Steering Sector Back Lash Adjustment

Brakes, Steering & Suspension

  1. Moparfeind

    Moparfeind FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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    So I have the factory service manual and I have even watched the Chrysler slide projector training on this but I have a few questions regarding PS back lash adjustment. Actually I am having an issue and that is I have loosened the 5/8 nut around the 3/16 hex adjuster screw but can not budge the screw. I do have the wheels on the ground. My goal is to in very small increments see if I can get some of the slop out of the steering. Right now its loose from 10 - 2 O'clock. Is it just that after 50 years of maybe never being adjusted its very tight or am I missing something. I am figuring since I am only going to adjust a quarter turn from initial and then try it out and repeat that I am not needing to check the back lash with the pitman arm removed. Again tires on the ground AND pitman connected. Hex screw very tight and the nut has been loosened.

    Thanks MF

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    Last edited: May 17, 2019
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    • vance.dykes

      vance.dykes Well-Known Member

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      they use a nylon locking nut witch sizes on the threads .use p.b blaster or brake away by cycloe let sit then put a box end wrench on the nut turn it out then have it up against the frame to hold so you can turn the stud with out having to holding wrench clean out the allen hole then use your allen wrench [ an allen 3/8 drive socket works best tap with a hammer to seat it in the stud. ] to turn out the allen stud then use a wire brush to clean threads add some anti seize on the threads so it will be ez to auj. and yes a 1/4 turn of that stud is a lot little at a time will get you there.
       
      Last edited: May 17, 2019
    • miller

      miller Well-Known Member

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      So, your saying the adjuster screw turns that much? Gotta ask, what's all the black stuff, all over the box...paint?
      Was going to suggest tapping the adjuster screw, with an aluminum drift, but no. Not frozen in, if it moves a little. Something you might consider, taking the nut completely off, along with (assuming) the tag. Then, use whatever, to clean the adjuster screw threads the best you can.
      Don't remember off hand, but think there might be a copper seal washer, under the nut. Maybe jammed into place. When I did mine, it all turned fairly easy. (I replaced the seal under the cup, so had things down somewhat.)
       
    • Moparfeind

      Moparfeind FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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      The steering wheel free play is 10-2 OClock thats the slop I am trying to fix. I sprayed it with PB blaster but I am not sure what the surface stuff is. I assumed just caked on power steering fluid and dirt over the years the car was just sitting.
       
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      • Moparfeind

        Moparfeind FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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        So the nut is loose but the adjuster screw is tight or frozen. Are you guys saying I could pull the nut with the screw out together? Would I loose the position at that point? Will I loose fluid if I do? It makes sense if they come out together so I could un-freeze them in a vise in a more controlled way.
         
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        • vance.dykes

          vance.dykes Well-Known Member

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          the allen stud WILL NOT COME OUT it is connect to the pitman shaft. loosen the nut from the stud.
           
        • Moparfeind

          Moparfeind FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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          The nut aint the issue as its loose. Is having the wheels down and pitman are connected a reason why the hex stud is not budging?
           
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          • Moparfeind

            Moparfeind FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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            Well I was able to get the hex screw to move its tight because of what Vance mentioned. There is a plastic nylon washer that I can now see after further cleaning. I had lost my initial setting so I eased into the tightening process. Not sure my current screw position is tight enough (I don’t want to damage the gears by overnighting). I will try a bit more tightening later and do another test drive.

            I know my front end is in really need of a rebuild but what I am trying to ascertain is if the box is ok or if that needs to be replaced at the same time I do the front end work. Maybe I have this procedure ass backwards (meaning do the front end first then see if the box is ok)?

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          • Moparfeind

            Moparfeind FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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            I did about 4 quarter turn adjustments and its a lot better. I will leave it like this until I get the front end rebuilt. Then I can see what fine tuning is needed.

            Question: Are there any symptoms from an over tightened sector backlash adjustment?
             
          • Kern Dog

            Kern Dog FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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            I have to tell you, I am really digging your enthusiasm. You have been a busy bee with all the work and all your posts here. Kudos to you! Guys like you help motivate others to get out there and get working on their stuff!
            I do have some bad news though, sorry to admit. The steering wheel slop/free play may not ever go away. I have a rebuilt Stage 3 steering box AND the Fast Ratio Pitman and Idler arms....I still have a noticeable sloppy range between 11:00 to 1:00. I have adjusted the box as you are trying to do and it cannot be eliminated.
            Here is the thing: The firmer you make the steering, the more obvious the slop feels because of the contrast. The Fast Ratio arms increases the effort needed to turn the wheel so it makes the slop even more evident. This is not the fault of the rebuilder, the fault lies in the 1957 era design. Back then, an overboosted steering feel was very desireable. It allowed weaklings and women to drive big heavy cars with ease! The only fix that I see is either a manual steering box OR a Borgeson power steering conversion.
            Good luck...Keep on plugging away!
             
