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post #1 of (permalink) Old 04-15-2009, 08:28 AM Thread Starter
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steering pulls to pass side

I am wondering if a steering box has a "sweet spot" that it centers itself to. I've relocated scout 44's SOA ( rear spool ) and the jeep wants to steer to the pass side. The project is not complete and it has NOT seen an alignment shop. All testing is at very low speed, 20 mph or less. There are no shocks or sway bars and the tires are absolute crap (but with equal pressure)...maybe my problem. I am trying to get the steering close so I can weld the c's on. The front and rear are very close to parallel, within 1/16". All ball joints are new. Best I can tell the caster is adjusted to 7*(c's tilted back). I say "best I can tell" because the needle on my angle finder is wide enough to span 2 or so degrees. How finite of a measurement is caster? Could a 1/2 of a degree be noticeable? No significant drag on the front pass wheel. Not road crown...pulls to pass side no matter which side of the road I test on. I wonder if not having shocks and sway bar, torque could be distributing weight unevenly on the suspension. I initially thought shortening the drag link would pull the wheels towards the dr side but even with big adjustments no change. I may be answering my very first question about the steering box. Maybe the spool with uneven rear tires is pushing to the pass side. I can not think of anything else. Wish I had more cashola so I could eliminate the shocks, sway bar, and tire part of the equation.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 04-15-2009, 08:49 AM
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With a spool, unequal circumference tires will push towards the smaller tire. Jack the back end up and measure circumference with a tape measure. Or swap the rears side to side. Even if they're the same circumference off the ground they can have a differenc rolling radius due to different construction or pressure.

Caster can't cause a pull unless it's different side to side, in which case it will pull to the side with the greater caster, but unless it's a gross difference, driving on the other side of a crowned road should eliminate it, or at leat change it noticably. If you haven't welded the Cs on yet, you probably have them set a little differently. How did you align them?

Unequal camber can cause a pull also, but on a solid axel the camber can be different only if something is bent.

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 04-15-2009, 08:50 AM
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since you have a rear spool, are the rear tires matched to each other? if 1 has more tread the truck will pull toward the smaller tire. you could check if it is a tire size issue by swapping left for right. if it still pulls right, it's likely allignment. if it now pulls left, it's more likely those "crappy tires."
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 04-15-2009, 09:47 AM
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I re-set my C's using the same style of magnetic degree dial as you describe. Seems to me there is a chance of a small difference side to side with this method, but I have no issues. If you have an extra $30 and you really want to go double check your work, go buy one of the cheaper digital levels at Sears. I now have the twelve inch version and use it constantly. It is magnetic and will tell you what the angle is to .1 degree.

Otherwise there are too many other factors that are probably all contributing to your pulling issue. You didn't specifically mention "toe", but IIRC the spec is about 1/8". It may be time to check your measurements one more time then go with your gut and finish things up so you can get the suspension and new rubber under it. As long as your are close, minor adjustments or a trip to a reputable alignment shop should clear up any remaining issues.

FWIW I had a bit of a toe in issue with mine out of the gate... just a brain fart measurement. Once that was correct, it fles straight as an arrow with no sway bar and no stering stabilizer needed.

Is this the only hammer you've got?
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 04-16-2009, 02:43 PM
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To answer your original question, no the steering box does not have a sweet spot it likes to return to. You do want the steering box near centered when straight ahead though. First steering boxes tend to have less slop near center. Second most modern steering boxes are variable ratio. They may have a 16:1 reduction in the center slowly changing to a 11:1 or so at the locks.

The exact caster angle is not a big deal but as others have said it needs to be close to the same side to side. I have never bought an angle finder as all but the most expensive ones have too short a base and too big a needle and tend to stick.

The best way I know of to get caster the same side to side is to put dowels through the ball joint holes and sight across them, adjusting till when you move your head with one eye open the far dowel disappears evenly. 1/2 degree of caster can and will make a difference. When I was in high school I worked in and alignment shop we used to set the driver side with 1/4 degree more caster then the passenger side. This caused a slight pull to the driver side that canceled out the crown of the road. However, that was on an island where all the roads where 2 lane and crowned to the center. If you have lots of 4 lane roads that are crowned both ways it may be better to set caster dead equal.

Swapping the rear tires side to side would be a good first step though. A spool can really boss the steering around.

Wilhelm

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