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Adjustment screw on steering box question

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by uberbeans, May 5, 2006.

  1. uberbeans

    uberbeans 1/2 ton status

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    Has anyone adjusted the play out of a steering box by adjusting the screw on it before. My steering box has less than 4000 miles on it and I just got my tires realigned (properly, this time) and there is more play than before the alignment. The play probably wasn't noticible before because the box was a little off before instead of being perfectly neutral (?). I know that these boxes have some play inherently in them, but if I can adjust a little out I would like to. I've heard that it accelerates wear of the box. Any advice would be great!:D
     
  2. dremu

    dremu Officious Thread Derailer Premium Member

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  3. shane74

    shane74 1/2 ton status

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    While the above link has 99% of the correct information in it, I will say that adjusting the steering box by "feel" can be a very bad thing. Read on to find out why...

    I had some very loose steering. I had already replaced my tie rod, drag link, steering stabilizer, and ball joints. My steering box was only a couple years old, but I figured since it was a re-man unit, it could need adjusted. I went of some VERY WRONG info about how adjusting your steering box is easy and fast and OK to do. WRONG! I damn near killed my family and a few others on the freeway after I adjusted my box. Here is why. The nut on top of the steering box sets the mesh of the gears inside the box. Too little and you risk sloppy/unresponsive steering, too much and you risk the gears binding up on you. Either you can't turn, or you are in the middle of a turn and can't bring it back. This is what happened to me at 65 mph on the freeway w/ no top on and no full family cage, 9" of lift and 38" tires. Had the wife, 2 kids and dog with me. We went up on 2 wheels at least 3 times when it finally broke loose and I could somewhat control it again. Scared the crap out me and everyone else on the freeway. Took some serious driving skills (mostly luck!) to get out of traffic, not roll it, and not hit/kill anyone else.

    The point is, most times, the slop is not in the box, but in all the rest of the components. In order to adjust the steering box correctly, you need an in. lb. torque wrench that can sense down to 4 in. lb. I don't know anyone that can sense less then 10 in. lbs accurately. Any more drag than that and you risk your steering box binding up and going through what my family and I did. My real problem ended up being bad bearings on the drivers side. There was hardly any play at all by feel, or crow bar for that matter with the tire on. Had I checked everything else first, including the bearings w/out the #120 tire/wheel on it, I could have saved myself a lot of headache and a pair of underwear.
     
  4. uberbeans

    uberbeans 1/2 ton status

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    THAT is good advice! All of my components are brand new. The latest alignment found that the sector shaft was out of adjustment, so I am assuming that the box was always a little left or right (though the alignment was adjusted in by the steering arm, etc.) There was very little play before and now that the sector is right and the box is "neutral" when the wheels are straight it has just a touch more play and will require a little more imput to turn right (none left, though). I know that these boxes have a little play no matter what, though. I this the wrong time to adjust the box? Never did it before. My neighbor (who sometimes has pretty good advice) said to just tighten it up a quarter turn. After listening to your story Maybe that would be to much. The play isn't alot, just more than before. I appreciate the help.
     
  5. shane74

    shane74 1/2 ton status

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    See if you can find a local place that specializes in steering gears. Most of the time, they will set it up for you cheap if you bring the box in to them. I had mine reset at a local shop called Steering Pro. I brought the box to them, they re-adjusted it, and sent me on my merry way for a $10 bill. Also, they told me it is best to set the mesh with the box out of the rig, with no fluid. That is how they are set up from the factory. They told me that you can do it in the rig, but it can be a PITA to get it set properly.

    I normally don't pipe up so strongly about something, but this topic sends all kinds of bells and whistles off for me. BUT...If you know someone who really KNOWS that they are doing, and has the correct tools, then it might be an option to have them work on it.
     
  6. oneofthefewbmx

    oneofthefewbmx 1/2 ton status

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    i mean to hijack but i have a real quick question about steering boxes....will a 2wd gearbox work on a 4wd NON-crossover rig?? can i slap a 2wd gearbox on my other blazer and just install the pitman arm 90 degrees so its in the same position as the 4wd arm? i need to replace the gearbox on my 4wd blazer but i can only come across 2wd boxes...thanks....again sorry for the hijack
     
  7. dremu

    dremu Officious Thread Derailer Premium Member

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    Boxes are the same 2wd-4wd ... but the sector shaft is waaay different, so sure, you can switch boxes, but only if you switch sector shafts, which gets you into adjustment as above.

    -- A
     
  8. K5er4Life

    K5er4Life 1/2 ton status

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    Shane, I have not read my manual and I am assuming it may say in there how to adjust the box but basically do you have to rotate the input at the box (where the rag joint goes) and make sure there is 4 inch pounds resistance? With no fluid and proabably off the truck.
     
  9. shane74

    shane74 1/2 ton status

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    Correct. I spin the nut onto the input shaft tight enough to rotate the shaft with a socket on the TQ wrench. Rotate the input shaft with the in. lb. torque wrench as you adjust the top nut. Once you get it to the 4 in. lbs, you lock it down. If there is still a ton of play, your box is shot.

    I have an in. lb. torque wrench, so I adjust my own now, but that first time was a doozy!:eek1: :D
     
  10. shane74

    shane74 1/2 ton status

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    Heck dood. If all you can get are 2wd boxes, sounds like the perfrect time to do x-over steering to me!

    As Dremu mentioned, you can switch the sector shafts, but make sure you get it all set up right afterwards or you could be in for the ride of your life. :D
     
  11. K5er4Life

    K5er4Life 1/2 ton status

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    Great thanks, I get to put my torque wrench to use too. Its not too often you get to use your 300 dollar snap on inch pound torque wrench...although I did get mine off ebay for 50 bucks.
     
  12. oneofthefewbmx

    oneofthefewbmx 1/2 ton status

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    No, no...I guess I didn't explain my self too well. I have hy steer x-over on my truck already. I have a blazer that had x-over on it and no longer does. I sold the 2wd gear box to a fellow boardmember along with the dana 60, 14bff and x-over. I put a 10 bolt back under it without x-over. Around here all I can come up with is 2wd gear boxes. If I put a 2wd gear box (the whole thing including the 2wd sectorshaft) on it can I just switch the pitman arm 90 degrees? And use it on the normal 4wd steering? Sorry about the hi-jack.
     
  13. shane74

    shane74 1/2 ton status

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    Ahhh..gotcha. I'll shoot you a pm so we don't completely hi-jack the thread.
     
  14. uberbeans

    uberbeans 1/2 ton status

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    So you mean you need 4 inch pounds until movement starts on the input shaft, right? With no fluid, disconnected. Thanks.
     
  15. K5er4Life

    K5er4Life 1/2 ton status

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    Yep, thats basically it. The more you move the adjustment screw in the tighter everything will get. Once you hit 4 inch pounds the box is set.
     
  16. uberbeans

    uberbeans 1/2 ton status

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    This post is an example of why I love this place!
     

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