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My 2018 2500HD Sierra Denali steering wheel steers loose. It has considerable "play" while driving at any speed. I can move the wheel left to right with no response. I have Fox shocks and even put steering stabilizer on hoping it would help this issue with no change, otherwise truck is stock. Dealer says all is normal... Drove new Denali diesel and steering wheel seemed tighter without having to constantly correct for drift left to right. Anybody else having this issue?

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My 2018 2500HD Sierra Denali steering wheel steers loose. It has considerable "play" while driving at any speed. I can move the wheel left to right with no response. I have Fox shocks and even put steering stabilizer on hoping it would help this issue with no change, otherwise truck is stock. Dealer says all is normal... Drove new Denali diesel and steering wheel seemed tighter without having to constantly correct for drift left to right. Anybody else having this issue?



Thanks


Has the truck been aligned?


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Discussion Starter #3
No have not had it aligned. Drives nice true and straight. Not pulling to either side. Just can move wheel quickly both directions with no immediate response.
 

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No. Why would the factory shocks make a difference since Fox shocks are superior to Rancho?


I pulled my factory shocks and replaced with bilstein 5100’s. Also had to fix the front end from sagging on one side by adjusting torsion bars. Had alignment done and it was way out. Truck walked on highway and felt sloppy before alignment.


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Discussion Starter #7
I don't have pulling issues, just that wheel can be moved back and forth left to right 2"-3" inches without reaction.
 

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There must be a dozen threads on here about sloppy steering on newer trucks. Some get that way in 5,000 miles. There are lots of things they try to fix the problem.

Top Ten Fixes for loose steering in Silverados:

1. tell the customer nothing is wrong and see if they will buy it.
2. adjust the play out of the steering gear. Sometimes works for a few thousand miles but sometimes not even for that long.
3. replace the steering gear with another steering gear of the same batch as the first gear box. Works about as long as the first gear box worked.
4. rebuild the gear box with better internals. Works most of the time if they do the whole job, including flushing the system.
5. replace a bunch of suspension and steering joints with new ones. Sometimes helps a little but doesn't really fix it.
6. tell the customer that they don't know what is wrong. This must work occasionally because they do it a lot.
7. tell the customer that there is a known problem but no known cure. An outright lie.
8. tell the customer that the required parts are not available because they are on national backorder but that they will be available some day. The parts are available now.
9. tell the customer that the problem is due to the accessories he has installed and therefor not covered under warranty. After all that kickin stereo is putting a lot of strain on the steering gear.
10. Flush the steering fluid. In itself it doesn't do much but in combination with other "cures" it can help a little.

The actual problem is a batch of steering gears with improperly heat treated parts that can't take the stress the are subject to. They wear out quickly, contaminating the system and leading to failure of the steering and brake booster.

The true fix is to replace the defective steering gear, the contaminated pump and the hydraboost. The system has to be flushed at the same time to remove all of the metal shavings from the system.

This isn't a rare problem that nobody has heard about. It is well known with TSBs to address it.
 

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I would not drive a new truck that has that much play, something is seriously wrong. That much play in an old truck is the sum of all the parts, and is explainable by adding 1/4 of play from all the parts from the steering shaft, gear box, pitman arm, ball joints, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Dealer now says can't do anything more to help because everything is tight and not broken. He did mention it may be my Fox shocks causing the problem...

Any suggestions?
 

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There must be a dozen threads on here about sloppy steering on newer trucks. Some get that way in 5,000 miles. There are lots of things they try to fix the problem.

Top Ten Fixes for loose steering in Silverados:

1. tell the customer nothing is wrong and see if they will buy it.
2. adjust the play out of the steering gear. Sometimes works for a few thousand miles but sometimes not even for that long.
3. replace the steering gear with another steering gear of the same batch as the first gear box. Works about as long as the first gear box worked.
4. rebuild the gear box with better internals. Works most of the time if they do the whole job, including flushing the system.
5. replace a bunch of suspension and steering joints with new ones. Sometimes helps a little but doesn't really fix it.
6. tell the customer that they don't know what is wrong. This must work occasionally because they do it a lot.
7. tell the customer that there is a known problem but no known cure. An outright lie.
8. tell the customer that the required parts are not available because they are on national backorder but that they will be available some day. The parts are available now.
9. tell the customer that the problem is due to the accessories he has installed and therefor not covered under warranty. After all that kickin stereo is putting a lot of strain on the steering gear.
10. Flush the steering fluid. In itself it doesn't do much but in combination with other "cures" it can help a little.

The actual problem is a batch of steering gears with improperly heat treated parts that can't take the stress the are subject to. They wear out quickly, contaminating the system and leading to failure of the steering and brake booster.

The true fix is to replace the defective steering gear, the contaminated pump and the hydraboost. The system has to be flushed at the same time to remove all of the metal shavings from the system.

This isn't a rare problem that nobody has heard about. It is well known with TSBs to address it.
Dealer now says can't do anything more to help because everything is tight and not broken. He did mention it may be my Fox shocks causing the problem...

