1996 Ford Ranger Steering Problem!

I just bought this Ranger a really bad steering issue. When at low speeds, when I go to turn the steering “jumps/kicks.” Then after I straighten out at the end of the turn it jumps in the direction that the steering wheel is being turned. This goes away at higher speeds (40+mph).

I was told by the seller that it needs a new steering pump, but my mechanic said that it was operating well. He noticed that the bearings were loose on the driver side and tightened them up. The problem went away. I just finished driving it for about 20 miles and the problem is back.

What do you think?

Is there a way to easily shut off the p-steering to see if that is the problem? Is this a good idea?

Is it 4WD?

If it is it’s possible that a u-joint is binding on one of the front drive axles.

Since tightening up the “loose” bearings had a positive (albeit temporary) effect on the symptoms, perhaps the bearings are shot. On a vehicle this age I’d change both sides.

What “bearings” are we talking about?

You can run the truck briefly without the belt on it to see how it behaves without the PS pump in the picture.

Jack up the front end and look for slack in any part of the suspension and steering.