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Old 08-26-2001, 08:45 PM   #1
theandies
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Default Steering Box Lube

Anyone know what type of lube goes in the steering box of a 1975 Vette? The owners manual says it is special GM lube. Don't want to use the wrong stuff because it also says don't use chassie grease.
Thanks
John


[Modified by theandies, 6:46 PM 8/26/2001]
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Old 08-26-2001, 10:25 PM   #2
jerryp58
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Default Re: Steering Box Lube (theandies)

Well, I'm afraid I'm working strictly from my '77 Specification Booklet (FREE from Chevrolet at 800-222-1020), not from any personal experience, but FWIW for the '77 model year:

1. The Manual Steering Gear uses GM Part # 1052084 (hopefully it's available at your local GM dealer).

2. It says in the booklet, "The steering gear is factory-filled with steering gear lubricant. Seasonal change of this lubricant should not be performed and the housing should not be drained -- no lubrication is required for the life of the steering gear".

Two is kind of an interesting statement. I wonder if the engineers expected these cars to be on the road for 30+ years. Is there even a way to drain the "grease"?

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-26-2001, 10:33 PM   #3
Joe Lucia
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Default Re: Steering Box Lube (theandies)

The GM #1052084 steering gear lube is the correct lube used for all 53-82 Corvette steering gear boxes. However, it is GM-discontinued. It is replaced by GM #12377985 which is currently available at your GM dealer.
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Old 08-26-2001, 10:40 PM   #4
Jim Shea
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Default Re: Steering Box Lube (theandies)

You can get the GM grease through most GM dealers. A good lithium based ball joint grease can also be used. Other forum members have recommended synthetic grease.

The important thing is not to overfill the gear with grease. The grease needs some space inside the gear to expand when everything heats up underhood.

There are three bolts that hold the side cover on the gear. (The lash adjuster screw is in the center.) You can add grease by taking out the side cover bolt that is right in the center of the gear (not the two bolts near the engine.) Add grease through that bolt hole.

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Old 08-26-2001, 11:53 PM   #5
theandies
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Default Re: Steering Box Lube (theandies)

Thanks guys...as always the forum comes through :D
John
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Old 08-27-2001, 03:57 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steering Box Lube (theandies)

theandies;

FWIW, when I rebuilt my steering box, I packed it with the lithium-base grease rather than OEM-type liquid stuff. I have read, but I can't remember exactly where, that the lower seal on the steering box often leaks some, even when it's in perfect condition. I know mine was leaking when I took the box apart. My box is smooth and tight and never leaks a drop. Considering how little the movingparts in the box actually move, I can't see that the lithium grease could ever be a problem. I think the factory caution about using chassis grease was to discourage the use of long-strand grease that could be problematic in cold weather. I've driven my car in every season of the year and the steering is always smooth and easy.
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Old 08-28-2001, 03:19 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steering Box Lube (noxqsz)

"noxqsz"-----


The OEM "liquid stuff" is not the correct steering box lube for a Corvette. What you are likely referring to is GM #1052182 which is supplied in a 10 oz "squeeze tube". This lubricant is the correct one for most GM manual steering boxes, EXCEPT Corvette, and it is of a much lower viscosity than the Corvette lube. The correct Corvette lube, originally GM #1052084 and currently GM #12377985, has the viscosity of chassis lube. In fact, the 12377985 is a multi-purpose chassis lube which, in addition to be the GM-approved product for Corvette steering boxes, can also be used for most other chassis lubrication applications.
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Old 08-28-2001, 10:13 AM   #8
theandies
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Default Re: Steering Box Lube (Joe Lucia)

Went to the Chevy :chevy dealer yesterday and picked up PN 12377985. It is a white grease with lithyium in it. It comes in a tube that you put in a grease gun. The package does say it is an all purpose chassie grease but it is white instead of the bluish stuff you get at a parts store. Thanks for all the replys.
John
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Old 08-30-2001, 10:36 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steering Box Lube (theandies)

How can you check to see if you need to replace the grease? Do you need to remove all three bolts or is there some way to check with the steering box still in the car?

Thanks!
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Old 08-31-2001, 02:25 AM   #10
LT1driver
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Default Re: Steering Box Lube (noxqsz)

Look at the old service manuals and they say grease like used in ball joints, around 69-70 special lube recommended. :confused:
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Old 08-31-2001, 08:03 AM   #11
GaryS
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Default Re: Steering Box Lube (Corellian Corvette)

To check the lube in the steering box, you remove the upper right bolt as a sight point, and then remove the upper left bolt as a fill point. My 66 steering box had this marked on the top cap. I can't remember if my 72 has this. Regradless, you fill the box up through the left hole until it approaches the mouth of the upper right hole. I also run my steering full left and right while doing this.

