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Ford F-Series Steering Problems

deltaii_00deltaii_00 Member Posts: 1
edited December 2017 in Ford
I have a 2004 F250 Supper Duty Crew Cab 4X4 with 92,950 miles. When I Turn the wheel half to full turn , either direction I hear a clunking noise in front end. It happens for a while then goes away for a while. I had it to the dealer 5 times since I got it and they hear it, put it on lift can not find anything, nothing loose, rubbing, nothing. Let it down from lift drive it and it is gone. Had it to a garrage and they can not find nothing. Dealer even said they lossened the front and retightened everything again but still happens.
When it does it it does for a while then stops for a while then back again. Happens whether I use 4X4 or not. Has anyone had this issue or know anything about it?

See Also: Ford F250 Steering & Suspension Guides


  • wpalkowskiwpalkowski Member Posts: 493
    How about the Cab mounting bolts? The bolts on my crew cab long bed weren't torqued fully tight. Used to get alll sorts of weird creaking noises, especially on low speed turns. Didn't matter whether it was in 4x2 or 4x4. Once they were tightened to spec all the noises stopped.

    If not the cab bolts, how about the snubbers in between the leaves of the front springs?. Those have a habit of wearing out and then the springs rub together and make weird noises. You can check it by drowning the ends of the springs wth some silcone lube (Don't get it on the tires.) If things quiet down until the first rain storm or a deep puddle, then it's probably the springs. I think Ford sells replacement spring inserts.
  • radford1radford1 Member Posts: 1
    my stering wheel moves from side to side when braking, I had the brake rotors and calipers just done, yet the problem persists, any ideas
  • midnitethundermidnitethunder Member Posts: 1
    Hello, Take a look at the drag link when the steering wheel is being turned, I have seen the drag link twist harshly and clunk and this happened in a half turn on the wheel
  • diehardforddiehardford Member Posts: 50
    First try rotating tires. If a tire is out of balance or has a bad band this will cause this. If you have more than 80 or 90 thousand on a ford truck a good bet is bad tie rod ends or ball joints. Jack up front tire and with tire on truck try shaking tire. If you have movement back and forth tie rods are bad. Take pry bar and lift up on tire while checking ball joints. If movement ball joints are bad
  • shloop69shloop69 Member Posts: 1
    must u remove the shifting rod that goes from the trns to the stearing column arm 2 replace the column? or can u slide it thru the firewall attached ? HELP
  • stemostemo Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2001 f250 crew cab short box diesel. The problem has been going on for over 3 years and no one can fix it. The truck floats to the left then to right going down the highway. I drove it last night for about 300 miles and my shoulders and neck are sore. At high speeds it isn't safe. I had it alined, new tires, ball joints checked, one replaced the other they said not yet. New sway linkage. Also, replaced the small shock in front. My thoughts, could it be in the steering gear box? Too loose, not enough lube, wore out? Is the power steering some how related to the brake boost? It has 112000 miles on it. The mech. keeps saying thats the way these trucks drive get use to it. Well I owned it from new and it drove great before.
    Thanks for any ideas
  • stemostemo Member Posts: 2
    I have an 2001 that does the samething. The dealer says the lock outs are good, but they must be sticking. I am going to change mine soon. It sounds like the u-joint in the axle drive to me. Hows your steering? Mine floats from side to side. Hoping for an answer soon.
  • rocker6rocker6 Member Posts: 1
    2000 F-250 7.3L 4x4 SD long bed. While in 4x4: While turning in either direction the front end wobbles and skips. I can watch the front tires do this and feel it in the steering. If I disengage the gears (about 10 mph) the truck will slow down quickly while in a turn and does it wobble! To get in 4x4 drive I have to turn the hubs. I do not know what to do. Any help would be appreciated.
  • prettymindyprettymindy Member Posts: 3
    My steering is all over the road @ times. Steering box, pump & 1 hose was replaced. Still having problems @ times going all over the road. What can it be? Ball joints, tie rods , idler arm are good. Thanks randy :mad:
  • pfinleypfinley Member Posts: 1
    yes i have a 06 f250 the top track bar bolt is not the right diameter i just got done putting a 7/8 bolt in mine the factory only puts a 20mm in them and there is a lot slop in it it really needs like a 13/16 but couldnt find one. but that should fix the problem it fixed mine
  • 04f3504x404f3504x4 Member Posts: 1
    I have had the same experience, several times in fact, especially after putting on new tires. I have found that different makes and models of tires have different sidewall characteristics. Bringing the new tires up to the truck manufacturer's recommended psi had no affect on the phenomonon. Bringing the tires up to 5 psi LESS than the maximum recommended by the tire maufacturer had the best results.
    The truck could finally hold a straight line on the highway. Easy to try, anyway.
    Good Luck!
  • mtpeasmtpeas Member Posts: 1
    I have also experienced this problem. I'm told it can be a "Stack ?" combination type of problem in that multiple loose or worn front end components can cumulatively cause the situation. Front end specialist deem that individual linkages are within specifications. However, culmulatively combined these create a mushy, slow response, constant drive attention type of condition. Worn Stabilizer linkage/ends, loose Track Bar mounts, Loose Steering Box adjustment, worn drag link, etc., can all play a "cumulative" part in this difficult to diagnose situation. I am taking mine to a know good specialist for an overall diagnosis.

