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How Sloppy Should My RagJoint Be???

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by 350350, Nov 13, 2004.

  1. 350350

    350350 1/2 ton status

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    So I have decided to replace everything from the horn button to the lugnuts on the front of my truck as it had nearly a full turn of slop before you got 'pull' even on a smooth highway... Then I started taking it apart today and found that the ragjoint (I may be calling this the wrong name, see pictures...) looks like it has been sloppy so long that it has worn out the 'U' shaped groove that the pegs seat into... Does that /forums/images/graemlins/screwy.gif make any sense? Again, see pictures...

    So basically on two sides there is a peg that comes through the 'U'-shaped slot that I am guessing is only supposed to make contact if/when the ragjoint wears out wears out and you're so sick of working on the truck that you just strip it and/or sell it...

    However, the peg does not look like it has made metal to metal contact to the slots, although they look like they are a bit wider than you might expect them to be, although they are not shiny as they would be if they had been rubbing. The ragjoint itself is very soft but does not allow much freedom for the shaft to turn. Not much of the slop in the system is there, although I'll go ahead and replace this now too since I'll have it all apart anyway.

    So today when I was trying to consider whether to just sell it to my buddy who has a standing offer in place for $2700 any time I want to sell it, I started thinking about calling him. Although it's technically my Son's truck, and I would have to buy him a nicer one to make up for it or I would be in big trouble with him!!!

    Anyway, from these pictures can you tell if my ragjoint has normal wear, if it has worn out the 'U' portion of the joint, or if it's totally trashed??? And does anyone know of a place that sells the entire intermediate shaft with a new ragjoint on the steering box end and a floppy joint on the steering column end already all together that I can plop right in there??? I want to do it right while I have it out!!! (The shadows from the sunsetting through the trees don't do the truck justice... The factory, 27-year-old, paint still shines and there is very little rust considering this truck came from the Rust Belt!!!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. 85mudblazin

    85mudblazin 1/2 ton status

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    looks good to me, that part is supposed to be bent up like that, as long as none of the rag joint is torn or cracked then you are good to go /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  3. unclematty

    unclematty 1/2 ton status

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    go get another one! there 10.00at napa on the HELP stand /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif
     
  4. Okiemuddog

    Okiemuddog 1/2 ton status

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    That joint is trashed, the pins that you are looking at are safety catches. The catches are added in so if your joint completely seperates the pins will catch and you will still having steering input. The joints are about $12 at Autozone or any parts house, replace it and I bet it is like a new truck /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif.

    Krennen
     
  5. 85mudblazin

    85mudblazin 1/2 ton status

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    how can you tell it is trashed?? is that pin up against the u part??
     
  6. Okiemuddog

    Okiemuddog 1/2 ton status

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    That pin should not be that close to the edge of the safety cup. It should be cented in the cup, plus if it is soft, it needs to be replaced, they should be firm.
     
  7. 85mudblazin

    85mudblazin 1/2 ton status

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    ok good just making sure mine wasnt messed up /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  8. CyberSniper

    CyberSniper 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Mine's in about that shape. Usually when I have the steering shaft out I replace them.

    99% of the slop in your steering is probably the draglink end that connects to the steering box. You can buy the draglink ends for $23 and $31 and then the threaded sleeve is another $9. If you put them on there I can guarantee you that you'll notice a vast improvement. I made the mistake of trying to reuse one of those sleeves... don't, $9 is not worth a wreck.
     
  9. Eric M.

    Eric M. 1/2 ton status

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    With the truck sitting still on a hard surface (asphalt, not dirt), start the truck and have someone turn the wheel a 1/4 turn left to right, then right to left ... back and forth several times while you watch that joint. If the parts on either side of the rag joint are not moving together, replace the joint.



    Remember, keep in park, parking brake set, block the tires .... I'm sure you know this .... I'm from California .....


    Good Luck,

    Eric M.

    PS Mine had a little slop in it. The steering felt much tighter when I repalced it.
     
  10. 350350

    350350 1/2 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Mine's in about that shape. Usually when I have the steering shaft out I replace them.

