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Brakes, Suspension & Steering Conversion questions, Steering & Handling

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  #1  
Old Jul 24th, 07, 09:20 AM
Strick Strick is offline
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Default No Rag Joint torque spec - ?

Now that I am in the final stages of the front end reconstruction (torquing, re-torquing, setting, and checking all the new parts), I discover in the service manual no rag joint torque setting.

It just seems a little weird to me that all I am to do is set the distance between joint and steering assembly to ~ 3/8" and call it good. The bolts just don't seem very tight. Should I (blue) loctite them?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old Jul 24th, 07, 02:02 PM
JIML82 JIML82 is offline
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Default Re: No Rag Joint torque spec - ?

All First, Second, and Third Gen Camaros.
The flexible coupling flange should be installed all the way on the gear input shaft. Then torque the cross bolt to 30 ft-lbs.

First Gen Camaros - where the steering gear and flexible coupling attach directly to the steering column:

Assemble the steering column flange directly onto the shoulder bolts sticking out from the flexible coupling;
1). If you have a steering column with a flange that has a cross bolt, let the column flange "float" on the steering column shaft so that the rubber disc in the flexible coupling is reasonably flat. Then tighten the column flange cross bolt to 30 ft-lbs.

2). Then assemble the nuts with their lockwashers to the flexible coupling shoulder bolts and torque to 18 ft-lbs.

3). The stop pins on the flexible coupling should be central in the slots on the column flange. Turn the steering wheel one quarter turn and recheck that the pins are still central. If the stop pins are not central, you will need to loosen the steering column mounting fasteners and reposition the lower end of the steering column so that it is more inline with the steering gear.

Second and Third Gen Camaros:
1). These Camaros have a separate intermediate steering shaft assembly. The flexible coupling will seek a central location. Just assemble the column flange onto the shoulder bolts sticking out of the flexible coupling and torque the nuts with their lockwashers to 18 fl-lbs.

JIML82
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  #3  
Old Jul 24th, 07, 02:12 PM
Strick Strick is offline
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Default Re: No Rag Joint torque spec - ?

This is really interesting Jim, thanks.

The instructions I received with the OEM rag joint just says to check the distance that I mentioned above (.2-.3 inches). The Chassis Service Manual I have did say to torque the shaft bolt (on the C-clasp) to 30 ft-lbs (I think), but no mention of the bolts that go throught the rubber portion. 18lbs is enough probably crush the rubber though. --> ??
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  #4  
Old Jul 24th, 07, 03:26 PM
JIML82 JIML82 is offline
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Default Re: No Rag Joint torque spec - ?

If you look closely at the bolts sticking out of the flexible coupling you will note that they are shoulder bolts. (Admittedly the 3/8 bolt has a very narrow shoulder, but it still is a shoulder.)

The shoulder on the bolts cause the column flange to clamp with a controlled squeeze on the rubber disc. Yet the column flange is secured to the shoulder bolts with a metal to metal connection.
JIML82
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  #5  
Old Jul 24th, 07, 06:00 PM
Strick Strick is offline
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Default Re: No Rag Joint torque spec - ?

Now it makes sense. Thanks!

I am still wondering why the Chassis manual does not have a torque spec. And yes, believe it or not is the an ORIGINAL manual. I will check it again, but I do remember those bolts having shoulders.
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  #6  
Old Jul 24th, 07, 07:50 PM
JIML82 JIML82 is offline
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Default Re: No Rag Joint torque spec - ?

Strick,
I have been waging a one man campaign against certain flexible coupling rebuild "kits". The kits include a rubber disc along with common bolts to "rebuild" your original flex coupling. You CANNOT make a good connection by just squeezing rubber! You must have shoulder bolts.

I also am aware of some "Chinese" flexible coupling assemblies where the gear flange has the flat machined 180 degrees out of position. So when people finish reassembling their steering system, they suddenly find that the steering wheel is upside down! Those flexible couplings may (or may not) have shoulder bolts.

FOREIGN MADE FLEX COUPLING
I can tell the foreign made flex couplings by a couple of characteristics. Most noteable is the method of attaching the stop pins to the gear flange. The Saginaw process was to heat the end of the pin cherry red and deform the stop pin end in a hot riveting operation. If you look closesly at the above picture you can see that the end of the stop pin has been counterbored. The end is then peened over to hold it in place. There is really nothing wrong with the foreign peening process. It is just visually different from the Saginaw OEM process.

The above picture shows the flat in the incorrect location.

