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Username Post: Sloppy Steering.....        (Topic#243974)
K C 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 38

Age: 54
Loc: Thomson, IL
Reg: 02-28-10
06-17-10 04:21 AM - Post#1931618    

I have around 1500 miles on the 96 Sierra (2WD) since replacing EVEYTHING.... and most seems well. I still have a timing issue, but I am guessing that one may never be resolved. however, the steering on this thing is really sloppy. Are the steering in these trucks generally sloppy? I usually would not have a concern except I replaced all tie rod ends, pitman arm, idler arm, all ball joints, installed a reman gear box, new spindles, new springs, new shocks, new wheel bearings, new poly sway links, new tires, front end alignment, and upper & lower A-arm bushing now have new poly and I still have about 4 inches of play in the steering wheel. This is sloppy enough that I really dont enjoy driving the truck. My 46 GMC has less play in the steering than the 96. Go figure... Just curious what others have/are experiencing.
Thanks!
KC


Just a squirrell trying to get a nut
K C


Edited by K C on 06-17-10 04:25 AM. Reason for edit: sometimes, all the nuerons don't fire when they should...

 
ratnfested 
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2957
ratnfested
Loc: Rochester, NY. USA
Reg: 03-13-00
06-17-10 05:00 AM - Post#1931632    
    In response to K C

Can you turn the steering shaft from under the hood and see where the slop is?

Philip Ferrera
1977 Chevelle
1977 Malibu Classic
1986 Grand Prix
1995 Tahoe
2003 Impala LS
2004 Ski Doo REV
Street Machines of Rochester NY


 
jp233 
Senior Member
Posts: 1023
jp233
Loc: ATL, GA
Reg: 03-15-04
06-17-10 11:42 AM - Post#1931762    
    In response to ratnfested

maybe the steering position sensor is dead, or sending weird signals to the pump and giving you strange p/s pressures that cause the slop

'99 Ford F-250 SuperDuty 7.3L diesel
sold '97 Chevy Tahoe Z71
several Subarus
several bikes
not enough time


 
355Cheyenne 
Senior Member
Posts: 3781
355Cheyenne
Loc: Northern MN
Reg: 10-27-04
06-17-10 01:54 PM - Post#1931804    
    In response to jp233

  • jp233 Said:
maybe the steering position sensor is dead, or sending weird signals to the pump and giving you strange p/s pressures that cause the slop



I thought about suggesting that but I have experienced this situation a couple times and never would I have described it as slop but a "dead spot" and a spot that the steering gets stuck. Personally very scary because it is like the P/S pump shuts off completely during a turn and then goes on full force right after causing an over steer.

Here is the thing, 4 inches of slop is a LOT and would be very evident in a worn out component. Like if the pitman or idler was shot, just getting under there and wiggling would show that they are the cause, because the amount of wear required to get that much slop would make itself very obvious.

The only other thing I have experienced that could cause this is a loose steering box. On the top there is a lock nut you can loosen and then you can turn adjuster. My 88 had about 4~5 inches slop and all I did was tighten the steering box. At first I made it too tight and had a really stiff wheel, I loosened it a little and a decade later never had a problem. Worth a shot.





98 Silverado k1500 4x4 350


 
K/20BLAZER 
Senior Member
Posts: 212

Loc: naples fl
Reg: 01-26-04
06-17-10 06:28 PM - Post#1931951    
    In response to 355Cheyenne

I just replaced my gearbox and got an alignment. The gearbox I got was bad and had to be returned.

I took my other truck in because it was wandering all over the road. I had it aligned about a year ago, but I thought it need more parts. Turns out the first shop did'nt do it right. I did'nt need any parts. Now it drives great. All I needed was a GOOD alignment shop.

