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Play in steering

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by Bob87Burb, Jan 9, 2004.

  1. Bob87Burb

    Bob87Burb 1/2 ton status

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    Just wondering if anyone else has run into this. I've replaced all the steering and suspension components on my 87 Suburban, with the exception of the steering box. There's still a little play, but more noticable is the wandering of the vehicle on the highway. It's a lot better than when I bought it, but still not perfect. I've checked the frame where the steering box mounts, and it looks fine. I will eventually be reinforcing it for safety's sake. I also saw that there's a preload adjustment screw (or what looks like one) on the top of the steering box. My questions are:
    Is this screw adjustable to take up the slop in the steering?

    How do I tell if the steering box is worn?

    Anything else that I should check?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Check that the input shaft and pitman arm both move at the same time.

    Unfortunately with these boxes, SOME play is going to be evident even when brand new. It will increase over time as they wear, but I've never seen one so bad it needed to be replaced due solely to slop. (not that it can't happen, just never seen it).

    You said you replaced all the steering components, does that mean you at least inspected the rag and pot joints between the steering column and steering box? Both of those are common sources of slop in all GM RWD vehicles of this vintage.
     
  3. BlazerGuy

    BlazerGuy 3/4 ton status

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    This may sound kinda dumb but did you get it aligned after you did all the work?? /forums/images/graemlins/thinking.gif
     
  4. Mastiff

    Mastiff 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Wandery steering may just be a feature of these trucks. I think my K5, which I've been driving in since new, has always been a little loose. If you figure out how to fix it, let me know.
     
  5. Confedneck

    Confedneck 3/4 ton status

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    highway wandering is a result of not enough caster..
    too little caster can cause the vehicle to wander when at higher speeds.. i say check out the rag joint, steering shaft and maybe tighten the preload on the box if its adjustable.. then have a full alignment done..
     
  6. Bob87Burb

    Bob87Burb 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks for the info all. I will check the rag joint again, but it looked OK when I did all the work. It did have an alignment, but it was at a local tire chain, who said all that could be adjusted was toe. I was in a hurry, and needed the truck back, so I just went with it.

    It's going in for a proper alignment next week.
     
  7. bckinblk

    bckinblk 1/2 ton status

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    I do mostly highway driving in my k5 with 33's and I find that when it starts to wander badly that the front draglink tierod seems to wear out quickly ..I change em out about every 15-20k .And also check the pitman arm shaft bolt splines..sometimes they loosen up causing strange steering..It might also be time for an ord steering brace .That alone will tighten the front up .And look for worn or missing frame rivets around crossmembers...Good luck dude.........
     
  8. 73k5blazer

    73k5blazer Unplug the matrix cable from the back of your head Premium Member

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    COuld your steering shaft slip joint..commonly overlooked...also
    Check here
     
  9. CyberSniper

    CyberSniper 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    It's usually the pitman arm draglink end that wears out the fastest. I've replaced every joint in the front end of my truck except for the tie rod ends and they're perfectly tight.

    Some of the slop shows up in the two joints in the steering shaft. But we're talking about minute amounts. Some can be in the universal in the steering column. But again, minute amounts.

    I've traced all my slop down to my steering box. I've got 1/16th of a turn of slop in my steering box before the pitman arm even moves. I have even more slop if I put pressure on it. I'll eventually end up replacing it since it's the sloppiest box I've seen. Neither of my 2wds have that much slop and they have more miles on them and my Dad's 89 K1500 with 200k on it has less slop.
     
  10. 99firehawk

    99firehawk 1/2 ton status

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    ", but I've never seen one so bad it needed to be replaced due solely to slop. (not that it can't happen, just never seen it)."

    My output/pitman shaft had 1 inch of up down movement while shaking the wheel side to side, after Igot it off Icould move it in and out by hand.

    On to the original post, I would check/set your toe. Toed out will cause a hellaof a wander.
     
  11. Can Can

    Can Can Pusher Man Staff Member Super Moderator

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    One thing that hasn't been mentioned was that you should check out your rear springs and shocks. A buddy of mine had a similar problem on his Sub and it ended up being worn rear springs. After he replaced the springs the highway wandering issue disappeared.

    I would also recommend you look at your draglink. My ball joints were worn out so I replaced them and the truck drove a lot better, but I wasn't happy with it until I replaced the draglink. The new Moog ends made all the difference in the world!
     
  12. R72K5

    R72K5 Banned

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    alot of times sterring wheel slop ends up being cuz of wear insid eof steering box, you you need to have someone yank wheel back and forth real fast while you watch to see how much the pitman arm moves back and forth, sometimes box is so worn out that the pitman shaft actually moves side to side noticeably, if thats bot the case with yours and its not due to box intenral wear then you need ot check out
    all the TRE's, those are second most commonly worn out item other than idler arm on 2wd's, all these cause slop in steering directly, i was able to adjust most of my slop out of my steering on my K20 by carefully tightening up adjustment screw on steering box, but its only a temporary fix, the box has wear and will have to be replaced when i can afford it, this can be a safety issue.

    wear is wear and only fix is replacement/rebuild


    i suppose being somewhat mechanically inclined helps you to spot worn parts and know what kind of movement or lack of movement points to worn components, especially involving steering

    maybe you want ot find someone to look at your rig that knows about steering comonents, if you have little or no experience with such and have never worked on or repaired such yet.


    good luck
     
  13. Bob87Burb

    Bob87Burb 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks very much for the link R72K5. I have replaced all the tre's, ball joints, wheel bearings (front only) when I installed the 2" lift (all 4 springs new). Later this week, I'll be looking into the problem further, and I've printed out your list to make sure I get everything checked out. I decided to hold off on further alignment until I check the rest of this stuff.
     
  14. Mastiff

    Mastiff 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    How much play should there be at the input to the steering box? I can grab the steering shaft with the truck off and turn it side to side a little before it catches. I'm not sure if the amount I have is normal or excessive. Totally guessing, I'd say I can turn 5-10 degrees side to side.
     
  15. bcrewcaptain

    bcrewcaptain Registered Member

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    Time to bring a thread back from the dead...go figure it would be Bobs...hehe
    Mines a 90 1500 4wd, having the same issues of pretty bad handling, any speed. Couple different things, I just picked this up a little over a month ago, no idea when it was aligned last. The bad end has saggy ass syndrome...not BAD, but noticeable.
    I plan on using this to tow a trailer trailer so I need to do some suspension upgrades it looks like. Any chance putting some new springs and shocks plus and alignment will take care of this? It can be a little tricky on the back roads. I havent jacked it up yet to do the tests that way, but I did look underneath and saw some bushings that are going to be done as well...now I assume it would be smart to do that BEFORE an alignment huh?
    Reccomendations for the best way(cheap is good too) for bringing the back end up/increasing load hauling, plus maintaining a DECENT ride?

    thanks in advance all and sorry for the long babble
    Jeff
     

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