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Discussion Starter #1
As I passed the 60k mile mark on my '88 quad a bit of a handling issue has arisen. At any speed, I get the occasional sensation that the back end is drifting somewhat. When I change lanes at highway speeds it's as if the back end drifts slightly in the direction that I turn the wheel. This isn't the tight response that I've been used to, and it's a little unsettling as you start to question how the car will respond if you have to make a sudden lane change. At slow speeds, if I go down a road turning the steering wheel left and right between eleven and one o'clock, the rear end just feels like it's "loose" for lack of a better term, and there is still that slight drifting or floating sensation. I'm not hearing any unusual noises, but something seems amiss. Without getting out all the receipts, I don't think I've had any parts replaced or other service done on the rear suspension. At 62k miles and 23 years could I be looking at worn bushings, shocks, springs? Are there simple tests to determine what might be worn out? I doubt that these are repairs I will do myself, but I'd like an idea of what I could be getting into. Any input is welcome. Thank you.
 

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Worn shocks or springs wouldn't cause the symptoms you describe. Worn bushings would...

Try this: on a straight & level road accelerate then decelerate (no brakes - just let off the gas). Does the car tend to veer to one side under acceration and the other under decelleration? Likely cause is worn rear suspension bushings.
 

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Interesting. While I have not experience this myself I will try to offer some insight. Worn bushings are very possible as they could shift when there is a change in direction. Without feeling it for myself, I can't say if it could be springs or shocks, but there are easy ways to test them!

For the springs, park on a level surface and use a tape measure to measure the height from the ground to the wheel wells. If it's different side to side it could be that a spring has sagged or snapped.

As far as shocks are concerned, they stop the springs from bouncing on forever, so you can actually go to a corner of your car, and push down and up on it, getting it to bounce, and then let go. They should bounce up, and then settle, but not bounce anymore than that.

I hope that helps!
 

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Rear end steer. I'm thinking worn trailing arm bushings or (more likely) worn bushings at the rear trunnion.
 

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Worn bushings would...

Does the car tend to veer to one side under acceration and the other under decelleration? Likely cause is worn rear suspension bushings.
+1 on the trailing arm and trunnion bushings.

My 84 which is approaching 60k had the described rear end steer, new trailing arm and trunnion bushes really tightened it up. I also put IAP sport springs and KYB shocks. Shocks and springs helped with that floaty feel when going over bumps. Very happy with end result.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks to all who responded. The car does seem to float / veer to the right sometimes when I decelerate, but it doesn't really do this consistently, and I haven't noticed a tendency to veer left when accelerating. I went for a drive today with the purpose of paying closer attention to when things don't seem right, and couldn't reproduce what I've been noticing except for what I described in my original post when turning the steering wheel back and forth between 11 and 1 o'clock. The shocks still seem fairly strong, and I'd never be lucky enough to find only a tire pressure issue. If I take my car in for service and find there are worn bushings, is it advantageous from a shop labor standpoint to have any other parts replaced at the same time? Again, thanks to all who share their insight.
 

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Is it enough to replace the central trunnion bushings, or do the lateral bushings at both ends of the T-bar need attention too?
 

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For the most part if only doing one end of it, the trunion to diff will give a greater impression of improvement vs doing the chassis part.

Getting the side play dialed correctly w/shims would help quite a bit if not actually changing the end bushes.
.040" gap (both sides combined measurement) between bush and the machined face on the trunion is the goal IIRC.

Then all you'd have to worry about is if the bushes are hard enough to prevent non~rotational displacement of the chassis ends instead of that plus side to side shuck which can amplify the issue like mad.
 
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