1997 LC Steering

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May 8, 2021
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west virginia
Would adjusting the steering gearbox adjustment screw correct the amount of play I’m having in the steering wheel?

The steering wheel can be turned left to right as shown below and the LC stays straight while driving. I wasn’t able to upload a video but below are screen shots from the video showing the degree of movement.

**Note - It does seem to feel like have a little bit of “wandering” while driving but I’m attributing that to the 3” lift and lack of caster correction plates or correction arms. Although not my preference The poly bushings came with the kit so I threw them in temporarily until I determined plates or arms as a permanent solution.


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baldilocks

Battle Ground, WA
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Assuming all other steering system connections are not worn out, the screw on top of the gear box can make a difference. Be sure to make small adjustments at a time like 1/2 turn then test drive it. You don’t want to go to tight. You’ll know you’ve adjusted the screw too tightly when the steering wheel feels like it sticks.

Consider a rebuild. Redhead does a top notch job.
 
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Assuming all other steering system connections are not worn out, the screw on top of the gear box can make a difference. Be sure to make small adjustments at a time like 1/2 turn then test drive it. You don’t want to go to tight. You’ll know you’ve adjusted the screw too tightly when the steering wheel feels like it sticks.

Consider a rebuild. Redhead does a top notch job.
Screw will not do much if anything at all. Plan on doing a rebuild or buying a new unit.
 
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in addition to the adjustment, make sure your PS fluid is at the required level and bled. low fluid & air in the system can contribute to play in the steering
 
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west virginia
Assuming all other steering system connections are not worn out, the screw on top of the gear box can make a difference. Be sure to make small adjustments at a time like 1/2 turn then test drive it. You don’t want to go to tight. You’ll know you’ve adjusted the screw too tightly when the steering wheel feels like it sticks.

Consider a rebuild. Redhead does a top notch job.

I’ve replaced both inner and outer tie rod and tie rod ends on front, steering dampener, front and rear sway bar linkage and bushings. The most recent change was that I just had a new steering pump put in. There seems to be some oil still coming from the the front left area so not sure if it’s the main seal or from where they installed the steering pump. The steering fluid level are staining consistent but there is clearly a slow leak and it smells “hot” anytime I drive it for some distance.

Maybe they used the wrong steering fluid or did not bleed it properly tats causing the sloppy steering. Or maybe the steering box is ready for a rebuild (about 233,000 miles)

Ill have to keep researching on
 

baldilocks

Battle Ground, WA
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Wash down the engine bay so you can see more easily where a leak may be coming from. You would know if the system has air in it because of the noise it would be making.
 
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Chattanooga, TN
I've seen the screw help on a few 80s, apparently it doesn't help at all on others. Cheap/easy to try and only risk is that it starts leaking from the screw after adjustment but I've not seen that happen personally. You can likely figure out if there is slack in the box by having someone move the steering wheel back and forth through the slack while you monitor the input/output shafts on the box. If the input shaft moves and the output shaft doesn't move then the slack, at least for that amount of steering wheel travel, is in the box. Again, the screw may or may not remove that but I definitely think it's worth trying.

If you go too tight on the screw it will show up first when the wheel is turned a good bit, as there's less potential for wear in the turned positions than the straight ahead driving position. Too tight is probably most easily recognizable when the truck doesn't return to center out of a deep corner/turn.

After replacing everything else I removed almost all remaining slack in my 80s steering at 230k by turning the screw in until it was barely too tight, and then back out until it didn't bind any more. Get a long screwdriver and the correctly sized combination wrench and you can stop and make this adjustment easily on a drive until it's right. Just a half turn or so at a time is a good idea but you'll get a feel for it. Wrench goes in via the wheel well and screwdriver from above.

