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Old 08-26-2021, 02:36 PM   #1
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Default 87 S21 Loose Steering

Hello Everyone,


I have an '87 D21 that lost a castle nut on the passenger side outter tie rod end. When the tie rod end separated from the knuckle I was turning around so there was relatively no speed.


After getting it all put back together, I went to check to see what needed to be replaced and when I went to move the tire (with the driver side still on the ground) the tire moved probably inches. The steering wheel also moved, but the driver side didn't move much.


I did notice there was a significant amount of play in the idler arm, in guessing that's not normal. What else could cause this, I wouldn't think the steering wheel would turn unless both wheels were off the ground...
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Old 08-27-2021, 12:57 AM   #2
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You know, I would have thought that had something to do with the Center Link. It sounds like it isn't installed on one side.

But then I looked it up in the Service Manual, and I didn't even see a picture of it in the 4WD section.

Maybe you have a bad ball joint. ???

From the 1989 Service Manual:



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Old 08-27-2021, 01:59 AM   #3
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Joe, there's no center link in the suspension images...

I would check all steering, TREs, Centerlink, idler arm, and ball joints.
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Old 09-01-2021, 05:12 AM   #4
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The truck is 34 years old. It probably needs new everything…….ball joints, tie rods, center link, idler arm and bushings.
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Old 09-06-2021, 11:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillacdude1975 View Post
The truck is 34 years old. It probably needs new everything…….ball joints, tie rods, center link, idler arm and bushings.



I replaced the tie rod ends (inner and outer), ball joints, bushings, and idler arm about a year ago. I'll look into it all and see what I can find.
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Old 09-08-2021, 10:47 PM   #6
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El cheapo or wallet breaking parts?
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Old 10-06-2021, 04:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by cadillacdude1975 View Post
El cheapo or wallet breaking parts?
They were all Moog parts. I also replaced all of the bushings with Energy Suspension.

After investigating the whole thing further, I noticed that the center link rotates when I push on the wheel and lifts up. My research tells me this is the sign that it is bad. I ordered a new one from Napa (I know the HooHa ones from Grassroots are better). I don't offroad it anymore and it doesn't tow anything. It's used for casual driving and some hauling from time to time. It will be here this Friday, hopefully I can get it in next week before vacation.

Is there anything I should know before I endeavor on this? Does steering disconnect pretty easily? If it matters, it has been leaking power steering fluid for probably 18 years.
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Old 10-06-2021, 05:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daskuppler View Post
I ordered a new one from Napa (I know the HooHa ones from Grassroots are better). I don't offroad it anymore and it doesn't tow anything. It's used for casual driving and some hauling from time to time. It will be here this Friday, hopefully I can get it in next week before vacation.
The thing that kills the center links (except for Brian's) is the high tie rod angles created by torsion bar lift. It also kills the idler arms.


So, if you no longer off-road it, and if it is lifted, do yourself a huge favor and let it back down to stock suspension specs. All of that stuff will last MUCH longer, including the Energy Suspension bushings. (I learned over time that rubber lasts longer and doesn't squeak like urethane. )


If you DO want to keep it lifted (IF it is lifted), the HooHaa link is worth it, even on the street.
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Old 10-06-2021, 08:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reserector View Post
The thing that kills the center links (except for Brian's) is the high tie rod angles created by torsion bar lift. It also kills the idler arms.


So, if you no longer off-road it, and if it is lifted, do yourself a huge favor and let it back down to stock suspension specs. All of that stuff will last MUCH longer, including the Energy Suspension bushings. (I learned over time that rubber lasts longer and doesn't squeak like urethane. )


If you DO want to keep it lifted (IF it is lifted), the HooHaa link is worth it, even on the street.
To my knowledge it is not lifted ( I never did it and it looks to be stock height. Hopefully everything else is good once I get it apart. There is so much play with the bad center link I can't determine if the tie TREs are bad. The ball joints and wheel bearings feel fine though.
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Old 10-07-2021, 05:25 PM   #10
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At stock ride height, the CV axles will be pretty much level.
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