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Username Post: Complete rebuild of steering box/column
DZAUTO 
Senior Member
Posts: 8487

Loc: Mustang, OK, USA
Reg: 12-25-99
09-07-09 04:47 PM - Post#1767853    
    In response to DZAUTO

Then screw the adjuster into the side cover-----screw it in almost all the way, and partly screw on the lock nut.

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New side cover gasket.
I like to put a light coat of gasket sealer on both sides of the gasket, slip it over the sector and position it on the side cover.

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Heavily grease the sector roller. Then slip the assembled sector shaft/side cover into the side of the steering box, with the roller pointing up.
REMEMBER, earlier I said to screw the adjuster almost all the way into the side cover. The purpose of this is so that when the sector is slipped into the steering box, the roller won’t be jammed against the worm gear.

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Once the sector is all the way into the steering box, install and tighten the 4 bolts/washers.

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Now screw in the adjuster until you can feel the roller just barely touch the worm, and back off a little.

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The vice grips are still clamped onto the upper end of the steering shaft.
Start turning the steering shaft back and forth from lock to lock. A full turning cycle should be ABOUT 4 ¼ turns.
From either lock, turn the shaft back to what should be the center point (about 2 1/8 turns). Screw in the sector adjuster in until you can just barely feel the roller contacting the worm again.

This is where the second adjustment is done-------------------AG AIN, by “feel”.
When the sector and steering worm gear are in the center position (straight ahead when driving), and as you rotate the vice grips back and forth past center, and as the sector roller is EVER SO SLIGHTLY adjusted into the worm, you will begin to feel a resistance as the worm/roller go through the center high point.
Now for the fine adjustment.
Back off of the sector adjuster--------------aga in, as the steering shaft is being rotated back and forth through center.
As the sector roller is screwed into the worm, and then backed away, and as the steering shaft is rotated back and forth, you will alternately feel an increasing and decreasing resistance that occurs between the roller and worm. This resistance can be measured with a pulling scale as described in the service manual. I do the adjustment by “feeling” the resistance as the worm/roller pass through center. As the steering shaft is turned (by gently turning it with the vice grips) in one direction TOWARD center, take notice where the resistance is felt, and continue turning through center until the resistance just goes away. Turn the shaft back the other direction and take notice where the resistance just begins. Keep turning the sector adjusting screw until the resistance through center has just barely gone away (this is why I prefer to clamp a SMALL vice grip on the splines of the shaft, it provides a “precise feel”). Now, turn the sector adjusting screw back in a tiny amount. You will now again be able to just BARELY feel a resistance. STOP. Turn the shaft back about a full turn and then turn it back until you feel it passing through the resistance of high center and continue turning past center for about a full turn. Repeat this about 3-4 times so that you get a GOOD feel of exactly where center is. Once you get a good feel for where high center is, turn the sector adjusting screw so that when you turn the steering shaft, you will feel a SLIGHT resistance between 1 and 2inches of turning of the shaft. If you have a scale to use as instructed in the service manual, then that is fine. But most people don’t have one, nor do they have access to one. So, this is the way I was taught by a factory trained Chevy mechanic to adjust the steering box. And if you do it this way, then use a scale to check your adjustment, you’ll probably discover that you are VERY close to the values called for in the service manual.
Once the final adjustment is completed, tighten the lock nut on the adjusting screw-----------------and re-check the turning resistance to assure it did change when the adjusting lock nut was tightened.

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When all is said and done, there SHOUILD be a line scribed on the very end of the steering shaft which SHOULD be pointing straight up. This scribed line is for indexing the steering wheel for straight ahead driving.
Well, sometimes, the scribed mark is not in the correct indexed position, or, in the case of this column, some previous person had cut off or ground off the very end of the threaded part of the steering shaft. So, I first marked it with a permanent black marker then made 3 punch marks to indicate straight up center.

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After everything was completed finished, I slipped the pitman arm onto the splines of the pitman shaft, loosely installed the lock washer and nut and turned the pitman arm back and forth from lock to lock to verify that the center mark on the end of the steering shaft was at straight up center when the pitman arm was at the center of its travel. It was.

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Now it’s finished and ready for the customer to pick up.

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Pump the box full of chassis grease, NOT 80-90wt gear oil.
Back in the late 50s, there was a GM Service Bulletin which directed the change to chassis grease in these early steering boxes.

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