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My pickup bounces side wards

I have a 1994 ranger / mazda. As I drive down the road and I hit a bump or pot hole, the back end of my truck bounces side ways causing me to have to counter steer. It is really dangerous on a curve. I know it isn’t the tire pressure or tire type. I just bought new tires thinking it would fix the problem but it hasn’t changed. I didn’t see anything under the truck. I replaced the bearings and brakes front and back. I need to check again to see if any thing is loose but I haven’t noticed anything. Thank you in advance for any input. Michael

check if your shocks are worn, probably more on one side than another

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If you have leaf springs, several leafs may be broken and the axle housing may be loose. I think you do have leaf springs. There may be a rusted part of the frame that is weak and flexes a lot. Shocks have been mentioned. You can’t drive it that way.


Check for a broken center bolt in the spring.


You say you know it isn’t the tire pressures or the tire type, but check your tire pressures anyway.

On every vehicle sold in the US, there is a vehicle tire placard that lists the original tire size and the specified pressure for that size. If you are using a different size, then the you might need to use a different pressure.

All good possibilities above.
When you check your shocks, don’t just check them for bounce return. I’ve had a shock frozen solid, and that too can cause your symptom.

I’d suspect something loose in the rear suspension. What that is without hands on I have no idea. There’s a number of possibilities.

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Would bad sway bar links be a possibility?

Rear shocks and/or tire tire pressure wrong are the most likely causes. Start there. I have had both issues. Bad shocks were the worse offender, but too-high tire pressure (done by the people who installed the rear tires I bought recently) also caused the rear ro bounce a little. Also check the pressure in your front tires.

Is the truck a 4x4 or does it have Twin I-Beam suspension? With either of those front ends a worn radius arm bushing will cause the truck to bounce toward the side with the bad bushing. On E-150s and F-150s the passenger side radius bushings were near the catalytic converter and the heat caused them to fail first but the left failed soon afterward.

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I doubt it. They’re isolated from the vehicle in this axis (laterally) by the sway bar links.

Since the same brought it up, yeah I’ve had frozen shocks too. If the shocks are old and they put it on the lift and suspend them as in putting tires on, they can stay that way, rock hard. Don’t think that’s the problem here but frozen shocks do happen.

Wow thanks every one for the input. It is next (after a long list of repairs done) on my list to fix. I did look at all this that is suggested I look at but I didn’t see any thing amiss. I need to take it to a shop tomorrow. Thanks everyone. Mike

Thanks but this truck has been doing this though two different tire sets and I often check the pressure.

Thanks but this truck has been doing this though two different tire sets and I often check the pressure.

wow this is getting interesting.

Well, what is the status of the shocks?

Does it only act up when it is well below freezing? I have had cars with old worn out shocks that ha water seep into them and freeze roch hard when the temp got into the teens, All of a sudden, no suspension travel on that wheel. As soon as it warmed up. back to normal.

I ordered a set of shocks. Should arrive Thursday and I will put them on maybe that evening. I’ll post here if that fixes the problem.

How long have you owned this truck? Have you driven ‘mini’ pickups before?
I had a '93 Ranger, and it did NOT ride like its big brothers.
By all means, replace the shocks, check the leaf springs. If that doesn’t help, try throwing a couple hundred pounds of ballast in the bed. I discovered this quite by accident one winter when mine caught 15" of snow - rode like a dream! After that, I’d throw some logs or whatever in it.

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