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Old July 3rd, 2010, 09:45 PM   #1
camccardell
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Default 99 suburban intermittent steering wander

Sometimes when driving in a straight line, the ol burb likes to wander to the right or left and I have to turn the steering wheel to compensate for it. After awhile it goes back to the way it was and I have to return the wheel to center to keep driving straight.

Any ideas?

btw, I changed the front brakes today and tried to jiggle the wheel in and out and got no movement, but 1 wheel was on the ground too. When I moved it side to side though, it did seem to move, and quite a substantial amount, at least to me.

So I am thinking tie rod ends *(inner and outer) as well as idler arm. Anything else to consider? I mean they don't seem too bad individually, but maybe they all add up to make it bad? Or maybe it is just the idler arm, but I couldn't move it by hand to test it.
I don't just want to throw money at it and hope I fix the problem while I'm changing parts.

thanks
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 10:07 PM   #2
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depending on the miles it may not be a bad idea to change all that stuff anyways. pitman arm is also a big culprit in those trucks. what i have done in the past is have a helper move the wheel back and forth with the truck on the ground while looking at steering parts one side to the other. it should be very obvious if anything is loose.
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Old July 4th, 2010, 03:47 AM   #3
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This isn't going to be alot of help, but I get those at work once in a while. The only thing we could ever come up with is something with the variable assist was screwing up. The front end on those were tight too. We end up sending them to the dealer since we don't mess with that there.
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Old July 4th, 2010, 07:13 AM   #4
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given the vintage its most likely a combo, if its like you say I would suspect ball joints for sure. they wear into a pocket and if you hit a bump right it can set it free of the pocket and you get weird handling issues. secondly Pit-man arms and Idler arms both are notorious for adding slop to the steering.

if you have a floor jack use it to jack up each lower control arm(as close to the lower ball joint as possible). once the tire gets about an inch off the ground grab the top of it and try and shove it in and out. if it moves see where its coming from.
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Old July 4th, 2010, 02:40 PM   #5
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no movement in and out from the top of the tire, but lots of movement at 9'o'clock position in and out.
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Old July 4th, 2010, 02:55 PM   #6
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Idler arm and pivot of the pitman arm or both. Or a tie rod issue. Have someone rock the tire and feel/watch everything for movement.
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Old July 4th, 2010, 03:17 PM   #7
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tie rods bouncin, I'll replace all 4 and try again.
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