Steered Strong But Wrong
Q I have a Chevy K10 that has a 14-bolt rear, a Dana 60 front, and 38x12.5x15 TSLs and uses Off Road Design’s crossover steering kit. Last year I was wheeling and broke a 10-bolt stub shaft in a twisty bog. Just before it broke I noticed I had absolutely no left-hand steering. Much reading led me to believe crossover steering would help by correcting the poor geometry of the stock GM steering system. After getting the 1-ton upgrade done, my power steering pump quickly gave up the ghost, screaming and puking fluid everywhere, which wasn’t too surprising to me; it had a hell of a hard life. I changed that out for a new one, and now it seems the truck has a left turn issue even sitting still! The truck needs to be rolling a little to steer left. I never had this issue with the 10-bolt/stock draglink configuration. All the steering components have been changed—2WD steering box, pitman arm, draglink, steering arm, axle—and I’m hoping I don’t need to go hydro-assist. I was really hoping the crossover steering setup would eliminate the loss of directional steering in trail twist situations, as well as be more mechanically advantageous against the big tires. There does seem to be a slight popping sound when steering, even when not rolling. Could bad kingpin bushings be causing the steering to bind in one direction or the other? Any suggestions you can throw my way would be greatly appreciated.
A I ran your problem by the crew at Offroad Design (www.offroaddesign.com) and got the following answer from S. Watson:
“Crossover steering typically does all he’s asking for. I’d start by putting it on jackstands and cycling everything to make sure it moves where it’s supposed to and everything is centered when it’s supposed to be. If it’s not steering when all that checks out on stands, it’s a power problem.
“One thing that could be rearing its head here is the fact that we trade a little bit of power for turning radius with our crossover system. When the truck is sitting on stands, it will likely overtravel the steering stops by a small amount each way. When it’s sitting on the ground though, that extra throw helps compensate for the springs moving side-to-side and lets you hit the steering stops most of the time. The downside to this range of motion is that you lose some power compared to a system that won’t hit the stops all the time.
“Not turning left is weird and makes me wonder if things are adjusted right, but that should be taken care of in step 1 above.
“38s on a fullsize in tight terrain definitely falls into the category of ‘needs hydro assist’ for us, and that seems to solve all the power problems. Things like wheel backspacing can add steering drag too. For example, a skinny 38/wheel combo can steer much easier than a fat 38 on a small backspace wheel.
“Bad kingpin bushings/springs can be making a popping noise but probably won’t add any extra drag. Another place to look for the popping noise is in the frame crossmembers. Once the rivets get a little loose they let stuff move around. At that point it’s time to start bolting on better crossmembers and bracing and welding up some of the factory stuff to stiffen it up.”
Q I have a ’95 Chevy K2500 with a 14-bolt rear, skidplates, a Warn winch, and an NV4500. I’m trying to build the truck on a budget and would like to do a mild lift to fit tires in the 33-inch range. I have looked and looked for leveling kits and 2- to 3-inch suspension kits, but all I can come up with are lifts for half-tons. I have seen the 4- to 6-inch suspension lifts, but they are out of my budget. Is there a 2- to 3-inch suspension lift available for my truck? What are some different methods to lifting ifs on a budget?
A Torsion bar keys (PN KG09107) from Daystar (www.daystarweb.com) will help raise your truck enough for 32-inch tires. However, your truck is also a prime candidate for a Performance Accessories (www.performanceaccessories.com) 2-inch body lift, as it will help you clear 32-inch-tall tires without modifying your suspension at all and at a reasonable price. I usually recommend a suspension lift over a body lift, but if money is a concern then a body lift may be your best option. Of course, if you combine the two you should have little problem clearing 33s with minor bumper trimming