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Old 09-02-2008, 12:17 AM   #1
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Default Need some help. Safety issue with work truck.

Our company trucks are all 1986, 87, and 88 GMC Sierras. Lets just say they have seen better days, but for us they do the job and don't cost a thing. Recently one of the trucks has developed a horrid steering problem. The truck will pull the ******* wheel from your hands and go whatever direction it wants. Sometimes it locks straight and you need to pull with all your might to make it turn. It comes and goes, but happens at least a dozen times a day.

We just replaced the steering box on Friday and its still just as bad. I have check everything visually and nothing is loose. Power steering fluid is topped off and isn't disappearing. I have been searching on google for the past hour and people recommend replacing the steering box. What would you guys suggest. I really have no time to be wrenching on the trucks, but **** me its bad. I seriously feel like I might die at any point while driving the truck. And sometimes there 4 of us packed in.

The job is hard enough, driving these bullshit trucks is just a joke. My dads business partner/mechanic could give a **** less. I have the go ahead to fix the truck, I'm just looking for some ideas. I pray I don't have to take it tomorrow.....I usually get fucked with it.

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Old 09-02-2008, 12:28 AM   #2
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There's a locking mechanism in the steering column. It locks the wheel when the key is in the off position. If the wheel is locking on you, it's the lock.
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Old 09-02-2008, 12:35 AM   #3
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There's a locking mechanism in the steering column. It locks the wheel when the key is in the off position. If the wheel is locking on you, it's the lock.
No.....nothing like that.

Say your going to a 4 way intersection and you are turning right. You slow down to make the turn, but when you turn go to turn the wheel, the ******* thing is fighting you. Like as if the wheel is already turned as far as it can go. You then need to yank on it to make the turn. I almost hit a guy head on last Thursday and this is exactly what the truck did.

It wont do it on every turn, nor will it have a mind of its own all the time. Its random and brutal when it happens. I'm always tense waiting for it to happen.

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Old 09-02-2008, 12:43 AM   #4
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So if you are going straight will it literally turn on it's own? As in you have to firmly hold the wheel straight or it may decide to turn on its own?

In your above example are you saying the wheel decided to lock on you when you tried to turn right?
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Old 09-02-2008, 12:55 AM   #5
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So if you are going straight will it literally turn on it's own? As in you have to firmly hold the wheel straight or it may decide to turn on its own?

In your above example are you saying the wheel decided to lock on you when you tried to turn right?
Yes. If I'm going straight down the road it will wander from left to right. Even if I hold the wheel tight it will pull. I just have to be quick enough to counter steer to avoid hitting anything.

Think of when you are driving something with P/S and you have the wheel turned all the way to the right. How it'll stop but almost give a little bounce in the wheel. It will do that to me when I am turning the wheels from straight toward the right. I would say like its delayed, but the wheel wont budge until you really ******* put your weight into it. Nothing itself is locked, it just has that feeling. Also....once the turn is made and you turn the wheel back to the left to straighten out, 9 times out of ten it then pulls hardcore to the left. This is usually followed by a minute of wandering all over the place and me yelling jesus christ out the window.

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Old 09-02-2008, 01:02 AM   #6
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Sounds like perhaps you have air in the system. TO properly bleed it, fill the reservior (read: DO NOT OVERFILL) and turn the wheel from left to right as much as you can WITHOUT hitting the locks. Do that several times and then check the fluid. If that doesn't fix it I'm gonna say Steering box. Where did the replacement box come from?
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Old 09-02-2008, 01:04 AM   #7
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Oh, and what kind of power steering fluid did you use? I know you looked it up in the book. A lot of reserviors have the thing printed on them "POWER STEERING FLUID ONLY". Funny thing is, a lot of them don't use power steering fluid, but rather automatic transmission fluid, like Dextron III. Wrong fluid will really mess it up and make everything leak and go crazy.

Google what kind of fluid it takes. We may have epicness coming soon....
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Old 09-02-2008, 01:08 AM   #8
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Google shows it takes ATF, dextron III. What did you put in it?
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Old 09-02-2008, 01:22 AM   #9
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Sounds like perhaps you have air in the system. TO properly bleed it, fill the reservior (read: DO NOT OVERFILL) and turn the wheel from left to right as much as you can WITHOUT hitting the locks. Do that several times and then check the fluid. If that doesn't fix it I'm gonna say Steering box. Where did the replacement box come from?
After the new steering box went in I topped off the reservoir and bled it just as you mentioned above. The replacement box came from one of the local auto parts stores.

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Oh, and what kind of power steering fluid did you use? I know you looked it up in the book. A lot of reserviors have the thing printed on them "POWER STEERING FLUID ONLY". Funny thing is, a lot of them don't use power steering fluid, but rather automatic transmission fluid, like Dextron III. Wrong fluid will really mess it up and make everything leak and go crazy.

Google what kind of fluid it takes. We may have epicness coming soon....
I used regular Gunk P/S fluid. That's what we have used in the trucks for as long as I can remember. I've heard about that before too, the whole ATF fluid for P/S.

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Google shows it takes ATF, dextron III. What did you put in it?
Hmmmm. I honestly cant imagine this is the problem. Only reason I say this is because for the 5 years I've been working on the trucks....I've used P/S fluid. And for the past 40 years the mechanic (Bones) has been using the same thing and this problem has never happened.

I'm wondering about the air in the system. If there is anyway even after bleeding it that its possible it has air in it. I should also mention, my not so mechanically inclined brother (that thinks he's a mechanic) told me on Saturday that he put new tie rod ends in awhile back. I can only wonder if he did something to cause this.

I appreciate all the back and forth Pat.

