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    Raising quality animals as close to nature as possible, Fly fishing, golf, and walking, but mostly my lovely wife.

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  1. Private message on it's way... I have a super secret squirrel fishing location for you!
  2. I did some looking, and discovered I have misspoken about the upgrades. The pitman arm is stock, The track bar conversion kit, is simply some bracketing which allows the installation of the gen 3 track bar. The geometry is not changed, simply the diameter of the track bar and bushings on both sides. I was able to get the alignment report following the steering upgrade. The shop increased the caster on one side to 'minimize' the right hand drift, which is apparently the most current, albeit incorrect procedure. He was then ready to install off-set ball joints to fix the camber differential. Maybe I am way off, but it seems more prudent to just set the caster as specified by Dodge alignment procedures, and be done with it. I went ahead and set the caster full forward (max negative caster), and set the total toe right at 5/32", at the outer most edge of the rim (bounced the front end several times to get it there). I found numerous references regarding toe-in between ⅛" & ¼", this may need to be revisited, once I sit down and actually calculate what it should be at the rim edge. Test drive went perfect, or at least as expected. The Highways here have quite a bit of camber to reduce freeze damage in the winter, when driving down the middle, she held very true. I will be taking a 500 mile trip in the next few days, have mic'd my tread so it will be interesting to see how things go. Took her up to 80 MPH, no vibration or shimmy, steering is very tight and return to zero is as expected. Acceleration proved just as stable. It seems, after all of this, the truck was not properly adjusted to begin with (twice). Once everything was brought to where it should be, and in accordance with the design, all is well (go figure). I guess the big lesson here, and there are many, is to understand what shops are doing to your vehicle, If you don't understand, ASK MOSES!! Now to bigger and better things.. runoff is down, caddis are hatching, time to get into the greatest and least populated fly fishing streams in the world!
  3. Thank You moses, am learning as I go. I do my best to take care of my truck, but she does have some age to her. Many dings and nicks, but a good friend tells me that gives her character. Mechanically I believe her to be quite sound though and we have taken great care to ensure her fluids are well maintained and joints well lubricated. This is actually the first truck I ever bought, and I have told many, I will probably be buried in it (although I suspect my wife may have a different idea about that). I did check the wheel bearings (per one of your other posts). There is an absolute minute amount of movement on the passenger side, maybe 1/32" If I really muscle the pull/push I can make a slight sound, but I would not consider it to indicate trouble (this will be further investigated though). The driver side has no movement. I am not certain why, but I am really hesitant to add off set ball joints (probably because I spent $50 each for the new ones I have now), but it seems to me that it simply adds an additional variable that must be factored to arrive at a well calculated outcome. They should not be needed unless something is wrong, and this truck has never had anything abrupt happen to either axle or their supporting members. I have placed wrenches and pryers on every gap, bolt, bar, rod, etc. that I can find. Had the wife turn the wheels under power, and manually. Surprisingly, even with the worn control arm bushings, everything looked great. Operation was smooth, no pops or grunts, not even a whine from the power steering. The control arms will be in tomorrow, luckily I spent the better part of the last 30 years as a carpenter so I am going to get out my tape measure. I guess I am young enough to appreciate computers, but old enough to not trust them. There is almost nothing in the world that can not be solved with a notebook, calculator, pencil and a tape measure, at least not in my world! The front tires are still on the truck, It has been in the driveway since I got back from the processors. I have good tires on the back which will be rotated with the control arm installation. I am going to get some measurements when they are all off, seemingly removes a great deal of obstacles in the measurement process. Once I get the control arms replaced, my caster and toe in set, and tires rotated, I will follow up. The new control arm bushings should reveal any other weaknesses in the system, at least that is what I am counting on. BTW, is ¼" total toe a good place to start? manual states 1*, I can get out a protractor, but I really like my tape measure better... Thanks Again sir, you really have a great site!
