I have a '96 F150 4x4 extended cab, automatic, with a 302.
The truck pulls to the left while driving. The truck drove like a dream before summer, when it developed a bad U-Joint. I got those problems addressed maybe two months ago, I had the front u-joints, brakes, and hubs changed from auto to manual. I have new tires on it. It did it before this work was done, but I cant seem to figure out what is wrong. The ball joints are tight. The connecting Tie rod from the pitman arm has a little, and I mean a LITTLE play in it, but not much. The rest of the steering looks tight. The wheels spin freely with the hubs unlocked, so nothing is binding up there. I brought it in for an alignment, but that did not cure the problem. I swapped tires from side to side with no avail. I plan on replacing that connecting tie rod this weekend and bringing it back to have the alingment double checked, but I think that is ok too, because it goes straight with the wheel, but you are always correcting it just a bit. As soon as you let go, it slides left.
I had an issue like this, EXCEPT I replaced all the worn parts (pitman arm, inner and outer tie-rods, ball joints) and it STILL wandered. Both the I-beam bushings were good too. I think mine might have been the steering sector lash being out...or I needed a stabilizer
I did replace the radius arm bushings and bracket on the drivers side. I will check the tires this weekend when I replace the drag link, but it pulled before with the previous set, so I doubt it. Any way the steering gear or maybe a back brake could be the culprit?
Just something i'd like to share about the tightening thing that i discovered myself is that if your driving and turn the wheel and the wheel doesn't return back to center when let go, it's tooo tight. Had to adjust it 3 times before i got it just right.
If this ^ is similar to your problem I would loosen your steering gear adjustment screw a little(counter clockwise). See if that helps. Mine is pulling to the left too... gets worse when I go hard right and it won't return straight.
Well we put a new drag link in tonight to no avail. There are no unusual sounds coming from the front end. I am a Ford guy through and through but this really ticks me off. I was never a big fan of the Twin I-beam setup, and this is not helping. I am really thinking it is the gear itself that is the problem. I have not touched the gear in 3 years when I last tightened it. If anything right now the steering feels loose, but everything underneath is tight. I will let you know what I find.
Mine carries a loud pop when I turn hard right..don't know if thats what you meant by road noise.
No the road noise is like a sceaming sound when going around a turn, it can also sound like a ride in a 4wd with large tires but that just depends on tires.
As far as the popping sound grease you ball joints/kin pin and while your under probably would not hurt to grease tie rod ends