Adjusting the steering gear screw

Discussion in 'Technical' started by scooper77515, Dec 6, 2006.

  1. scooper77515

    scooper77515 Accepting Hand-me-downs Supporting Member

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    Does anyone know the "correct" way to adjust the screw in the top of the steering gear box?

    Mine is manual, in case it makes a difference.

    Are there specific directions, such as "straighten the wheel, torque to X, then back of Y turns, and lock down"?
  2. Jamie Miles

    Jamie Miles the road warrior Supporting Member

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    May try giving Earl a PM if you need any help. From what I've heard, the wheels do need to be exactly straight.
  3. ratio411

    ratio411 Member

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    The boxes are technically non-adjustable.
    The "adjuster" is preset from the factory and not supposed to be used.
    That is not to say you can't, however you should only move it very little.
    For details, someone wrote up a thread about it a year or so ago.
    I might be wrong, but I think it was dmhines.

    The adjuster forces the gears together, so remember, very little adjustment is available before you cause things to bind up and ruin the box.
    Good luck
    Dave
  4. T.L.

    T.L. Banned

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    I disagree. The adjuster is there so that it can be adjusted, to take up the slack as the gears wear. Obviously there is only so much "adjustment" attainable before the box needs to be replaced.

    Scoop;
    The correct method is to loosen the nut, and tighten the screw with a flat-tip screwdriver. Just turn it clockwise until it stops. Do not put torque on it, or you will cause binding of the gears. Turn the screw until it stops, then retighten the nut. You're done. It's easy, takes less than 5 minutes, and it makes no difference if it's manual or power steering...
  5. Fordmaster169

    Fordmaster169 Member

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    Ratio411 is correct. The adjuster is there for factory adjustment and when you do a rebuild. The reason I say this is that the most wear on the gears is at center with the wheels straight. As you go either way on the gear it will have less and less wear on it. So on a worn gear box if you adjust the slack out of the box at the center position it will get tighter and tighter as you turn the wheel and sometimes lock up. When you get a reman gear box from the parts store it has a red tag on it that says to please resist the urge to adjust the lash on the box. Hmmmm I wonder why that is.

    So a solution to the problem would be to turn the wheels all the way in one direction and adjust it the way that T.L. has stated so you will not run into any binding problems.
  6. 71gold

    71gold Frank Cooper Supporting Member

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    i disagree...the tight spot is in the center, that way it dosen't walk either way when going down the road..next!!!
    ...frank...:bouncy:
  7. Rick Book

    Rick Book Member

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    10-14 inch lbs

    source: http://autorepair.about.com/library/a/1f/bl869f.htm

    I did this to my 1994 F-150 to try to get the slack out to the steering. Re-torquing the screw seemed to help ... a little bit. And, yes, the resistance to turning the steering increased also (by a small amount - I didn't have an inch/Lb torque wrench nor the patience of Scooper else I could quantify it. ;)).




  8. PaulS

    PaulS Member extrordiare

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    Yes, according to the manufacturer, the preload is adjustable.
    The problem arises when the wear is too great for even application of the tension. The center of the worm gear is the tightest when it is new. It is also where most of the wear takes place. Once there is wear on the worm, it spreads to the follower and since it affects the center more than the extremes if you try to set the adjustment to take out the slack you have more wear in the center so when you adjust it there it is too tight on the extremes (the wear is less). In the books you will find the procedure to adjust the tension.
  9. Fordmaster169

    Fordmaster169 Member

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    Thanks PaulS, I guess neither one of us has any idea what we are talking about. And yes, I learned the hard way about this very subject. The funny thing about experiance is you dont get any untill just after you need it.

    And Frank, what keeps the car from walking down the road is not the preload on the worm and sector, it is an adjustment called CASTER.
  10. scooper77515

    scooper77515 Accepting Hand-me-downs Supporting Member

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    Thanks guys. The reason I am even messing with it is because I have "rebuilt" it. Not really, but I took all the grease out, cleaned it, inspected it, put in a grease zerk, and reassembled it. I took that screw all the way out while doing this, and now need to put it back where it belongs. I left it a little loose just in case, figuring it would swim a little, but at least not damage anything, until I figured out what the correct torque was.
  11. Rando76

    Rando76 Member

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    Here's what I've always heard:
    1) Jack up front end
    2) Remove front wheels (optional - makes it easier to feel)
    3) Turn adjuster with screwdriver until there is a slight bind when turning the wheel lock to lock (the bind will be in the center)
    4) After finding a bind, turn the adjuster the opposite direction slightly (maybe 1/4 turn).
    5) Check again for binding
    When you have adjusted the box just before the bind (when there is not a bind), it is correct. That's how I have adjusted my boxes and they work great. (y) I got this tip from a mechanic that has been wrenching since the 60's.
  12. T.L.

    T.L. Banned

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    That sounds like a good way to do it...:cool:
  13. PaulS

    PaulS Member extrordiare

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    There is no torque spec for the adjuster. Just tighten it as instructed above. Tighten it until you feel drag anywhere in the distance from lock to lock and then back it out until the drag just goes away. Hold the screw there and tighten the locknut.
    I suppose you put the grease zerk on the steering box because it was leaking oil? I use a mixture of chassis grease and Hilton's Hyperlube [one part of each] (STP Oil Treatment) when I rebuild them because grease won't get into all the little nooks and crannies but the mixture will. Grease will also harden and turn to wax with age and my mixture has been tested in everything from trailer and car axle bearings to gear boxes (steering and transmission) and I have used it for over twenty years in a utility trailer (that is constantly overloaded) and it is still going with the same lubricant and bearings that I put in it new. I don't need to grease the bearings each year - they stay lubed.
  14. scooper77515

    scooper77515 Accepting Hand-me-downs Supporting Member

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    I was worried about the grease not working it's way in, and that is why I put in the zerk fitting. With the box out of the car, I turned the pitman arm back and forth while forcing grease into the zerk. I got almost two entire tubes in there before it started to force it's way out of the bottom seal (which I intended to swap, but got lazy) and then the breather cap at the top. Wiped up any squirted out lube, and installed in the car.

    Hopefully, by forcing lube in while turning the gear back and forth (chock to chock), it worked its way into the balls and gears.
  15. Rando76

    Rando76 Member

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    EXACTLY! That's been my point in all the threads we've had about this. (y)
    I've never thought of using STP Oil Treatment though - that sounds like it would work really well.
  16. scooper77515

    scooper77515 Accepting Hand-me-downs Supporting Member

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    I am afraid that if I thinned it out, it would end up coming out of that old lower seal, and I would be, in effect, lubricating my DRIVEWAY!!! :yikes:
  17. Beerstoreguy

    Beerstoreguy Member

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    Thanks all,a good thread for us to absorb.
  18. Rando76

    Rando76 Member

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    We didn't mean THAT thin. :rolleyes:
  19. Acornridgeman

    Acornridgeman MCCI Wisconsin State Rep Moderator Supporting Member

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    I love these technical threads - and this is a good one! :wave:

    Directly from the FORD shop manual.
    And it is interesting to note that the correct way to do it is to pull the pitman arm off the gear box to get rid of all steering movement and to read the inch pounds (4-5 inch pounds is spec for bearing preload and 9-10 inch pounds in spec for center high point of worm gear) at the steering wheel nut.

    Attached Files:

  20. Rick Book

    Rick Book Member

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    It reads, "If the torque or preload is not within specification...."

    What IS the specification?

    Thx. Good info.

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