  4. I am in a bit of a conundrum, have read numerous posts (including yours) and thought maybe you might be able to help, if you have time. I have an elementary knowledge of alignment and components, am ok with a wrench, understand geometry completely (Diamond method you presented makes perfect sense to me), but am limited with shop and tools. Although, I have gotten my tractor back to the shop with a screw driver and a vice grip when the ball joint broke in the field, but that is a different story. A bit of history on my truck. Original owner, 158k miles, New XFR 0* ball joints, new tie rod ends, newer DSS steering stabilizer (source automotive), New gen 3 track bar upgrade w/ pitman arm (source Automotive). There are no other non-OEM components, other than the air filter, and an amsoil bypass oil filter system. Power steering is right on the money, no chatter, whining or vibration in the steering column when turning. This truck has NEVER worn tires uneven. The tires are commercial, e rated, standard stock size tires. Have used the same brand tires since the original OEM's were worn out. I generally get 25k to 35k out of a set of tires, but I never let them get down to the indicators, I live in snow and ice country. This truck has been used as general duty. Occasional (less than 10% of total milage) gooseneck, 5th wheel, bumper pull trailers, or bed loads; ALWAYS below recommended maximum weights, verified by total and axle weights at the co-op or WHP stations. Now the problem. I installed the track bar and pitman arm upgrade when the OEM track bar bushings wore out. I had a local shop replace the ball joints and tie rod ends as they were worn as well, and they sent it to an alignment shop. When I got the truck back it drifted (not a real pull, but not entirely correct, and definitely more than before the work was done) to the right, even on a flat surface. I was told that the only way it could be fixed was to change out the upper ball joints with offsets and it was as close as it was going to get. Understanding geometry, but not the components involved, this seemed awkwardly incorrect. Seemingly, if the geometry was initially correct, and the worn components were replaced, it should return to the original OEM geometric orientation. Or at least my level of logic and understanding led me to believe that. Unfortunately, I allowed the drift to continue thinking the alignment shop had at least produced an acceptable balance in the system and the drift to the right was just road camber or the the typical performance of a truck getting a bit longer in the tooth. Additionally, the alignment spec sheet did not make it to the repair shop from the alignment shop so I have no idea what he did, or more accurately, what the results of his alignment produced. Eventually, the right side of the passenger tire soon began to show wear, seemingly a camber issue based on my understanding. I took the truck to an alignment shop in Denver, which seemed to make the pull lessen a bit. They said they would email me the alignment report. Fast forward a few weeks to yesterday. I loaded some steers onto a stock trailer to take to market, about a 100 mile round trip, there was a heavy wind, which I thought was causing an significant increase in the pull to the right. However, when I removed the trailer, the pull did not lessen and now there is wear on the indside of the drivers side tire. I'm not certain if it matters, but while backing the trailer up to the chute (uphill) to unload the steer's, the back tires chattered quite excessively. To the point that I had to engage 4WD which helped back up, but did not really reduce the chatter. in addition, there is also now a bit of a low frequency vibration at highway speed. The steering wheel is now at 45*left when driving as would be expected, but the steering remains tight, and the truck does not wander. When I let the steering wheel go, the truck goes right immediately. I called the Alignment shop in Denver today and had them email me the report, and there is no Caster, Toe, Cross Caster, Cross Camber, Total Toe for the front, and no thrust angle for the rear, and all the 'actual' and 'before' values that are listed are all the same, so I have no reference data upon which I am able to at least begin a diagnosis. I can email you the report if it might help. I know there is no magic bullet, but having been laid off in october, things are a bit tight financially. I know I have to get an alignment, but my only option here in Wyoming is the guy who said it could not be done without new offset ball joints. I would like to have a better understanding, or at least have a bit of diagnosis prior to going to an alignment or frame shop. Now the question (finally) - I have not yet replaced my control arm bushings, but have checked them and they seem loose. Is it possible, or probable that the upgrades to the rest of the system, and old control arm bushings have caused the increased right pull and tire wear experienced when the stock trailer was hooked up? Are there any other components you feel may be causing this particular issue? Are there any questions I should be asking alignment shops to 'test' their knowledge? Any advice or reference you may be able to provide would be greatly appreciated. Read full message
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