With only 2,200 miles on our new 2004 F350 Crew Cab LB, this truck steers like a truck with 200,000 mile on it! On the highway there is a persistant "drift" that requires constant correction. The truck has been back to Ford (Ken Grody in Carlsbad, CA) three times for the steering problem. First time they replaced the adjustable end of the drag link; the second time they replaced the steering box and today they simply said, "it's the nature of the beast" and that because your truck is a straight axle 4WD it is going to drift. I say WRONG!! If you have previously owned a super duty 2WD and step up to the 4WD, you will know exactly what I am talking about in terms of steering wander. Has anyone had any luck in finding a "workaround" to the problem, short of having Ford buy the truck back? This Ford truck owner is not going to roll over and play dead.
Thanks in advance.
* This post was
edited 05/26/04 10:19pm by glennjanes *
The Janes Family
2004 F-350 4x4 Crew Cab LB
Nash 26Z TT
Reese Dual Cam
A good alignment man should be able to adjust the camber or caster (I can't remember which), to fix the problem. Find a good alignment man and talk to him. Going to do the same on mine. Hope this helps.
02 DODGE RAM 3500 DUALLY HO CUMMINS 6 SPEED WITH JAKE BRAKE FROM MOPAR, 03 2800 MIRAGE 5TH WITH 2 SLIDES.
Interesting that you posted that particular problem with the F350. I've had the very same problem with mine. It's a 2004 LB DRW with approx 18,000 miles on it. I thought the problem was in my head, so I've not reported it to Ford yet.
Actually it's only a problem when driving solo. When I hook up my 5th wheel, with a pin weight of 2200 lbs., the problem seems to go away, believe it or not! It must have something to do with the load being carried and the transfer of weight.
In reading a thread just last night that referenced the Ford website and referred specifically to the 2005 Super Duty improvements, among other improvements, they are addressing the steering assembly, so I would certainly support your problem. Really a shame that Ford refuses to do anything else for you when the engineers have all but admitted that something is definitely wrong.
My previous vehicle 2003 F250 didn't have the problems at all. Seems that it's unique to the 2004 F350.
Good luck and keep us posted. I will actually report it to Ford dealer next time I'm in for service within a few weeks.
Time to find a real Ford dealer and have the truck fixed. I have done several F series wandering problems and the ball joints being to stiff is the main problem. Some times the steering box has issues and needs replacement. I have not repaired any 2003 0r 2004 trucks yet but many older ones have had the problem like the Excursion I just bought. Had to replace the ball joints steering box and steering dampener. Drives great now. Thank God for extended warranties.
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I had a '99 Dodge 2500 4x4 Diesel that I bought new that did the same thing you describe when it had 12,000 miles on it. I took it back to the dealer 13 times in the first year I owned it and they replaced just about everything they could in the front end and all they did was make it worse! I finally got fed up and traded up to my current truck, a Ford F350 PSD 4x4. I will never own another Dodge, thanks to that Dodge dealer!
Listen to mastertech59, find a dealer who knows what their doing! The wrong dealer can ruin your truck as they did mine. If I had known they were going to ruin my truck I would have lived with the little wandering because the dealer made it a lot worse. Or I would have paid a real mechanic to fix it right, even though the truck was less then a year old. Just because their "dealers", that does not mean their always the best choice. I learned the hard way.
One thing about the 2004's I notice is different than my buddy who has has a 2000 model is the missing steering stabilizer. If you have the FX4 package it might have one...but I have yet to see a 2004 non FX4 with a steering stabilizer. This may night be the problem but is an observation.
Hello Wilbilt -
Yesterday I did take the truck in to a well known alignment shop in San Diego. The technician drove the truck down a surface street for about 2 blocks and commented (I rode along) that something is "binding" in the front end. He then put it on the freeway and let it wander. Back at the shop he disconnected the linkage between the wheels and manually turned each wheel. The right hand side turned smooth and easy, the left hand side turned with a considerable amount of resistance. He felt that the upper and lower ball joints were too tight or defective. After reassembly, he had another tech start up the truck and turn the wheels on the rack while he pointed out to me the movement in the drag link (passenger side). The actual alignment was ok. I beleive he said the caster was 3.5 degrees. Anyway, Ford disregarded his remarks and stated that the ball joints, drag link and alignment is within specs. They said that I will just have to live with it this way. Again, I will not. Thanks for your advise.
I've been out of the business for a few years, but with a new truck, you shouldn't be having problems with noticable wander.
The fact that the dealer has been replacing parts at 2,000 miles leads me to believe that they are clueless, and don't have anyone available with the experience to diagnose the problem.
Often, the first thing inexperienced techs do to confront a wander problem is to tighten the sector shaft adjustment on the steering box. All this does is make the box too tight, so that the steering linkage can't return to center on it's own, as it was designed to. This requires the vehicle to constantly be corrected when going down the road.
The alignment should definitley be checked by a qualified tech, as a simple toe adjustment could possibly correct the probem. If the truck is toed-out, it will wander. The caster angle also has an effect, because the greater the positive caster, the better the tendency for the vehicle to track well. As positive caster increases, the weight of the vehicle on the ball joints/kingpins will eliminate any slack in the linkage and cause the tires to toe in. If positive caster is insufficient, or at a negative value, it will tend to toe out while driving, which again equals wander. When the toe and caster are correct, it should track well.
Does this situation occur only when loaded/towing? If so, you should look for a shop with the capability to set the alignment with the trailer connected. Some suspension designs (twin I beam) cause wide variations in alignment angles depending on vehicle load. With a straight axle, the differences between loaded/unloaded should be minimal, but still worth checking.
Another possibility is the PSI in the front tires. If they are maxed at 80 PSI (they don't need to be), it can make a Ford nearly undrivable.
15-year ASE Certified tech
Steering, Suspension and Brakes