Steering And Suspension

19VAC30-70-110. Steering and suspension.
A. The steering and suspension systems installed and utilized on motor vehicles have
evolved to where many different suspension systems are being designed, developed, and
employed on vehicles. To properly inspect the steering and suspension on vehicles, it may be
necessary for the inspection to be made in accordance with manufacturer’s recommended
procedures in addition to meeting any requirements outlined in this regulation.
B. Inspect for and reject if:

  • 1. Any modification has been made that affects normal functioning of the shock
    absorbers. The inspector should operate the vehicle when in doubt. (If there is no
    evidence of the convolutions (coils) of the spring hitting one another, one pair (two) of
    nonmetallic coil spring stabilizers may be present in each of a vehicle’s front coil springs,
    provided the installation of the stabilizers does not cause the springs to be higher than
    their original height.)
    Shock absorbers in fully extended or compressed positions when the vehicle is
    stationary will not function normally.

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  • 2. The front end suspension has been modified by the use of lift blocks. (A lift block is
    defined as any solid piece of wood, metal, or other material placed between and
    separating the vehicle’s front axle and the springs.) This does not prohibit the use of
    shims that may be necessary to correct front end alignment.
  • 3. Any modification has been made to the front end suspension which reduces turning
    radius, bypasses safety components of original steering mechanism or if there is any
    lateral movement between the axle and frame.
  • 4. Any modification has been made to the suspension to cause the vehicle body or
    chassis to come in contact with the ground or expose the fuel tank to damage from
    collision.
    Reject the vehicle if it has been modified by any means so as to raise its body more than
    three inches above the manufacturer’s attachment points or the frame rail ( exclude
    original manufacturer’s spacers, washers or bushings when measuring).
  • 5. Any modification has been made to cause the wheels to come in contact with the
    body or frame under normal operating conditions.
  • 6. A motor vehicle has a repair kit or preventive maintenance kit installed on a tie rod
    end, idler arm, ball joint, or any other part of the vehicle’s steering gear.
    NOTE: The repair kit or preventive maintenance kit usually consists of a small coil spring
    and a plastic cap that is placed over the bolt stud of the component and held in place by
    a retaining nut. There is nothing in this paragraph that prohibits the replacement of parts
    or components of a motor vehicle’s steering gear in order to correct deficiencies in the
    steering gear.
  • 7. When checked visually, the wheels appear to be out of line or an axle is bent.
  • 8. Any vehicle that shimmies or wanders at normal operating speeds.
  • 9. Rack and pinion steering bellows (boot) or CV boots are defective or missing. Do not
    inspect CV joints or universal joints on rear wheel drive vehicles.
  • 10. Power steering is defective and affects adequate steering of the vehicle or power
    steering fluid in reservoir is below operating level, or if there is an obvious leak of power
    steering fluid. Do not reject for dampness.
    NOTE: If the vehicle is equipped with power steering, the engine must be running during
    testing.
  • 11. Power steering belt does not have sufficient tension, is frayed, or missing. The
    serpentine belt should only be rejected if a chunk of the ribbing is missing or a deep cut
    or crack exposes the inner fabric of the belt. (Do not reject for the many little surface
    cracks that appear in the ribs or back.)
  • 12. Any modification has been made to any part of the steering or suspension system
    that affects proper steering or suspension or any part of the original suspension system
    has been disconnected.
    NOTE: “All thread rod material” shall not be used as LI-bolts in the suspension system.
    Vehicles registered as street rods may substitute any part of the original suspension
    system provided the components are installed in accordance with the component
    manufacturers’ specifications.

