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1978 Dodge B-Van Steering Issue - Won't Return #748217
May 09th 2019 2:25 pm
May 09th 2019 2:25 pm
Joined: May 2019
Posts: 5
Milton, ON, Canada
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BrentC Offline OP
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BrentC  Offline OP
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Milton, ON, Canada
Hello all:

Hoping someone can help....1978 Dodge Shorty....steering wheel doesn't return (to straight ahead) after turning. Every component in the front end has been replaced with quality parts (incl steering box)...and has had a professional shop do the alignment. Still the same. Have to manually turn the wheel to go straight after every turn (van does have ps). Alignment shop says they went from 1 degree negative caster to 1 degree positive caster and that is all the adjustment they could get out of it. Camber, toe in, etc all set to spec. Very frustrating....they "think" that is just the way these Dodge vans were...can't believe that to be true. Just pulled the steering column out to make sure it wasn't the problem and all is good. No binding at all in any of the front end components.

Any feedback/info/advice would be greatly appreciated!

Re: 1978 Dodge B-Van Steering Issue - Won't Return [Re: BrentC] #748221
May 09th 2019 3:13 pm
May 09th 2019 3:13 pm
Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 48
Suffolk County NY
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DontComeKnocken Offline
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DontComeKnocken  Offline
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Suffolk County NY
Mine is an 82 without power steering and it returns somewhat straight. It does require some effort to get it back 100 percent straight after a turn but not as much as the initial turn in. Its tough to explain since I haven't really thought about it much but if all the steering parts are fresh and safe I would just drive it as is. Does it take the same effort to turn as it does to straighten the wheel after a turn?

Re: 1978 Dodge B-Van Steering Issue - Won't Return [Re: BrentC] #748222
May 09th 2019 3:24 pm
May 09th 2019 3:24 pm
Joined: May 2019
Posts: 5
Milton, ON, Canada
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BrentC Offline OP
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BrentC  Offline OP
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Milton, ON, Canada
Hello: yes it takes the same effort...is certainly not normal I am sure. I have owned 25+ vintage vehicles and never experienced this issue.

Thanks.

Re: 1978 Dodge B-Van Steering Issue - Won't Return [Re: BrentC] #748223
May 09th 2019 3:33 pm
May 09th 2019 3:33 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 11,871
Fircrest, WA
Reed Offline
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Reed  Offline
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Posts: 11,871
Fircrest, WA
Find a new shop. Any shop that says "that's just the way it is" doesn't know what they are talking about and doesn't want to be bothered to do the job right.

The alignment should force the wheels to return to roughly straight ahead after the turn. You normally have to give the wheel a little turn back towards straight but every old car, truck, and van I have owned has had power steering and all of them, Dodge vans included, returned the wheels to straight when properly aligned.

It is possible that the steering gearbox has a faulty pressure valve which is keeping the wheels from returning straight or ismaking it difficult for the wheels to turn left an right.

Is it hard to turn the wheels left or right? Are the pressure and return lines hooked up correctly to the power steering pump? How hard is it to turn the wheels let and right with the front end jacked up and both wheels off the ground?

A factory service manual is the most important and vauable tool you can purchase for your van. Here is one for a good price: CLICK ME

Last edited by Reed; May 09th 2019 3:35 pm.

Windows- they're what make a van worth owning!
Re: 1978 Dodge B-Van Steering Issue - Won't Return [Re: BrentC] #748224
May 09th 2019 3:46 pm
May 09th 2019 3:46 pm
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Posts: 5
Milton, ON, Canada
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BrentC Offline OP
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Milton, ON, Canada
Hello: Bought the manual...thanks for the tip. New steering box, lines are correct, not hard to turn left or right....just won't return!

Re: 1978 Dodge B-Van Steering Issue - Won't Return [Re: BrentC] #748225
May 09th 2019 4:08 pm
May 09th 2019 4:08 pm
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 141
Portland, OR
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Deathorvictory Offline
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Deathorvictory  Offline
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Portland, OR
I had a Chevy van that had the front end rebuilt with "quality components" and the front end never returned to center on its own after that. Ball joints, tie rods etc seems to be very stiff and despite grease, it never improved.

May want to have someone, or yourself, double check the torque on those, grease them and see if anything like that helps. If you jack the front up and the steering takes effort, you'll never get it back to center, atleast from my experience.

Was told "it'll break in".....never happened.


1979 Dodge B200 Shorty
Re: 1978 Dodge B-Van Steering Issue - Won't Return [Re: BrentC] #748226
May 09th 2019 4:38 pm
May 09th 2019 4:38 pm
Joined: May 2019
Posts: 5
Milton, ON, Canada
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BrentC Offline OP
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Milton, ON, Canada
Hello: thanks....I should clarify that it did the exact same thing with the worn out components before....and I have known the shop doing the front end work for 30 years so I trust his workmanship.

Re: 1978 Dodge B-Van Steering Issue - Won't Return [Re: BrentC] #748227
May 09th 2019 5:02 pm
May 09th 2019 5:02 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 11,871
Fircrest, WA
Reed Offline
Maniac
Reed  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 11,871
Fircrest, WA
I don't trust his workmanship if he is telling you "that's just the way it is." He is wrong. There is a problem somewhere and he just doesn't want to take the time to find it.

Did it do this before the steering gearbox was replaced? Does it make any clunking or popping noes when you turn the wheels? Have you checked if the frame has cracked by the steering gearbox mount?

I would take it to a different alignment shop that knows how to work on old Dodge van suspensions. You should be able to get much more adjustment than 2 degrees of caster.

What are the dimensions of your front rims and tires? Are you running super wide front rims, like 10 or more inches wide?


Windows- they're what make a van worth owning!

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