N Sperlo MegaDork
April 9, 2011 1:18 p.m.

1995 F150 EB 302 stock: When I let go of the steering wheel It needs to continue to go straight. Its got a slight pull to the right more at a low speed (25mph) than at a high (70). Seems to be maybe ten degree pull. I have recently installed a tie rod end and now the brake light is on. It seems to reset almost every time the truck sits for a while. I'm unfamiliar with brake systems. Greased up the right (passenger) caliper last week and I'll go grease up the driver side today. What is the consensus? Brake or alignment issue? Maybe all I need is a professional to fix the alignment?

Any suggestions?

Toyman01 SuperDork
April 9, 2011 1:44 p.m.

If you replaced a tie rod it needs an alignment.

April 9, 2011 2:20 p.m.


John Brown SuperDork
April 9, 2011 2:24 p.m.


N Sperlo Reader
April 9, 2011 2:26 p.m.

Yargh. Ohh kayy. Ill let someone else touch it...

Edit: Also, thank you all.

  • Constant student.
Rustspecs13 Reader
April 9, 2011 5:55 p.m.

Cause of pulls in any car:

Tire pressure is 2-3-4psi+ lower on the side its pulling too. Brake caliper is binding and pulling to that side. Suspension is out of spec and needs to be fixed and or aligned.

You need at least an alignment since you did that tie rod. You still could have bad balljoints or something like that so make sure they check every thing in the front end.

Also with RWD cars/trucks and LSD's 1psi+ difference with a good LSD will push or pull the car one way or another. IE with my Kaaz 2 way it'll push left under acceleration, and pull right under braking. The pressure difference makes different effective tire sizes.


Rustspecs13 Reader
April 9, 2011 5:57 p.m.

Oh and I forgot the tires can cause a pull as well, but only in the front really. Like if its the same size/pressure/wear and all that, if a belt breaks or shifts in the tire, it can cause a pull as well. The easy way is dismounting and flipping the tire and that usually makes it not pull, but its still a bad tire and could fail any time. To test it you can swap the front tires/rims left to right and if it follows the tire, thats your problem.


neckromacr Reader
April 9, 2011 7:04 p.m.

Old joke from my old shop

Customer walks in "I just need an alignment"

Counter Guy "No, you need ball joints before we can do that."

"How do you know? It hasn't even gone in the shop yet."

"Sir, you just drove up in a Ford truck. It needs ball joints."

They're infamous for going bad, and really needed to be loaded to properly test them.

But as the others said, take it to get aligned. A shop worth its salt should verify your tire PSI, and then test drive after they're done to make sure the pull is gone. They might even do a cross rotation to help determine if the pull persists and it related to a radial pull from the tires

Radial Pull can develop on tires that have no other defects though. Its an effect where tires that have been run out of alignment get used to going a certain direction. So that even with a proper alignment they want to pull. A GRM away from replacing decent tires that have this is to do a regular front to back rotation since the tires on the rear solid axle probably won't have developed this "tire memory"

bravenrace SuperDork
April 9, 2011 8:25 p.m.

The tie rod end does require an alignment, but it won't make your truck pull. You either have a tire pull, a stuck caliper or something else dragging the right side, or the caster is off.

KATYB Reader
April 9, 2011 9:04 p.m.

or camber why people always forget that camber causes a pull is crazy. also the the op wouldnt be surprised to see u needing ball joints and or a alignment kit allowing camber/caster to be adjusted those trucks are notorious for sagging front springs.

neckromacr Reader
April 9, 2011 9:12 p.m.

Tie rods are the main adjuster for your toe angle on the front end. That can definitely cause a pull (not to mention tire wear) its the one angle that will cause the most perceptible problems.

Not to discount camber issues of caster (especially if theres an issue with cross caster angles), but toe in this case I would imagine be the main issue given all the factors given by the OP.

KATYB Reader
April 9, 2011 9:31 p.m.

ummm toe can not cause a pull! it causes steering wheel mis alignment but if vehicle was going str8t at whatever wheel angle and u let go of wheel it will continue to do so. youll wear your tires but it does not cause pull.

Rustspecs13 Reader
April 9, 2011 9:34 p.m.

Camber only causes a pull in FWD cars. We are talking about real cars and trucks here, that don't drive the wrong wheels :P Also In FWD cars castor split wont cause a pull, but in RWD cars camber cant and castor will.