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  • 13. Any modification or replacement has been made to the steering wheel that affects
    proper steering. The steering wheel shall be rejected if the outside diameter is less than
    13 inches unless original factory equipment.
  • 14. Steering column has any absence or looseness of bolts or positioning parts, resulting
    in motion of the steering column from its normal position.
  • 15. A spring is broken, sagging or misaligned, shackles are worn or loose, or if air bags
    are collapsed or the air suspension system leaks or is deflated.
    CAUTION: Underneath inspection of a vehicle equipped with air suspension with
    excessive leak down could result in serious personal injury.
  • 16. Vehicles designed for shock absorbers or cross stabilizer links if any are
    disconnected or broken, bent, loose or do not function properly.
  • 17. Any front or rear axle or suspension positioning parts are cracked, broken, loose,
    worn, bent or missing, resulting in shifting of an axle from the normal position. Any
    control arm or suspension positioning part using bushings for control, support and
    normal functioning is deteriorated, damaged or missing.
    NOTE: All rear suspension parts including but not limited to control arms (upper and
    lower ball joints, radius or torque arms, stabilizer bars, and trailing arms) shall not have
    any damage or noticeable play when checked with hand pressure.
  • 18. A MacPherson strut installed on a motor vehicle is broken, bent, loose or does not
    function properly.
    NOTE: Do not reject a shock absorber or MacPherson strut unless there is evidence of
    leakage that causes the device not to function properly.
  • 19. If vehicles measured movement at top or bottom of tire is greater than:
    Wheel Size:

    • less than 17 inches – 1/4 inch
    • 17 to 18 inches – 3/8 inch
    • over 18 inches –  1/2 inch

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NOTE: King pin play. If vehicle is equipped with king pins, first eliminate all wheel
bearing movement by applying service brake. With front end lifted as illustrated for
inspecting wheel bearings (Figure C), grasp the tire at the top and bottom and attempt to


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move it in and out to detect looseness. Measure the movement at the top or bottom of
the tire at the outer circumference.
C. Wheel bearing/steering linkage.
Reject vehicle if any wheel bearing is excessively worn or not properly adjusted; any cotter
key or other locking device is missing or inoperative.
NOTE: Lifting techniques vary for measuring wheel bearing movement. On vehicles with
coil spring or torsion bar on lower support arm – hoist at frame (Figure A). On vehicles
with coil spring on upper support arm – hoist at lower support arm (Figure 8). On front
wheel drive vehicles, the inspector must consult manufacturer’s lifting information.
NOTE: With vehicle lifted properly, grasp tire at top and bottom, rock in and out and
record movement. Wheel bearing looseness is detected by the relative movement
between the brake drum or disc and the braking plate or splash shield.
CAUTION: If air suspension vehicles are hoisted via body support area, air spring
damage may occur if the air suspension switch is not turned off. Reject vehicle if relative
movement between drum and backing plate (disc and splash shield) is more than 1/8
inch measured at the outer circumference of the tire.
D. Steering linkage play.

  • 1. Reject vehicle if measured movement at front or rear of tire is greater than:
    • Wheel Size: 16 inches or less – 1/4 inch (6.5mm)
    • 17 to 18 inches – 3/8 inch (9.5mm)
    • over 18 inches – 1/2 inch (13mm)

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NOTE: First eliminate all wheel-bearing movement by applying service brake. With
vehicle lifted as shown in the diagram and wheels in straight-ahead position, grasp front
and rear of tire and attempt to move assembly right and left without moving the steering
gear.

  • 2. Reject vehicle if the steering mechanism is unusually tight or binding when turning
    the steering wheel completely to the left or right or the steering mechanism will not turn
    in both directions stop to stop.

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  • 3. Reject vehicle if the steering stops have been removed or adjusted in so that steering
    radius is reduced.

E. Steering lash/travel. Reject vehicle if inspection reveals excessive wear and/or looseness
in any ball stud, end assembly, pivot point, mechanical linkage and/or if steering gear box has
any loose or missing bolts, or excessive wear, and/or looseness is found at any other location in
the steering that adversely affects the steering of the vehicle.
NOTE: For vehicles equipped with power steering, the engine must be running and the fluid
level, belt tension and belt condition must be adequate before testing.
With road wheels in straight ahead position, turn steering wheel until motion can be
detected at the front road wheels. Align a reference mark on the steering wheel with
a mark on a ruler and slowly turn steering wheel in the opposite direction until motion
can again be detected at the front road wheel (see diagram). Measure lash at
steering wheel. Special lash-checking instruments may be used to measure free play
in inches or degrees. Such instruments should always be mounted and used
according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Reject vehicle if steering wheel
movement exceeds:
Power – 2 inches
Manual – 3 inches
Rack & Pinion – (Power or Manual) – 0.4 inch – see note
NOTE: No play is permissible for Volkswagen and Audi vehicles – consult respective
manufacturer’s specifications.

