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steering box slop

R

resto75

Guest
My 75 seems to have excessive amount of play between the steering wheel and the box. I can make a 1/4 turn of the wheel before the slop in the box is taken up and the wheels start to move.

I have been told that instead of buying a rebuilt box I might change the grease/oil ( What belongs in there ?? ) and adjust the nut on top of the box.

Anybody with any experience doing this.
 

chevyaddict

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 12, 2002
Messages
894
Location
Tucson, AZ USA
Corvette
1990 Convertible
I am interested in responses to this as well. I would say about half our chevies have this same problem............:(
 

69MyWay

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 3, 2001
Messages
4,364
Location
Auburndale, Florida
Corvette
1969 Killer Shark
Do me one favor first.

I assume this is a power steering car.

Get somebody to wiggle the steering wheel, while you watch from below. Watch where the pitman arm comes out of the gear box in relation to where it attaches to the power control valve.

If you wiggle the wheel you should notice that the steering shaft wiggles through the rag joint into the gear box. You should see very accurate movement from the shaft down into the pitman arm.

Now, see if there isn't like 1/2" either way that the pitman arm is allowed to move before the tie rods/drag link and main steering starts to move.

If this is the case, then this is normal. That is how this clunky power steering works on these cars.

However, if you are seeing a difference in movement from the shaft at the rag joint area to the pitman arm, then you have a worn gear box.

I see 99% of the cars with power steering almost never wear out the gear box as there is very little pressure on it to go back and forth. The manual steer cars are aweful about wearing out the gear box because they direct drive the pitman arm to drag link, etc.

Check it out and let us know.
 
R

resto75

Guest
Ok Chis i'll check it out when I have someone here to help. It is a power steering car so we will see maybe its suppose to be that way. It does seem excessive however. I was told one time that new steering box grease will help. It don't know off hand what goes into the box, but guess I can look it up somewhere.
 
Joined
Aug 29, 2001
Messages
3,233
Location
Norcross, Georgia, United Stat
Corvette
2017 Arctic White Grand Sport
I heard the same thing about adding grease to the steering box. I was told to simply take out one of the top bolts and add regular bearing grease. Any thoughts on this?

Bob
 

80convertible

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 26, 2001
Messages
416
Location
Asheville, NC
Corvette
1973 converted to 1980 custom convertible
Guys, I'm no steering expert but here are my thoughts. I think the boxes originally came with a type of gear oil (?) and owners converted them to grease. In fact, my box has grease. If there is oil in your box, may need to drain it before adding grease. I had lots of slop in my box due to worn parts all over the front suspension including the box. You will see what looks like a screw on top with a jamb nut. Loosen the nut and turn the screw about 1/4 turn and recheck tightness of steering. If the steering is still loose, then turn screw another 1/4" turn and check...you get the picture. The main thing is not to turn that screw to far.....which is what most people do! It can really make a huge difference. I went one further because I had to replace the front seal in my steering box due to leaking grease. Therefore, I was able to also increase load on front bearings of box where steering shaft enters the box. Also, check your ragjoint. Mine was old, soaked in oil and grease and had metal sticking out of it. If you have the original ragjoint, it's probably due for replacement. I used the $12.00 aftermarket replacement. I would rather of used a GM stock replacement now that I've used this cheap part.

After the ragjoint and steering box, the idler arm is also a wear item that you may want to check. Should not have more than about 1/4" movement. I think I need to replace mine in the near future.

Jim
 

80convertible

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 26, 2001
Messages
416
Location
Asheville, NC
Corvette
1973 converted to 1980 custom convertible
Also, check out corvettefaq.com. Look under the steering section. A guy by the name of Jim Shea wrote many of the articles or added comments. Jim used to work for GM Saginaw division which made these components. This guy knows his steering and these articles are an excellend source for info.

Jim
 
T

THannah

Guest
Watch the shaft where it comes out of the steering box and attaches to the pitman arm. Mine was worn and causing play in the wheel. Watch it and see if it moves side to side at the lower side of the box.
 
D

Dave L.

Guest
Many times the play you have can be found in a control valve in need of rebuild.Chris,69myway is right on about the steering gear.They rarely wear out on p.s. cars.My car had excessive play also.I just about bought a new box.Rebuilt my steering valve and this solved most of the play. Also,when going from your rack and pinion daily driver to these cars,it will always seem there is excessive play.Check that valve out and see what you find.I didn't think that valve would make that much of a difference.It might be worth your while to check it out.Good Luck!!!

Dave
 

vigman

Motor head!!!!
Joined
Feb 13, 2001
Messages
3,471
Location
Valencia, CA,USA
Corvette
88 Convert ( SOLD ) /1973 coupe 4 speed/1964 Vert!
Another trick

there is a large nut on the top of the steering box with a regular slot on the threaded piece that runs into the box. With My car I had the same problem( the 73 ) so I loosened the lock nut turned the threaded shaft in a bit and BADA BING tight steering again...

Try it!


Vig!
 
Joined
Aug 29, 2001
Messages
3,233
Location
Norcross, Georgia, United Stat
Corvette
2017 Arctic White Grand Sport
Mine was adjusted as well with good results though it still has the "corvette wander". About an inch of play is all that is left.

Be carefull when adjusting. The steering needs to return to center when you are driving it. Too tight, and while the slop goes away, the wheels won't return to center; a safety issue.

I also recall reading that too tight will put too much stress on the gears inside.

Bob
 

Zektor

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 28, 2002
Messages
100
Location
United Kingdom
Corvette
1982 Silver Coupe (Sold!), New C5 in 3 weeks!
I've adjujsted mine and still sloppy...

I had the same problem on my '82. I adjusted the lash adjuster bolt in an attempt to cure the "play" in the steering. No such luck!!! Anyway, in the end I found out that the play is actually at the end of the pitman arm as it meets the "rack". I've still got to rectify this issue and haven't looked further into this problem since I found where the problem is.

What is used to connect the end of the pitman arm to the main steering gear. Is it a balljoint, or something else?

I feel that replacing this part will give me super accurate steering again!!!

Cheers
Dazza
 

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