89 Chevy 1500 short bed 305 5 speed. Black


 
K C 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 38

Age: 54
Loc: Thomson, IL
Reg: 02-28-10
06-18-10 05:42 AM - Post#1932121    
    In response to K/20BLAZER

I checked it out this morning and the only inconsistancy I can find is the gear box. There is about 1/16th of an inch of side-to-side movement of the output (pitman) shaft, otherwise all the play is in the box. This is a reman box, maybe it isnt so good.
I looked for any kind of a sensor and dont see anything anywhere in the steering system or on the pump. I am not sure I have anything like this.
I'm not sure of the alignment, I suppose this could be not so good. The alignment was done right after I installed everything in the front end about 1500 miles ago. There is no "pull" toward either side of the truck when driving, nice and straight. There is no "dead spots" or hard or jerky turning. All "seems" to be working well. Just LOTS of play in the steering.

Thanks for all the replies!
KC


Just a squirrell trying to get a nut
K C


 
355Cheyenne 
Senior Member
Posts: 3781
355Cheyenne
Loc: Northern MN
Reg: 10-27-04
06-18-10 07:01 AM - Post#1932161    
    In response to K C

"I looked for any kind of a sensor and dont see anything anywhere in the steering system or on the pump. I am not sure I have anything like this."

you do, it is under the dash on the steering column a few inches from the firewall.

but it does sounds like a bad steering box. have you tried tightening it like I suggested?

98 Silverado k1500 4x4 350


 
drifterdude 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1285

Reg: 09-04-08
06-18-10 10:57 AM - Post#1932243    
    In response to 355Cheyenne

tighten the box as sujested above. I can agree to its fixing slop when everything else is new.

92 K1500:350 bored 30 over,built 700r4,Comp extreme energy cam,double roller timing set,shaved heads,Rancho RS9000XL series shocks with wireless my ride system,35 inch Mickey Thompson Baja Claws,Relocated 4x4 switch to rocker on Dash.
Other mods..


 
K C 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 38

Age: 54
Loc: Thomson, IL
Reg: 02-28-10
06-18-10 02:15 PM - Post#1932342    
    In response to drifterdude

I have not adjusted the box yet. I will do this tomorrow morning and let yas know what kind of difference it makes.

Thanks!
KC

Just a squirrell trying to get a nut
K C


 
someotherguy 
Senior Moderator
Posts: 28922
someotherguy
Age: 49
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-01-03
06-19-10 09:06 AM - Post#1932755    
    In response to K C

The "adjustment" on the box really isn't intended to be an end-user adjustment after the box has been in service. Generally once the box is worn, attempts to adjust it enough to make a significant difference often results in notchy steering and accelerated wear of the gearbox. My personal opinion based on experience; others may disagree.

Check all other possible points of wear. The steering position sensor (EVO) sensor mentioned earlier won't come into play on your '96 as that feature didn't exist until '97 year models. The reman box could be the culprit so you'll need to single out the issue - have someone sit in the truck and crank the wheel left to right with the engine off, while you watch under the hood to see the relation of when the shaft turns the box vs. when the pitman arm starts moving.

Richard

06 Silverado ISS / 06 Silverado SS / 06 300C SRT8


 
355Cheyenne 
Senior Member
Posts: 3781
355Cheyenne
Loc: Northern MN
Reg: 10-27-04
06-19-10 09:28 AM - Post#1932764    
    In response to someotherguy

  • someotherguy Said:
The "adjustment" on the box really isn't intended to be an end-user adjustment after the box has been in service. Generally once the box is worn, attempts to adjust it enough to make a significant difference often results in notchy steering and accelerated wear of the gearbox. My personal opinion based on experience; others may disagree.

Check all other possible points of wear. The steering position sensor (EVO) sensor mentioned earlier won't come into play on your '96 as that feature didn't exist until '97 year models. The reman box could be the culprit so you'll need to single out the issue - have someone sit in the truck and crank the wheel left to right with the engine off, while you watch under the hood to see the relation of when the shaft turns the box vs. when the pitman arm starts moving.

Richard



Richard, I think he did that and determined the play was in the box. Since it is a reman or newer box it should be acceptable practice to tighten it if the factory didn't do this job correctly.

