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89 K5 Blazer steering play problem?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by **DONOTDELETE**, Mar 12, 2002.

    I've got a 89 K5 Blazer that was bone stock when I bought it. I added a Tuff Country EZ ride 4" suspension lift, 33x12.50x15 BFG MT on 10" aluminum 589 wheels. I already replaced both drag link ends with new ones, but I still have about 2-3" of free play in the steering wheel. Both my tie rod ends look good, but I need to find and eliminate the free play. Do the frames on the later K5's crack out behind the steering box as much as the earlier chevys, or do I need to adjust the steering box? Please help ASAP.

    Thanks,
    Doug
     
  1. wayne

    wayne 3/4 ton status

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    Get somebody in the truck to turn the wheel and watch the box and tie rod for movement. If it is turning the box but the tie rod is not turning and there is no movement of the box on the frame then chances are there is some slop in the box. Did you notice it before the lift? Not sure if there is any adjustment on them or not. I have not looked at mine to see if there is. I have a little play in mine that I noticed after I lifted it but it is not much.
     
  2. 90K5

    90K5 1/2 ton status

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    I'd get an ORD brace, and also adjust the steering box. Doing this improved my steering a whole lot.
     
  3. txbluethunder

    txbluethunder 1/2 ton status

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    i've got the same issue on my 86...i was told it was normal...if its not how do you "adjust" the steering box?
     
  4. ramjet gmc

    ramjet gmc CK5 Staff Staff Member Moderator GMOTM Winner

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    I think it is a crack in the frame but before I rule out the box how many miles on the truck? And as a note my 89 jimmy got a crack in the frame with 31” tires (90,000) on it but I fixed it with 36”tires HEHE oh and a frame brace kit ORD
     
  5. creampuff90k5

    creampuff90k5 1/2 ton status

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    If you do a search, you'll find a bunch of posts on how to adjust (tighten) the steering box. It's definitely worth a try as it's free and only takes ten minutes to complete. The box only has so much adjustment room in it though... and eventually it will need replacement. At that time, it would be a good idea to install the brace and/or weld-in panel as needed. All blazers to '91 seem to be plauged by frame cracks.

    By the way, while you're doing the box adjustment, also make sure both of the bolts on the drag link sleeve are tight as sh!t. This can help a LOT.
     
  6. shane74

    shane74 1/2 ton status

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    If the play is that bad, I'd check the ball joints. Mine were shot (they came out in multiple pieces, uppers, and lowers). But to adjust the steering box here is what you do.

    1. Raise the front of the rig and put it on jack stands.
    2. On top of the steering box, there is a hex nut with a hex socket set screw inside of it. Back off the nut so the set screw loosens. Once it is loose have a friend move the steering wheel back and forth. They should be able to feel the slop in the wheel. As they are doing this you back off on the screw until the slop is gone, or at least significantly reduced. Once you get most of the slop out, put an allen wrench in the set screw to hold it in place, and tighten down the locking nut.
    3. Put the truck back on the ground and test drive.

    I would have the balljoints checked though. I had the exact same problem. I replaced the steering box and several other parts before I narrowed it down to the balljoints. Once I had those fixed, problem gone. If your rig is an 89, the chances are that they have never been replaced, much less looked at, and once you lift it, the play in the steering and suspension becomes impossible to ignore. I'd bet they are the problem.
     
  7. shane74

    shane74 1/2 ton status

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    Oh yeah, No it is not normal! Whoever told you that is a dumb@ss ! The steering should be tight and firm.
     

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