Cure Bumpsteer: Steering You Straight

How to Eliminate Bumpsteer

Harry WagnerPhotographer, Writer

Push-pull steering isn’t commonly found on modern vehicles, but it was standard issue on 1979-1985 Toyota pickups, 1967-1987 square-body Chevy and Dodge trucks, and 1960-1989 Toyota Land Cruisers. If you own a Jeep or Ford though, don’t stop reading. Plenty of the steering tips we cover in this story can be applied to your vehicle as well. Whether your rig came from the factory with crossover steering or you are adding it, the goal is to have a drag link as long as possible and nearly flat (perpendicular to the ground) at ride height. This minimizes bumpsteer; that is, when suspension movement feeds back through the steering system and turns the wheels.

Seems simple, right? It isn’t as easy as it sounds. Oftentimes steering parts want to share the same space as suspension components and oil pans. What fits at ride height might come crashing into the oil pan at full compression, so compromises must be made. The situation gets even more complicated when you add a suspension lift, created additional distance between the frame and the front axle.

Our 1981 Toyota pickup had plenty of compromises in the steering system. The factory push-pull steering was marginal due to the short drag link that connects to a J-arm on the driver-side knuckle. Once we added an Old Man Emu suspension lift, which provided additional articulation, we quickly found the limits of the steering. The drag link angle would change dramatically as the truck articulated, resulting in bumpsteer through the steering wheel. Additionally, the drag link end was binding when the driver side was at full droop, which could lead to breakage at the worst possible time.

The solution came in the form of a Hy-Steer kit from All-Pro Off Road. All-Pro addresses all of our issues by converting the steering from push-pull to crossover, with a drag link that connects to the knuckle on the passenger side instead of the driver side. As a result, the drag link is considerably longer and the angle change is minimized as the suspension cycles.

After a long day in the garage, we had a steering system that was not only stronger than stock but also minimized bumpsteer and made our 34-inch Super Swampers easier to turn on the street and the trail. All-Pro uses the type of high-quality components you want to look for when shopping for steering components, regardless of what you drive. These include key items such as 4340 chromoly steering arms, large body tie-rod ends, and a tie rod and drag link constructed from thick-walled DOM tubing.