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steering play

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by 7blazer5, Mar 4, 2005.

  1. 7blazer5

    7blazer5 Registered Member

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    How would you fix that problem or help it?(1975 K5)
     
  2. NastyNate

    NastyNate Newbie

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    You and me are in the same boat, I've had up to 6 inches of play in my 84 k1500. For me it turned out to be my lift kit, but a couple things that might be worth trying first are : try driving in a straightline in some fresh snow,dirt or even wet your tires and drive on pavement, something that will show your tire marks then check to see that your front and back tires are centered with each other if there not your rig is probably dogtracking and that could be the cause. A front end alignment and an over view of what condition your balljoints, tierods, draglink and steering box are in would be a good place to check too. If something is seriously worn and you have bigger tires it could be causeing it. Well, I hope its nothing to serious cause big trucks can cost big money.
    Good Luck!
     
  3. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Start with the basics.....worn draglink ends or balljonts??? Cheap and fast to replace (at least the DL ends are)

    After that, I'd be going pretty quickly to the classic "steering box frame crack" issue...remove the steering box and inspect the frame CAREFULLY for cracks. If you have cracks in that area, no amount of new steering parts will fix your problem.

    Finally, there IS an adjustment on the steering box itself...if you know what you're doing you can remove some slop that way. But if you are overly-exuberant about it, you will ruin the box. This should be a last resort anyway.


    .
     
  4. NastyNate

    NastyNate Newbie

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    "steering box frame crack" hmm I didn't even think of that but, your definetly right there I would say maybe even start with that because it won't cost you anything to undue some bolts and have a look.

    The adjustment on the steering box is a bit iffy, I wouldn't recomend useing that unless you have only an inch or so of play and everything else is in good condition, from what I've learned it will stiffen your steering more than anything.
     
  5. 7blazer5

    7blazer5 Registered Member

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    I think the problem is in the steering box. When I have the hood open and move the steering column, It has a good amount of play but won't move the tires
     
  6. 73k5blazer

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

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    Most overlooked thing is the collapsable steering shaft. I wouldn't adjust the steering box, it's rarly the problem, and the wrong adjustment will break the sector shaft.
    Here's an old post of mine:


    The common problems are:

    Problem:Worn Tie-Rod ends
    How to Check: Raise front of truck, grab a front tire on the fore-aft axis, wiggle and watch for tie-rod slop

    Problem: Ball Joint Wear
    How to Check: Raise front of truck. grab a front tire on the up-down axis, wiggle and watch for ball joint slop. Lower truck, watch for any movement in ball joint slop as weight is transferred onto wheels from jack.

    Problem: Loose Front Wheel Bearings
    How to Check: Same as for the ball joints, but the tire wiggles too much and you don't see the play in your ball joints, your wheel bearing require adjustment for replacment.

    Problem: Drag Link Wear
    How to Check: Raise front of truck. Have a helper turn the steering wheel back&forth while you hold on to the front drivers tire, watch for slop in the drag link. Also grabbing the drag link with your hand and wiggle can show the wear sometimes too.

    Problem: Loose Collapsable Steering shaft
    How to Check: Get two pairs of vice grips, clamp one pair on lower section, one pair on upper section, grab both pairs and attempt to wiggle in opposite directions. If ANY play is detected, replace the shaft. This is the most overlooked piece of the steering system and usally is the second most common cause of loose steering on these trucks.

    Problem: Loose Rag joint
    How to Check: This isn't as common. Raise front of truck. Have a helper turn the steering wheel back and forth while you watch the rag joint. Look for play.

    Problem: Cracked Frame
    How to Check: With truck on ground, have a helper turn the steering wheel (Truck can be running for power assist) and look for frame wiggle in the area of the steering box. Also, with engine off, simply inspect the frame around the steering box. Cracks usally show up on the top of the frame rail and just infront of the forward bolt holes (hidden, unless you can weasel of look at the inside/back side of the frame rail, which usally requires a mirror)

    Problem: Spring fasterns/bushings/mounts
    What to do: Tighten your spring and axle fasteners, they may be loose. Check for bad spring bushings front & rear. Check the sway bar bushings as well. If you've put lift blocks on our front axle, remove them, they are dangerous and illegal in most states and a very likly cause of loose steering.

    Myth about steering box adjustment:
    There is a common myth that adjusting the allen bolt on the top of your steering box will tighten steering. This is just a myth. What is will do is place more preload internally on the sector shaft and cause you to have to put more effort into turning the wheel (More torque required to turn). It will not remove any "play" from the system. If you have sloppy steering or the truck is wandering and tough to control, adjusting this WILL NOT help you at all. Additionaly, if you adjust it improperly, and place too much pre-load on the sector, it will break, leaving you without steering, and in a potentially very bad situation. People like to belive this myth because it is easy and free. But it won't help with sloppy steering. So avoid it. Adjusting this properly requires removing the box and putting it on a "tool" or machine that will tell you exactly where the pre-load should be. It is adjusted at the factory and requires no furthur adjustment.
     

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