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saaron

Steering Box - is this normal?

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I went to adjust the steering box on my car - it seems to have a fair amount of play in the steering, and in 25 some odd years of ownership, I've never bothered to try to adjust the box.  It seems easy, so I thought I would give it a shot.

 

Per the threads on this wonderful site, I just adjusted it a little bit.  It's raining a ton here, so I can't drive around the block to see what difference that made. 

 

Here's the question - the adjustment screw was fairly loose.  There are a lot of threads showing, FYI.  It almost felt like I had to turn the screw 1/4 or 1/2 turn before I met resistance.  Is that normal?  Should I turn the screw until I hit some resistance, and start with that as my first adjustment?

 

Thanks all, and Happy 4th.

 

Scott

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Hard to say- that doesn't seem unusual.

 

My version is to jack up the front, wheels straight ahead,

tighten it until I just feel the tiniest bit of steering wheel drag on- center, then loosen

it a tiny bit.  Usually, there is some significant resistance from the screw at that point.

 

 

hth

t

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Makes sense.  I'm hampered by the lousy weather...no ability to test it out.  But I was really conservative - just turned the adjustment screw between 1/8 and 1/4 - I've seen all the posts re "adjusted it too aggressively and the wheel won't come back to center".

 

I was just surprised by how loose the adjustment screw was.  It might be less loose if I had cranked a turn into the steering - maybe it is a bit loose when straight ahead.  

 

Thanks, Toby!  So many of the old "steering box adjustment" posts had great comments from you. 

 

Scott

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Oh, damn... sorry.

It usually seems to end up 'just a bit snug' straight ahead, and loose to either side. 

Was your steering particularly sloppy before the adjustment?

Usually the box talks to you- or rather, it stops talking, and the lack

of on- center feel prompts a meeting with the adjuster...

 

t

 

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I think it has play or looseness on center, but it always has.  Not like it got worse all of a sudden.  I don't have a lot of points of reference.

 

Even without driving it, the wheel feels less loose.  The steering wheel moves less before the front wheels start to turn.  

 

Once I can drive it I can figure out how much it improved.  I'm going in the right direction.  

 

Scott

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I've adjusted mine by pushing or pulling the drivers side road wheel to full stop and then feel for resistance when you center the wheel.  You can tighten the adj screw till you feel some resistance and back it off it you think it's too tight.  May take a couple of trys after driving the car.

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Scott,

One other thing to check is the amount of space showing between the housing and the large steering gear.  Tightening the top adjustment screw pushes down on the vertical shaft, increasing the gap.  Over time, the end of the shaft will come into contact with the inside portion of the lower control arm.

IMG_9380_zps07664810.jpg

IMG_8897_zpsf6b9947b.jpg

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Interesting, Jim.  Amazing how one thing impacts another.  

 

I did a quick trip around the block and the steering is definitely better.  The play or looseness at wheels-straight-ahead has been lessened, so that is great.  I can see why the general advice is "don't turn it a whole lot" or "a little turn of the adjuster goes a long way."  I literally think I turned the adjuster 1/8th-1/4th of a turn at the most.

 

The steering has maybe a little more effort to turn in general now.  I'm on the fence in terms of trying another 1/8th of a turn on the adjuster screw, or just call it good.  Too bad it's raining again.  Have to wait to decide.

 

Thanks for the advice everyone - this has been a successful little project.  

 

Scott

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