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F. Steering lash/travel; trucks.
NOTE: Before inspection, the vehicle must be placed on a smooth, dry, level surface.
For vehicles equipped with power steering, the engine must be running and the fluid
level, belt tension and belt condition must be adequate before testing. With road wheels
in straight ahead position, turn steering wheel until motion can be detected at the front
road wheels. Align a reference mark on steering wheel with a mark on a ruler and slowly
turn steering wheel in the opposite direction until motion can be detected at the front
road wheel. Measure lash at steering wheel. Special lash-checking instruments are also
available, measuring free play in inches or degrees. Such instruments should always be
mounted and used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. With vehicle raised,


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visually inspect steering linkage, ball studs, tie rod end socket assemblies and all pivot
points.
NOTE: On vehicles with power steering, engine must be running.
Reject vehicle if steering wheel movement exceeds:
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G. Ball joint wear (front and rear). There is a trend among U.S. automobile manufacturers
toward the use of “wear-indicating” ball joints. Many vehicles on the road, however, do not have
wear-indicating ball joints. The inspection of both types will be discussed. With the broadening
use of rear suspension ball joints, their inspection shall be made in accordance with
manufacturer’s recommended procedures. Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4 illustrate the proper hoisting for
checking most ball joints. On late model vehicles, it may be necessary to check for both
horizontal and vertical movement. Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4 illustrate the proper hoisting for
checking ball joints.
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NOTE: To check ball joint wear on vehicles when the spring is supported on the upper
control arm or when the spring is a part of a MacPherson strut or wear in any other type
suspension not using ball joints when the front wheels are suspended on a solid axle,
the vehicle must be hoisted as shown in Figure 1 or 2.


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NOTE: Upper control arm must be stabilized in normal load carrying position by means
of an upper control or other support tool to insure ball joint is in unloaded position.
NOTE: To check ball joint wear on vehicles not listed in above referred to section and
diagram or tables when the spring is supported on the lower control arm; and to check
the king pin wear in any other type suspension not previously described when the
wheels are independently suspended, the vehicle must be hoisted as shown in Figure 3
or 4.
H. Ball joints without wear indicators (front and rear).

  1. If play is detected in any ball joint without “wear-indicating” ball joints, it will be
    necessary for the inspection to be made in accordance with the manufacturer’s
    recommended procedures and specifications prior to rejecting the vehicle.
  2. If there are no manufacturer’s recommended procedures and specifications, the lower
    ball joints will be checked when hoisted as in Figures 1 or 2 of subsection G of this
    section, or in the upper ball joints when hoisted as in Figures 3 or 4 of subsection G of
    this section. There should be no noticeable play detected in the ball joints when checked
    in this manner.
  3. Reject vehicle if play exceeds the manufacturer’s specifications. Inspectors shall use a
    dial indicator or ball joint checking gauge when checking for play of a ball joint, when
    procedures and specifications are provided by the manufacturer.

I. Ball joints with wear indicators. Support vehicle with ball joints loaded (in normal driving
attitude). Wipe grease fitting and checking surface free of dirt and grease. Determine if checking
surface extends beyond the surface of the ball joint cover.
Reject vehicle if checking surface is flush with or inside the cover surface.
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J. American Motors Pacer (only). Position vehicle on level surface. Remove lubrication plug
from lower ball joint. Check lower ball joint clearance by inserting stiff wire or thin rod into
lubrication plug hole until it contacts ball stud. Accurately mark rod with knife or scriber where it
aligned with outer edge of plug hole. Distance from ball stud to outer edge of plug hole is ball
joint clearance. Measure distance from mark to end of rod. (Anything less than 7 /16 inch is
acceptable.)


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Reject vehicle if distance measured is 7/16 inch or more.
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K. Chrysler front-wheel drive vehicles (lower only). With the weight of the vehicle resting on
the road wheels, grasp the grease fitting as shown below and attempt to move fitting. No
mechanical assistance or added force is necessary.
Reject vehicle if grease fitting shows any movement.

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