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The steering in Scouts unfortunately wander as-is from the factory. But why is this?
This is because of caster. Caster is the top to bottom angle on which the wheels rotate/turn during steering. Scouts came from he factory with a 0º caster, except in 1980 when they had a 2° caster. This allows them to turn in a tight radius, but also means that the wheels do not have any mechanical reason to return to center or stay in a straight line. Compare that with modern vehicles that have about 7° of positive caster. Also be aware that adding spring lift usually moves caster in the negative direction.
Caster Correctors - These thread into the upper ball joint socket and can gain you up to 1.5° of caster.
4° Axle Pinion Shims - These go between the axle and the leaf spring, and rotate the axle. By rotating the axle back you gain 4° of caster but will also hurt your front pinion/driveshaft angle by the same 4°. It will also act as a lowering block by about a 1/4".
When you turn the steering wheel back and forth, do you get a delayed response?
Loose steering, or sloppy steering, is not an issue that typically originates from the factory. At least not a lot of it. Sloppy steering usually comes from worn out parts. To diagnose, this will take checking a list of components from the steering column all the way to the wheels.
Below is a list of what to check, followed by various solutions that we at Anything Scout have to offer. When checking through this list, turn the steering wheel back and forth until you feel resistance each way, looking and feeling for loose and/or worn out parts. You can also have someone turn the steering wheel back and forth while you visually check for a delay between the input and output of each component.
If you have recommendations or corrections on information listed, please let us know on our contact page!