Hi, I have a 2005 extended and I feel the steering is a bit loose/understeers/a bit slow response, it has 207K, I wonder if it might be the tie rod end ball joints wearing out? anyone else experience this? thanks for any replies.
While wear and "stiction" can cause slow or stiff response in steering and especially turn-recovery - that isn't the whole ball of wax.
Understeer usually denotes that something is seriously resisting efforts to make it point in the correct direction when you ask the vehicle to go around a turn.
It may be one or both wheels failing to respond - or it could be a lot of other things too.....
In a not-in-sequence observation, you could have the following:
IN the 'looseness' category --->
Bad rack and pinion bushings (the ones that hold the rack to the frame)
Worn out tie rod ends - either end and that means the inners and/or outers
Fractured/missing/metal-to-metal control arm bushings
Bad ball joints - usually the weight bearing ones on the bottom, that are all but frozen solid for lack of lubrication or salt/water/dirt intrusion from bad boots.
IN the "stiffness" category --->
Insufficient power steering assist via the worn out pump or rack internal servo.
Incorrect PS fluid (10/40 or 90 wt and I've seen brake fluid in the PS pump cause a lot of damage too)
The PS pump relief valve is constantly bypassing (there should be a buzzing or humming noise for this to be present though).
Annular seals on the steering assist servo are worn out and not performing the boost you need to get the wheels to turn in the directions you want.
Stiff, unlubricated or seriously contaminated ball joints - usually the weight bearing ones are the biggest culprit (the lowers).
I have experienced struts that don't want to pivot too - this bears looking into!
Bent linkage or bad alignment cause by a bad control arm bushing (or two - or three - or all of them)
Accident damage to any suspension parts that bear no real weight but are subject to side-thrust loads.
Since you state that the vehicle is sluggish and understeers - this could be a major alignment trouble!
On a "Really 'Out There' " type of internet diagnosis --->
You could have two flat tires - OK not very likely and I hope not so anyway ---> but I've had customers complain when all along they had 6lbs of air in their tires and of course the vehicle drove like it was in wet sand all the time!
I have never actually had a PS hose cause any understeer or sluggishness in the steering response - so I thoroughly dismiss that as a problem.
Ya know - steering geometry is critical here. I have the EXT version of a TB and that it uses the same linkage as the shorter wheelbased vehicles, creates a certain amount of understeer quality too. I know it's just because of the longer vehicle, but you'd think GM would have different ratios for the tierods to help compensate.
It's liveable for me as I know what's involved.... however, I cannot help feeling that I have to actually turn the steering wheel further than I would to make the same turn in any of my other vehicles.
worn ballpoints or loose lower control arm bushings, worn upper control arm bushings. worn support bracket to frame bushings. thats typically your best bet. take a pry bar and check each one individually on each side.
I did, and could not believe the play that there was. I bought mevotech lower control arms with bracket and ballpoint. not yet installed.
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