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Ford F-150 wanders

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May 22, 2009, 4:02 AM

Post #1 of 3 (2754 views)
Ford F-150 wanders Sign In

I have a 1999 ford F-150 p/u 2wd with 6 cyl & 5 speed transmission. A couple of years ago I rebuilt all but the steering box (which seems in pretty good sin the suspension & steering. The truck seems to wander more than I would like in the rutted center lane on our New England highways.
The alignment specs after my recent service are:
Camber: left 0.1 deg, right -0.1 deg
Caster: left 6.8 deg, right 7.3 deg
Total toe: 0 deg
The truck does't pull on flat roads. I was wondering if putting more toe in keeping within spec would help the wandering? I am also looking for the alignment specs with the ranges for this vehicle to compare.

Loren Champlain Sr
Veteran / Moderator
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May 22, 2009, 3:23 PM

Post #2 of 3 (2743 views)
Re: Ford F-150 wanders Sign In

I'd like to see about 1/2 deg. pos. camber, both sides. The caster angle seems awfully high. Have to check specs. If you have too much positive caster, it will 'want' to follow any little groove in the pavement. Toe should be in the 1/8" area if using stock tires. Less, if wide tires. I'll get back to you on the Caster angle specs.
Just checked; All of your specs are within the ranges recommended. The Caster angle is 5.2-7.2, so it is at the max.
Disregard my toe suggestion. Too much toe-in will just make it worse. I think if you lessened the Caster angle, it may help. These 'recommended' specs are unladened, of course. If you are carrying heavy loads, it will throw everything off. I haven't done alignments in 20 years. But, I can remember having to have a heavy-set customer sit in the car while I set it to specs.Wink
SW Washington

(This post was edited by Loren Champlain Sr on May 22, 2009, 3:34 PM)

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 23, 2009, 6:13 AM

Post #3 of 3 (2736 views)
Re: Ford F-150 wanders Sign In

Agree as usual with Loren. To add it should be realigned. Tire type can aggravate this too. Pretty sure (don't have specs) that tow should be such that the front tires are pointing at about 200 feet in front of vehicle as the tendency while in motion is for them to each pull a bit away from center.

This should have a recirculating ball steering box. Some will wear and get too much free play. If with engine off but key such that you can steer wheel see how much free play you have. Go underhood and turn steering shaft by hand watching how much the shaft turns by hand before it moves the Pitman arm. It can be adjusted if off at just the steering box but must be done properly.

I'll explain how if you find it way off - do that or get it done before a proper alignment,


PS: In my experience most Ford steering gearboxes won't need to be touched for over 100k. If this uses a greasable pitman arm take a good look at that too........

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