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Steering Gear Adjustment - lock collar frozen

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by rcamacho, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. rcamacho

    rcamacho 1/2 ton status

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    The steering gear on my '87 is very much out of adjustment. I'm familiar with the adjustment procedure but the @!#@!# lock collar on the worm shaft adjuster is frozen. Any suggestions other than a torch? I've tried motivating it ccw with a big screwdriver and hammer to no avail.
     
  2. 73k5blazer

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

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    If I may ask, what makes you think it's out of adjustment? It's pretty rare. Alot of people crank on those in a futile attempt to tighten up steering, when in fact all your doing is putting more pre-load on the sector shaft (just makes more effort for you to steer, doesn't tighten any looseness in steering). Most, if not all, steering problems are elsewhere (drag link, steering shaft slip joint, tie-rods ends, ball joints, etc)
     
  3. rcamacho

    rcamacho 1/2 ton status

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    Definitely in the gear assembly. Isolated the drag link and measured substantial play directly from the rag joint.
     
  4. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Time for another box!

    I'd just get a good used box--every one I have touched the adjustments on,especially the one at the rag joint end,its ended up in disaster,they always leaked after disturbing them,and the steering never felt right after messing with them..If the box is that loose,its probably shot,and not worth your time messing with it, a trip to the boneyard and 50-75 bucks and a hour's time and you will be golden again--or get a rebuilt one,and spend a lot more,and hope whoever rebuilt it did it right....:crazy:
     
  5. 73k5blazer

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

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    diesel4me is right. They really arn't meant to be played with. If they've lost adjustment over time, tighting that top nut won't help you. That adjustment is set at the supplier (Delphi formely known as Saginaw) and requires a huge tool that you set the gear in and it tells the operator exactly where to set it.
    The only time GM allowed one to adjust it is in a special service bulliten sent many many years ago that dealt with customer complaints on steering "feel" being too light, and instructed the dealer only to adjust that setting after throughly checking all other steering components and checking to see if the gear was still in tolerance.
    What you describe is the gear being out of tolerance, which, by GM standards, requires replacement.
    Beware, if you do adjust that nut on the top, if you go too far, the sector shaft will break unexpectldly(and not nessesarily right away), leaving you without steering and in a potentially bad situation. And it does happen, I've seen the snapped shafts.
     
  6. rcamacho

    rcamacho 1/2 ton status

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    :( Nice, the local yard hear wants $100.
     
  7. 73k5blazer

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

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    I've got three or four in my garage, but I'm sure the shipping will add up quick with that amount of mass
     
  8. rcamacho

    rcamacho 1/2 ton status

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    So here's my options:
    $100 local boneyard
    $198 NAPA + 160 core
    $395 AGR

    I'll try the boneyard while I save my bones for a full x over conversion.
     
  9. FWP

    FWP CRS

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    As another option, I picked up a rebuild kit for about 50 bucks, and rebuilt my own using a factory manual as a guide.

    Oh, and maybe pull the sector shaft out with the top cover, and soak that assy. as long as it takes, in PB Blaster.
     
  10. 73k5blazer

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

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    I may be wrong, I havn't done it, but I think the x-over kit requies a 2wd steering gear?
     
  11. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    I feel your pain

    Our junkyards were loaded with GM 4x4's until the price of scrap went up to 80 bucks a ton recently,now many of them have been scrapped--I could get a sterring box for 50-75 bucks with no problem then,it might not be so easy now...

    100 bucks does sound kind of steep for a used box,heck,I've bought a few whole trucks for that or a little more--I dont like the way all the older trucks are getting crushed instead of sold for parts,the junkyards might regret crushing them all soon,they can still make much more in parts than scrap weight,but it the issues of room to store them and the EPA cracking down on them thats causing a lot of yards to just scrap them all,and not keep any--sucks for guys like us who need those parts....:frown1:
     
  12. rcamacho

    rcamacho 1/2 ton status

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    Adjustment done

    Well I finally got around to adjusting the box. The lock collar came loose with a few chisel smacks. The adjustmet was not way out, maybe 1/8 of a turn with a spanner wrench. I did back it off ~1/4". Both seals are leaking so it is definitely time for a new box. I'll pick up a rebuilt unit in a few months.
     

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