side slop is not. Bushings look good? Cracking is not good and neither is collapsed old rubber.
 
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JPVortex

JPVortex

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So I wiggled my upper intermediate steering shaft, and it has a bit of wiggle every way you move it, I also hear it almost clicking/clunking slightly? Is it supposed to wiggle and stuff like this? heres the video:
 

OR VietVet

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When I replaced mine, I had even more play and the new one completely tightened it up nicely and no more noises from it. Look at you tubes for replacement info.

When you consider the inspection for play/slop in a steering and suspension system, you have to consider this: ANY looseness in the numerous components ADDS up to the sum total of what you feel in the steering wheel. No one component may feel like it is the looseness problem but added all together and they can have a significant amount that is causing the looseness feeling and handling problem.
 
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JPVortex

JPVortex

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When I replaced mine, I had even more play and the new one completely tightened it up nicely and no more noises from it. Look at you tubes for replacement info.
Ok so after replacing there was no play or anything? it's a small amount of play but it still wiggles enough. I wonder if it's causing a lot of my steering issues/loose steering.
 

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