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can the steering rack cause play in wheel ?

lone73

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 24, 2003
Messages
456
Location
Texas
Corvette
'73 4spd coupe, '04 6 speed coupe
I'm getting a pretty annoying amount of steering wheel play in my '96. I wondered if it could be partly in the rack. The car has 173K on it.

I need the wheels right now and don't want to do a major suspension rebuild on it just yet. I wondered if the rack could be part of the cause and can it be adjusted in some way like the old style steering boxes to tighten it up ?

thanks
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vee93

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 15, 2002
Messages
585
Location
Mississippi
Corvette
1993 Medium Quasar Blue Metallic Coupe
Could be the R&P. It could be loose. When was the last time the lube in the R&P assembly was checked? Could also be loose or worn tie-rod ends and/or wheel bearings. Vette bud of mine was experiencing the same thing-and his wheel bearings had long since stopped bearing up anything. Hope this helps you. :w
 

lone73

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 24, 2003
Messages
456
Location
Texas
Corvette
'73 4spd coupe, '04 6 speed coupe
I wiggled my wheels a while back and didn't feel any play. Never replaced the bearings though. Maybe I should just do it with 173K on the clock.

Never heard of checking the r&p lube. How do you do that?
thanks
 

vee93

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 15, 2002
Messages
585
Location
Mississippi
Corvette
1993 Medium Quasar Blue Metallic Coupe
Can you PM me an email address via the CAC and I can send you an image from my GM service manual. Basically, the lube job is done when the tie rods are replaced or serviced before the R&P boots are installed.
 

jsinga

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 23, 2001
Messages
280
Location
Savannah, GA, USA
Corvette
87 Silver Coupe Way over 200k miles
The rack has an adjustment. It is almost impossible to adjust in the car. It's has a lock nut and it's on the top of the rack just down past the steering shaft.
The only fluid is the power steering fluid.
Also check the column for slack. The telescope adjuster can be loose.
The inner tierods are worn if you look at everything else and still can't find the slack.
If you get 2 people you can wiggle the play and figure out where it's at.

JS
 

vee93

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 15, 2002
Messages
585
Location
Mississippi
Corvette
1993 Medium Quasar Blue Metallic Coupe
Hey lone73,
I can't get the images to download. Hopefully, another CAC member can send you the images from the service manual.
 

lone73

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 24, 2003
Messages
456
Location
Texas
Corvette
'73 4spd coupe, '04 6 speed coupe
The rack has an adjustment. It is almost impossible to adjust in the car. It's has a lock nut and it's on the top of the rack just down past the steering shaft.
The only fluid is the power steering fluid.
Also check the column for slack. The telescope adjuster can be loose.
The inner tierods are worn if you look at everything else and still can't find the slack.
If you get 2 people you can wiggle the play and figure out where it's at.

JS


Thanks,
I did just that this past weekend. I had my wife wiggle the steering wheel while I watched and felt the outer tie rods, the universals and the rag joint in the steering shaft. I also used a stethascope on the universals to try to pick up any clicks from a loose joint. What I found was interesting. The worst part of the slop was in the rag joint. Next was the outer tie rod ends. The curious thing was that the steering column has had an on-center click and about 1/2" of slop there almost since I bought the car. I found a General Motors TSB a while back that addressed that as a loose part inside the steering column. The column would have to be removed and disassembled to fix it. That click and on-center slop is now gone. All I replaced was the outer tie rods and the rag joint. I could feel significant slop in the two pinned connections in that rag joint and a little bit in the two bolts. That click in the steering wheel was apparently caused by the looseness in the rag joint.
I guess you're not supposed to replace the rag joint only. GM sells the whole steering shaft as an assembly from the firewall to the rack. The problem with it is that it's $582.00. A bit more than I wanted to spend on a rag joint. I could hear a bit of looseness in the universals I think but at that price I can live with it a while longer. The steering seems pretty tight now anyway.
As an aside, when I was getting the alignment checked the alignment guy showed me a cool way to check the lower ball joints. He grabbed it with a pair of really big channel lock pliers with one jaw below the lower arm and the upper jaw just at the top side of the lower joint and squeezed. It had about 1/8" of looseness on both sides, I guess that will be next on the list.

Whats the telescope adjuster? Never heard of that.

vee93...Not a problem, I think I'm good to go for now.

