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post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-23-2000, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Massive play in steering wheel?

I don't exactly know how the steering system on a 93 works, but my steering wheel has about 4 inches of rotation before it even begins to turn the tires. I looked at it and the shaft all the way down to the gearbox (or whatever the first thing it encounters in the engine compartment is) moves, but nothing coming out of that box moves, so it seems that something in there might be loose. Is there an adjustment on there that I could play with, or do I need to replace something? Clueless as usual, so thanks for any help.

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-23-2000, 02:31 PM
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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.

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-23-2000, 07:41 PM
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Re: Massive play in steering wheel?

Most shops do free inspections... It doesn't sound like your'e very mechanically inclined (no offense... Some of usd were raised around cars!) Have the shop inspect it, and show you what is wrong, then get a Chiltons manual and look at what is involved in fixing it. Then judge for yourself if you want to tackle it. I just replaced my steering box because it was leaking at the pitman arm (the arm that hangs below and rotates back and forth steering the wheels via. the tierods.) It took me and my dad about a whole afternoon to do it. Mainly because of the stubborn pitman arm. Anyway, 3 turns sounds like a lot! Either the gearbox or the rag joint is probably shot. Worn tierods would make it wander at speed and give it a little play, but no that much. It might also be a combination of everything being worn out!

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