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Sloppy steering

 
nicebird76
V-6 Camaros rule!
Posts: 31
Joined: 06/08
Posted: 11/17/12 08:23 AM

Hi, I have a '76 Camaro and I am trying to tighten up the steering.  Right now when you turn the wheel there is a pause.  I don't notice it too much when going slow but at highway speeds it feels unstable.  Anyidea what I should be looking at or replacing?  I replaced the idler arm already but I can't figure out what else would be loose.  Is there a way to tell if the powewr steering gear box is bad?  I don't think it is but can't tell for sure.  Thanks for the help.  

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pepsi1
I mow my lawn and find Chevys
Posts: 1718
Joined: 09/11
Posted: 11/17/12 08:54 AM

nicebird76

  I'm sure if you have power steering you have checked all the fluids and pump for their function.
  I would make sure that all the front end pieces are nice and tight.
You could have a center link thats bad, or an idler arm,I believe your Camaro will have 2.
  The only other thing that will react that way is the steering box.Your Camaro has what is called a Circulating Ball Type. Now there is a way to adjust it. So follow this carefully.
  On the top of the steering box, there will be a probably 11/16th nut or whatever. In the center of that nut there is a screw. Either a flat screw driver, or an allen head.
  Either way mark them both. Prick mark or if it's clean enough you can use a sharpy. Loosen the nut, and turn the set screw in a 1/4cw turn at a time. Take it for a ride and see if that helped.
  If it did help then go another 1/4cw turn. Keep track of how many turns. Don't go too far as this could lock your steering box. If this corrects your steering feeling your probably looking at replacing the Steering Box in the future. I have a 1979 Z28 and 1981 Z28 all original. Except the 79 I made a nice street engine with 400+HP. Grin  Cool
Thanks
Happy Holiday
Bob  

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redneckjoe69
I mow my lawn and find Chevys
Posts: 2337
Joined: 03/10
Posted: 11/17/12 09:25 AM

jack it up & have a helper move the tires side to side  while your under the car.   see if anything is loose like Bob said.    
 another thing to check is where the column comes through the firewall & connects to the gearbox.   ive seen loose bolts & bad rag joints.    youll be able to tell by having a helper wiggle the tires back & forth while its jacked up.
   i had bad control arm bushings on a 78 camaro before.   not the funnest things to change.
   grab your tires on top & bottom while its jacked up, wiggle them from side to side.   could be bad bearings?  

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pepsi1
I mow my lawn and find Chevys
Posts: 1718
Joined: 09/11
Posted: 11/17/12 12:23 PM

THANKS JOE, I FORGOT ABOUT THE RAGE JOINT!
 
  Yeah steering problems are very dangerous. On my 1979 Z-28 if I get it really tight in a turn I can actually feel the steering wheel pulse. I think what is happening the P/S pump is trying to compensate for the added pressure. All the parts are as tight as can be, so I never replaced anything. I can't hang the 1981 Z-28 out like the 79. Just No Power. I never did anything to that. It's still all stock.
  Joe I had a guy make me an offer on the Classics. Not bad what he offered because the market sucks, but it is what it is...I didn't take it though. The 1986 Monte Carlo is starting to come up in price finally...I need to paint it. Matt told me the story on what they did back in that era. with the paint. Garage kept it didn't matter.

Bob  

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redneckjoe69
I mow my lawn and find Chevys
Posts: 2337
Joined: 03/10
Posted: 11/17/12 12:42 PM

my iroc was giving me some steering issues when i first bought it.   the bolt that attaches the joint between the column and shaft to gear box,[sorry brain fart on part name, lol], was loose as could be.   lots of play.   i tightened the krap out of it til it closed up real good and it was like a new car. Cool         im glad to hear you didnt sell Bob.   its definetley a buyers market right now unfortunatly.  

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waynep71222
I have an SS396 tatoo
Posts: 448
Joined: 03/12
Posted: 11/17/12 08:57 PM

good advice above...

a few tricks... this usually takes me under 10 minutes to ***

wheels straight ahead..

drivers window down...   engine idling if its save to be standing beside the car.. or have a friend in the drivers seat..   while you observe the left front tire... slowly rock the steering wheel back and forth just until you see the wheel start to react...   how far does the top of the steering wheel move... an inch.. 2 inches.. 3 inches.. this is with the engine on...

next... get under the hood.. have the assistant rock the steering wheel back and forth just to the limit that you found was the amount the steering wheel moved before the tires reacted...

look at the intermediate shaft...   look at the rag joint...    look at the steering box input shaft.. that should NOT be moving in and out as the steering is turned..

next.. look past the steering box. to the idler arm... is it reacting instantly to steering wheel input???  

is the steering box ROCKING on the frame.. it should NOT be...  

with the wheels on the ground.. if you can see under the front of the car...

continue the rocking of the steering wheel..

see if any of the parts starting at the pitman arm to the center drag link connection are NOT moving instantly... if there is delay.. something is wrong..

you will also want to look up at the  steering box.. look at the pitman shaft where above where the big nut holds the pitman arm on.. make sure its NOT moving side to side when the helper works the steering wheel..


there are all kinds of things that can wear.. including the steering box...