    I have also heard that due to the V8 design of the 7.3 turbo dsl engines, they begin heating and wear out at roughly 150k miles, has anyone else experienced or heard this situation?
  • mike123mike123 Member Posts: 10
    I have a 2006 f-250 diesel it just started. the steering locks up when i turn from left to right or right to left not all the time just once in a while. it just started a month ago ball joints are good belt fine power steering fluid fine. any body know what would cause this
  • dorkbobstdorkbobst Member Posts: 1
    I also have the same problem with my 05 F550 6.0 4x4 . When I make right turns there is like a dead or flat spot in the steering . It just turned 23,000 mi and of course out of warrante. As always the dealers say I am the only one having ths problem and they don't know anything about it!!! Also the water leak that dumps water on you after a rain and the truck is sitting is the pinch welds above the doors under the weather stripping, they are so poorly sealed they leak thus sending water down the door pillars and of course RUST soon after that...
  • fixitgalfixitgal Member Posts: 1
    I have the same problem on my 2001 F250 Super Duty Diesel 7.3. I also had it aligned, replaced the ball joints and a steering link at a specialized truck shop. The problem was worse. They told me there was nothing else they could do and to go drive it in a parking lot around and circles until the steering corrected itself! So I took it to the dealer and they said the other place didn't press the ball joints in all the way and that they were binding so they replace them again. Now it is back to the way it was before I took it to the first place for repair. The dealer said they could not help me, they had done everything they could. Like yours, my problem has been ongoing for 3 years, so I don't drive it very much. It is a real safety issue.
    I am thinking about writing to Ford or a consumer protection group.

    Has anyone found a solution?

    Thanks. :sick:
  • driller2948driller2948 Member Posts: 1
    I too have the same problem 2000 F250 4x4 Super Duty Diesel 7.3 just started at 210,000 miles. I replaced the steering link and adjusted the steering gear box. Neither worked. From my research I'm finding it's most likely the steering gear box! Since I have a Rancho steering stabilizer I'm going to try and exchange under warranty just to eleminate. Pleace lets update each other if someone finds a fix..
  • cowgirlextremecowgirlextreme Member Posts: 3
    Have a 2000 F 250 that has become hazardous to drive! Have had upper and lower ball joints, inner and outer tie rod ends, new tires, new bilstein shocks...front end alignment done twice....can't keep the darn thing on the road. Supposed to take it in on Monday the 21st to have new power steering box.....anyone figured this out yet? I hauled horses some 600 miles the one day and fought the truck the whole time. It feels like suddenly a "little gremlin" jumps in and grabs the steering wheel and tries to take it from me! Has anyone tried beefing up the rubber on each end of front leaf springs? Does this rubber break down over time? Truck has 115,000 miles on it, I just purchased truck with 110,000 on it.
  • rusty16rusty16 Member Posts: 1
    Has anyone heard of or experenced this problem. It happens when traveling at any highway speed. You hit a bump or pothole in the road, the truck suddenly pulls or jumps to the left and front end starts shaking so bad if you do not have a tight grip on the wheel, you almost lose control of the truck.
    Any ideas
    JC :confuse:
  • wdhytewdhyte Member Posts: 92
    I had an old VW back in the 70s that would do the exact same thing. Was the steering damper which is nothing more than a horizontal shock absorber (long and skinny one actually) that mounts between the steering and the wheels. Not sure what they're using these days but its gotta have something similar in function. In the VW, all would be fine unless I hit a good bump or a pothole or whatever and it would begin the oscillation in the front end and get worse and worse until I almost came to a stop...then it would be fine again until the next good bump.
  • KCRamKCRam Member Posts: 3,516
    In Dodge parlance, that's referred to as "Death Wobble". A few things to check:
    - tire balance
    - shocks
    - steering stabilizer
    - ball joints
    One of those 4 items is likely out of spec.