There are a lot of points of possible slack in the steering from loose wheel bearings (common in my experience), to loose steering joints, to loose studs on the bottom of your knuckles or even crack(s) around the steering box where it mounts to the frame. You have to check for and address all of these to take slack out of your steering and may have any/all of these as they are all common. A great check is someone turning the wheel through the slack zone just into where the tires start to move then back, and forth. While they do that you move around and put your hands/eyes on every possible place for slack. Then lift each wheel (may as well check rear too) and try to wiggle w hands at 12/6 and 3/9 oclock positions, put some muscle into this. After all that's tight your left with suspension bushings but they'll show more as wandering and less as steering slack.
 

John Young

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I'm going to try adjusting a steering bx for the first time today. It's the 1996 turbo diesel RHD to LHD conversion truck now on a 1991 LHD frame, which we changed to address cracks in the frame around the steering box because the original conversion did not add webbing inside the frame member like they should have, and it cracked over time.

I was getting a shimmy at moderate speeds and only when the steering is turned slightly to the right or left. I got it up on the rack and checked everything and could find nothing loose, not wheel bearings, tie rod ends, or even much play in the steering box itself. The young man who assisted me felt that it was the steering damper, which looked to have been original. So last night I got a new Toyo damper and put it on. It helped but there is still a little shimmy. I imagine that it must be wear in the center of the turning range of the steering box.

Wish me luck!
 

LandLocked93

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I was getting a shimmy at moderate speeds and only when the steering is turned slightly to the right or left. I got it up on the rack and checked everything and could find nothing loose, not wheel bearings, tie rod ends, or even much play in the steering box itself.
This sounds like a caster issue.

Otherwise to the OP, DIY your steering box with:
1 - 04445-60050 - Steering box reseal kit - EBAY- $110
2* - 44154-30020 - Power piston plunger guide nut - Partsouq - $5 - *when you try the reseal kit by itself to start, like me lol
1 - 18-32-7-DL - Input shaft seal part number (not Toyota) - Ebay - $8
1 - 44120-60180 - VALVE ASSY, W/BALL NUT - TPD - $433 (non-neg part to get rid of on center wander) AND no ball play.

Just trust me on that last.
 
Last edited:

John Young

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This sounds like a caster issue.

Otherwise to the OP, DIY your steering box with:
1 - 04445-60050 - Steering box reseal kit - EBAY- $110
2* - 44154-30020 - Power piston plunger guide nut - Partsouq - $5 - *when you try the reseal alone to start, like me
1 - 18-32-7-DL - Input shaft seal part number (not Toyota) - Ebay - $8
1 - 44120-60180 - VALVE ASSY, W/BALL NUT - TPD - $433
Thank you for the reply LL. So you are suggesting I get an alignment? Do you think I ought to try adjusting the box first or just go immediately for alignment? I'd appreciate your views on this.

On the rebuild thanks for the part numbers. I actually have a spare steering box--it was the one that was on the converted truck initially. I just left the donor box on the frame when we did the frame transplant.
 

LandLocked93

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Thank you for the reply LL. So you are suggesting I get an alignment? Do you think I ought to try adjusting the box first or just go immediately for alignment? I'd appreciate your views on this.

On the rebuild thanks for the part numbers. I actually have a spare steering box--it was the one that was on the converted truck initially. I just left the donor box on the frame when we did the frame transplant.
I didn't mention an alignment. But sure. Given all the changes you've made - frame, RHD2LHD, axles - it's a good place to land.
🤔
 
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I’ve replaced both inner and outer tie rod and tie rod ends on front, steering dampener, front and rear sway bar linkage and bushings. The most recent change was that I just had a new steering pump put in. There seems to be some oil still coming from the the front left area so not sure if it’s the main seal or from where they installed the steering pump. The steering fluid level are staining consistent but there is clearly a slow leak and it smells “hot” anytime I drive it for some distance.

Maybe they used the wrong steering fluid or did not bleed it properly tats causing the sloppy steering. Or maybe the steering box is ready for a rebuild (about 233,000 miles)

Ill have to keep researching on
Had the front wheel bearings on both driver and passenger side replaced, changed out the old worn tires, and had it realigned. The shop didn’t give me a print out but said everything was within spec and caster was at about 2.2. It’s much better.
 