WARNING.. WARNING... WARNING... DO NOT ATTEMPT to adjust the steering box adjustments UNLESS you COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND what you are doing..

this kind of adjustment requires 2 tools holding the jam nut and the adjustment stud.. either an allen wrench or a big flat screwdriver depending on the year...

you have to HAVE your hand on the RAG joint and the front wheels pointed straight ahead..

rocking the rag joint back and forth..  while you turn the adjustment stud left 1 turn first.. while feeling the amount of play.. then adjusting the adjuster to the right fractions of a turn till you almost get rid of the play you can feel..  this is done engine off..

inside the steering box the input shaft moves a big block front and backwards.. there are gear teeth on one side...   the pitman shaft has gear teeth on it also.. you are adjusting the amount of clearance between the pitman gear.. and the sliding block gear..  if you get this adjustment too tight.. you will crush the sliding block against the inside of the steering box..  so instead of there being a TINY amount of clearance.. you have put everything in a bind...

its an adjustment that really needs to be done by a wheel alignment tech...  

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pepsi1
I mow my lawn and find Chevys
Posts: 1718
Joined: 09/11
Posted: 11/17/12 09:55 PM

Wayne did you write that or is it something you had printed?  

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waynep71222
I have an SS396 tatoo
Posts: 448
Joined: 03/12
Posted: 11/17/12 10:27 PM

Icon Quotepepsi1:
Wayne did you write that or is it something you had printed?

i typed it out ...   did i get something wrong???

i used to work for Goodyear..   did suspension, alignment and brakes all day long..

i got fired from their because i would not sell 100 bucks worth of service to cars with only 3,000 miles on them.. in for their first oil change.  it was the local manager not company policy..   he wanted to bring his techs from his former store.. the first one there almost dumped a 15 passenger van on a customer..   3 of us holding the van up while it was let down on the rack..  same guy did not bother cleaning the metal turnings out of the bearing races... just slapped the bearings back in .. the second tech they brought up took customers cars home at night..  but that was in 1979 or early 80.. i am sure that things have changed ..  it was crazy there.. we were so buzy.. we had a 3 week waiting list for OIL CHANGE appointments.  

phone calls went like this.. yes.. you would like an oil change.. ok.. can you bring it in 3 weeks from now and leave it all day..    mom used to have my termination notice on the wall in her house..

while i worked there.. got to work on robert plants trans am..  another trans am belonging to the larry flynt center fold of the year..  bruce dern bought a new set of tires.. harry morgan dropped in... i did thank him for all the years of enjoyment he had given everybody with his talents..  

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76Skylark
Big Block power for the win
Posts: 868
Joined: 12/11
Posted: 11/18/12 05:18 AM

Been a Fan of Bruce Dern since Silent Running, Hellava nice thing to do for Harry Morgan. Thank You For Thanking Him.  

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nicebird76
V-6 Camaros rule!
Posts: 31
Joined: 06/08
Posted: 11/19/12 04:53 PM

Thanks guys for the great advice.  I'll start with the car on the ground and see if I can see any play then lift it up and check underneath.  I have replaced the idler arm so far so I know it's not that.  Hopefully it's easy to figure out.  So far nothing has been easy with this car but still fun to have and work on.  Just put a chevy 383 in and love it.  Just want to make sure the steering is tight so I don't lose it on the highway.  Thanks.  

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76Skylark
Big Block power for the win
Posts: 868
Joined: 12/11
Posted: 11/20/12 11:17 AM

Having to replace front end parts throughout my life,I have found it is easier to do this job Once and be done.replacing the Idler arm only shows the next worn part,there are complete kits with Inner/outer tie rod ends,idler arm, upper and lower ball joints and some have the draglink also,some cars have a joint in the draglink for the steering arm. it is SOOOO much easier to do all at once and a bunch cheaper.could cost a lot more one piece at a time.  

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pepsi1
I mow my lawn and find Chevys
Posts: 1718
Joined: 09/11
Posted: 11/20/12 03:05 PM

Icon Quotepepsi1:
Wayne did you write that or is it something you had printed?

Icon Quotewaynep71222:
i typed it out ...   did i get something wrong???

i used to work for Goodyear..   did suspension, alignment and brakes all day long..

i got fired from their because i would not sell 100 bucks worth of service to cars with only 3,000 miles on them.. in for their first oil change.  it was the local manager not company policy..   he wanted to bring his techs from his former store.. the first one there almost dumped a 15 passenger van on a customer..   3 of us holding the van up while it was let down on the rack..  same guy did not bother cleaning the metal turnings out of the bearing races... just slapped the bearings back in .. the second tech they brought up took customers cars home at night..  but that was in 1979 or early 80.. i am sure that things have changed ..  it was crazy there.. we were so buzy.. we had a 3 week waiting list for OIL CHANGE appointments.  

phone calls went like this.. yes.. you would like an oil change.. ok.. can you bring it in 3 weeks from now and leave it all day..    mom used to have my termination notice on the wall in her house..

while i worked there.. got to work on robert plants trans am..  another trans am belonging to the larry flynt center fold of the year..  bruce dern bought a new set of tires.. harry morgan dropped in... i did thank him for all the years of enjoyment he had given everybody with his talents..


Oh no
I know how long it takes me to type something. Then when I post it I have to go back and correct my spelling. Thats all I wanted to know Wayne. Grin  Cool
"

HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY THANKSGIVING"

Bob  

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pepsi1
I mow my lawn and find Chevys
Posts: 1718
Joined: 09/11
Posted: 11/20/12 03:11 PM

Nicebird:
  You bet bud, you don't something that could have been avoided ruin your day and possibly getting hurt in the process. You may need a helper on some of the points that Wayne stated, it always better that way too.
Happy Holiday!

Bob  

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