    kcram - Pickups/Wagons Host
  • mrmike46mrmike46 Member Posts: 1
    I had the same problem with my 2000 F-250. The left universal on the front axle was frozen on one cap. My guess is at random times drag turned the axle so the frozen cud was in the direction of my tearing. The truck would suddenly veer hard right and I could not turn toe steering wheel hard enough to bring it back. I replaced the u-joint ( along with all the u-joints in the 4x4 drive train) and have not had a problem since. That was about a year ago.
  • angiesangies Member Posts: 2
    hello, I have an F250 diesel, seems same issue, did you get any resolution?, this is a bad problem and really concerned;

    Angela (a.k.a.)
  • cowgirlextremecowgirlextreme Member Posts: 3
    Hi Angela--no, I have not gotten any resolution. Just wanting to get the universal joints checked after the one guy posted a response with the problems he had. I am very discouraged, as when I pull my horse trailer I do not feel safe whatsoever, especially if a horse moves around at all. I have put so much money in this truck and it is still a piece of garbage. :sick: :mad:
  • angiesangies Member Posts: 2


    I had my truck checked, one our folks determined problem to be wheel bearings, thus am having it looked at by my mechanic shop, he owns
    F250's for his towing business and is a troubleshooter and not your usual
    parts replacer who simply replaces parts; he uses his head; albeit you are probably not in my local you may want to call the mechanic as is a smart and honest, his phone is: Fred Pickering, 989 835-5470, Michigan; simply tell him that a customer of his recommended him and you appreciate his input;

    Angela (a.k.a.)
  • cowgirlextremecowgirlextreme Member Posts: 3
    Hey, thanks so much! I will have it checked into. And thanks for the phone number. I am willing to drive about any distance to get this fixed! Your input is GREATLY appreciated! :)
  • jackhijackhi Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1994 ford f150 4wd that is really hard when turning to the right when stopped or just driving off??
  • prettymindyprettymindy Member Posts: 3
    I have the same problem with my thruck. I was told it was the ball joints or steering box. I changed both and still have the same problem. No wonder, its a Ford.LOL
  • jlcjlc Member Posts: 30
    Hi every one, I have a 98 F150 4.6 V8 with 130k miles on it. It also wanders and has a lot of play in the steering wheel. I had it checked and everything is supposedly ok. I went to a help site (Just Answer.com) and I think they may have found the problem. A U joint at the bottom of the steering shaft just above the steering box. I will have that checked and let you all know what I find.

  • jlcjlc Member Posts: 30
    Well I had the steering shaft u joint checked it was okay. So I got a small mirror and was able to see the adjustment screw on the top of the steering box. It takes a 3/16 allen wrench and the lock nut is 5/8th. It took me about 5 minutes to make the adjustment. I took a 1/2 turn on the allen screw and locked it down. Then road tested what a difference that half turn made. Be careful not to over do the adjustment. You maybe better off trying 1/4 turn at a time until you are satisfied. This thing drove me crazy because at first I could not find the adjustment.

