Need Steering rebuild or just old car

Discussion in 'Suspension, Steering and Chassis' started by Stihl011, Jun 21, 2018.

  1. Stihl011

    Stihl011 Member

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    I'm not experienced driving old cars, so I have no frame of reference.

    My 68 barracuda sort of needs constant adjustment when driving down the road. If I go over bumps, steering can shift, enough that I'm nervous going over 35mph or so in anticipation of some bump.

    I've put new control arms, new steering arms/bushings, ball joints and shocks in.
    I certainly need an alignment. I haven't yet adjusted the gear shaft either (tomorrow!).

    I've also been reading about refurbishing the (power) steering box, or even replacing it with a new design that will give it a more "modern" feel. Before I go dropping coin on either of those, is the alignment/gear shaft adjustment likely to fix the issue if it even is one?

    I don't mind somewhat unresponsive steering, so long as the car didn't wander off in directions I wasn't expecting.
     
  2. pishta

    pishta I know I'm right....

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    there is a sector shaft adjuster nut you can adjust. There are also slop points in idler, pitman and even steering box mounts.
     
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    • jas0162

      jas0162 Well-Known Member

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      After you replaced all that stuff you should drive it directly to an alignment shop. Have them put in as much positive caster as they can. Unless the alignment is close the tightest steering box in the world wont help.
       
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      • KosmicKuda

        KosmicKuda Well-Known Member

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        Positive caster is good. I have 2* in my 68 and it tracks like a freight train with no hands on the steering wheel. I used the Moog offset bushings in the upper control arms to get there.

        Good tires are also importsnt.
         
      • Frnknsteen

        Frnknsteen FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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        • replicaracer43

          replicaracer43 Old school member

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          I daily drive a 71, I rebuilt the front end, added disc brakes, and it is 100% stable with zero issues. You gotta remember even grandma drove these cars daily back in the day, they drive awsome when not sloppy wore out.
           
        • jos51700

          jos51700 Well-Known Member

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          Make it right before you worry about steering boxes and the like.

          If it's bump steering, which it is, something is wrong.
           
        • Jim Lusk

          Jim Lusk Well-Known Member

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          Check slop in the idler arm.
           
        • Stihl011

          Stihl011 Member

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          Did an alignment, made a world of difference. But it is still a white knuckle drive over 45 or so (can't be too sure, speedo not working). I think there is just a lot of slop in the gearbox. I can turn the wheel +/- 15* or so without any response from the wheels. Pretty sure I gotta replace it unless someone tells me otherwise. As always, thanks to everyone who wrote back.
           
        • jas0162

          jas0162 Well-Known Member

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          Be sure and check everything else out before changing out the box. If everything else is good try adjusting the box. The coupler between the box and the column tend to wear out. Get a helper to turn the wheel back and forth while you crawl around and look at stuff moving. Good luck
           
        • 67Dart273

          67Dart273 Well-Known Member

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          Why can't you multiquote with with the "new improved" software??

          THIS

          Get a friend. With engine idling, so as to have the power box properly working, move the steering wheel back and forth "through the slop." Carefully look from the column shaft, to the steering coupler, they should track with no slop.

          From the coupler body to the box shaft, no slop

          The box should NOT move in the crossmemeber. The crossmember itself should not be flexing, broken welds, rusted, etc.

          "If all" the slop seems to be between the box steering shaft and pitman / sector shaft, then the box is the culprit.

          But don't stop there. Examine the movement of the pitman arm to the end ball.......no slop

          Look for slop in each of the 4 tie rod ends

          And last look for up/ down slop in the idler arm.

          You can download shop manuals, free, at MyMopar. These have procedures to check the ball joints. You must jack under the lower arm to check the ball joint slop

          TIRES can make a huge difference, as can just plain "weak" T bars and not having an anti roll bar
           
        • Frnknsteen

          Frnknsteen FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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          Is it possible someone had the coupler apart and reinstalled it wrong? I ask because I had a TON of slop, just like you are describing. I replaced the steering box because I wanted the faster ratio anyway. I installed it and still had most of the slop I had before. After talking with the vendor, I went back and started looking. Apparently the previous owner had taken the steering coupler apart and put it back together with the little shoes facing the wrong way.

          I turned them 90 degrees so they were going into the coupler body the right way and TADA!! Most of my slop went away. I still have a little, but it's NOTHING like what I had. In an effort to get rid of the rest, I ordered new coupler shoes and spring. It will be here Friday and I will put them in and see if it gets even better.
           
        • Stihl011

          Stihl011 Member

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          You mean the coupler that has the roll-pin in it that you pound out and then the steering wheel is de-coupled? I looked at that. The entire shaft rotates tight with the wheel, so I don't think that's the issue. How hard was it to remove the steering box? Service manual instructions seem pretty easy, but I thought I read somewhere you had to lift the engine or something.
           
        • dartfreak75

          dartfreak75 Well-Known Member

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          I just pulled my gear box my engine is out I dont think would be very easy with the engine in if possible at all! It wasn't that bad with the engine out one tip I learned the hard way. Knock the pin out before you remove the bolts from the k frame! Knock out the pin remove the pitman arm from the center link, take out the three bolts in the kframe and I used a small pickle fork to separate the shaft from the box mine was pretty rusted but its not that bad!
           
        • Frnknsteen

          Frnknsteen FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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          No,... That connection is splined and pinned, so that should be fine. The issue I had was with the other end of that connector, where the shaft goes into the connector body (See pic). If those shoes are in there the wrong way it can add to the amount of play.

          Coupler.jpg