BTW, I have written letters to five companies that have been selling the foreign flex coupling. I outlined the above problems. I only heard back from one supplier. That supplier said that they were sending my letter along to their supplier.
We'll see if anything happens.

Jim
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  #7  
Old Jul 24th, 07, 10:44 PM
Strick Strick is offline
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Default Re: No Rag Joint torque spec - ?

Jim - you were the one that convinced me. I paid a lot more money for a 'true' GM rag joint.

Thanks again for all your assistance.
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  #8  
Old Jul 24th, 07, 11:04 PM
davidpozzi davidpozzi is offline
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Default Re: No Rag Joint torque spec - ?

Jim,
So THAT'S the reason for all those steering indexing posts by members!
As usual you are a fountain of information.
Thanks, David
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  #9  
Old Jul 28th, 07, 03:25 PM
carolina69 carolina69 is offline

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Default Re: No Rag Joint torque spec - ?

I'm glad I read this post first. I just removed my old steering box and getting ready to install my 3rd gen box. The new coupling I have in my hand has the alignment flat 180 from the picture above. The small diameter bolt is 180 out from my steering column. Any ideas? The old coupling I pulled off has the alignmnet flat opposite the picture above, but the bolts are reversed. Can I just remove and reinstall the steering wheel 180 out? or will that effect turn signals etc... The old coupling also has a bonding wire in it, do I need to rig something up?
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  #10  
Old Jul 29th, 07, 04:14 PM
JIML82 JIML82 is offline
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Default Re: No Rag Joint torque spec - ?

I think just swapping the 3/8 and 5/16 bolts should fix you up.

Saginaw always included a grounding method through the flexible coupling assembly (brass strap, a wire with terminals, or a mesh screen in the face of the rubber disc.) The GM Car Divisions always wanted Saginaw to guarantee that the horn grounding currect could find its way through the column.

Saginaw would never guarentee it but there is a good chance that the grounding current can make its way through the steering column bearings and column mountings. But it is possible that grease on the bearings, paint on the steering column mounts, plastic in the instrument panel structure, etc could actually isolate the column. That would require that the flex coupling would have to be the main ground path through the steering coupling, steering gear, frame, etc.

Jim
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  #11  
Old Jul 29th, 07, 08:10 PM
carolina69 carolina69 is offline

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Default Re: No Rag Joint torque spec - ?

JIML82,
Thanks for your reply and posting all the info on this website! After researching your papers I'm sure the coupling I have is correct (matches the drawings). With the steering wheel centered, marks on end of shaft and steering wheel line up at 12 o'clock, the coupling at the botttom of the steering shaft has the pinch bolt going through the 6 'clock position. I know the previous owner had the column rebuilt a while back, is there any way to install the lower shaft 180 out? This is a tilt column on a 69. The turn signals work as advertised, the lower flange just appears to be 180 out. I'll take your advice and swap bolts, it sounds much better than the alternative. The coupling has a wire mesh running through it, I assume to take care of the ground for the horn. Thanks again your posts are EXTREMELY informative.

Kevin
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  #12  
Old Jul 29th, 07, 09:30 PM
JIML82 JIML82 is offline
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Default Re: No Rag Joint torque spec - ?

Kevin,
If the tilt steering column was torn apart (all the way to the steering shaft), it is possible to reassemble the tilt portion of the steering shaft such that the lower end can be 180 degrees out. There is a plastic universal joint pivot ball right where the column head tilts. You can incorrectly reassemble the upper steering shaft to the lower shaft at that pivot ball.

You probably are better served by swapping the flex coupling bolts.

Jim
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  #13  
Old Jul 30th, 07, 09:27 PM
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Rodder Rodder is offline
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Default Re: No Rag Joint torque spec - ?

I wonder if the previous owner had it rebuilt by the same !@#$%^ that Rick's buys their rebuilt tilt columns from... (I've gotten two improperly assembled '68 tilt columns from Rick's)
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  #14  
Old Jul 31st, 07, 05:29 AM
JIML82 JIML82 is offline
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Default Re: No Rag Joint torque spec - ?

Trying to solve some of these type problems is like trying to solve a murder mystery. You keep getting a little more information on each posting. It is sometimes frustrating until more facts surface. It is easy to jump to conclusions. Sometimes it is Bubba (way back in the history of the vehicle) that actually screwed it up and the current owner isn't even aware that parts are incorrectly assembled, wrong parts, etc.

JIML82
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