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Discussion Starter #1
With solid front axle and driving on soft terrain you can sometimes see the front tires will wobble/turn left and right quickly. I'm assuming this happens because the tie rod is flexing as front tires gain and lose traction, correct? But I can't find any information if this is actually bad or fine?
 

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Its more likely from the front axle u-joints phasing.

Personally I never really noticed it before until I got my 14 ram and driving it around in 4wd its pretty bad. Luckily its not really used as an offroad vehicle much.

Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Its more likely from the front axle u-joints phasing.

Personally I never really noticed it before until I got my 14 ram and driving it around in 4wd its pretty bad. Luckily its not really used as an offroad vehicle much.

Kevin
Not sure if you understood what I mean. Sounds like you are talking about tires skipping when driving with a locked center differential on hard ground.

I'm talking about tires turning rapidly left and right without steering. I can't find any videos of this happening now but I've seen it many times. I happens on my K10 and I'm pretty sure I don't have any loose joints or bearings and the frame is repaired&reinforced by the steering box.

The only cause for this I can think of is the tie rod. It's a stock tie rod with good joints. It flexes a little bit if I yank it by hand.

So I am wondering if I'm correct about the tie rod allowing this to happen, and if it's fine or should I upgrade to a beefier tie rod. On one hand, the flexing might redure shock loads on steering components. On the other hand, maybe the flexing weakens the steel or something (+ tires flopping around looks really stupid).
 

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Could be bad rod ends on tie rod or drag link. Could also be the draglink/tierod adjustment sleeve skipping threads, as it would get very pronounced under the load of 4x4. The fact that you don't notice it on the street probably means its not a bad wheel bearing, steering box, or ball joints.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Could be bad rod ends on tie rod or drag link. Could also be the draglink/tierod adjustment sleeve skipping threads, as it would get very pronounced under the load of 4x4. The fact that you don't notice it on the street probably means its not a bad wheel bearing, steering box, or ball joints.
I have checked the rod ends and there is no slop. Sleeves are not skipping.
 

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Not sure if you understood what I mean. Sounds like you are talking about tires skipping when driving with a locked center differential on hard ground.

I'm talking about tires turning rapidly left and right without steering. I can't find any videos of this happening now but I've seen it many times. I happens on my K10 and I'm pretty sure I don't have any loose joints or bearings and the frame is repaired&reinforced by the steering box.

The only cause for this I can think of is the tie rod. It's a stock tie rod with good joints. It flexes a little bit if I yank it by hand.

So I am wondering if I'm correct about the tie rod allowing this to happen, and if it's fine or should I upgrade to a beefier tie rod. On one hand, the flexing might redure shock loads on steering components. On the other hand, maybe the flexing weakens the steel or something (+ tires flopping around looks really stupid).
Yes, that is exactly what I've experienced, tires go left and right, even though I haven't moved the wheel.

Does this happen with the hubs unlocked?

Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Yes, that is exactly what I've experienced, tires go left and right, even though I haven't moved the wheel.

Does this happen with the hubs unlocked?

Kevin
Oh okay! No, it doesn't happen with hubs unlocked or with 2wd. Mostly when turning more than just a little bit and heavy on the throttle (stock 6.2 so "heavy" is not very much).

What size rim and what offset? I have seen steering like that with minimal backspacing.
35x11.5x16, 8" wide rim in front IIRC. Backspace is equivalent to stock.
E: Why would minimal/smaller backspace cause this? I would imagine it causing it less because there is less leverage relative to the pivot point (ball joints)

E2: wait, I don't actually know if its equivalent to stock, it's equivalent to the rims I had before. I'll have to find it out.

 

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When you have minimal backspacing (3 inch on an 8 inch wheel) the wheel can form a lot of torque around the steering axis because it hangs out so far. Basically you create a lot of leverage on the steering axis. It can be an advantage for rock crawling because the wheel can move around and find traction but IMO it is a negative on anything driven at speed.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
When you have minimal backspacing (3 inch on an 8 inch wheel) the wheel can form a lot of torque around the steering axis because it hangs out so far. Basically you create a lot of leverage on the steering axis. It can be an advantage for rock crawling because the wheel can move around and find traction but IMO it is a negative on anything driven at speed.
You are absolutely right, I was having a brainfart and thinking it backwards. But it shouldn't be the issue, I have pretty much as much backspace as possible without rims touching the tie rod ends.
 

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I'd also check for frame flex at the steering box and ensure that the mounting bolts are tight. If it's a kingpin axle, you can also get a bit of movement there if you are still running springs.
 

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its a combination of everything

tie rod ends
tie rod tube
king pin bearings
wheel bearings
leaf spring bushings
frame flex
steering box


add all those things together and youre gonna get a little play, dont worry about it until something is obviously loose and worn out.

want to reduce it, add a track bar and more cross members/braces on the frame
 

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Oh okay! No, it doesn't happen with hubs unlocked or with 2wd. Mostly when turning more than just a little bit and heavy on the throttle (stock 6.2 so "heavy" is not very much).
So only with the hubs locked in 4wd. It gets worse the more you turn.

I'm still thinking its the front axle u-joints phasing as they turn. Do some research on the downsides of using u-joints. This is the reason rear driveshaft u-joints angles have to match. Also the reason why most AWD stuff uses some form of CV joint instead.

Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Oh okay! No, it doesn't happen with hubs unlocked or with 2wd. Mostly when turning more than just a little bit and heavy on the throttle (stock 6.2 so "heavy" is not very much).
So only with the hubs locked in 4wd. It gets worse the more you turn.

I'm still thinking its the front axle u-joints phasing as they turn. Do some research on the downsides of using u-joints. This is the reason rear driveshaft u-joints angles have to match. Also the reason why most AWD stuff uses some form of CV joint instead.

Kevin
I know what u-joint phasing is. U-joints don't control steering. U-joints can't turn wheels (unless you remove steering stops and bind the joints). It might be part of the reason why it happens but not the issue. If it was, every u-joint vehicle would have its front tires flipping around.

I checked steering box, bolts tight.
Springs and bushings are new.
tie rod and drag link ends are good.

I'm going to get a video of it happening when I have time.
 

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Spartan locker. But I don't think it works very well in the front axle, seems to be locked all the time. This too might be part of the reason but not the issue.
Sync the u joints. They are fighting each other. It will turn way smoother too. I just learned of this trick and it actually makes quite a difference, pain in the ass, yes. Worth doing? 100%
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Sorry I wasn't clear with my previous message. Spartan is an auto locker, so no point in trying to sync u-joints. What I meant with staying locked is that it doesn't seem to unlock even if I drive with no or very little throttle while turning. Like it is supposed to and it did when I had it in the rear axle.

But regardless, u-joints or locker can't turn the wheels. If I hold the steering wheel steady and my tires still rapidly turn left and right then something is flexing or broken. I did and still do think it is the tie rod. The only reason that makes sense to me.
 

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U-joints don't control steering
im not sure whats causing this, but you may want to take the u joints into consideration

its true that they dont control steering, but they do control the power that is sent to a wheel on a pivot... therefore they can affect steering...

sudden impulses of power could cause some shimmy

some food for thought
 

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Whilst I appreciate the effort everyone has gone to to try and assist you with your issue, it's completely normal and nothing to be concerned about.

On some vehicles (G series nissan patrol) it's very exaggerated and looks very alarming.

Steve.
 
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