  • chevy88chevy88 Member Posts: 10
    I have this truck when you turn the steering wheel all the sudden steering wheel almost jerks out of your hand.it has hydro boost cant figure it out and the ford dealer never heard of one doing that any advice will be appreciated
  • f1200guyf1200guy Member Posts: 1
    Hi, I had the same problem with a 2008 F250 diesel 4x4. Truck has 34600 miles on it so I only had 1400 miles of warr. left. Took it to the dealer last week they said it was the steering box. They said it has spool valves inside that caused the wheel to jerk back and forth. It would do this standing still or while driving as long as yo had some steering tension on the wheel. They said they have never seen it befor. Got my truck back today Sat. July 17. Problem is all gone truck steers great. Hopr this helps Craig
  • swanee_riverswanee_river Member Posts: 2
    My son put a new power stearing pump on his 1972 F100. It seem to work for a trip around the block and then quit working. When we checked under the hood there was fluid coming out of the fill tube. The pump was very hot, too hot to touch. Is there a broblem with the stearing box?
  • ktalleyktalley Member Posts: 1
    I have an 03 F250 7.3 diesel with approx. 118000 miles. I have been experiencing a bad wobble when putting on my brakes. Now it is to the point that I can be going down the road and it starts wobbling. Took it to a mechanic and he ck'd the tie rods and ball joints and they seem to be fine. Then he rotated the tires and I thought it solved the problem but then it has started up again. I do not feel any vibration or wobble in the brake pedal itself when braking. Does that eliminate the possibility of warped rotors that could cause this problem? Any other suggestion on what to ck?
  • kessler172kessler172 Member Posts: 1
    edited February 2011
    heres the Fix to your problems. I also have a 04 250 Diesel, I have replaced ball joints, All tie rods, and track bar, Steering Stabilizer, had a fresh alignment and bought all 4 new tires and my same problem was still there. ( Same Loose Steering and all over the highway )... Heres the Problem fixer on the Leaf Spring front ends. The Leaf Spring Bushings on the front ( Not at the Shackle ) but at the very front, Start to wear out and cause the axle to move ever so slightly forward and backward that causes the drifting and sloppy steering. I bought a complete Energy Suspension urethane bushing set and really only used the ones for the springs. And OMG the entire problem went away. The steering was tight and no more wondering down the road. check around but expect to spend about $60-$100 depending on who u buy it from, And it takes about 2-3hrs to put them in the right way.
  • jer45acpjer45acp Member Posts: 1
    Another me too. I have just put new tires on and it seems to have started right after that. I jacked it up thinking maybe someone left a few lugs loose, but not so. Also all the knuckle joints seem OK and I cant seem to find any slop in anything else. It also acts weird going straight down the road, seems to want to pull to one side or the other and when I correct, it will make a sudden lurch in the direction I correct towards. It can be a bit exciting on narrow roads with opposing traffic. I see the big white around some old ladies eyes! :surprise: The worst part is it is not constant, but often enough to be annoying.
  • tbarl1kytbarl1ky Member Posts: 1
    Did you ever figure out what caused it? I have a 01 F-250 that just started doing the same thing. I have 182000 on mine.
  • prettymindyprettymindy Member Posts: 3
    No, i never did figure out what was wrong with the steering. I heard alot of people had trouble with the Ford trucks. I sold mine 1 year ago. Maybe because its a FORD. LOL
  • docjohnsondocjohnson Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 F-250 5.4 and it is doing the same thing.It just started this week.I had a steering box leaking and I bought a new one and ever since I had it installed I cant keep it in the road.I never had the problem until then.I also put a new stablizer shock on to .So its one of those culprits causing my problem.
  • lazyspurlazyspur Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2008 Super duty with the 6.4 diesel. I have about 80,000 miles on it. It just started having problems with the brakes and steering. When going about 55 mph then start to slow down, I apply the brakes and then the brakes thump and I lose brakes and steering. Has anyone had this problem. My husband is a diesel mechanic for 30yrs and he is at a loss.
  • galena50galena50 Member Posts: 3
    edited June 2013
    kessler172, I have a 04, F250 4WD and have the same problem and have changed several thing without success. Is there anyway to check before changing that this is the problem. This solution makes so much sense but trying to get more info before I make the change.
  • galena50galena50 Member Posts: 3
    ktalley, what you talked about sounds like my problem but I don't seem to have any play in the bushings. Anyway to verify without changing out first
  • remarcincremarcinc Member Posts: 1

    our F250 superduty, 2000, about 2000,000 miles started to have front end noises, my husband replaced the wheel bearings- it helped a little- on bumpy roads the truck would squeak- then make axle noises again- mechanical have blames turn out hubs, etc etc. We replaced the turn-outs with Warn - easier to use but still the noise. Then we drove the truck with the hubs turned in, but not in 4 whell drive- a lot quieter. On closer inspection, there are two washers that fit between the wheel bearing and lock washer on the turn-outs- they were completely gone. Still looking for just those parts, but they would prevent the axle from travelling side- to side, and make make some of the other readers happy with an easy $6.00 fix. We have wear issues in the universals, expected at that mileage- but the other noises were the puzzle.

  • htrustyhtrusty Member Posts: 1

    My 2002 F250 Super Duty has all of these problems. In the last 25K miles I have put on new tires. Hub & bearing assembly both sides front, Front track arm. Upper and lower ball joints, Both sway bar links, Front stabilizer shock cylinder. Alignment. 2 adjusting sleeves, both inner and outer tie rod ends. Another alignment. a new steering gear box. I still have trouble from time to time. I am considering new power steering pump, new tires again, shocks. And as much as I don't want to buy a new truck it might be necessary. After 5 Ford pickups this might be my last.

  • dwoody69dwoody69 Member Posts: 1

    i have a 2000 f250 7.3 1,364,000 miles it just started swaying left to rite changed everything but the spring bushings so that has be prob if you have play in stearing found out hard way do not get rebiult one get the red head its little more but you will be getting one any way as rebuilt boxes for the norm only replace seals the rest of the parts on inside are still worn out.

