Steering box / aligment issue - Pontiac GTO Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-25-2013, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
 
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Steering box / aligment issue

I have sort of a strange issue with my '66 Le Mans. It seems as though somehow I can turn hard right and hardly left. Id say 2.25 turns right and maybe 1.25 turns left with the steering wheel. That may not be exact but thats the gist of it.. Turns way sharp right and hardly left.

My question for you guys is maybe the pittman arm on wrong? I thought the shaft on the gearbox was slotted to avoid this? 180/90 degrees off? didnt assemble that part in the restoration my father did many years ago. My theory was pull the arm off, center the wheels and steering wheel to the middle of the gear box turns and then put the arm back on. If the shaft is keyed than that may not work right?

HELP!!

You outta see her on a road course, or a quarter mile

Last edited by Bensjammin66; 07-27-2013 at 09:41 AM.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-25-2013, 04:03 PM
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I think mine had 4 wide slots at 12-3-6-9 o'clock. I think your right, remove the pitman arm, straighten the front wheels, count how many times the steering wheel turns lock to lock, then center that and put the pitman arm back on.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-25-2013, 08:59 PM
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Yep.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-09-2013, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
 
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Ok so the pitman arm was on correctly. I centered the steering wheel between locks and adjusted my tie rods so i was within 1/16" on toe. Great, even turns across the board and the car drives down the road nice and straight...

The problem now is the wheel does not return to center! I have to correct it and it wanders a bit if i dont. If pointed straight itll go 100+ yards no problem nice and straight. I used the old string technique to align it and measured 3x. We are within 1/16". Any ideas on this now besides the ol "take it to an alignment shop" resolution?

You outta see her on a road course, or a quarter mile
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-09-2013, 03:03 PM
 
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Caster oil

Sounds like the caster is out. That'll probably do the trick. Sometimes if there is excessive slop in the steering box, that could *contribute* to the problem, but make sure you follow the shop procedures on how to adjust the backlash, etc... at the steering box, before just "cranking the screw down".
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-09-2013, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gjones View Post
Sounds like the caster is out. That'll probably do the trick. Sometimes if there is excessive slop in the steering box, that could *contribute* to the problem, but make sure you follow the shop procedures on how to adjust the backlash, etc... at the steering box, before just "cranking the screw down".
so you are saying the adjustment is at the steering box?

You outta see her on a road course, or a quarter mile
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-09-2013, 05:32 PM
 
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1,317 page supplemental addendum

Yes, there are a couple of adjustments at the steering box, but you would be well advised to follow the procedures set forth in the shop manual, otherwise you could hurt the worm gear/ball assembly. The procedures may be slightly different for power/manual steering, and are listed separately. There are many factors that would contribute to this problem, caster and toe in being at the top of the list, (well,really, from the manual: frozen steering shaft bearings, lower coupling flange rubbing against adjuster, steering wheel rubbing against gearshift bowl, and tires not inflated properly come before toe and caster, with eight more causes following that), but the steering gear adjustments (or internal problems) can definitely do it, also. I'm not sure if I can scan the manual pages for you or not. Maybe someone more savvy has the link for you to look at. Is there any slop in the wheel? How are the ball joints, et al? Check for anything binding or really tight underneath, with someone turning the wheel. Hate to say it though, a good alignment might do you wonders, I'll bet!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-09-2013, 05:51 PM
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Caster is set with adjusting shims behind the upper control arm shafts. Less under the front bolts and more under the rear bolts to increase the caster. This will bring the upper ball joint position rearword, creating a rake between the upper and lower control arms. Playing with these alignment shims also affects camber. You will need to get the car on an alignment rack to have the camber, caster, and toe set to specs. Gjones is correct, as he usually is: steering wheel return is dictated by how much positive caster you have. Like riding a bike. Turn the handlebars around, and you have negative caster--very unstable.
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