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            • Kern Dog

              Kern Dog FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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              Yes. The steering will feel as if it is in a bind and will not turn. Sometimes it will feel "notchy" where it feels tight/loose/tight/loose and so on as you turn the wheel.
               
            • miller

              miller Well-Known Member

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              Dammit...your gonna force me to open the book, ain't ya!:poke:

              Been years since I jacked with mine. Like I mentioned, I pulled the round cap on mine, to replace the seal under it. So, had it all pretty exposed.
              Might remember wrong, but in the service manual, on adjusting the backlash, think it says after bottoming out...a certain amount of torque added!

              Yeah, I'll crack the dang book, again. btw...I can turn my steering wheel...with one finger!:steering:
               
            • miller

              miller Well-Known Member

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              That is a PS gear box, right?
              The cap, where the adjuster screw is, looks different.

              Anyway, backlash adjustment, for PS, turn until it bottoms. Then turn 3/8 to 1/2 turn MORE. That's after turning the steering wheel, both ways, and back to center. Lock nut gets torqued 55 ft lbs.
               
            • Moparfeind

              Moparfeind FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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              Thanks Miller I have the FSM as well and read it so not being lazy. Sometimes the manual has a different approach or my situation is different. The combination really helps!
               
            • miller

              miller Well-Known Member

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              Lazy? Hope you don't think I was implying that...wasn't. More being curious, for myself. (Had to check, to be sure I set mine right, by looking at the book!)
              Your FSM would have the correct adjustment, for that type gear box. Just wondering if it's the same adjustment, as on my box.

              Torque on that lock nut is 50, not 55.
               
            • AR67GTX

              AR67GTX Well-Known Member

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              A worm and sector steering box does not maintain uniform lash throughout it's movement from left to right. It is always tightest when the box is carefully set at the centered position when the wheels are set straight ahead. If the column, wheel and box are adjusted to an off-center position when driving down a straight road, the lash will be greater than if the box were centered during the alignment. So the tie rods and alignment should be adjusted as necessary with the wheels pointed straight ahead to put the box at it's centered location. Sometimes the shaft has a mark on it showing it's centered position and if not then basically at ride height the wheels need to be turned lock to lock, counting the turns, and then backed off halfway to center the box (not as accurate). Then adjust the lash and if you get it too tight you will feel a hitch or tight spot as you turn the box through the center position. This is probably more noticeable with manual steering. When all this is done, it should be reasonable tight and slop free at center (for the era design) but if at a rest you turn the wheel a quarter turn in either direction, you will note there is more free play in the wheel. That's the way they were designed - that's the way they work and why it's important to have the box centered. Of course the gears or recirculating balls or races could be excessively worn causing slop and inability to get a fairly lash-free adjustment. Power steering probably masks the effect of off-center lash more so than manual steering.
               
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              • Wietse

                Wietse Well-Known Member

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                As AR67GTX said: The steering box has max. lash in centered position.
                If you take this all away it might become to tight when steering and wear/damage the rest of it.
                I also got myself a refubished box (stage 2) which is firmer steering but the slop is still there in center position.
                Nothing you can do about unless going for a steering rack and pinion setup...which is high dollar stuff.
                I installed an aftermarket steering wheel with a much smaller diameter which takes away a lot free movement compared to the OEM big steering wheel.
                 
              • Moparfeind

                Moparfeind FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                Thanks Miller, no offense taken. Just wanted to let folks know that I do my research and don’t just throw us questions as I am posting rather often. I am working on so many things all at once. I appreciate all the help perspective and knowledge that the FSM lacks.
                 
              • Moparfeind

                Moparfeind FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                Great insight! Thank you!
                 
              • Moparfeind

                Moparfeind FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                When is it too tight? That is now my only concern as much of my slop is gone! The wheel turns (when engine is running) as soon as I start moving the steering wheel! It feels great now. Long story short my pitman arm was loose! The shop never tightened it down! Glad I was under the car looking for sources of slop in all the linkages!!! There is no binding now just a nice feel on the wheel. The wheel returns to center which I would think means I am not over tightening right?
                 
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