  • 97vmx97vmx Member Posts: 1
    It's not death wobble. That's actually caused due to a different suspension setup usually in solid axle front ends with coil spring style suspensions. Most of the issues on here are related to the steering gear box. I'm probably one of the few that own an 02 f250 that don't have a steering dampener. The first sign of a worn gear box which is actually a worn worm gear in the box is road walk. The truck will feel as if it is floating side to side. If you know your ball joints and tie rods are ok this is where to go next. You can adjust the gear box however that is a temporary solution and will only cause more tension on the worm gear causing it to fail faster. When you tighten the Allen on top of the gear box you're actually pushing the worm gear downward which creates an excessive preload on the bearings in the gear box causing premature bearing wear which is why adjusting is a temporary solution. If the problem goes unfixed ( not replacing the gear box ) it will get worse and start creating  a rapid oscillation in the steering wheel at higher speeds that is easily mistaken for a vibration. This where most techs make the same mistake and start looking for loose suspension components or bearings. The clunking noise is also a common noise for this issue. My truck started doing the same as mostof yours around 108k miles recently. Everything under the front end had recently been upgraded with my 4 inch lift and was new. I pulled the gear box and replaced it problem solved. I went ahead and pulled the old gear box apart and could see that the worm gear was badly worn. 
  • timh059timh059 Member Posts: 1
    My problem seems similar to some of the ones I read here, but different. Last night I was driving home from work in my 04 F250, I was experiencing some slight drag and pulling almost as if I was driving through mud. At one point in my commute had to turn right. During the turn the steering wheel suddenly jerked to the right and would not return to center coming out of the turn. I had to drag it back to center and after that the truck was pulling hard to the right. I fought it going down the road and all of a sudden it jerked to the left and started pulling hard to the left. I continued down the road applying muscle to the wheel to compensate for the pulling and it flopped again,. Jerking to the right and pulling hard to the right afterwards. After that I slowed way down from my normal driving speed and limped her home and jacked her up. It was raining so I couldn't do much but I was able to look for play in the ball joints and didn't see any. With the truck parked and running I ran the steering wheel from stop to stop and felt no binding or hard turning.
    Prior to this I had heard some type of grinding noise from the front end for awhile. Not wheel bearings because I checked and the front wheels turn smooth with no grinding when jacked up.

    Any thoughts? Hints?
  • elecjohn60elecjohn60 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 f250 SD 4WD and it just started exhibiting the same steering issues. Only have 53,000 miles on truck. Just had truck annual PA safety inspection preformed and passed with no problems. Mechanic never commented on steering issue after road test. Hum? Need to resolve this. Planing 1500 mile trip. Steering boxes seem to be a hot topic. Its a real shame that Ford claims there is no problem with the steering on so many of their trucks. Is there any Ford mechanics on this blog?
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,745
    edited July 2015
    The Pa. State Inspection program has been getting watered down over the last decade and what passes and fails doesn't necessarily equal a properly serviced vehicle. In other words to fail it the technician has to be able to judge that the way the truck handles in a very short road test (1.5 miles) makes it unsafe to operate. Even then it's purely a judgment call and with a lot of the steering issues that are mentioned in this forum a much longer road test is required and that would include scan diagnostics in most of the cases.

    There are very few professional technicians involved in the forums. The ones that are here have to tolerate a lot of garbage which is tough enough to deal with when they are on the job. While the issues reported here may sound similar to some of the reports, every vehicle's condition has to be analyzed as it's own and not associated to any other until after the problem is determined. Issues with the steering column flex joint (U-Joint) can easily cause a lot of what you see described here as well as the power steering itself. Most of the reports in this thread are about issues with the electronic power steering systems and repairs typically include software flash updates, steering angle and torque sensor calibrations or failures and of course the gear itself.

    If you have a steering issue, let the shop know so they can investigate it. Do NOT expect a state inspection service to identify every issue. Overwhelming public pressure tries to portrait the shop as unethical when they identify a service issue even when the technician is correct. There will be no shortage of people who will blame the shops for that but instead of leaving the past in the past they are insistent on holding the status quo. If real change doesn't occur and soon you not only won't find qualified techs here, you won't find them in the shops either.
  • johns1994johns1994 Member Posts: 1
    edited December 2017
    Wondering if front end wobble on my 1994 f250 2wd would somehow be related to bad brake calipers? For instance one could be dragging or hanging up.
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