    99% of the slop in your steering is probably the draglink end that connects to the steering box. You can buy the draglink ends for $23 and $31 and then the threaded sleeve is another $9. If you put them on there I can guarantee you that you'll notice a vast improvement. I made the mistake of trying to reuse one of those sleeves... don't, $9 is not worth a wreck.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I'm not a newbie or anything, but I have no idea which parts you're talking about!!! /forums/images/graemlins/doah.gif

    I call the arm on the steering box that attaches to the tie rod the steering arm.

    I call the input shaft end of the steering box the ragjoint end.

    The other end of the steering shaft that connects to the steering column, I don't know the actual name of. Is this the end you're calling the "threaded sleeve"? And if so, how do you remove it from the steering shaft? Mine probably needs replaced and I certainly may as well replace everything while I have it out.

    On a general note, with the steering column out, (the steering column itself had slop in it from the standard GM tilt wheel sloppy tilt u-joint...) I could actually grab the steering shaft in my hand, and with no more than my grip on that small shaft I could turn the steering box input shaft 1/4 turn in each direction with NO steering box output shaft movement whatsoever!!! With the steering wheel on it I'm sure I could have turned it even farther with no output shaft movement. With ALL of these things combined, I also have a bent tie rod, and my left front brake hangs up, so you can imagine what an adventure it is to drive this beast on the Lynchburg Expressway at 80mph, and when one wheel grabs a rut in the road and I have to muscle the steering wheel through nearly an entire turn of slop to get it back in the right direction!!! So you can see why I want to get EVERY BIT of slop out of it while I'm taking it apart.

    I put in a good column with a nice new steering wheel that's not the size of a school bus steering wheel, and the joint in the tilt column is tight, so if I get this intermediate shaft tight on both ends, I'll be left with the steering box... I bought a good one from an '83 model from clarkjw24 with mated pump (my pump was leaking out the front seal AND through the worn out lines...) so the steering box should be a lot tighter, maybe not perfect but light years ahead of what I've got... Then I'm doing new tie rods and drag link(s?) to get the front end as tight as possible. I don't think I need ball joints because the tires aren't worn oddly at all, all 4 tires worn evenly flat since before I owned the truck, so hopefully all the ball joints are good.

    Anything else I need to do to make sure my front end is good and tight, although I know that with 33" tires on it, it's still not going to handle like a street car or like my Camaro... It's got a steering stabilizer on it of course...

    Thanks!
    Paul
     
  11. 350350

    350350 1/2 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Mine's in about that shape. Usually when I have the steering shaft out I replace them.

    99% of the slop in your steering is probably the draglink end that connects to the steering box. You can buy the draglink ends for $23 and $31 and then the threaded sleeve is another $9. If you put them on there I can guarantee you that you'll notice a vast improvement. I made the mistake of trying to reuse one of those sleeves... don't, $9 is not worth a wreck.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I really babbled in that last one, so let me be more specific... /forums/images/graemlins/whistling.gif

    /forums/images/graemlins/thinking.gif 99% of the slop in your steering is probably the draglink end that connects to the steering box.

    Is this the steering arm I mentioned above???

    /forums/images/graemlins/thinking.gif You can buy the draglink ends for $23 and $31...

    Why the two different prices? Two different parts or two different applications? One on the box and one on 'Dead Arm' on the passenger side???

    /forums/images/graemlins/thinking.gif ...and then the threaded sleeve is another $9... ...I made the mistake of trying to reuse one of those sleeves... don't, $9 is not worth a wreck.

    Agreed!!! Now help me understand which part you're talking about!!! Not sure what the 'Threaded Sleeve' is you're talking about. Pictures??? Or can I take a picture of my box or shaft and let you point it out on my pictures???

    Thanks Again!
    Paul
     
  12. CyberSniper

    CyberSniper 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    You said you were trying to get rid of steering slop... I said where most of the slop is. The draglink that goes from the pitman arm on the steering box down to the steering arm on the knuckle is a source for a lot of slop. Usually the joint on the pitman arm is all wore out.

