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Slap in Steering Wheel

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I have a 2004 Ram 1500 with 80000 miles on it and have recently noticed that I have a slap in the steering wheel front to back. It feels like the steering wheel itself is loose like it might be a nut or fastener that is holding it on is loose not for sure. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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The steering wheel is held on simly by a splined shaft, so it's possible that it could have loosened off, but highly unlikely. It's a simple thing to check, disconnect the battery for 20min, then remove the airbag, you'll see the splined shaft right behind the steering wheel. If it's loose there the wheel should pull right off. If it's loose, just take a large socket with an extention and place it on the solid part of the wheel and whack it back into place with a hammer. That's the simple fix. If it's not loose on the spline shaft, then it's something in the steering column and I have yet to pull that apart.
 

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Im not sure quite what you mean by "slap" but I would check other stuff before I went fooling with the airbag. If the steering wheel sort of saws back and forth after hitting a bump or road variation, that could mean bad tie rod ends. If the whole column physically moves, there are 4 bolts that hold it up to the dash that may need tightening.
 

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steering wheel SLOP is usually caused by something worn out from the steering box to the wheels
I would not mess with anything in the cab, until everything else is checked out
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Play might be a better description, however I just had tires put on so I don't think it is that. What happens is, if you were to put your hand on the steering wheel and push or pull it, it moves in that direction. I hope this is a better description.
 

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Pull the steering wheel then and re-install it, easiest way to see what's happening under the cover. Honestly, people are paranoid about the airbags, but if you pull the negative battery cable and wait 20 min, you have completely removed any residual charge from the bag's capacitors. Having been trained in vehicle extracation I still stand to the side when I pull the 2 electrical connectors apart, but that's more training than anything else. It really is a simple removal.
 

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I have the same steering wheel "slop" in my 04. Its not too bad but feels like its just a tad loose. Like CdnoilRAM advised, I would take the bag off and check to see if it needs to be tightened down. That is what I will plan on doing. Good luck!
 
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