Originally Posted by Yellowturtle
Nice ride you have there!
About your question, your van with an F8 engine is still produce in India as a Suzuki omni van and has an original 4 speed manual transmission. Can't help you with the 5 speed conversion as I have no info for an F8 that is converted to a 5 speed manual.
The cause of the rattling/squeeking sound and difficult in handling you experience is due to wear and tear in the suspension system. Have your ball joints, rack end, tie rod, pitman arm, drag links and stabilizer link check by a competent auto shop as this might cause further accident.
Have your wheel check. A 155/65 R12 or 165/60S R13 wheel may help you handle your van for more stability.
It may cost at the moment but it might lessen further damage on your van if you address the problem immediately and of course consider your safety and the other motorists on the road.
Hope this help. Stay safe.
Nice ride Nehemiah! seeing your car makes me feel the 'spirit' of the owner. I like the way, you work on it - much like me
Anyway, i had the same problem when i first bought my van. IF im not mistaken when you say 'jackhammering' its nor more of a vertical motion (up/down) on the steering wheel but more so of 'wiggling' on the front of the car. much like when you hit 65/70Km/h on the road its like the van has a mind of its own (going from one direction to another). If so, 90% my buddy (YellowTurtle) is right. To be very sure which part needs repair or replacements heres what you need to do: using a hydraulic jack lift the front wheels about 4 to 6 inches from the ground then grab one of the wheels (front of course!) and try to wiggle it. do the same with the other. if you can wiggle it (there is play) then some parts (ball joints, tie rod, etc.) could be worn. try to spin both wheels while lifted and listen for bearing noise. if you hear something quite loud you might want to check/re-grease you bearings (replacement is not that expensive).
Next, you need to lift your van a little higher for you to be able to crawl/move underneath the front. CAUTION: Safety is of outmost importance here - make sure you place the van on two firm tripod stands. make sure the van is not movable - place stoppers on both rear wheels (you could use big rocks or chop o wood). Whatever you do - you dont what that van crashing down on you! it is much heavier that in looks believe me
Now, underneath the car you can easily spot the tie-rods and ball joints. grab the tie rods and try if you can wiggle it as well. it should be firm, but if it has play your ball joint is worn. you might want to remove the wheels before crawling this gives you more space. there are 2 ball joints on each tie rod ends. two are attached to the steering wheel assemby the others are near each wheels.
Mine have a worn front bearing and my ball joints needs replacements. good thing i found a shop that repairs ball joints - they 'injected' something on it to make it firm. that addressed the wiggling i had when gaining speed. well, sooner i know i need to replace those. if you can find a shop that does those service maybe you can have it repaired while you save money for replacement parts.
I will sound like an echo here: Be SAFE, if you have to ride a bicycle going to school then ride one. Save money for your van then fix what needs to get fixed.
LEt us know what happens.