Need Help – How to Access the Steering Box Adjustment Screw/Nut (1 Viewer)

Joined
Oct 24, 2015
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243
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Clarksville, TN 37043
 
I want to adjust the steering box on my 79 FJ40. I know how to make the adjustment, but I can’t figure out how to get to it.

I’ve included two pictures to give you an appreciation of what I’m struggling with. The 1st is a top view of the box - the yellow dot is the top of the box. The 2nd picture shows the shield covering the adjustment screw/nut on the inside of the steering box.

The shield is only about 2 – 3 inches away from the exhaust manifold and headers.

If anyone has been able to adjust their steering box, on a similarly configured cruiser, while leaving the box in place, I would greatly appreciate your advice on how to do it. Alternatively, what was the least amount of vehicle disassembly required to make the adjustment?

For what its worth I attempted this several months ago and gave up in frustration.

1603479327866.png


Steering Box Shield.jpg
 
Joined
Jul 6, 2020
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Poulsbo, WA
This is easy to do on the truck. HOWEVER, learn from the elder statesman (Mark A), and do this with the front wheels off the ground. This part is critical because it allows you to turn the steering wheel lock to lock and feel for any binding. The nut/screw is accessed from the fender well on the driver side. Reach in from the fender well, above and behind the front tire and unbolt the heat shield with a 12mm socket. It's helpful to use an inspection mirror to look at and locate the locknut and adjustment screw on the backside of the sbox. Note the orientation of the screw before you loosen the locknut (because the screw will tend to loosen as well). Make a note of the screw orientation because you only want to tighten it in small increments (like 1/8 turn). Note the amount of freeplay on the steering wheel before you tighten the adjustment screw. Then, when you tighten the adjustment screw you can feel the reduction in freeplay at the steering wheel. It is important that you don't tighten it too much. You want some freeplay at the center, so that the gears don't bind when you get closer to the stops. Finally, when you tighten the lock nut for the last time, make sure you don't inadvertently move the adjustment screw or it will be too tight. This is why the mirror is helpful. Good luck.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 17, 2005
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5,265
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Southern Colorado
 
 
 
As someone who has adjusted many boxes, AntFarm stated this perfectly. Do exactly as he said. To amplify one of his remarks - 99% of the wear is in the straight-ahead position, and that's why if you remove ALL the slack there, you will likely have binding at the left and right steering extremes.
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2015
Messages
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Location
Clarksville, TN 37043
 
I must be doing something wrong if you thought this was easy. I spent the better part of a day on top of and below trying to make that adjustment. I did manage to get the shield off but didn't have enough room between the steering box and the manifold/header to get a screwdriver, wrench and two hands in there to hold the nut and turn the screw.

Did you make the adjustment from above or below? Did your cruiser have all of the emission control equipment still in tack?

I appreciate the tip of having the front wheels off the ground.
 
Joined
Jul 6, 2020
Messages
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Location
Poulsbo, WA
Sorry I’ll try to clarify. Remove the heat shield through the fender, then adjust the screw on the Sbox from the top. You CAN do it on your back from below but I found the reach to be too hard from there with the front end jacked up. My 79 is fully smogged, similar to yours. If you have the heat shield removed already, then that’s good. Remove the HAC valve and the VCV by gently taking off the vacuum hoses and slipping them out of their respective holders. (If you still need more room then unbolt the carb cooling fan. I did not need to do that. )Disconnect the brake master cylinder pressure sensor switches to get those wires out of your way. This should provide enough room to get your arm in from the top. I found that by using a smallish file instead of a screwdriver it was much easier to adjust the screw. A 4-6 inch long piece of bar stock would also work. Just needs to be the right thickness to fit in the screw slot. A screwdriver probably wouldn’t fit up against that fat exhaust pipe flange anyway. This trick allows you to better see where the adjustment screw is setting and makes the precise adjustments easier.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Poulsbo, WA
I’m so accustomed to removing smog equipment when I work on my truck that I forget to describe that part when explaining a procedure. I do believe a proper Desmog is in my future, just not this week. :rofl:
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2015
Messages
243
Location
Clarksville, TN 37043
 
AntFarm

Thanks for the advice. I was able to make the adjustment today. I haven't been able to road test it yet, due to the weather, but it made a big difference up on the stands in the garage.

I encountered two unexpected issues. I had to use a hacksaw blade to widened and deepen the slot so I could get the edge of a thin putty knife in the slot to hold it and apparently they used a thread locker on the nut. I had a heck of a time breaking it loose.

Again thanks for the assist.
 

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