Steering wheel play more on turns, less when straight - Team Camaro Tech
Brakes, Suspension & Steering Conversion questions, Steering & Handling

 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old Oct 7th, 09, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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Matt
 
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Location: Denver, CO
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Steering wheel play more on turns, less when straight

I noticed that I have quite a bit more play in my steering wheel when the wheels are turned to the either side but much less when the wheels are pointing straight. I would say at least twice the amount of play when wheels are turned versus when pointing straight. I think I need to take up some the straight wheel play to begin with, but what would cause this symptom? I have fairly new manual quick steer gear box, and the entire front suspension has been rebuilt. New GW upper/lower control arms, new idler arm, new pitman arm, new inner/outer tie rods. Car (68 coupe) has about 1500 on the new suspension and drives great, straight and does not pull to either side. I installed the manual steering box prior to rebuilding the suspension so the box has a good 5000 miles on it and the play has never been adjusted.

Matt

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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 09, 05:32 AM
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Re: Steering wheel play more on turns, less when straight

The difference in play between on-center and making a turn is in the actual design of the teeth on the sector shaft and the teeth on the rack inside the steering gear. There is (was) a slight interference fit between the teeth exactly on center. There was a slight clearance off-center all the way to full lock in both directions.

This allowed for a fairly precise feel on center and good returnability (return to center) after making a turn.

The gear teeth on the sector shaft also had another quirk, they were actually machined with a slight taper! This allowed the screw and locknut on the side cover (actually the top cover) on the gear to adjust the sector up and down a slight amount to vary the actual clearance between the sector teeth and the rack teeth.

When making an adjustment to the sector shaft, you always make the adjustment with the gear exactly on center. If you try and "adjust" the clearance with the gear off-center, the steering gear will have noticeable bind as it tries to return to center and you can actually damage the gear teeth and bearings.

BTW, the screw sticking out of the lock nut on the side cover should have a couple of threads showing. If the screw is "sunk" down into the nut, parts are worn out or damaged, and someone had adjusted the gear in the past and the further adjustment is not available. The gear needs to be rebuilt with new parts.

The correct (and best) way to properly adjust the gear is to remove it from the car and use an inch-lb torque wrench when setting over-center and off-center torques.

Jim
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 09, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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Matt
 
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Re: Steering wheel play more on turns, less when straight

So if I understand correctly - having more slack on turned wheels versus straight wheels is normal. My steering box has never been adjusted as there are plenty of threads sticking out from the locking nut on top of the steering box. I went ahead and adjusted the steering play yesterday with the wheels pointing straight. I did two 1/8 turns and tested after each adjustment to make sure there no high points during lock-to-lock turns. The play with the wheels straight appears to have decreased a little but the large play on turned wheels is still there. I need to test drive so I can feel the feedback. I am very confident that I properly centered the steering box when I installed it. Thank you very much for the detailed reply.

Matt

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old Oct 9th, 09, 01:46 PM
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Re: Steering wheel play more on turns, less when straight

As I mentioned, the only "correct" way to adjust the gear is with a torque wrench with the gear out of the car.

Having said the above, it is possible to adjust the sector shaft (in the car) in small increments as long as you are able to test drive after each adjustment so that you can determine that the car is still returning to center without any binding.

There is one other thing to look for (and you should check this first before trying to adjust the sector shaft). Have someone in the car turn the steering wheel back and forth. Can you see (or feel) the input shaft on the gear moving in and out of the gear box? That is another area of the gear that could contribute to lost motion in the steering wheel. If the input shaft is moving in and out there is some slop in the bearings supporting the input shaft. You then need to turn the adjuster plug on the forward end of the gear to just eliminate that bearing slop. Again, all you want to do is snug the parts up and eliminate the motion.

Here is a paper with a more complete explanation. It is long but thorough.

http://jimshea.corvettefaq.com/wp-co...erev14no08.doc

Good luck,
Jim
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