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Pulling / not tracking straight after steering box rebuild.


Mucci
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So I just replaced every bushing in the front end, including full tie rod and center track assemblies and of course got it aligned afterwards. It drove great, tracked straight and everything felt tight again. Then about two weeks after that I pulled the steering box to replace the seals. 
 

I followed the Blue Book instructions (which call to disconnect the left inner tie rod end and left track rod end). 
 

After putting it back together the car now pulls to the left slightly. The steering wheel also slightly pulls to the left - meaning if I hold the wheel dead center it tracks straight but if I let go the wheel rotates left about 10mm and the car slightly wanders left. 
 

I assumed doing this job wouldn’t screw up my alignment. Is that incorrect or did I not put something back correctly?

 

The wandering left is very slight but still annoying considering it was JUST aligned and everything is new. 

Edited by Mucci
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Sounds like you have unsettled he toe in on your alignment     You can check and adjust yourself with someone's help but best to get it realigned     You can only set toe in with a stock system ,the other measurements can only be checked, if its out, it's bent

 

Thanks, Rick

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  • Mucci changed the title to Pulling / not tracking straight after steering box rebuild.

I'm going to disagree with the toe adjustment diagnosis. Toe can cause tire wear and wandering if there is too little toe in but it does not cause pulling to one side in my experience. Unequal camber or caster is usually the culprit for pulling to one side, also unequal tire pressure will do it.

 

Removing the steering box should not affect toe in any way but it would be possible to end up with the steering wheel slightly off center. 

 

How many different roads have you driven on and confirmed left hand pulling? A typical 2 lane road is crowned and the car will tend to ride up the crown slightly which could be what you are experiencing. I suggest getting out on a nice flat interstate road and see if the problem is still there.

 

 

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1 hour ago, '76mintgrün'02 said:

Small toe-in adjustments can make a big difference.  It has been a while since I took my box out... how much wiggle room is there when you bolt the steering box back in?  If it is not put back exactly where it had been, I'm guessing that would affect the toe-in.  

 


There are 3 positioning dowels that the box mounts to on the subframe but I didn’t wiggle it to check the play.
 

Is there a proper sequence of tightening? I snuggled down the box first then reattached the tie rod and center track rod. Maybe if I loosen and tighten the box with the rods still attached it’ll reposition itself. 

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I've only had a steering box out once and that was years ago now, so my experience is limited and my memory foggy. 

 

 

I'll bet those sleeves do a good job of indexing the box and there is limited play.  You could try wiggling/repositioning it and hope for an improvement, but checking/setting toe seems more accurate/appropriate.

 

I mostly replied to share my invention, hoping alignment might solve your issue.  I thought that process was fun to do.  It literally takes less than five minutes to use that tool. 

 

Lorin may be right though.  I adjusted toe to dial out wandery feeling steering.  The adjustment screw on the steering box can help with that too.

 

Tom

 

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I presume that when you dismantled the steering box to replace the seals, you removed the pittman arm from its splined shaft.  Before doing that, did you mark the arm and shaft so you'd reattach the arm in the same location as it was?  If not, then when you reassembled everything, your steering wheel wouldn't be in the straight ahead position, but slightly cocked.  That could give you the feeling that you had to keep pulling on the wheel for it to track straight ahead.  Also, after reassembling, did you check the wear adjustment set screw to make sure it was neither too tight or loose?  Too loose and the car can wander.

 

mike

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6 hours ago, Mike Self said:

I presume that when you dismantled the steering box to replace the seals, you removed the pittman arm from its splined shaft.  Before doing that, did you mark the arm and shaft so you'd reattach the arm in the same location as it was?  If not, then when you reassembled everything, your steering wheel wouldn't be in the straight ahead position, but slightly cocked.  That could give you the feeling that you had to keep pulling on the wheel for it to track straight ahead.  Also, after reassembling, did you check the wear adjustment set screw to make sure it was neither too tight or loose?  Too loose and the car can wander.

 

mike


Mike, yes I removed the pitman arm from the box. Both the arm and the box have markings on them that the blue book says to align during reassembly, which I did. 
 

The adjustment screw had a lot of lateral movement (maybe 3-4mm) but only a little vertical movement. Maybe .5-1mm…

 

 

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