Loose steering - bad center link?

Alien Aug 5, 2018

  1. Alien

    Alien Test Drive

    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    Gilbert AZ
    looking for opinions on whether I have a bad center link. I've had play in my steering wheel ever since I bought my X, and an in jacking it up and having someone turn the wheel back and forth I keep coming back to the center link. I could feel a slight clunk and hear one too. And it just doesn't look right. ere are a couple pics. Shouldn't they look the same on both sides?

    Please let me know what you think. Thanks.

    Passenger
    Passenger.jpg

    Driver
    Driver.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Gen X

    Gen X Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    Ashburn, VA
    I've got the same issue at the moment. I've got a little drift while driving as well. I'm going to replace my center link and idler arm. I'm just patiently waiting for the Calmini idler arm brace to come. When looking at the center link I can clearly see it is worn, same with the idler arm. Not very expensive parts so just going to replace and strengthen with the IAB. Some day the IAB will show up. My first time ordering from Calmini and was hoping I wouldn't be adding to the complaints on delays. I ordered about a month ago and have called twice, both times they said they had production delays.
     
  3. Alien

    Alien Test Drive

    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    Gilbert AZ
    Ok, in looking at more pics of center links, I noticed that the differences in the mounting points between driver and passenger sides are normal so I'm not quite sure what the issue is. with the front tires off the ground i get no play when moving them at 12 and 6 so ball joints seem good, but I get a little when moving at 3 and 9. I can't see any obvious signs of wear anywhere and I can't feel any movement by trying to shake anything.

    One thing I did notice is when the tires were off the ground, I would grab the left one when they were positioned for a left turn and make them turn to the right, and about the time they were straight on they would stick like they caught on something. Same thing would happen if I grabbed the right tire and pushed them from a right turn over to a left turn. If I pulled them back to their starting position they wouldn't stick.

    I can also feel something similar in the steering wheel when I move it back and forth slowly within the range of play it has. I did tighten the gear box up a little, could that be causing the catch?

    Any other thoughts? Should I be looking at the idler arm? The tie rods seem fine, and really seems to be somewhere between them.


    @Gen X
    I hope your IAB shows up soon. Let me know how you like it.
     
  4. harryron

    harryron Suspension Lift Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,769
    Location:
    ohio
    @Rhaas has a calmini idler arm brace that he is trying to sell.
     
  5. harryron

    harryron Suspension Lift Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,769
    Location:
    ohio
    If your getting play at 3 and 9 that tells me it's the wheel bearings. It would not hurt to replace the idler are especially it it is the stock one; they are the week point in the 1st gens steering. I would also suggest getting an idler arm brace cause it will help save some wear and tear on the idler arm.
     
  6. Gen X

    Gen X Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    Ashburn, VA
    Thanks @harryron, PM sent to @Rhaas.
     
  7. Gen X

    Gen X Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    Ashburn, VA
    I had this issue too on driver side. Originally I thought I would need to replace all the bearings. However, for giggles, I tried removing, repacking, and tightening everything up first while I was installing my manual locking hubs. Took care of the problem, maybe give it a try.
     
  8. Alien

    Alien Test Drive

    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    Gilbert AZ
    Thanks, but in looking everything over again any sloppiness is coming from the steering box. When I push the tires back and forth by hand, I can see and hear it coming from there. There is a definite delay between when I start push the tires to when the steering column reacts, and I could hear it when it did. I can't force any play from any of the linkage. I tightened the box as far as it would go and there was no real change, so I'm pretty sure the box is going. Then I backed it off 1/4 turn, put everything back together, and it drives just like it did before.

    Looks like I have a new chore this fall when it cools off.
     
  9. granitex

    granitex Skid Plates Founding Member

    Messages:
    1,391
    Location:
    Columbus OH
    a bad centerlink is a very common, and a lot of the time it is not really noticeable when the tires are off the ground. an IAB is always a good thing to look at, they are cheap insurance against bending an adjuster when they get stuck.

    you can always swap out the idler arm for a gutted steering box to gain strength in that way.

    A full on replacement HD steering is the end game. I ran a Calmini setup for years before doing a solid front axle, and was very glad that I did.
     

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