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Old 02-11-2011   #1
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Red face Power steering problem?

Over the last week or so, I have noticed that my truck is hard to steer. The steering wheel doesn't center itself going around a corner anymore. It almost feels like driving with 2 flat tires. I do not believe that my front hubs are locked in, haven't checked yet though. Power steering fluid is just above the min line when cold and just below the max line when hot. I've done some searching and found possible problems from the rack and pinion to a high pressure valve. I'm really at a loss here and am a little concerned about doing some expensive damage. I should add that the problem is worse when it is cold and seems to get little better as the truck warms up. Anybody have any ideas?
edit: the issue is intermittent

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Old 02-11-2011   #2
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Any noise? Like squealing or whining?

If your front hubs are locked and you are driving on dry pavement, you will definitely experience sluggish steering and what feels like flat tires.
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Old 02-11-2011   #3
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No noise that I can hear (40 series flow on the truck). What is the easiest way to see of the hubs are locked? I've punched the throttle in the gravel parking lot at work and only the rear tires broke loose. I'm thinking I should be able to turn my front driveshaft with the truck on all fours, if the hubs are UNLOCKED? The truck goes 'into' 4 HI fine, no unusual noises or clunks. I haven't checked into the 4wd any further than that
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Old 02-12-2011   #4
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Jack the front end up and with the truck not running, see if you can rotate the CV's by hand. You should not be able to rotate them. Next, start your truck. The hubs should now be unlocked and able to rotate freely by hand. Now select 4wd-the hubs should lock again. Select back to 2wd and your hubs should unlock. When you turn your truck off, the hubs should lock again.
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Old 02-12-2011   #5
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Perfect, now I just have to find a dry spot to check it out. Its raining here today. Ill post up my findings. Thanks
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Old 02-12-2011   #6
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I donned my rubber ducky rain gear and braved the rain. With the truck running in 2wd I can turn both of the cv's by hand. Flip it into 4 hi and I can't turn either one, so I know my hubs are working properly. Would it be possible, since this is an intermittent issue that the solenoid could be fuggard? It is the older one without the shield
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Old 02-12-2011   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canadian_screw View Post
Would it be possible, since this is an intermittent issue that the solenoid could be fuggard? It is the older one without the shield
It's possible. The solenoids are not that expensive $30-$45 and its cheap insurance.
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Old 02-12-2011   #8
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Doubt it. There shouldn't be hardly any extra steering resistance with the hubs engaged.
I ran with mine engaged several hundred miles after I re-geared by unplugging the vacuum solenoid. No noticeable difference in driving habits. Don't forget that the rangers after 2000 and the explorers had live axles and you really couldn't feel a difference between the late and early rangers either.
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Old 02-12-2011   #9
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I'm thinking the next time the steering feels really stiff, I'm gunna pull over and see if the hubs are locked
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Old 02-12-2011   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
Doubt it. There shouldn't be hardly any extra steering resistance with the hubs engaged.
I ran with mine engaged several hundred miles after I re-geared by unplugging the vacuum solenoid. No noticeable difference in driving habits. Don't forget that the rangers after 2000 and the explorers had live axles and you really couldn't feel a difference between the late and early rangers either.
Hmmm... I noticed a difference in the steering between the f150 and my old 07. The ranger's steering was a little stiffer
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