Dismiss Notice

Welcome To CK5!

Registering is free and easy! Hope to see you on the forums soon.

Score a FREE t-shirt and membership sticker when you sign up for a Premium Membership and choose the recurring plan.

How many have steering wheel "return to center"?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by Burbinator, Apr 3, 2002.

  1. Burbinator

    Burbinator 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2001
    Posts:
    898
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Tempe, Arizona
    How many have steering wheel \"return to center\"?

    In an effort to determine whether or not my steering box is bad, I'm curious how many of you have a steering wheel that "returns to center" during/after a turn. In other words, you don't have to turn the truck back to straight after executing a turn and the wheel will automatically "return" if it is released somewhat.

    Thanks in advance for your input...
     
  2. Sparky

    Sparky 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2000
    Posts:
    423
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    San Antonio(summer) Texas A and M (school year)
    Re: How many have steering wheel \"return to center\"?

    My wheel returns to center from making right turns, but it dosent return very well from about a 1/4 turn of the wheel either direction. I doubt return to center has anything to do with you steering box though. Its usually controlled by the caster (i think its caster) on you alignment. Well anyways, it has something to do with caster or camber or one of those alignment terms. I know physically which one, but i cant keep the names straight.

    Sparky
     
  3. 6.2Blazer

    6.2Blazer 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2000
    Posts:
    4,675
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    Ohio
    Re: How many have steering wheel \"return to center\"?

    Mine does, and it should be normal for it to do so. However, the alignment of the front tires is what controls the return-to-center.....if the alignment is way out of whack then it could cause a problem. On the other hand, I suppose a faulty steering box could cause a problem if it was binding or adjusted too tight.
     
  4. Burbinator

    Burbinator 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2001
    Posts:
    898
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Tempe, Arizona
    Re: How many have steering wheel \"return to center\"?

    The lack of my wheel returning is only one aspect of my steering that has caused me to target the box. Excessive output shaft play in relation to the input and lateral vibration at cruise speeds are the primary reasons for targeting the box. I just need some more ammunition to justify replacing it before I start tearing the truck apart. My alignment and steering/chassis components in the front are new or verified good, so the box is the weak link at this point (no frame cracks either).

    Thanks...
     
  5. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2000
    Posts:
    36,180
    Likes Received:
    1,388
    Location:
    E-town baby!
    Re: How many have steering wheel \"return to center\"?

    Mine returns to center really good...but that's a side effect of having a welded diff. The rear tires are always trying to drive the truck straight.

    Rene
     
  6. fr8train

    fr8train 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2000
    Posts:
    1,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Maryland
    Re: How many have steering wheel \"return to center\"?

    Mine does. Not as good as the car, butit does go back to center.
     
  7. zakk

    zakk 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2001
    Posts:
    4,762
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    San Jose CA
    Re: How many have steering wheel \"return to center\"?

    well, it tries too...does that count??
     
  8. fortcollinsram

    fortcollinsram 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2001
    Posts:
    2,261
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Fort Collins, CO
    Re: How many have steering wheel \"return to center\"?

    Wouldn't the castor angle have a pretty big effect on the wheels' ability to return to center? One may blame there poor return-to-center performnce on their steering box when, in fact, there front axle may not be shimmed properly there for causing the steering knuckles to be closer to vertical and decreasing the castor angle....I am just saying I think it is kinda of hard to blame the lack of on-center feel exclusively on the steering box, especially on lifted and modified rigs...I think castor angles ought to be included in the equation for a basis of equal comparison...

    Chris
     
  9. m j

    m j 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2001
    Posts:
    4,606
    Likes Received:
    0
    Re: How many have steering wheel \"return to center\"?

    with armstrong steering caster would make all the difference
    I wonder about power though
    does it take input shaft pressure to hold the hydraulic pressure?
    does the torsion bar add return to centre in the box?
     
  10. ChadH82

    ChadH82 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    May 9, 2001
    Posts:
    400
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Stillwater, Oklahoma
    Re: How many have steering wheel \"return to center\"?

    Have you played with the bolt on top of the box. The one with the lock nut and alan bolt. I think if you over tighten that, it will screw up your "return to center." If you're steering is really tight that could be something else to check.
     
  11. Burbinator

    Burbinator 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2001
    Posts:
    898
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Tempe, Arizona
    Re: How many have steering wheel \"return to center\"?

