Symptoms of Defective Ford F-350 Drag Link
The drag link keeps your pickup truck's two front steering wheels in line. This part is usually situated and bolted to the tie rods, which are responsible for controlling each steering wheel's angle according to the direction your auto is travelling. Overtime, your drag link will show signs of defect, and you might even feel some wobbling when driving the Ford F-350. If you suspect your car's drag link to have already exceeded its service life, you'd better perform some troubleshooting. Listed below are just some of the common defects encountered with a Ford F-350 drag link and the reasons behind them.
Unusual vehicle wobbling
If you have noticed that your Ford F-350 wobbles when you are driving, then better prepare the jack and jack stands and inspect the drag link. The wobbling motion could be a result of a faulty drag link. Simply slide under the auto and inspect the drag link for any excessive play. Try to shake the part tightly and check for any signs of movement. If you find a hint of movement, then that may be the cause of your drag link defect.
Excessive play in the ball joints
Aside from the drag link being faulty, you might also find the ball joints on either side to be defective. You can inspect if the joints are intact by checking the rubber dust seal boots' condition. These parts should be tight and in good condition, meaning there are no clues of wearing or cracking. Like the drag link, you can shake the parts to observe signs of play.
Loss of steering control
Probably the most dangerous sign of a defective drag link is loss of steering control. Once you find this symptom on your auto, it is best to find a replacement first before driving again. To troubleshoot, you should check the drag link if it's already separated from the ball socket. If this is the case, then there is a high probability that the pickup truck will crash because of of lost control. Early corrosion can also occur if the steering system is not well maintained. Luckily, you can easily prevent early wear and tear by lubricating the drag links from time to time.
Tips in Keeping Your Ford F-350 Drag Link in Optimum Condition
Keeping your two front steering wheels in line is made possible with a well-conditioned drag link. With proper cleaning and maintenance, you can extend this part's service life for a longer reliability. But even with its durability, this steering part is still susceptible to wear and tear and may soon compromise your safety. So, to prevent premature drag link wear, follow these easy maintenance tips:
Keep the drag link regularly lubricated.
If you want the wheels to act responsively when you steer the heavy duty pickup truck, then you should schedule a regular greasing on the drag link every 500 hours. You see, experts advise drivers to grease a pickup truck's drag link at least twice a month, but a heavy duty truck like the Ford F-350 requires a smaller greasing interval because it is more commonly exposed to external elements and rougher terrain. A trunnion grease seems to work well with a hand-operated grease gun. It's a good thing that these tools and materials are readily available in your local auto supply stores.
Use a wire brush to remove rust from the drag link.
When left unmaintained for a long time, your car's drag link can host rust, crud, and other unwanted particles. This particle buildup can also be caused by improper maintenance. This can soon cause the premature wear of the steering part and may even lead to dangerous steering issues. Luckily, removing signs of corrosion can easily be addressed with the use of a wire brush. Simply wipe off signs of rusting, and make sure nothing is left behind. You see, this procedure should be performed at the earliest sign of corrosion. Same with lubrication, regular cleaning should be performed to extend the part's service life.
Re-align the drag link after installation or for maintenance.
To prevent severe tire-wear and wobble, it is necessary for you to perform a re-alignment of the drag link after it has been installed or detached for maintenance. As a general rule, if any steering components are serviced, then realignment must be performed to attain optimum gains. For toe-in and centering the steering wheel, you will only need basic tools like wrenches and jack stands.