Thanks
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.
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sanjirelli

Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
7
Location
Atlanta, GA.
Corvette
96 LT4 Blk/Blk
Thanks,
I did just that this past weekend. I had my wife wiggle the steering wheel while I watched and felt the outer tie rods, the universals and the rag joint in the steering shaft. I also used a stethascope on the universals to try to pick up any clicks from a loose joint. What I found was interesting. The worst part of the slop was in the rag joint. Next was the outer tie rod ends. The curious thing was that the steering column has had an on-center click and about 1/2" of slop there almost since I bought the car. I found a General Motors TSB a while back that addressed that as a loose part inside the steering column. The column would have to be removed and disassembled to fix it. That click and on-center slop is now gone. All I replaced was the outer tie rods and the rag joint. I could feel significant slop in the two pinned connections in that rag joint and a little bit in the two bolts. That click in the steering wheel was apparently caused by the looseness in the rag joint.
I guess you're not supposed to replace the rag joint only. GM sells the whole steering shaft as an assembly from the firewall to the rack. The problem with it is that it's $582.00. A bit more than I wanted to spend on a rag joint. I could hear a bit of looseness in the universals I think but at that price I can live with it a while longer. The steering seems pretty tight now anyway.
As an aside, when I was getting the alignment checked the alignment guy showed me a cool way to check the lower ball joints. He grabbed it with a pair of really big channel lock pliers with one jaw below the lower arm and the upper jaw just at the top side of the lower joint and squeezed. It had about 1/8" of looseness on both sides, I guess that will be next on the list.

Whats the telescope adjuster? Never heard of that.

vee93...Not a problem, I think I'm good to go for now.

Thanks
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.
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lone73,

I have a similar problem with steering wheel play in my LT4 with 150k miles. Where did you get the rag joint? Do you have a part#? Also, any tips on the replacement procedure is highly appreciated as access apears pretty limited.

thanks!

sanjirelli.
 

lone73

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 24, 2003
Messages
456
Location
Texas
Corvette
'73 4spd coupe, '04 6 speed coupe
sanjirelli,
I got the rag joint in the "Help!" section of the local parts store. Those are typically cheap parts but it was all I could find locally.

To get to the rag joint, first disconnect the negative battery cable so you don't set off the air bag. The instructions in the manual say to be careful not to compress the output shaft of the column (push it toward the firewall) or you could damage part of the air bag system.

I removed the bolts holding the A/C compressor and moved it out of the way, then did the same for the ASR box. There is a plastic cover on the lower end of the shaft assembly under the hood that is held on by a hose clamp at its lower end. Loosen that, then the cover also has a snap together connector on the bottom side that you'll have to reach. Then the fun part, trying to get the cover out without breaking it. I broke mine and absolutely could not get it back in there at reassembly. I left it off the car.

Once you get this far you can unbolt the lower u-joint assembly from the input shaft on the rack, one bolt. then do the same for the upper end on the output of the steering column shaft, as noted above, be careful not to compress the steering column shaft. Also lock the wheel and don't move the front tires so the orientation of tire direction to steering wheel is not lost.
Once the bolt on the upper end is loose you can slide the shaft assembly off the column output by pushing it to the side, then slide the shaft back and off the rack input shaft. The shaft assembly is now free from the car and you can drill out the pins holding the rag joint to the lower u-joint and replace it. They give you bolts to use in the kit in place of the pins.

When you're done I think you'll notice a huge difference in the steering.
good luck :)
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One other thing I forgot to include above. I removed the center section of the inner fender well right above the A-arm...
 

sanjirelli

Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
7
Location
Atlanta, GA.
Corvette
96 LT4 Blk/Blk
lone73,

I changed out the rag joint, steering is good as new again - I had recently replaced all the front suspension ball joints. I was previously considering replacing the steering rack, I didn't think to replace the rag joint and I was starting to hate the slop in the steering.

I ended up combining parts from 3 separate cheapo kits (total cost $25); 1 kit for the GM sized rag joint and 2 kits for Ford bolts and sleeve nuts (each kit only came w/ 1 ea of the items).

I too ended up tearing up the plastic cover so I tossed it as well. The final assembly was excellent with no play in the linkage.

Thanks again for the help.

Sanjirelli.
 

lone73

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 24, 2003
Messages
456
Location
Texas
Corvette
'73 4spd coupe, '04 6 speed coupe
:beer
 

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