    My steering shaft (the piece that goes from the steering box to the column) is probably the loosest piece in my entire steering setup. I can get about 1/16 of a turn from the output of the column to the input of the steering box. The steering box is a source for another 1/16 turn.
     
  13. CyberSniper

    CyberSniper 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I'll have pictures in a minute... waiting for them to transfer off my camera.


    Here's a picture of the draglink om my 1979 K5. It has a raised steering arm but other than that is stock. It even appears to have the original draglink and going by how much slop it has I'd believe it.
    [​IMG]

    Here's the one in my 73K20. It is so sloppy I bet you could beat it off with a hammer.
    [​IMG]

    Here's the one that has been on my truck about a year.
    [​IMG]
     
  14. 350350

    350350 1/2 ton status

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    CyberSniper-

    Excellent!!!

    I work in Automotive Engineering, actually about to make a move into Aerospace, and you would not believe how many Engineers with degrees, sometimes more than one degree, aren't smart enough or are too lazy to make up some marked up pictures like the ones you made up for me above!!! Those explained everything in great detail, and I would guess that you have done this a thousand times or two, as I have, making it easier and easier each time...

    So each time I talk to one of our Sales 'Engineers' up in Detroit and I ask him to just mark up a photo or drawing and send it rather than spend an hour on the phone trying to explain it, and he says, "I don't have the ability to do that", I want to reach through the phone and grab the guy's boss and ask why this guy is making 6 figures and I'm making significantly less than that to do his grunt work!!!

    So anyway, thanks for taking the time, everything is clear as day. I have a couple of different cheap photo/image editing packages at home that are far better than anything we have at work, and have often wondered why in the hell we don't have something better at the Technical Center that serves all of our Manufacturing Facilities world wide... I think the most expensive piece of software I have at home is $80, and it does more photo/image editing than I'll figure out how to mess with in my lifetime.

    And on topic, thanks for all the info on the correct naming! Now I'll know how to say what I want/need to say.

    Sadly, it looks like I'll have to put ANOTHER steering column in as I got it all installed only to find out that the key only turns backwards to the accessory position, and will not go forward to the 'power on' or 'start' positions. The tilt joint is solid as brand new, but the ignition cylinder is fawked up, along with the steering wheel lock. So I had to grind off the steering wheel lock and hot wire the truck, put the trans in drive and get it going like that, starting it in drive and running it all cobbled like that, as it HAD to move under its own power tonight. Shame as I probably could have saved the column until I got to grinding on the steering lock mechanism...

    Watch for an upcoming post in the 'parts needed' section!!!

    Cheers,
    Paul
     
  15. CyberSniper

    CyberSniper 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    As an Electrical Engineering student that decided to stay another semester at college because I didn't find a job, there doesn't seem to be much demand for people such as myself. The only job offer I got was from a civil engineering kind of place (a large general contractor) for $42,000/year in one of the worst cities in Michigan (Saginaw). I'd rather go work for Wisconsin power for $32,000/year reading meters but someone else got that job. Meanwhile, my braindead booksmart friend got offered $47,000/year plus a $10,000 signing bonus and a relocation alotment of $15,000 to a controls company in Romeo (just outside of Detroit). We're talking the kind of kid that doesn't even know how to hold a soldering iron let alone what to do with it.


    The lock cylinder is easily removed if you pull the steering wheel, horn stuff, and turn signal stuff. You then use a little screwdriver to remove the lock cylinder. I always do this when swapping columns so then I don't have to change the key on my key ring.

    The steering wheel lock is easily disabled while you have the steering wheel off to remove the lock cylinder.

    If you're real desperate you can start the vehicle by moving the ignition switch manually instead of the rod that moves along the side of the steering column actuated by the lock cylinder.


    If you do end up buying another column, save your old one. Then buy a steering wheel puller and a horn button depresser tool. That way you can tear apart the old column to see how it works without being afraid of hurting anything. It'll also give you spare parts like the turn signal switch. You can also get a pin removal tool (I had a thread about this a while back, doctor 4x4 I think it was helped me with it) that lets you take a tilt column all the way apart by removing the pins on the side of the column.
     

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