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Old 09-02-2008, 01:45 AM   #10
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something could be binding up in the front suspension. such as the tie rods. doesn't matter if you use P/S or ATF fluid, they're practically the same thing. its almost like actually paying for the oil you put in your chainsaw.
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Old 09-02-2008, 01:48 AM   #11
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what type of steering system do those have? sounds like a bad pitman arm/kingpin/absorber or a combination. my dad's older repotruck had a problem like that. if you hit a bump just right, it would start violent shaking the whole truck and it wouldn't quit untill you came to a stop. it was damn scary.
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Old 09-02-2008, 09:00 AM   #12
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Well It does matter what kind of fluid you use. A lot of import cars will blow ever seal out of the steering rack if you put the wrong fluid in them. My 86 trooper blew the steering box seals in about 30 seconds of use after adding regular "power steering fluid" instead of ATF. But sure throw parts at it and report back.
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Old 09-02-2008, 10:51 AM   #13
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Your pump is cutting out. May be air in the system, or may just be a bad pump. What you're feeling (the pulling) is the system going manual on you - i.e. no pressure in the lines.

Replace the pump.
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Old 09-02-2008, 07:11 PM   #14
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power steering fluid is just atf without the red pigment added. so it doesn't matter.
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Old 09-02-2008, 08:49 PM   #15
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bryantaylor: I wanted to say that but was afraid of the flames, thanks for painting the target on yourself.

btw I too been racing hard while boosted all with a 1.6 diff, good luck to us both.
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Old 09-02-2008, 09:25 PM   #16
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Well since it doesn't matter which kind of fluid you use, since it's all the same, go dump one of those in your Honda and report back.
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Old 09-02-2008, 09:30 PM   #17
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Ps ftmfl!!!!
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Old 09-02-2008, 09:42 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curly View Post
something could be binding up in the front suspension. such as the tie rods. doesn't matter if you use P/S or ATF fluid, they're practically the same thing. its almost like actually paying for the oil you put in your chainsaw.
I checked everything this morning before the guys got in and greased the whole front end. I should mention it needed it. I also noticed the P/S belt was pretty loose, so I tightened that up. Other than that without putting a wrench on every single nut and bolt, everything else looks good.

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what type of steering system do those have? sounds like a bad pitman arm/kingpin/absorber or a combination. my dad's older repotruck had a problem like that. if you hit a bump just right, it would start violent shaking the whole truck and it wouldn't quit untill you came to a stop. it was damn scary.
This same truck about 2-3 years ago had a problem when you would hit the brakes and it would start bouncing. Sometimes going down hills the ******* truck would get so much air I would loose sight of the road. Picture 2 brazilian guys next to me with the look of death across their faces. Although I must say....this problem is equally bad, if not worse.

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Originally Posted by patsmx5 View Post
Well It does matter what kind of fluid you use. A lot of import cars will blow ever seal out of the steering rack if you put the wrong fluid in them. My 86 trooper blew the steering box seals in about 30 seconds of use after adding regular "power steering fluid" instead of ATF. But sure throw parts at it and report back.
The only other part I would "throw" at it would be a new P/S pump. And maybe try another steering box while I have it apart for safe measure. I get the idea of diagnosing a problem bro. But when you need the trucks everyday, and have limited time to work on them, and not to mention the safety issue, sometimes throwing parts at it isn't such a bad thing. Trucks are going on 20 years old, probably over 1 million miles all together. They could use some new parts!

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Your pump is cutting out. May be air in the system, or may just be a bad pump. What you're feeling (the pulling) is the system going manual on you - i.e. no pressure in the lines.

Replace the pump.
This is what I thought was the problem, but the boss ruled me out and went for the steering box. I will more than likely swap pumps this week, hopefully. Thanks for the advice man, I really hope this will end the problem.

I'm online now on howstuffworks.com and justanswer.com trying to learn more and get some more quick answers by morning. I will say, I drove the truck for about 1 hour today and it had minimal pulling. It felt to me like the truck was more off balance when braking today. Thankfully no wheel pulling out of my hand to steer me into a telephone pole day today.

On a side note. We got to the shop this morning and while unloading one of the trucks, we noticed about 40 of our corners and 40 of our W's were missing. ************* robbed us!





These are what we use to form up corners when setting the foundation. One of the last houses we did we used every single corner we had, plus hinged corners to finish the job. Basically, we really need them both to set walls.

******* low lives. Come to our shop and steal what we use to make a living. I swear to christ I would need god to enter my body if I caught someone at our shop red handed. With the price of aluminum going up these **** faced losers are going to become a problem. Now we might be getting some stuff done to the shop to help with the situation. Granted the cops are on it and we are tight with all the surrounding scrap yards, plus the insurance will reimburse us for what we lost.....but **** me. Its one thing to rip of a best buy....**** the big guy if you want. But stay the **** away from us small jobers cause we might be family owned.....and we might be crazy.

Whats funny is the W's and corners weigh nothing so they are easy to grab. But when you compare the total weight they got from this yank, its maybe equal to a couple 3'x8' forms. ******* pussies probably couldn't lift the forms and had to take only what they could lift. The also got the welding guy next door to us. The took 800' of his leads. On Labor day none the less.....

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Old 09-02-2008, 10:02 PM   #19
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Thieves. Kill them all.
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Old 09-03-2008, 12:01 AM   #20
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If the belt was loose, and tightening helped, but didn't cure the problem, it's certainly the pump. As it gets to one point, it's binding, and then slipping, and you're losing the power/pressure for a sec. Could be something like needing bearings, but I couldn't say without seeing it. A junkyard should have plenty of pumps for pretty cheap. Before you buy one, spin it by hand. There should be no rough spots, or any hint of binding.

And +1 on thieves sucking.
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