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How to center steering wheel??

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by badmix, Jan 30, 2010.

  1. badmix

    badmix 1/2 ton status

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    Had my power steering box replaced, steering wheel is off. how do I re-center it?

    thanks
     
  2. USSkoval

    USSkoval Dunno?

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    By adjusting the drag link. How far off is it? Is it a used box?
     
  3. badmix

    badmix 1/2 ton status

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    steering wheel off 1/4 turn. its a new box.
     
  4. USSkoval

    USSkoval Dunno?

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    Your old box may have had a twisted sector shaft.
     
  5. chulisohombre

    chulisohombre 1/2 ton status

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    does it have the same turns either direction?maybe they keyed it wrong on the pitman arm.check for how many turns left to right then see where the wheels are turned(should be strait at center of turns)if not they didnt align it after replacing the box.you will need to realign it to correct it.if at center of turns your wheels are strait,you can get a sterring wheel puller and take off the wheel and realign it to center again.sorry if this doesnt explain it well.but ask and i will try and elaborate.
     
  6. dremu

    dremu Officious Thread Derailer Premium Member

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    Coulda sworn the 4WD shaft/arm is only keyed at one position, not all four like the 2WD.

    -- A
     
  7. Russell

    Russell LB7 Tahoe Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Yup, 4x4 pitman arm only fits on one way.

    Take the drag link off at the steering box after setting the wheels as straight as you can. Center the pitman arm so it is perfectly perpendicular to the frame (ignore the position of the steering wheel for this step). If you find that the steering wheel is totally upside down when the steering box is at center, you may need to un-do the steering shaft connection up at the firewall rotate the wheel 180 degrees and re-install it.

    Once the wheels are fairly straight, and the pitman arm is centered & perpendicular to the frame, adjust the drag link to fit back into the pitman arm.

    After hooking the drag link back up, take the wrenches you need to tighten the adjustment sleeve and slowly drive down the street in a straight line. Adjust the drag link until the wheel is straight while you are moving in a straight line, then tighten the adjustment sleeve down as tight as you can.

    Voila, centered steering wheel. Only other adjustment you can make to the steering is to have the toe set on the tie rod. Depending on your steering box, you should be around 2.25 turns in each direction, and you should have the same turning radius both left and right.
     
  8. Fordum

    Fordum 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    And make sure the street you are driving down is nice and smooth so the creeper wheels roll good while you are rolling along under the truck adjusting the drag link as it goes down the road....<G>
     
  9. Russell

    Russell LB7 Tahoe Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    haha, I might suggest stopping while tweaking the drag link
     
  10. sledheadak

    sledheadak 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    center the box then adjust everything else to match
     
  11. chulisohombre

    chulisohombre 1/2 ton status

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    i forgot that it was only one position.as was stated by russel.sorry.so many different parts go through my rig and what i work on i forget sometimes.:eek1: either way figure out center on your ps box and center the wheels by adjusting the drag link.then worry about centering the steering wheel.if it all if close to center when you center your ps box and the wheels are strait,you will just need to adjust the steering wheel.
    good one fordum.haha.may want to stop and make the adjustments.lol.rolling with a creeper can get a lil harry under the truck.just put it in 4 low and you can sit on the wheel well and turn the adjusting sleve as you crawl along.haha
     
  12. Russell

    Russell LB7 Tahoe Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Truth is, in 1st gear (6.32:1), low range (2.72:1) and 3.73 gears my truck can be spinning at the red line I can easily keep up with it while crawling, LOL
     
  13. chulisohombre

    chulisohombre 1/2 ton status

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    mine too but i got 4.10 gears.so im at 48 to 1 final crawl ratio.so at 3000 rpm im only going about 5 mph in 4 low and 1st gear.idle might be about 1.5 mph.haha
     
  14. jonathon

    jonathon 1/2 ton status

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    I came the conclusion each box is different.. everything is lined up from the pitman arm back to the column, just the wheel is off 180 degrees.

    Best way I can figure is to just pull the steering wheel off since everything else is centered. I just haven't done it yet.
     
  15. andyblack

    andyblack Registered Loser Premium Member

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    This is the best way I've ever heard to center the wheel yourself. It sure worked for me. Thanks for posting this!
     
  16. Russell

    Russell LB7 Tahoe Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Your very welcome! I have to re-adjust mine after every wheeling trip, always bend something in my steering...
     
  17. HookMeUp

    HookMeUp Registered Member

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    cant you just take off the steering wheel and put it back on centered seems easier than fiddling with all the other stuff.
     
  18. andyblack

    andyblack Registered Loser Premium Member

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    I've had to do several adustments the past couple of years too, usually due to some of my stupidity.:D I'd never had enough sense to do what you're talking about though. I had always just loosened the draglink, turned it a little, tightened it back up and did a test drive and then repeated the process four or five times. This way I can just get it done in about 10 minutes.
     
  19. andyblack

    andyblack Registered Loser Premium Member

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    I wish it was that easy. The coulumn has a metal ring under the horn button that has to be clocked to the right spot for the blinkers and horn and stuff to work. I other words, you can't really just take the wheel off and put it wherever you want it. That would be too good to be true. You can disconnect the steering shaft from the rag joint that goes to the sector shaft coming out of the steering box and turn the wheel 180 degrees over, if the wheel is upside down. You may have to swap the two bolts that hold the shaft to the rag joint because they're probably two different diameters. That's how it is on my truck at least.
     
  20. Russell

    Russell LB7 Tahoe Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    The problem with the steering wheel being off center is that the drag link is either too long or too short. Things have to be lined up properly for you to be able to get a full sweep of steering in both directions. If your drag link is too long or too short, and you simply rotate the steering wheel to be straight, you'll be able to turn sharper in one direction as compared to the other, and the steering wheel will have more turns in one direction than the other.

    This problem is even more compounded when you are articulating the axle off road with a stock style push / pull steering setup, the drag link winds up being at an angle between the pitman arm and the steering arm on the axle, which makes it effectively "shorter" and make make your steering wheel turn even though your wheels haven't. With my K5, if I droop the axle far enough on the driver's side, it gets to a point where my steering wheel is nearly on a lock, and my wheels are still fairly straight.
     

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