06 Dodge Ram 2500 steering issues , stiff ,no wore parts

toolhawk

Full Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2007
Messages
96
Likes
0
Points
6
#1
2006 dodge ram 2500 4x4 w/cummins diesel ,130,000 bought new , went cross country for vacation , as the trip went on the steering got stiff and won't return to center, the longer you drove it during the day it got worse (so the hotter it got ) tore front end down , ball joints are free with no play, tie rods are good , steering stabilizer dampner is fine (shock type )
1) purged steering fluid and put new atf-4 no change , there is no noise from gear box or power steering pump , no leaks, brakes work fine (has power assist coming off p/s pump going to booster , steering turns fine just wont return to center , gets worse and stiff as it gets hotter .

CAN POWER STEERING CAUSE THIS ?
CAN IT BE THE GEAR BOX, WITHOUT LEAKS OR PLAY ?

Thank you for your help!!!!!!!
 
Joined
Nov 14, 2006
Messages
1,395
Likes
1
Points
38
Age
119
#2
Hey Toolhawk,
Going to toss in my $.02. Seen tough steering on a couple of cars before and it was because the U joints in the steering shaft had rusted up. Since you say its heat related there is a real possibility its not that. Anyhow last one I checked out I hit the joints with penetrating oil and they loosened up with a few turns of the wheel back and forth.

The U joint is at the bottom of the picture, figured I should add a picture so we were clear which U joints I was talking about.

Ford_Dude
 
Joined
Nov 14, 2006
Messages
1,395
Likes
1
Points
38
Age
119
#4
Sounds to me like the pump might be going south. You could try something like lucas power steering fluid, which is really thick. I don't know of any practical way to test the pump, prehaps another member can chime in with a suggestion.

Ford_Dude
 

billr

wrench
Staff member
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Messages
6,409
Likes
78
Points
48
#5
If it won't return to center, then I'm thinking it's not the PS; it's something binding. I've driven many times with the PS pump inactive, the steering is hard, but returns to center just fine. Does it always "heal" when it cools down? A big truck like that has lots of room to carry several jugs of water to throw on the gear-box, pump, etc. the next time it happens...
 

toolhawk

Full Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2007
Messages
96
Likes
0
Points
6
#6
It does not heal when cool , never returns to center , but slightly stiffer when hot, Pulled tie rods and I can move both left and right side freely , hooked up tie rod and an turn whole unit by grabbing tire and moving full right and left (this is with dampner disconnected) so I don't think it could be in the steering linkage
 

WJR

Jr. Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2010
Messages
30
Likes
0
Points
6
#7
There's a recall on Ram truck steering 1/2 tons to 1 tons. You may want to check if yours qualifys it goes back a few yrs. I'm not sure how far but I think 06 is in there.

Bill
 
Joined
Mar 1, 2002
Messages
3,554
Likes
58
Points
48
Location
Kentucky
#8
I believe that gear box has a pitman gear shaft adjustment bolt. Usually this adjustment is needed to tighten up sloppy steering, but it maybe somehow has got the shaft jammed against the sector gear, preventing easy return to center. (not enough play)

Another possibility would be an alignment issue, with caster or bent quad links. I don't think this would change with heat.
 

toolhawk

Full Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2007
Messages
96
Likes
0
Points
6
#9
took to 2 front end shops today with no luck , alignment is good ,no play in gear box , all parts are good , pump is working but the thought is it is in the gear box , going to change it when I can find one , on national back order where ever I call!!
 
Joined
Mar 1, 2002
Messages
3,554
Likes
58
Points
48
Location
Kentucky
#11
A symptom of 'not enough play' in the gearbox would be that the steering wheel would return most of the way to center, but then stop returning before it reached the center position.
 

billr

wrench
Staff member
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Messages
6,409
Likes
78
Points
48
#12
Before I bought and replaced a steering box, I would sure look for that screw Danica mentioned that adjusts lash out of the gears. Adjustment of that can be tricky, but it makes a big difference on whether the steering has slop or binds and won't return to center.
 

toolhawk

Full Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2007
Messages
96
Likes
0
Points
6
#13
I will adjust this tomorrow , I do understand the out of adjustment I just don't see how it could tighten up , I would understand if there was to much play!! I worked at a collision shop some 25years ago and helped the front end guy adjust the play out of steering gear boxes so I will give it a try and let you know , THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
Joined
Mar 1, 2002
Messages
3,554
Likes
58
Points
48
Location
Kentucky
#14
I agree that 'tightening up' seems unlikely, but when common problems check as OK, it's time to look at the 'long shots'. Especially if it's free.
 

billr

wrench
Staff member
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Messages
6,409
Likes
78
Points
48
#15
You might find that the jam-nut on that adjusting screw has come loose, so the rotation of the pitman shaft has caused the screw to move and tighten... I've seen it happen. Or, maybe things are a bit dry in there and the screw or shaft surfaces are galling.