1971 Dart Swinger Steering Gear Adjustment needed.

Discussion in 'Suspension, Steering and Chassis' started by FlDart360, Aug 5, 2018.

  1. FlDart360

    FlDart360 Active Member

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    Could someone tell me what aspect of the steering box adjustments can remove the free travel that I feel when driving down the road in a straight line but having about two inches of side to side free travel in the steering wheel. Aside from the play in the wheel once engaged turning left or right is very smooth, but keeping the car centered in the lane is a challenge. Also when looking on line at a replacement steering box I see two common choices 24:1 ratio and 16:1 ratio. Does this determine how quick your wheels turn in relation to how much you turn the wheel? Will either one fit my car without changing several parts? Which one came on the car from the factory?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Alaskan_TA

    Alaskan_TA Well-Known Member

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    Are the bolts that hold the box to the k-frame tight?

    Any worn suspension components?

    Manual box or power?
     
  3. 72bluNblu

    72bluNblu FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    If the play was just in the steering box the car shouldn't be a problem to keep straight in a lane, it should go straight all by itself. More than likely you have a combination of worn out steering parts, a not so great alignment, and some extra play in the box.

    If you have a manual box, which is sounds like you do if you're considering a 24:1 or 16:1 replacement, then there's a screw on top of the box with a lock nut. If you loosen the lock nut and tighten that screw it will adjust some of the slack out of the box. But if you over adjust it you can also make the steering gear resistance overly tight.

    The ratio does determine how many turns the steering has lock to lock, it also determines the amount of force you need to turn the wheel. A 24:1 steering box is roughly 5 1/2 turns lock to lock, a 16:1 box is ~3 1/2 turns lock to lock, with that much less mechanical advantage. Both were available from the factory, the 16:1 boxes were only offered for a year or two if I remember right, the 24:1 box was standard. You can replace a 24:1 with a 16:1 without changing any other parts, but from the sound of it you should be considering replacing the pitman, idler, and tie rod ends anyway.
     
  4. Dicer

    Dicer Well-Known Member

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    If you do not have a shop manual for your car, please down one, its FREE....I would jack up the car, put it on jack stands (that u trust) and have a friend gently rock the steering wheel back and forth. While you are under the car look closely at all greasy parts and see if you can locate the slop... Garb the front wheels give them a twist, lots of things to check, before I would start adjusting the box...You can always take the car to an alignment shop, and have them check it out...but replace the parts yourself.
     
  5. TrailBeast

    TrailBeast Slightly Twisted Member

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    This should explain what you asked.
    (If that is where the play is)

     
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    • FlDart360

      FlDart360 Active Member

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      I probably should have described this differently the car does goes straight with no problem and does not pull to the right or left. Also when I had it aligned they told me the remaining play in the steering wheel was coming from the steering box. The P O had the Box off the car but I don’t know to what degree of service was performed on it. Most of the under car steering parts have been replaced with MOOG parts. It’s just that little bit of free play in the wheel that is unnerving. That video upload from Trailbeast looks promising I think I will give that a shot next after the sun goes down a bit it's 90 degrees in the shade today.
       
    • FlDart360

      FlDart360 Active Member

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      Well that adjustment helped tremendously. I ended up adding just shy of a ¼ turn. what a difference. Is there a point when that adjustment has nothing left?
       
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      • Go Mango

        Go Mango Well-Known Member

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        I also have this problem. I followed your instructions about the lock nut and the adjustment screw but no joy here. My front suspension is 100% brand new stuff. With my boy wiggling the wheel, it looks like all the play is in where the shaft meets the steering box. The wheel has over 1" slop side to side sitting in the garage with nothing else moving. I'm thinking I need a new box. Does that sound right?
         
      • Go Mango

        Go Mango Well-Known Member

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        Help me Obi Wan, your my only hope...
         
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        • Go Mango

          Go Mango Well-Known Member

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          Any suggestions?
           
        • TrailBeast

          TrailBeast Slightly Twisted Member

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          If the play is in the steering box and adjusting like the video shows doesn't help, then it needs a new box.
           
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          • Go Mango

            Go Mango Well-Known Member

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            That's what I figured. Thanks
             
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            • Go Mango

              Go Mango Well-Known Member

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              Well, the slop it has sitting still doesn't translate to driving it. Had it out yesterday and WOW! What a difference! I can live with it now! Thanks guys for all your help.