How to Troubleshoot Ford F250 Handling Problems

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A Ford F250 can present a host of handling issues. Bad or worn wheel bearings, ball joints and tie rod ends can all cause problems with steering and handling. While these are common causes, worn shocks can also cause handling problems. In order to know what the most likely problem is, you'll need to do some troubleshooting.

Things You'll Need

  • Floor jack
  • Jack up the front of the Ford using the front crossmember.

  • Grab the front wheels at the top and bottom. Attempt to shake the wheel in and out. While pushing in on the bottom of the wheel, pull out at the top of the wheel and vice versa. If the wheel moves, your wheel bearings are worn and need to be replaced.

  • Check the upper and lower ball joints. Behind the wheel, there are two ball joints. The joints are mounted in the upper and lower control arms. You'll need to check the rubber boot that protects the joints for damage, cracking or lubricant seepage. If the joints are damaged, you'll need to replace them.

  • Lower the Ford to the ground and turn the ignition key to the "II" position. Attempt to turn the steering wheel. Check for "slop" in the steering wheel. "Slop" is the amount of play or slack in the steering wheel before the wheels start turning from side to side. If there is any play in the steering wheel, this is an indication of worn tie rod ends that must be replaced.

  • Push down on the front bumper of the F250. You may need an assistant to help you. The vehicle's coil springs should compress, then expand before settling back down to their original position. The suspension should not bounce. If it does, you'll need to replace the shocks in the front. If it bounces in the rear, you'll need to replace the leaf springs.

References

  • Ford F-150, F-250, F-350, F-Super Duty, Bronco, Chassis Cab, Repair Manual 1987-1996; Jaffer A. Ahmad; 1997
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