Technically if toe is off on the side you replaced the tie rod on, going down the road will equalize the L/R difference and it should be normal. In real life, some cars are sensitive to that problem. Others aren't.

Oh and OP- really check your ball joints. Ive seen about 5-6 trucks separate ball joints in the last 2 years. 3-4 of them have been fords. Trucks eat ball joints alive.

Maybe GRM needs to have an article on car inspection? Honestly I wouldn't know much about it unless Id been trained to do it for my everyday job...


KATYB Reader
April 9, 2011 10:06 p.m.

ummmm sorry but camber will cause pull in rwd. my old f-150 as proof. and ummm caster not causing it in fwd. wrong and wrong again...... heck mazda even has a tsb for pull because of caster on the first gen 6. ive also seen camber cause a pull on mustangs.

neckromacr Reader
April 9, 2011 10:49 p.m.
KATYB wrote: ummm toe can not cause a pull! it causes steering wheel mis alignment but if vehicle was going str8t at whatever wheel angle and u let go of wheel it will continue to do so. youll wear your tires but it does not cause pull.

On a steering setup that has only one adjuster for total toe and another adjuster for steer ahead, you'd be right. But on suspension setups with individual adjusters for left and right, a toe out issue can cause a pull. While total toe will try to correct itself by cocking the steering wheel, if the one side is out far enough it will cause a pull.

KATYB Reader
April 9, 2011 11:00 p.m.

no. had to prove this to my instructor back when i was in school cause he didnt believe me. set toe on one wheel str8t ahead and one 4 degrees out and it still drove str8t as an arrow.

KATYB Reader
April 9, 2011 11:03 p.m.

however toe can be the enable to a pull by causing the caster to cause a cross camber issue to cause a pull.

aussiesmg SuperDork
April 9, 2011 11:06 p.m.

Katy is right, the wheels will still center themselves, so each side will be equally out of straight alignment in opposite directions so both will be toe out or both will be toe in. There will be no pulling effect on a flat road as a result of this.

N Sperlo Reader
April 11, 2011 10:48 a.m.

In that case I'll definitely share the result after a visit to the shop.

ReverendDexter SuperDork
April 11, 2011 10:58 a.m.

Is this a TTB truck?

If so, make sure the shop actually knows how to do an alignment with them. I'm not sure the particulars, but there's something about TTB front ends that requires some special knowledge to get them aligned properly.

bravenrace SuperDork
April 11, 2011 11:08 a.m.

Some of you people really need to learn some things before you spout off about them. I hate to feel the need to qualify myself, but I used to be a certified master technician, and I specialized in alignment and chassis. I've aligned literally hundreds of vehicles of all types.

Any alignment issue except toe can cause a pull if it's bad enough. But camber will NOT cause a pull in any vehicle where one side isn't grossly different than the other. In all the vehicles I've aligned, I've never had one with a camber pull.

There are differences in how FWD and RWD behave, but alignment theory is the same for both.

Toe can't cause a pull under any circumstances. Period.

Caster, brakes and tires are the main cause of a pull in 99% of the vehicles. Tire pull is easy to verify in that when you let go of the steering wheel it will jerk to the side it's pulling towards. An alignment pull under the same circumstances will drift when you let go of the wheel. Of couse, you can always swap the front tires, but you don't really have to. VERY few vehicles will pull to the left due to alignment, so if your vehicle pulls to the left it's likely a hung up brake caliper or a tire. If it pulls in both directions and changes over bumps, you have some bad parts in the front end.

N Sperlo Reader
April 11, 2011 12:16 p.m.

The brake light IS on and I greased the corresponding caliper with no avail. The driver side will also be greased today if it doesn't rain. Maybe the brakes need bled? It doesn't help that I've rebuilt the column and the steering wheel isn't centered.

bravenrace SuperDork
April 11, 2011 12:26 p.m.

If the caliper piston it froze, greasing the slider won't help. Did you check the piston?

N Sperlo Reader
April 11, 2011 1:17 p.m.

I did not check the piston. My father is coming by today and he's been a Ford mechanic for 30 years. Ill leave that one to him.

bravenrace SuperDork
April 11, 2011 1:23 p.m.

Did you take the caliper off? If so, was that caliper hard to remove?

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