COYS

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John Young

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Thank you for the reply LL. So you are suggesting I get an alignment? Do you think I ought to try adjusting the box first or just go immediately for alignment? I'd appreciate your views on this.

On the rebuild thanks for the part numbers. I actually have a spare steering box--it was the one that was on the converted truck initially. I just left the donor box on the frame when we did the frame transplant.
I got an alignment and death wobble is still there. The mechanic says something is loose on the birf joint seal but that does not seem too likely to me to be the issue. I've replaced the damper, adjusted the magic screw and got an alignment at this point. Fortunately I have another steering box lying around. Lower mileage. They guys are installing that now.

On the rebuild, from what I've seen it is mostly seals and such. Not the scroll where the ball bearings rest. If those are too worn I don't think a rebuild will have an effect. A friend put a new 105 box on his 80. He got it from Oman and now he is very happy with that. It cost about 1500 USD.
 

LandLocked93

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I got an alignment and death wobble is still there. The mechanic says something is loose on the birf joint seal but that does not seem too likely to me to be the issue. I've replaced the damper, adjusted the magic screw and got an alignment at this point. Fortunately I have another steering box lying around. Lower mileage. They guys are installing that now.
Went back and re-read your initial post. If I understand it correctly, might want to confirm the frame is still square?
On the rebuild, from what I've seen it is mostly seals and such. Not the scroll where the ball bearings rest. If those are too worn I don't think a rebuild will have an effect. A friend put a new 105 box on his 80. He got it from Oman and now he is very happy with that. It cost about 1500 USD.
The reseal kit only is just that...seals n' such.
A full box rebuild includes the reseal kit plus the other p/ns in previous post.
A new box of course, is never a bad idea. It's just perhaps a costly one if it's not completely necessary.
 
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Had the front wheel bearings on both driver and passenger side replaced, changed out the old worn tires, and had it realigned. The shop didn’t give me a print out but said everything was within spec and caster was at about 2.2. It’s much better.

Update:

Steering issue he returned. After replacing the front wheel bearings, new tires, and alignment it drove much better. However, over the course of a few weeks it progressively got worse again. It got to the point where something was obviously wrong and I didn’t want to continue doing damage to something. I decided to check the wheel bearings with the 12 o’clock-6oclock method and there was what seemed to be a considerable amount of play in both. 1/4”-1/2”

I Took it back to the shop for their opinion and to have them make sure I wasn’t off base. The response I received was “all those old vehicles have loose bearings, they’re supposed to have play in them, that’s how they’re made”…I disagreed and pushed to have them look at it anyway. After checking the bearings they actually agreed there shouldn’t be THIS much play. He was guessing a 1/4-1/2” of movement as well.….I was told the bearings just needed retightened because with new bearing it will take some time for them to “seat”…I questioned them about the required ft/lbs they should be tightened in order to seat them, backing it off, then Retightening it again to spec…The shop said that they just tighten by hand and don’t use torque wrenches because if it’s too tight it’ll burn it up…so long story short they tighten the bearings back up and off I go.

Everything drove much better again, but, after a couple weeks it is now back to the same symptoms only now it’s making an occasional “grinding” type of noise in the front end. I’m Not sure if this is a new sound or related but the steering issues are definitely back as well as play in the wheel bearings.

There is definite visible movement again and a “clunking” noise can be heard when pushing on the tire at 6 o’clock/12 o’clock.

Any ideas on where to start with diagnostics?

I’ve lost faith in that particular mechanic but wonder if I have a larger issue brewing. This is my daily driver at 80-100mile/day to work and back.
 
