when in 4WD my front end begins to wander as if the tires have a mind of there own, almost like there is alot of play in the front end. what could cause that?

Asked by May 09, 2014 at 02:02 PM about the Chevrolet S-10

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

it only happens when the front end has torque, so only in 4WD, when in 2WD i never have
this problem. my 4WD works i just cant go any faster than 5 MPH or ill lose control. i
suspect there is to much play in the steering somewhere but I don't know where to look.
its an 1989 S10 pickup

4 Answers

90,615

Has it always done this or is this a new problem? There a number of things that can cause your problem, tie rod ends are the most common failure, idler arms, sector shaft but most of these you will notice just in 2 WD also it will want to wander, rut chase and the steering wheel will have a lot of movement before it actually starts to turn the rig. I am suspicious of the front end gearing not matching the rear ends, too low and it will feel like the front brakes are on when in 4WD, too high and it will feel like something is trying to pull the front end out from under the truck. HTH

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

It has done this ever sense I had the truck but the previous owner said it was a new problem. It does feel like the front end is trying to escape because it'll jerk really hard from left to right.

90,615

I would defentely check the ratio front to rear. Makes me think maybe the rear end was replaced by the previous owner.

I was a master mechanic for over 17 years before I left the business. My son has a 1991 s10 blazer. I checked the front end and found excessive play in the idler arm. You can move the right or left front tire side to side over 4" and either side is not affected. That is unacceptable and causes tire cupping. I told him to replace it without looking at the actual structure of the part itself. After he replaced it the same sloppy conditions were present. With my bad back I looked at the replacement part to find the side of the idler arm that attaches to the frame is the ball type causing the slop. Obviously a manufacturer flaw in the suspension. In conclusion there is not a damn thing you can do about it. You are not crazy and its just not normal. I am now in the hunt for an old school idler arm with a bolt holding the frame side of the idler arm that only allows left to right rotation and eliminates the up and down play in the steering system that is causing tire wear on the right side. If any one else has an answer or if I have been out of the business too long and the front wheels are now suppose to be able to not move in unison please let me know. being a GM certified mechanic I am embarrassed I did not notice this on the line. But then again that is what flat rate does to a tech. LOL

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