    That would be a good point, however, the adjusting nut has little effect on output shaft play. My input shaft is perfect, as are my alignment specs (including caster and camber). I've gone through all of the motions relating to most everything else on the front of my truck. The box has a small leak, both input and output shaft seals, so replacing it is going to happen irrespectively. Bear in mind that this is a completely stock truck as well, so angles and other issues relating to lifted trucks really don't apply here. I'm hoping that improvement of the poor return to center characteristics will be an added bonus when I replace the box!

    Thanks for everyone's input!
     
  12. woody9

    woody9 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    May 27, 2001
    Posts:
    602
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Howell, MI
    Re: How many have steering wheel \"return to center\"?

    Burbinator..
    Why are our trucks acting alike? and so many miles apart??
    91 - 1/2 ton with 3/4 axles (like yours)... 167,000... FEA checked & dbl checked. New steering stab.. adjusted nut on the box (a little)... and still seems to not be 100% right. Keep me posted on what solution you find!.
    If my old sears training serves me right.. imagine it as a fist, with a 'thumbs up' position. As the thumb comes back towards you, it changes your caster angle (that's the one that makes it come back to center). Camber is when you tilt your thumb in/out. (used to rally when in Utah, and stuffed blocks in my chevelle to increase cornering ability). Toe in/out can also effect tracking (and scrubbing across tire - a wear & pulling thing if i recall)....
    Any good sources on a box?

    Jim
     
  13. Twiz

    Twiz 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2001
    Posts:
    3,729
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Clearfield Ut.
    Re: How many have steering wheel \"return to center\"?

    JFTHOI (Just For The Heck Of It)

    Return to center is determind by the Caster and the Steering Axis Inclination Angle.

    Caster is the tilt of the upper and lower ball-joints viewed from the side and is adjusable. Positive Caster (what we want) is like a bike's front forks. Negitive caster is like a shopping cart. -*D.W.?*-

    Steering Axis Inclination (SAI) or King-pin inclination is set into the assembly and is not adjustable. When viewd from the front, the upper ball-joint is set in-board of the lower, causeing the steering knuckle to turn on a arc, with the top of the arc in the center (straight) and full lock left or right will be on the lower part of the arc. So, when the steering is turned to the left or right, the tires are ineffect, going "down hill-ish", and this is why you can see, at a dead-stop, the trucks fenders rais and lower as you turn the steerig wheel lock-to-lock.

    The trucks weight will try to try to pull the knuckles to the top of the arc. The more positive caster, the steeper the "hill" will be and more forcefull the return-to-center feel.

    Any play in the system, or miss alignment will have an efect on the return to-center, as-well as scrubb, tire pressure ect...
     
  14. Burbinator

    Burbinator 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2001
    Posts:
    898
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Tempe, Arizona
    Re: How many have steering wheel \"return to center\"?

    This weekend is my "have a buddy come over to drink a few beers and go through the ENTIRE truck for anything that needs attention" weekend. Then prioritizing the list, which I sure will have some "you wish your wife would let you have the money" items on it.

    I'll keep you advised of anything I find/fix, since our trucks are exibiting similar symptoms...

    BTW, check your PM...
     
  15. Burbinator

    Burbinator 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2001
    Posts:
    898
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Tempe, Arizona
    Re: How many have steering wheel \"return to center\"?

    Thanks for explaining that...

    I wish it were just a simple adjustment to the angles, but I think it's just "slop" somewhere in the system. I'll find out more this weekend!

    Hopefully repair it as well...!!!
     
  16. RESTORE89

    RESTORE89 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2001
    Posts:
    548
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    CHAS SC
    Re: How many have steering wheel \"return to center\"?

    my box has had excessive play for about a year now, and i have put in a rebuild from napa and a rebuild from autozone, and both have had more play than the old one. they were both around $175. after the 2nd new box i carried it to about 6 front end shops thinking i had something else wrong, and every body said the same thing. alignment and front looks good, so it must be the box. this afternoon i ordered a new box from GM IT WAS $684.00!!!!!!!!!!!. but i figured i have already spent a samll fortune rebuilding this rig, and if 700 will make it drive right then oh well. after this i will have a completely new drive line with the exception of the front drive shaft and the axle tubes.
    man will it ever end?
     
  17. Greenblazer-AZ

    Greenblazer-AZ 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Posts:
    770
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Chandler, AZ
    Re: How many have steering wheel \"return to center\"?

    That is bad news indeed. I've been planning to eventually buy a rebuilt steering box for mine because it's sloppy and it leaks, but DAMN $700.00 sheesh. Aren't new AGR boxes cheaper than that?
     

Share This Page