Ford Mustang (1999-2004) Service Manual: Steering System Symptom Definitions


Pull is a tugging sensation, felt by the hands on the steering wheel, that must be overcome to keep the vehicle going straight.

Drift describes what a vehicle with this condition does with hands off the steering wheel.

  • A vehicle-related drift/pull, on a flat road, will cause a consistent deviation from the straightahead path and require constant steering input in the opposite direction to counteract the effect.
  • Drift/pull may be induced by conditions external to the vehicle (i.e., wind, road camber).

Excessive Steering Wheel Play

Excessive steering wheel play is a condition in which there is too much steering wheel movement before the wheels move. A small amount of steering wheel free play is considered normal.


Feedback is a roughness felt in the steering wheel when the vehicle is driven over rough pavement.

Hard Steering or Lack of Assist

Hard steering or lack of assist is experienced when the steering wheel effort exceeds specifications.

Hard steering can remain constant through the full turn or occur near the end of a turn. It is important to know the difference between hard steering/lack of assist and binding.

Hard steering or lack of assist can result from either hydraulic or mechanical conditions. It is extremely important to know if this concern occurs during driving, during very heavy or static parking maneuvers.


Sometimes confused with shimmy, nibble is a condition resulting from tire interaction with various road surfaces and observed by the driver as small rotational oscillations of the steering wheel.

Poor Returnability/Sticky Steering

Poor returnability and sticky steering is used to describe the poor return of the steering wheel to center after a turn or the steering correction is completed.


Shimmy, as observed by the driver, is large, consistent, rotational oscillations of the steering wheel resulting from large, side-to-side (lateral) tire/wheel movements.

Shimmy is usually experienced near 64 km/h (40 mph), and can begin or be amplified when the tire contacts pot holes or irregularities in the road surface.


Wander is the tendency of the vehicle to require frequent, random left and right steering wheel corrections to maintain a straight path down a level road.

    Inspection and Verification
    CAUTION: Do not hold the steering wheel (3600) at the stops for an extended amount of time. Damage to the power steering pump (3A674) will result. NOTE: Make the following preliminary checks before ...

    Symptom Chart
    Condition Possible Sources Action Hard Steering or Lack of Assist Seized lower steering column shaft U-joints. Damaged, fractured steering column bearin ...

    Other materials:

    Piston - Pin to Bore Diameter
    1. WARNING: Cover the end of the pin bore with a hand or shop rag when removing the retainer ring, since it has a tendency to spring out. Wear eye protection. NOTE: Piston and piston pins are a matched set and should not be interchanged. Measure the pisto ...

    1. Install the intake manifold and gaskets, tighten the bolts in the sequence shown. 2. NOTE: The O-ring is to be installed on the top of the thermostat. Install the water thermostat and the O-ring. Install a new O-ring as necessary. 3. Install the wa ...

    Transmission Draining and Filling
    Material Item Specification DEXRON III (ATF) Transmission Fluid XT-2-QDX DEXRON III 1. Remove the drain plug and drain the transmission. Position a suitable drain pan under the transmission. 2. Clean and install the drain plug. 3. N ...