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Update:

Steering issue he returned. After replacing the front wheel bearings, new tires, and alignment it drove much better. However, over the course of a few weeks it progressively got worse again. It got to the point where something was obviously wrong and I didn’t want to continue doing damage to something. I decided to check the wheel bearings with the 12 o’clock-6oclock method and there was what seemed to be a considerable amount of play in both. 1/4”-1/2”

I Took it back to the shop for their opinion and to have them make sure I wasn’t off base. The response I received was “all those old vehicles have loose bearings, they’re supposed to have play in them, that’s how they’re made”…I disagreed and pushed to have them look at it anyway. After checking the bearings they actually agreed there shouldn’t be THIS much play. He was guessing a 1/4-1/2” of movement as well.….I was told the bearings just needed retightened because with new bearing it will take some time for them to “seat”…I questioned them about the required ft/lbs they should be tightened in order to seat them, backing it off, then Retightening it again to spec…The shop said that they just tighten by hand and don’t use torque wrenches because if it’s too tight it’ll burn it up…so long story short they tighten the bearings back up and off I go.

Everything drove much better again, but, after a couple weeks it is now back to the same symptoms only now it’s making an occasional “grinding” type of noise in the front end. I’m Not sure if this is a new sound or related but the steering issues are definitely back as well as play in the wheel bearings.

There is definite visible movement again and a “clunking” noise can be heard when pushing on the tire at 6 o’clock/12 o’clock.

Any ideas on where to start with diagnostics?

I’ve lost faith in that particular mechanic but wonder if I have a larger issue brewing. This is my daily driver at 80-100mile/day to work and back.
Tighten the inner wheel bearing retaining nut to 35 LB-FT while rotating., then install the locking washer, then torque the outer nut to 45 LB-FT. Then bend over the tabs on the locking washer.

Get a different mechanic or do it yourself. This is NOT hard.

Buy a torque wrench, get a can of sealant or buy new paper gaskets for it.

Hopefully, the driving done to this point has not damaged the hub seals or bearings.

The FSM is known to be incorrect on the call-out (listed as 45 LB-IN) and use a fish-scale for rotation.

If you follow the above tried and true method, your wheel bearing issues should subside.
 
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⬆️He knows what he’s talking about, this is a 🍌job and can easily be done by you! The best part of this forum is learning from others and gaining the confidence to do it yourself the right way and knowing it was done right! I have seen so many mechanics half asss jobs and send them along there way only to clam it supposed to be like that when the customer comes back. You can do it!!! Don’t paid incompetent people for sh#t work.
 
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Messages
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Update:

Steering issue he returned. After replacing the front wheel bearings, new tires, and alignment it drove much better. However, over the course of a few weeks it progressively got worse again. It got to the point where something was obviously wrong and I didn’t want to continue doing damage to something. I decided to check the wheel bearings with the 12 o’clock-6oclock method and there was what seemed to be a considerable amount of play in both. 1/4”-1/2”

I Took it back to the shop for their opinion and to have them make sure I wasn’t off base. The response I received was “all those old vehicles have loose bearings, they’re supposed to have play in them, that’s how they’re made”…I disagreed and pushed to have them look at it anyway. After checking the bearings they actually agreed there shouldn’t be THIS much play. He was guessing a 1/4-1/2” of movement as well.….I was told the bearings just needed retightened because with new bearing it will take some time for them to “seat”…I questioned them about the required ft/lbs they should be tightened in order to seat them, backing it off, then Retightening it again to spec…The shop said that they just tighten by hand and don’t use torque wrenches because if it’s too tight it’ll burn it up…so long story short they tighten the bearings back up and off I go.

Everything drove much better again, but, after a couple weeks it is now back to the same symptoms only now it’s making an occasional “grinding” type of noise in the front end. I’m Not sure if this is a new sound or related but the steering issues are definitely back as well as play in the wheel bearings.

There is definite visible movement again and a “clunking” noise can be heard when pushing on the tire at 6 o’clock/12 o’clock.

Any ideas on where to start with diagnostics?

I’ve lost faith in that particular mechanic but wonder if I have a larger issue brewing. This is my daily driver at 80-100mile/day to work and back.
The real question I have is way are using your LC as a daily driver at 80-100 miles per day?
 

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