Re: Massive play in steering wheel?
Have someone else turn the wheel while you watch under the front. Is the play in the gearbox, or is it the tie rod ends? If the pitman arm on the gearbox moves but the wheels don't it's probably tie rods. But if the pitman arm doesn't respond when the steering wheel is moved, the box is worn. On my 86 there's a large slotted screw adjuster with a locknut on the top of the box. You might be able to snug up the adjuster to get out some play, but too much tightening can cause binding or even break the innards. The shop manual has a procedure for this adjustment, but it's a pain and involves removing the hydraulic lines and steering wheel, and measuring preload with a torque wrench. I did mine by tightening about 1/8 turn at a time, then test driving. When the steering got too snug, I backed off a little and locked it down.