Any suggestions?
Sounds like the dealer is going with 1 and 9. Ask them to explain how shocks can contribute to looseness in the steering. You will get a lot of hemming and hawing.

Try another dealer. If that doesn't work then contact GM customer relations. You are not the first to have this problem.
There are a few TSBs on this subject. Check this out:

https://www.aboutautomobile.com/Technical-Service-Bulletin/2016/Chevrolet/Silverado-2500/Steering

I didn't read them all but it would be worth your while to do so. Then you would be ready for the BS when you go back to the dealer to have it actually fixed.
 

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My 2016 Denali HD had this problem... there was actually a recall for it. It was a simple nut that had backed out, the fix is some Loctite and good to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Dealer found nothing wrong. Packing nut is tight. I'm taking it back to the dealer and will have service manager ride along to see the actual problem. I wonder if it could be the tires?
 

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I took my truck in under warranty and my dealer did right by me.
they said it might be a tire or alignment problem but after many attemps to align the truck they replaced the steering box. they believe its internally broken and cause the active steering to send wrong information turning the steering wheel to the left truck wheels are straight. This is the second problem with steering since new and only 30000km. The first was a sensor that failed giving a flashlight and code. The more I look into this the more common the problem seems.
 

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As others noted there should not be significant "slack" in the steering system of any new vehicle. Shocks, tires, etc. can contribute to wandering and other problems but when you turn the steering wheel there should be an immediate response in front wheel angle regardless of other handling issues.

There is a lot of confusion about the "digital steering assist" used on the GM HD trucks and this confusion definitely includes salespeople and other dealer personnel. Primarily, digital steering assist provides tighter control of the level of variable power assist than previous, less advanced versions of variable assist power steering and thus can better provide the desired amount of assist for various situations but it does NOT steer the vehicle. The only real addition it makes is it makes note of when the driver is constantly providing the same offset (as in high crown roads or constant side wind) and will provide a slight assist bias to help hold the wheel in that position. But it is NOT in any way changing the front wheels from the angle they would have with the steering wheel in the position under "normal" (i.e. flat road) conditions. What can happen with a failure with the active assist sensor/control/feedback system is it will apply an incorrect position bias so that it wants to bias the steering wheel movement against the drivers intended movement but it just provides additional turning resistance. If it gets really flaky then the driver will have to exert more control as the assist level varies rapidly but as long as you hold the wheel solidly in the position you want the truck to turn it will continue to go in the direction intended by the driver.

The slack is a problem in the steering assembly, linkage, etc. but not a problem with the power assist system.

A couple of other notes:

There is often confusion over variable ratio steering and in normal (read all standard car and truck applications) the steering ratio doesn't vary depending upon turning speed, pressure, or other user input. It just means that the amount the wheels move in response to a rotational input from the steering wheel vary between the close to center versus the near locked extremes of turning. But no matter how quickly/forcefully you turn the wheel it still takes the same rotations of the steering wheel to go from left to right lock.

Unlike most lighter vehicles, the HDs still use hydraulic assist instead of electric assist but when assist fails both systems react in basically the same manner, you can still steer-it just takes a lot more effort. There was a lot of panic from some car owners who thought that electric/electronic power assist meant that an electric motor is turning the front wheels and if power (or the motor failed) they would lose all control of steering. But all you have is an electric motor providing assist (via power from the battery/alternator) instead of a hydraulic pump driving the power assist system; both provide power assist based upon steering input from the driver.

Electric assist is taking over in most applications since it is easier to package, drops another accessory from the engine (hydraulic pump), and makes it extremely easy to fine tune steering effort including multiple modes. One of the items changed by the Driver Mode control in my Corvette is the basic level of assist provided which still changes from this base level under different driving conditions. I usually leave the Z06 in tour mode to allow the MSRC shocks to provide the best ride but I have the steering unlinked from driver mode because, at least to me, there is far too much power assist in tour mode and for normal driving sport steering assist is perfect while track is a little too heavy.

On the downside electric assist can do interesting things when the electric assist motor gets hot or has reduced voltage and it isn't any fun if assist rapidly comes in and out during a maneuver. If the electric assist motor approaches overheat it will reduce assist level to protect itself and some applications used a system that was cutting out often under fairly normal driving conditions. I remember Ford had a fairly large recall to change the protect (and possible the assist level) program for some of their vehicles that were losing assist under a wide variety of conditions while my Corvette Z06 had a GM kit installed to duct more air to the assist motor to prevent excessive heating under track conditions. My 2014 ATS and 2016 Z06 both use electric assist while my 2018 GMC 2500HD has the electronically controlled hydraulic assist; all work as I expect and all react immediately to steering input as they should. Of course turning the GMC is a little like turning a large boat, compared to the Z06 or ATS, so you do want to drive them quite differently.
 

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I have seen tires make a huge difference in the feel of HD trucks, however what your explaining sounds exactly like the issue with the steering box/nut that needs Loctite applied. If the dealer is beating around the bush, find a new a dealer.
 
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