Steering play after replacing steering box (13 Viewers)

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Hello, mudders,

long time did not ask a question here but I am at the end now. I have done following:

* replaced the power steering box which was already leaking with rebuild one from West Texas offroad (with upgraded pitman arm)
* replaced the power steering pump which was heavily leaking
* replaced the high pressure power steering hose

After doing all the work there is a huge amount of steering play, it takes significant amount of movement before the cruiser steers either to left or right. What I probably have done not right was that prior to installing the steering box I did not verify that it is centered (emailed WTO and they said that it comes already centered). As the shaft is tighter when going straight it might be that the box is not centered and there is a bit of play. I tried the following procedure when fitting a new rebuild box:

* centered the steering wheel and marked the position of the shaft
* removed all the bolts holding the steering box to the frame except the lower left one which would be used as pivot point
* removed the two bolts on the u-joint of the steering shaft and removed the shaft from the input of the steering box
* removed the steering box
* installed a new one the same way as the old one was removed
* installed the steering rod to pitman arm and torqued the big nut on the pitman arm

After doing this the wheel was offset to the right side in about 30 degrees, went for alignment where they centered the wheel. Unfortunately, the play in the system is so big that it is pretty dangerous to maneuver the cruiser on the highway.

What would you suggest:

* I still need to see if there is some play in the tie rods (already have the OEM replacement)
* Shall I remove the steering shaft and tie rod and try to center the steering box without removing it from the frame
* There is a huge amount of play on the shaft as the rubber gasket in the firewall is completely gone (already have a replacement)

Otherwise, the car goes pretty straightforward, it just takes a bit of movement on the steering wheel to get the car moving in either direction.
 
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If you've just replaced the steering box, the play isn't from that. Check all the front suspension bushes, check all the mountings for the radius arms to the axle, and the chassis. check the panhard mounts. Check the front wheel bearings. Check the steering knuckles and make sure all the studs are tight. Check the tie-rod ends.
 

nukegoat

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Either the new box has more play in the ball screw or (more likely) the rebuilders didnt give the input thrust bearings enough preload.

If the box is stiff to turn right and left (especially when centered) then there is probably excessive preload with the backlash adjuster and causing binding which can occur coincidentally with a sloppy input.

The correct person to comment is @Tools R Us so if youre lucky he will show up and add commentary
 
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Thanks for the replies, the rebuilder is West Texas Offroad which I think is reputable and recommended option here o ih8mud.
 

bajaphile

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Did you have someone else turn the wheel and verify the play is coming from the box?

What about adjusting the preload nut on top of the box?

Properly bled the pump?
 
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I just verified that the play is coming from the steering box, seems that the West Texas Offroad did not either set the preload correctly or did just change the seals. Will try to adjust the steering gear box as suggested.
 
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...
After doing all the work there is a huge amount of steering play, it takes significant amount of movement before the cruiser steers either to left or right. ...

More or less than the old box? How much play measured at the steering wheel rim?

...
* There is a huge amount of play on the shaft as the rubber gasket in the firewall is completely gone (already have a replacement)
...

That is simply an air seal, has nothing to do with play.
 
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Book spec from fsm is inch and half of play at the wheel I believe. Did you put the hoses into the correct ports on the box?
 
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Yeah my info says 30 mm (in Aussie-speak!) is the limit for steering wheel play, which is still a lot. I'm surprised that a rebuilt steering box wouldn't be configured right when delivered but kudos to the rebuilder if they accept responsibility and modify their processes to prevent it happening again.

I don't know if US 80's got the tilt-steering up/down setup or just a simple straight non-tiltable config. The tilt-steering adds an additional movable joint to the steering shaft but I have not delved into the internals of the tilt mech to work out if the joint itself (which becomes the top-most one closest to the steering wheel) can tend to wear a lot.
 
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Steering play has increased since changing the box, I have sent email to rebuilder (West Texas Offroad), still waiting for a response. I don't want to go through the warranty claim as I live outside of USA and it would be a pain to send the box back to the rebuilder. I think that after changing the TRE's which I already have and if even after that the steering doesn't improve I would go ahead with adjusting the steering box.
 
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When adjusting the steering box play, only turn the adjuster a max of 1/4 turn at a time. I've tried to adjust mine and I find it very difficult to tell by how much the play is changing. I'm considering getting a later series 105 box and pitman arm but need more inspiration before I spend A$2k on those parts.
 

RFB

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Book spec from fsm is inch and half of play at the wheel I believe. Did you put the hoses into the correct ports on the box?
Now you know why Im in this thread
 
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@Jorgito @sunrk and anyone else who wants to play with the adjusting nut- The adjustment available on the outside of the box does not adjust play in the box or the wheel. This is a very common misconception, probably only cured by opening the box and seeing what that adjuster actually does. The only way to tighten the steering play is adding preload to the bearings inside the box. There have been a few threads about this which you might find with the search function that will explain it better. I would recommend understanding what that adjuster actually does before messing with it, because you can cause damage.
 
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@-Spike- , I don't have any other choice, leaving in two weeks to Turkey and Georgia so no time to rebuild the steering box which was already rebuilt. Tried to decrease the play with setting the nut on the steering box which helped a bit but still there is a lot of play. At least it is not leaking.
 

izzyandsue

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I just verified that the play is coming from the steering box, seems that the West Texas Offroad did not either set the preload correctly or did just change the seals. Will try to adjust the steering gear box as suggested.
Same exact problem with one of those boxes. Came with lots of play then leaking from adjustment nut. After resetting and retightening, everything works perfect and little play.
 
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I also have a box from WTOR and am experiencing the same problem.

Same exact problem with one of those boxes. Came with lots of play then leaking from adjustment nut. After resetting and retightening, everything works perfect and little play.

Not sure what you mean by "resetting and retightening." Did you take the box apart and re-rebuild it yourself?
 

izzyandsue

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No, not rebuild, reset the adjustment nut and bolt (on the already rebuilt box). It was so loose it moved, very loose steering, weeping fluid out. Following FSM and torqued the nut, perfect steering and leaked stopped. Kind of a bummer on a "new" rebuilt box.
 
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Update: I have tried to adjust the nut but the freeplay is still the same. It's 100 percent that the freeplay is from the steering box, I am able to turn the input shaft by the hand and there is no movement of the pitman arm (how could be if I use just my arm).

Not sure what direction shall I proceed, have paid too much to have the steering box rebuilt and sent to Europe, thinking about buying a new one from UAE.
 
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When a box is rebuilt, how much attention gets paid to wear on the main components (sector shaft, etc.) which can contribute to play that you can't feel by hand but only becomes evident under 'road load' on all the various components?
 
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So two years later, I decided to get a new steering box head and had it installed. I will let you know if that helped.
 

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