Steering wheel free play

Joined
May 23, 2010
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707
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Near Charlottesville, VA
Some of you might remember that about a month ago I posted questions about my leaking steering box. Well, I bought a rebuilt box from a fellow mudder, and when I went to adjust the freeplay on it, I turn the screw clockwise as far as I can and I am still left with about 1 1/2 of play in the steering wheel. I would think that being a rebuilt box that I could get things tighter than that. Am I missisng something as far as adjustments go. When I read the fsm, it just says to loosen the nut and turn the screw in small incriments. Thats what I did, but I was only able to get about 1.25 turns before it would not go any further. It feels like I could probably squeeze a little more out of it if I really tried, but I dod not want to damage my new box. Oh, and when I first installed the box, there was probably 3-4" of play.

An observation I made on my last steering box was that I could adjust it as far as it would go (which still left freeplay) then take it for a drive, come back loosen the nut and then I would be able to turn the screw another 1/4-1/2 a turn but I would not be able to go counterclockwise more than 1/4" . Hopefuly this makes sense. The last thing I noticed on both boxes is that when I do adjust it as far as it can go, the steering wheel does not fully return to the straight ahead position. It will have some return but I know in my other cars the wheel seems to come all the way back without any effort. These boxes are very expensive, and a PITA to install, so I really dont want to mess up my new one. Should I just be happy with 1 1/2 of freeplay? Thanks for any help.
 
Joined
May 23, 2010
Messages
707
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I forgot to add that I have replaced all tre's and front end knuckle rebuild. Is it possible that something is worn between the steering box and the steering wheel? I do not feel any play in either of the steering ujoints.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2008
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i believe you shouldnt overtighten the adjustment nut so that the wheel doesnt return to center, believe you can mess up the worm gear that way
 

elripster

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Here's the deal. There are two adjustments. One is the depth the sector gear meshes (this is what you are adjusting), the other is set by the bearing perload which affects the "power piston" play. To do this right you need to get a torque meter. I got one from McMaster for about a $150. It's the same tool you need to set diff pinion preload or t-case output flange preload. (very useful tool)

With this tool you can set the power piston preload first. Then you set the sector gear preload. We are talking like 6-8 Nm for the power piston bearings and another 2 Nm for the sector gear.

The FSM goes through it in detail with pics. I would suggest reading through that section to get a better understanding if you want to do this yourself.

Without this tool there isn't much you can do if the play is in the box. If you over preload the sector gear it will start to eat up its teeth and those on the power piston. You can try adjusting the piston preload and then zeroing out the play at the sector gear by feel but for the price of a steering gear I'd say buy the tool and know you are doing it right.



Frank
 
Joined
May 23, 2010
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707
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Near Charlottesville, VA
Well there will be no need to make any adjustments. After I installed the box I was worried about the freeplay so I didnt start the truck until I heard some feedback. After going though a lot of posts it was clear that the adjustment is very sensitive, and prone to over tightening, so I wentout first thing in the morning and loosened the adjustment back to where it was when I got it, then started the truck, followed bleeding procedure, and the proceeded to watch atf start dripping out of the box within minutes. The box actually leaks way worse than my old box. Talk about disappointed! So I called the mudder who sold me the box, and he was all appologies and is refunding me my money. When he bought his 60, the po told him this was a rebuilt box and gave it to him with the truck, so he had never seen it installed. Guess the PO was full of it. I thought it seemed funny that it would have that much play after being rebuilt. Anyways, I am really bummed about all my time wasted, but at least I bought it from an honest man. There is a local shop here that is listed on Mud as being a good Cruiser place so I am going to call them and see what they will charge for a rebuild. Hopefuly less than West TX although I hear they are the best. I am just hoping for a faster turn around time. I really cant drive my 60 the way it is now, I dont think the fluid would last more that 30 min or so.
 

elripster

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For a price camparison I did a sort of half rebuild on mine. for about $175 total (seal kit and torque meter) I changed most of the seals to address a very bad leak. During that process I did the adjustments I described and am very happy with the results.

Best of all I have a new tool when it comes time to set up new gears.

Frank
 
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May 23, 2010
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Yes very cheap. I just talked to CruiserDan, and they charge 118.00 for the rebuild kit. I think Mace has a guy that can get them for about 50.00. I am shipping it out today, it will get there thursday, and I hope to have it back by next weekend. Matt at West TX said he hopes 2 days turn around.
 

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