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SteeringGearbox

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by freakdave, May 18, 2005.

  1. freakdave

    freakdave Registered Member

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    Location:
    austin, tx
    just bought a 1985 K5, the steering has about 3+ inches of play in it causing the truck to be all over the road especially during braking. The steering wheel has play in it when truck is turned off and on so i'm thinking it has to do with the steering gear box/pitman shaft assembly. any else have "loose steering" problems and what did you do to correct it. this truck is my daily driver and mostly on street. thanks, dave
     
  2. freakdave

    freakdave Registered Member

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    Location:
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    also the cruise control doesnt work and neither does the voltmeter. where to begin with these would be helpful as well. thanks
     
  3. 73k5blazer

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

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    Location:
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    These trucks are famous for loose steering, brand new from the factory, they weren't great.
    Below is an old post of mine. If you do a search, you'll get many many hits on this subect.

    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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