Wandering Sportrak


My Sportrak wanders all over the shop when it hits road imperfections at any speed. On motorway ruts it is positively evil.
It has 225 70R15 tyres in reasonable nick and correct pressure. The shocks and springs seem fine to me, but the steering wheel has a bit of play, which I assumed normal on this kind of design.
It has always done it but had a fresh MOT when I bought it a month ago. This was however done by the same garage I bought it from which always seems dodgy to me.

Any thoughts or do they all do that?

Wandering Sportrak

Mine has about 1 to 1.5 inch play at the steering wheel rim, but is ok on the road. I suggest you try the following. Jack both front wheels off the ground, get someone to hold one to prevent it turning, and try to turn the other one. Obviously, they should both move together without any play. If you can move one wheel, even slightly, without the other one moving by the same amount, look at every ball-joint and linkage to find out where the play is. Also, try to rock the wheels up and down to check the bearings and swivel joints. If there is no free play - then I'll be interested to see what others suggest.

Could be a number of things,

Could be a number of things, including those suggested above. Check for play in the steering box, There shouldnt be too much play at the steering wheel. To reduce this play, top of steering box has a screw with locknut, undo locknut, and tighten screw a bit, then retighten locknut. Redo this till the play has gone.
It could feasibly be something loose in the front end. I know urs is IFS, but I had wicked front end shimmy once, every bump sent the whole car shaking all over the road. Checked everything I could, couldnt find anything wrong. It turned out to be loose U bolts on front axle, allowing the whole front axle to shake rattle and roll, very dangerous on a long trip towing a camper, which is where the problem manifested itself.


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Wandering Sportrak

My fourtrak had similar prob when I first bought it, check swivel hub bearings and wheel bearings for play. When I braked one day the trak was all over the show and scared the shit out of me, turned out to be swivel hub bearings collapsed. About £12 each from the bearing shop near me.

1985 Fourtrak 2.8, Intercooler, 4"Lift, on 31,10.5,15 Grizzly Claws.

1985 Fourtrak 2.8turbo, Spring over axel, on 35,12.5,15s

No doubt sold with a 12 month MOT

I've seen some vehicles on used car lots with 12 month MOTs which were downright dangerous !

At the risk of sending good money after bad, you could put your vehicle in for another MOT and see if it passes. If it doesn't, I think it's time for you to get onto the local plod, or VOSA to have the MOT status of the garage you bought the vehicle from re-assessed.

Thinking about it, you could pay the AA to check it over before you get all official.

BTW, for non-UK readers, the MOT is the annual safety check done on vehicles.

A list.

Loose wheel nuts.
Track rod ends failed.[most likely]
A top and/or bottom ball joint failed.
Hubs and bearings.
Security of all bolts/shackles on steering/suspension.
Steering box.[higher milage vehicle]
Check front suspension is secure and function of shock absorbers.
Possibly a rear spring/shock absorber broken.
Steering free play should be almost unnoticable.


jack both front wheels off the ground and check for play in the wishbone bushs, ( side to side movment)if these are worn your car will wander and dart allover the road !

Well, I have just completed f

Well, I have just completed fitting new springs to the back of my sporty. The ride height is back how it should be, as the old rusty springs were slightly curving the wrong way! This has mnore or less cured the evil handling as far as i can tell on my shortish test drive. Seemed fine on urban roads up to 60. Big improvement. Obviously the sagging rear had messed the front end geometry big time, whic has now been resolved. The rear shocks were aftermarket Sachs, so I left them as the car only has 70k odd miles so they should be fine. Don't know about fronts though. Bit bouncy, but ok.

One thing though- the Ploy bushes that came with it from Milners were not all correct-the ones that connect the shackles to the chassis were clearly wrong, but fortunately the old ones were re usable. Getting the right side off was easy but getting the new one on was a bugger. Getting the left side off was a nightmare that involved copious use of a disc cutter to slice through the shackle and both sides of the front bolt so I could lever the spring out. New spring just popped in...