From my perception, tightening the box doesn't cause additional wear but believe that whatever caused the wear and gap in the first place will likely continue after adjusting until it gets so bad it is no longer usable. That being said, if it was a new box and adjusting solves his slack, he should be good for life. Although it is also his option and choice to get a warranty replacement of course.

98 Silverado k1500 4x4 350


 
someotherguy 
Senior Moderator
Posts: 28922
someotherguy
Age: 49
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-01-03
06-19-10 10:00 AM - Post#1932779    
    In response to 355Cheyenne

I agree it sounds like he got a bunk reman box which isn't a big surprise. However I stand by my opinion on adjusting steering boxes in general. It may seem to help in the short run but it gets bad quickly afterwards. I attribute it to being that once ball bearings are worn, they continue to wear rapidly and tightening up the clearances just makes it worse. I'm no engineer so my gut feeling on this could be way off; just trying to explain to myself why adjusting seems to end up going wrong.

Richard

06 Silverado ISS / 06 Silverado SS / 06 300C SRT8


 
355Cheyenne 
Senior Member
Posts: 3781
355Cheyenne
Loc: Northern MN
Reg: 10-27-04
06-19-10 11:03 AM - Post#1932796    
    In response to someotherguy

  • someotherguy Said:
I attribute it to being that once ball bearings are worn, they continue to wear rapidly and tightening up the clearances just makes it worse.



I would agree.

98 Silverado k1500 4x4 350


 
K C 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 38

Age: 54
Loc: Thomson, IL
Reg: 02-28-10
06-19-10 11:07 AM - Post#1932798    
    In response to someotherguy

Thanks for the replies.
I got my son out to help today and we found something different. The pitman arm has ALOT of movement in the joint. I did not see this when I had my wife help. I dunno... but since she was helping and she wont read this, she's taking the blame.
This is interesting as the pitman is new as well. 1500 miles on it, but the steering was loose when I installed it as well. I did not verify the new pitman arm was good at the time if installation, I guess that'll learn me.
I guess maybe some things are not as good as we expect at times.
No matter. I'll be taking it back in a few minutes to get a replacement then we will see if things get a little better.
Again, Thanks for the suggestions. This is all good information.

Just a squirrell trying to get a nut
K C


 
stumppuller 
"8th Year" Gold Supporting Member
Posts: 855
stumppuller
Loc: Canada
Reg: 11-01-04
06-21-10 05:33 PM - Post#1933829    
    In response to K C

RAG JOINT!

Sorry, but those damn things have caused many people to replace thier whole steering system with no success. A failing rag joint will make the steering box appear to be faulty, and cause about 45 degrees of play in the steering wheel.

Look at the attachment point where the steering shaft bolts to the box (there is a cover over it normally). With the engine off and wheels on the pavement, have someone crank the wheel back and forth hard, you will probably see that joint flex until it hits the metal stops.

If it is bad, you need to replace it with real universal type joints. Borgeson makes a shaft, I've used it but don't care for how it fits the box. I have made one from junyard parts, a chevy van for the upper joint, and 2 chrysler's (either jeep or dakota, I think) for the lower. $70 and steering is great.

-91 Sierra C2500, now K2500
-81 Chev K20


 
K C 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 38

Age: 54
Loc: Thomson, IL
Reg: 02-28-10
06-21-10 05:40 PM - Post#1933835    
    In response to stumppuller

After replacing the NEW pitman arm with another new one, the steering is much better but still a little play (about 2 inches or so).
I am in Missouri at the moment and drove the truck, I will check the rag joint in the morning when it isnt so daRn hot..! Thats a good idea.

Thanks!
KC


Just a squirrell trying to get a nut
K C


 
Bill K.b 
Senior Member
Posts: 4437

Loc: upstate NY
Reg: 10-24-05
06-21-10 05:54 PM - Post#1933847    
    In response to K C

71-95 Chevy vans have two joints in the shaft with regular GM splines on both ends, and no rag joint at all, because the column is already making about a 90' total bend.

