Jim Grant's Tech Tips
'98 Dodge Ram, Loose Steering
I have a 98 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 Extended Cab with the 5.9L engine.
The truck has some play in the steering. What would cause this? I checked
the power steering fluid level, it was low but I filled it and I still
have play.......Adam Beasley
If your steering complaint is a problem that just seemed to appear and
gotten more pronounced, then I would be suspect of a failing track bar.
What is a track bar? There is a bar that travels from the drivers
side of the frame to a bracket on the passenger side of the front differential.
There is a joint, a ball and socket type affair on the frame mount side
that looks much like an outer tie-rod end that is found on most vehicles.
This ball and socket will wear with age and lack of lubrication. The condition
of a worn track bar could best be described as if the truck was going
in two directions when you turn the steering wheel. The body of the truck
will move opposite of the direction that the steering wheel is turned.
The easiest way to inspect the track bar is to have one person move the
steering wheel back and forth about 6", while another watches for
side to side movement of the of the ball and socket joint. If side to
side movement is noted, it is time for a new track bar. One other note,
most track bars have a grease fitting that is often overlooked or just
not bothered with.