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Steering box clunk and play


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Have a 74 2002.  Had a clunk and some play in steering wheel.  I adjusted the steering box screw inward from about the 10 o'clock position to approximately 1 pm position.  This seemed to get rid of the clunk, and removed the play in the steering wheel.  My steering wheel is now dead center, while driving straight.  I assume this small adjustment should not be detrimental to further wear the steering box or damage it? Thanks for any advice.

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The factory manual gives specs for the amount of drag encountered when turning the steering wheel with the front wheels off the ground.  This prevents getting a little too frisky with that adjustment screw and putting excessive drag on the steering box bearings.  You really should make that adjustment with the front wheels off the ground, so you can tell if the steering is too heavy from too much adjustment.   You're probably OK, but it only takes a minute to jack up the front wheels and then try the steering.

 

You should also check both your center track rod and tie rod ends for wear.  What I thought was steering box wear (on a 268k mile box) turned out to be one of the center track rod ball joints.  The box itself was nice and tight (no play), just leaking like a sieve.  New seals and gaskets and it was good as new.

 

mike

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Mike thanks.  I did the adjustment with the front wheels off the ground.  I used only enough turn on the screw to eliminate the clunk and most of the play in the steering wheel.  I had previously replaced tie rod ends, ball joints, etc.

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It sounds like you've fixed your problem. 

 

Have you checked the oil level in your steering box?  I did not realize mine leaked until I put oil in it.  I was relieved to see the gears in good shape when I had it apart to reseal it.  It doesn't leak anymore. 

 

I have never followed the instructions for adjusting the box.  Like you, I made it tight enough to eliminate slop and was careful not to overtighten it.

 

Tom

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15 hours ago, kenzoil said:

Can you tell me specifically what you used for oil in the steering gearbox?  Is the red plastic filler plug made to pry off, or does it unscrew?

Make sure the area around the red cap is perfectly clean before removing. Lots of discussion in here on correct oil, the clear winner is Redline 90# GL4. It is not easy to find in small doses, so I am using Quicksilver marine lower unit 90# GL4, which is easy to find in my 'hood in a boating world. Fill to the top.

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1 hour ago, kenzoil said:

I assume you have to pull the box apart to empty the old oil/lube? 

Not necessarily. I emptied the oil with following tool and some plastic tubing. Takes a while to empty it, but that is GARAGE TIME!

DSC02839.JPG

 

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Posted (edited)

I think I'll go with either Red Line or the Sta-Lube product.  Can someone tell me what specific product from Red Line was recommended?  MTL ?  ML-90 ?  Gear oil or Manual transmission oil ?  85/90 or 75/90?  Thanks!

Edited by kenzoil
misspell
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So I checked the fluid level in the steering box, and it is down to about an inch below the filler hole.  Should I top it off, and to what level? Can I just top it off with a hypoid gear oil like the Sta-Lube, or do I have to drain it completely and fill?

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