At some point they change, late ones have a bolt and a sort of pressed-fit connection, they need to be spread with a screwdriver or other tool to release them from the splines. It's tough to get the bottom one off in the van without taking a bunch of other stuff off to get a good angle; I'm sure GM must have some special tool for it.

Those who can, do. Those who can't, criticize it on the internet.

Driving 2002 Express 2500
2002 Express 2500 extended
1988 G20 conversion
1993 GMC 3500 dually

Plus cars for swap and sale
& yes, I once tried a frame swap on a 51 Chevy.


 
stumppuller 
"8th Year" Gold Supporting Member
Posts: 855
stumppuller
Loc: Canada
Reg: 11-01-04
06-21-10 08:47 PM - Post#1933948    
    In response to Bill K.b

Your not kidding about it being a bi**h to get it off on the GM vans! The upper joint and shaft is all that is needed, and is combined with the chrysler lower joint and shaft. The GM van shaft by itself is about half the length you need for these trucks.

A chisel driven into the joints worked well enough to get them to release, once you could get at it.

-91 Sierra C2500, now K2500
-81 Chev K20


 
K C 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 38

Age: 54
Loc: Thomson, IL
Reg: 02-28-10
06-27-10 01:08 PM - Post#1936883    
    In response to stumppuller

Interestingly... installing the new replacement pitman arm did remove most of slop from the steering. So I drove the truck to Missouri and back. I did notice on the way back the steering "seemed" a little sloppy again, but just thought maybe I was tired from driving and never thought anymore of it. Today, I decide to check it and Wow!! the new one is wore out too. A week old ...ugh!
I guess maybe I should shop at a different parts store??

Just a squirrell trying to get a nut
K C


 
355Cheyenne 
Senior Member
Posts: 3781
355Cheyenne
Loc: Northern MN
Reg: 10-27-04
06-27-10 02:03 PM - Post#1936903    
    In response to K C

did you remember to grease it?

98 Silverado k1500 4x4 350


 
K C 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 38

Age: 54
Loc: Thomson, IL
Reg: 02-28-10
06-27-10 05:49 PM - Post#1937035    
    In response to 355Cheyenne

Yes.
I even bought a new tube of grease today.
I guess give me a week or so and we'll see if it is time for another...

KC.

Just a squirrell trying to get a nut
K C


 
stumppuller 
"8th Year" Gold Supporting Member
Posts: 855
stumppuller
Loc: Canada
Reg: 11-01-04
06-28-10 10:21 PM - Post#1937795    
    In response to K C

I have found OEM parts do seem to outlast TRW and MOOG. Those "white box" cheap replacements are pure chinese crap.

I order my ACDelco stuff from these guys, www.Rockauto.com, much better prices than dealer.

If you use them, google for "discount code", there is always one you can find that will give you 5% off.

-91 Sierra C2500, now K2500
-81 Chev K20


 
K C 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 38

Age: 54
Loc: Thomson, IL
Reg: 02-28-10
07-03-10 04:05 AM - Post#1939769    
    In response to stumppuller

Thanks Stuppuller, I ordered one from rockauto. Its already here, I'll put it on this weekened sometime. The one I put on last weekend is already getting play in it...

Just a squirrell trying to get a nut
K C


 
majminor 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 1

Reg: 01-01-11
01-01-11 11:21 AM - Post#2025356    
    In response to 355Cheyenne

the adjuster on top of the pitman arm shaft is the most common adjustment and can help. But there is another slack adjustment for the front side worm gear bearing. the factory manual shows the plug adjustment by loosening the adjuster plug nut, then tightening the internal plug with an adjustable spanner wrench until it bottoms out. Make a mark on the face of the nut and casting to use as an indicator. back the plug off 1/2". this is measured radially, (think distance between 12oclock and 11oclock) this is what fixed mine. i replaced my steering box and it was still loose until this adjustment.



 
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