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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, hoping someone can help shed some light on this little debacle.

So, in the spring, I discovered my steering rack was leaking badly. It still steered fine, nice and firm. But I knew the rack was going bad, so I got a used rack from a very low mileage 2012 Xterra from the local junk yard. I had my regular mechanic install it for me and all seemed well. However, when I get the truck to highway speeds, the steering feels kind of imprecise. Around town it feels fine, no different than before. But on the highway, it's a bit... loose almost.

Turning the wheel a few degrees in either direction is too easy. The direction change happens fine, but there's not enough feeling of resistance in the wheel. It's very slight, but it's there. I know the alignment is dead-on. I had the truck aligned when the new rack was installed. I also put in the LCA bushing spacers from PRG, as I was getting suspension knock on rough roads. Fixed the knock, didn't seem to help the steering much. Maybe a bit.

I also had a highway speed vibration in the tires, but I got new tires a little over a month ago. Seemed to mostly fix the vibrations, but didn't have much of an effect on the steering. I'm taking it back for another balance soon to try and alleviate the remainder of the vibration.

I'm disinclined to think it's the ball joints. Uppers are pretty new and the lowers don't seem to have any play in them. Maybe wheel bearing? But that seems unlikely. I thought the CVs or the front driveshaft/u-joints, or the front diff could be causing the vibe, but I've pretty much confirmed that is not the case when I blew a CV shaft wheeling and have been running without CVs the last few weeks. No CVs, no diff spinning. No diff spinning, no driveshaft spinning.

I'm thinking maybe I need to install some of PRG's Delrin rack bushings and that may help. But I can't be certain. I know the truck has a speed sensitive steering system, so maybe that needs to be reset? Another thing to note is I have a little over two years and many miles on my Radflos, so it's possible they are the culprit of the looseness. But I find that a bit hard to believe, seeing as the feeling started happening with the new rack as far as I can tell.

Anybody have any other ideas?
 

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I've been trying to fix this problem on mine for quite some time now...

I found that increasing the tire pressure in the fronts helps but does not eliminate the problem. Sweet spot is between 37-40psi, any lower and the wondering on the highway is very annoying.

I just changed my wheel bearings and it did help some, but the old ones were really bad.

I'm bummed to hear that the LCA spacers did not help as that was the next thing I was going to try.

Here is my plan of attack list to fix, if it doesn't work I'll keep going down the list:
1) LCA spacers
2) New tie rods + Alignment
3) Rack Bushings (Poly titan units, or Delrin)
4) New Rack
5) Some sort of steering damper setup
 

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You said you had the truck's alignment done after the rack was installed. That is what might have changed.
I would run as much positive caster within specs. Your low speed steering will be stiffer with more caster which you mentioned was to easy.
I always run about 5degrees negative camber also which helps with the truck wanting to drift.
Just a guess but might be the cheapest fix.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've been trying to fix this problem on mine for quite some time now...

I found that increasing the tire pressure in the fronts helps but does not eliminate the problem. Sweet spot is between 37-40psi, any lower and the wondering on the highway is very annoying.

I just changed my wheel bearings and it did help some, but the old ones were really bad.

I'm bummed to hear that the LCA spacers did not help as that was the next thing I was going to try.

Here is my plan of attack list to fix, if it doesn't work I'll keep going down the list:
1) LCA spacers
2) New tie rods + Alignment
3) Rack Bushings (Poly titan units, or Delrin)
4) New Rack
5) Some sort of steering damper setup
Well what do you know...

When my mechanic gave the truck back after he replaced the rack, he commented that my tire pressure seemed too high. My last set of 285 Generals wore fine, and I ran them at 42 PSI for the street. Using his recommendation, I went down to 35 PSI. I upped it to 42 yesterday evening and it's much better on the highway now. Not quite where it was, but a lot closer.

I totally forgot about that until I read your response yesterday afternoon. Thanks for jogging my memory!

I think my next course of action is the new Delrin bushings to firm it up.

I do plan to R&R the front bearings anyway. Truck just passed 180k, so it's one of those things I'd like to do for peace of mind now.

You said you had the truck's alignment done after the rack was installed. That is what might have changed.
I would run as much positive caster within specs. Your low speed steering will be stiffer with more caster which you mentioned was to easy.
I always run about 5degrees negative camber also which helps with the truck wanting to drift.
Just a guess but might be the cheapest fix.
Good information all around! I believe I had them run positive caster all the way to the edge of spec. Good tip on the camber too.

If the new bushings don't make it quite the way I want, I'll take it for an alignment and see if they can push the caster to the very edge and give me that 5 degrees of camber.
 

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I replaced my struts and springs myself. I knew I needed an alignment but I didn't do it right away. I had 2-3" of play in the steering wheel. When I bought new tires I had an alignment done too. I bought mt's. Play was gone, steering was super sensitive and I had to learn to drive my truck ruck all over again. Over 45 it started "wandering" something fierce. Long story short it was corrected by running 40psi.
 

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I'm fixing to start playing this game with a lift and some taller tires my own self. I have the 285/75/16 Falken Wildpeaks. Love the look on my truck but I gotta stop and figure out what PSI they are at and probably air down some. Does anyone know the mechanics of what sets off the TPMS sensors?
 
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