Loose Steering (1 Viewer)

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Aug 8, 2017
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Howdy everyone

A few years ago I rebuilt the leaky steering box in my '97 and replaced the seals. The steering had a bit of play but I wasn't looking to buy a new steering box. Figured I would just replace the seals for a few bucks and move on. Anyway 100k miles later the steering just has too much play to be acceptable. On grooved roads it is downright scary. Looking around online I've seen some reman stuff floating around ebay (ill post link below) and I am wondering if I should go this route. I've heard redhead sells a good box but they're out of stock and have been for a while. To me the steering just feels worn out, but I can't pinpoint exactly what I causing it. If I have somebody look at the box while I turn the wheel back and forth, there's a good amount of movement on the input shaft without the pitman arm moving. If anyone has any advice it would be greatly appreciated. Also, if I turn full lock one way quickly then try to go back the other direction, it feels like I loose the power steering completely. Heard this means the steering box is leaking internally.


Thanks,
Blake
 

60wag

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Someone is going to recommend tightening the adjuster screw. If you steering feels loose through its entire travel, that might help. But if its loose when driving straight forward and tight close to the turning stops, the screw won't solve your problem. Might need to replace the worm gear, or the whole box.

How's your caster? If its off, that would make the problem worse on grooved roads.
 
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KN4YJE LUGOFF, SC
The smoking gun..."If I have somebody look at the box while I turn the wheel back and forth, there's a good amount of movement on the input shaft without the pitman arm moving."

The preload on the input bearing is too low.
The following images are taken from

When you turn the input shaft its threading the ball screw into the piston until the backlash in the bearing assembly (play) is taken up before it can push the piston with the ball screw.

1609283705779.png

When you reassembled the nut on the input bearing you didn't get the preload high enough.

1609283785957.png


I made the EXACT same mistake. ;)
 
Joined
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Texas
Sounds like I have to tear open the steering box anyway then. Maybe I’ll try tightening the adjuster on top first
 
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Fontana, CA
FYI, if you decide to go RedHead, they can sell you the box with the 105 installed along with the pitman arm...if you’re considering that route.
 
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
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Don’t waste your time messing with dumb screw on top. I had the same problem steering was loose and pretty scary on the highway. I bought a reman from good ole rock auto thinking that would help. Did absolutely nothing for the loose steering. Than I started reading about this so called
Miracle screw adjustment, played with that every which way no luck. Researched some more and ultimately you have to buy a new box or have the box rebuilt with new sector shaft. I ended buying new from eBay through Dubai with new 105 shaft. Installed and low and bel hold steering is no longer loose.
 
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Sounds like I have to tear open the steering box anyway then. Maybe I’ll try tightening the adjuster on top first
That's not the problem, but if you do play with it...
Jack up the front end, both wheels and unlock the steering with the key. Do not start the rig, you need to be able to hear the gear box.
As you tighten the sector shaft screw 1/8 turn at a time, move the wheels through their steering arc by hand while listening for any ticking from the gear box.
If you hear any grinding, ticking, clicking, or feel any sticking or stuttering or anything other then dead smooth movement back off the sector screw or you may be damaging the sector shaft. You have a lot of leverage with the tires, you'll feel any anomalies.

Now, to prove that the bearing preload is off....
With the wheels back on the ground, get another person to gently rock the steering wheel back and forth, just the amount of movement needed to take the play out, back and forth, with one finger. While they are doing that, you look closely at the input shaft on the gear box. If the bearing preload is too light you will see the input shaft move in and out of the gear box as the steering wheel is gently rocked back and forth. Its not going to be much, but ANY linear movement is too much.
 

richardlillard1

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The preload on the input bearing is loose. This can and does happen to 80 steering boxes, whether they’ve been apart previously or not. A 91 we had in the shop was a great example of this; the bearing preload was very loose despite the box having never been serviced (so previous work could not be blamed). Driving the truck gave the sensation of those crappy arcade games from the 80s while driving. Not what I would call fun.

When tightening the preload on an input, I shoot for around 6-7in lbs, which helps tremendously. This is the high end of what Toyota specs for the input, but it works quite well. Once finished it made the truck feel more planted and stable, more akin to a rack and pinion than a reciprocating ball steering box.
 
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Alright I’ll take a look at the nut when I have time to pull it apart. Might be a dumb question but how do I properly torque the adjuster nut and input screw?
 
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With a spanner wrench, or fake it with a pair of close fitting punches and a long screw driver to run them.

No Idea if this is big enough, but it what the tool looks like.
1609445028119.png
 

richardlillard1

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