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Steering box "free play" adjustment??

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by kpanza, May 10, 2002.

  1. kpanza

    kpanza 1/2 ton status

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    Steering box \"free play\" adjustment??

    Hi guys,

    Well, I finally got my power steering lines all hooked up and ready to go. I filled the new power steering pump and reservoir and started her up. Sawed on the wheel a few times, and filled the pump up again after the fluid filled the box and the cooler. Everything felt ok. Then, as I went to find the halfway point to be able to hook up my drag link with the steering centered, I felt a "binding" feeling. It only happens when turning the steering wheel all the way to the right - about 1/4 turn before I get all the way to the steering stops to the right, I get a binding and then it releases and continues to turn. I don't feel it when turning left at all.

    My buddy told me to adjust the "set screw thingy" on top of the steering box, it supposedly adjusts the free play of the steering box? He thought maybe it was too tight. And I will say that the steering wheel had no play at all (which I thought was great!), but it also felt somewhat "tighter" than before. This is an AGR box, and is supposed to have a lot of power assist, so the tight feeling wheel didn't feel right...

    One detail - the first time I hooked up the system (when it leaked all over last week), I noticed that the lock nut that holds that set screw in on the box was actually turning when I had the truck running and was turning the wheel...so, I naturally grabbed a wrench and proceeded to tighter her down...did I tighten it down too much?

    Any suggestions? And if I do need to adjust the set screw, is there any procedure here? Or just keep fooling with it til hopefully the binding goes away and the wheel feels better??

    It's been a long, frustrating swap, but my new Rock Rod is supposed to be here today, so I am ALMOST finished! Finally!

    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. Burt4x4

    Burt4x4 3/4 ton status

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    Re: Steering box \"free play\" adjustment??

    I don't know anything about th AGR box but I do know that you are supose to have a slight amount of play in a stock box. The set screw is there to minimize the play but not eliminate it. If it is over tightend on a stock box you will over heat the PS system and blow seals/pumps....
    I would get AGR involved and tell them you need to adjust from scratch......
    Good Luck!!!
     
  3. Blazer_Boy

    Blazer_Boy 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Steering box \"free play\" adjustment??

    There is a procedure to setting that with the box out of the truck. I know the GM service manuals have it and I found it google once. You have to set the bearing preload and then adjust that top thing so the box moves with so much inch pounds of torque. Its all very to do, just gotta find the procedure.
     
  4. bigblue

    bigblue 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Steering box \"free play\" adjustment??

    I bet you really want to take the steering box out of the truck now huh?
     
  5. kpanza

    kpanza 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Steering box \"free play\" adjustment??

    F- that! /forums/images/icons/smile.gif ha,ha After putting it in there by myself again the other day, I don't think so! ha,ha Well, I just talked to the guy at AGR, and he said that when I tightened the nut down, I must have overtightened it by a little. I described exactly what it was doing, and he said to back it off in 1/4 turn incremements until the binding went away. He also said that I should end up with about 7-8 degrees of free play when I am done, which he said usually equates to about an inch on the steering wheel...said this was normal. I agree with that, since that is what my old box used to have. So, sounds like a simple adjustment process...he said that it should be really close already, just fine tune it...he said that if it was off more, it would bind a lot more...

    So, I will try that and see what happens! Thanks for the responses guys! My tie rod just showed up at the house, so when I get home I plan on putting that baby on! Man, getting real close to driving her finally!
     
  6. Triaged

    Triaged 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Steering box \"free play\" adjustment??

    When you tightened down the lock nut I am sure it moved the allen adjuster (sector shaft preload?). You have to hold it w/ a allen wrench while you snug down the lock nut. The way AGR said to do it sounds good because the bearing preload should be fine because it is a rebuilt box. BTW: The bearing preload (worm shaft preload) is under the rag joint and has a large (4" dia.) stamped steel lock nut...then you adjust it w/ a spanner wrench.
     
  7. kpanza

    kpanza 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Steering box \"free play\" adjustment??

    Ok, we got everything together and adjusted the "free play" screw. It feels like normal now, a bit of free play before it starts to turn the drag link. BUT, after we got it all together and did this adjustment, the system doesn't want to turn the tires like it used to! It feels like there is a lack of power assist when trying to turn the tires while sitting stationary. I drove the truck, and the steering felt great - less bumpsteer, easy turning and awesome turning circle diameter (it turns like a small car now!). But, when not moving, it doesn't want to turn the tires like it used to??

    It has a brand new PS pump, and has the AGR box...what could it be? Nothing in the system is binding on anything...do I REALLY need a stinking AGR Super Pump to make this thing work? My old stock pump turned the tires just fine when sitting still with the stock steering setup??

    Any help would be appreciated! /forums/images/icons/smile.gif
     
  8. Leadfoot

    Leadfoot 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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  9. kpanza

    kpanza 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Steering box \"free play\" adjustment??

    Hmmm, that is interesting stuff, might have to give it a try. I guess I am just confused as to why after the swap it does this. The more I think about it, the more I keep thinking it's gotta be the new PS pump? Maybe I got some POS from the parts store?? My old, stock, leaky pump would turn the tires just fine while sitting still...now this one doesn't.
     
  10. 4xmac

    4xmac Registered Member

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    Re: Steering box \"free play\" adjustment??

    I believe it might be just the extra leverage on the steering arm. If you were able to bring that drag link further out towards the end if the steering arm it would create less leverage and turn easer. I have Avalanche arms wich allow for more adjustability.
     
  11. kpanza

    kpanza 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Steering box \"free play\" adjustment??

    Well, the drag link is mounted right at the end of the steering arm I have...

    As far as bleeding the system, let me make sure I am not missing something here: I have been told that you simply crank the wheel back and forth a bunch of times to get the air out, right? I also drove the truck for about 15 minutes yesterday, so it should be totally bled, right? Or am I missing something here?

    Just trying to make sure I am covering all the bases...if I have, then I might try and swap out the pump for another one, just to see if that does it...the parts store will do that for me, so is no problem...
     
  12. 4xmac

    4xmac Registered Member

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    Re: Steering box \"free play\" adjustment??

    I was faced with the same problem with not being able to turn the wheels very easy when not moving after going to Hi-steer. I could be wrong but if I remember correctlly from reading a post awhile back that you had bought a crossover system that included a ORD steering arm. While not trying to put down there arm which seems to be standard size for that system, my arm from Avalanche apears to be a little longer with a little more adjustment. I just feel it"s a leverage problem. As far as your pump goes I think it"s fine sence you hadn"t had any problems prior to the swap. I think also you"ve probally got the air out of the steering system by now with all the turning. Just be carefull not to turn it lock to lock very hard.
     
  13. kpanza

    kpanza 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Steering box \"free play\" adjustment??

    It's not an ORD arm, I got it from Titanic from this board - and it looks very similar to the Avalanche arm actually. I drove the truck again last night, and it is still not turning when sitting still...but drives awesome once I start moving. Hardly any bumpsteer, no more wandering all over the road, very tight steering feel. My gut tells me that it must be something with the pressure in the system...it just doesn't have enough to push the tires at a standstill...

    Well, if I make any progress, I will let you know...

    Thanks for the insights...
     
  14. BurbinOR

    BurbinOR 3/4 ton status

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    Re: Steering box \"free play\" adjustment??

    Hey Keith.........finally got around to starting the install on the crossover.

    Where did you get your different sized rag joint? My factory pump was the smaller size.............the AGR box has the larger one.............only thing that stopped my finishing it tonight. Is this a 'normal' auto parts store item?

    Thanks.........
     

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