Gary
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Old 08-31-2001, 09:29 AM   #12
Jim Shea
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Default Re: Steering Box Lube (theandies)

The shop manual says that with a completely empty gear, only fill it 3/4 full (about 10-11 oz if I remember correctly.) The problem is that with a 20+ year old gear, how much left inside, and how much do you need to add?

You really don't want to fill the gear completely for the following reasons:
When everything heats up underhood the grease inside the gear needs some space to expand. Also, there is a ball nut inside the gear that traverses back and forth as you steer right and left. Too much grease can cause the nut to actually have to push that grease back and forth causing increased gear friction.

I think that removing the second bolt is probably a good idea. As soon as you detect grease near the second hole, stop filling! Traversing the gear from lock to lock would probably insure that the ball nut is free to travel since excess grease should follow the path of least resistance which would be out the two bolt holes.

One thing I would be concerned about. With two bolts out of the side cover, I would think that you should traverse the gear with the front wheels off the ground. A heavy load on the gear could cause the side cover to shift slightly and the pitman shaft mesh could go out of adjustment with only one bolt holding it in place. Would two bolts be enough? I really don't know. Since you don't need to add or check the grease level very often, it shouldn't be that much of a burden to raise the front end.
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Old 08-31-2001, 10:05 AM   #13
flynhi
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Default Re: Steering Box Lube (theandies)

Search the archives for the Vette Improvement Program article by John Greenwood on steering boxes. He covers adjustment, lube, etc.
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Old 08-31-2001, 01:46 PM   #14
Corellian Corvette
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Default Re: Steering Box Lube (flynhi)

Thanks guys! I purchased a corvette restoration book and it also had a tip for filling that tube -- it said to fill from the upper right bolt and check from the bottom bolt (the one closest to the frame). I guess this is the make sure you don't overfill. I'm going to give that a try and see how it goes.

I'm really concerned because I pulled the upper right bolt last night and stuck a thin screwdriver down in the steering box and it came up dry. I don't think there is ANY fluid in there! :(
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Old 09-03-2001, 11:26 PM   #15
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Default Re: Steering Box Lube (Corellian Corvette)

Man I love the Fourm. Everyone is a great source of information. Thanks for all the replys on this one.
Corellian Corvette (great name by the way wish I thought of it................The Force is with You) I too have an empty steering box. It steers just fine though. My buddys 75 was also very dry. His steering was very loose and the grease along with the lash adjustment made a big differance.
John
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Old 09-04-2001, 03:32 AM   #16
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Default Re: Steering Box Lube (theandies)

John -- you're one of only a handful of people who got the reference! My personal fave is someone on the forum named Darth Vetter. You have to be a pretty serious fan to get the connection with my name. :cool:

FYI - I lubed up the box this weekend (I should probably make a joke at my girlfriends expense here) -- it was bone dry and took quite a bit to fill. Anyway it didn't make a lick of difference. Steering didn't seem any smoother, and I'm still having a wierd problem (steering is fine but REALLY loose just slightly off-center. The Lash adjustment only tightens the steering AFTER the looseness off-center).

Regardless, I feel better now that it's done. Hope you have better luck with yours!
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Old 09-04-2001, 12:27 PM   #17
theandies
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Default Re: Steering Box Lube (Corellian Corvette)

There is a really involed way to adjust your steering in the Haynes manual. It involves removing the pitman are and pre-load the bearning before lash adjustment. My steering was loose but all I did was the lash adjustment. I may do the pitman arm thing when I rebuild my front suspension someday.. Your problem is weird. You might need an new box (again a joke could be made but I don't know your girlfriend and a bet she is very nice :lol: ). If you do the pitman arm adjustment please let me know the ease of maintenance and how it turned out.
John

P.S. When Star Wars first came out I saw it 32 times in the theater...what a geek.
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Old 09-04-2001, 07:30 PM   #18
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Default Re: Steering Box Lube (theandies)

It is normal to have a slight amount of lash or looseness when your gear is turned off center. Do not use the side cover screw to adjust the gear when it is turned off center to eliminate the looseness. You will damage the gear when you return to center.

First of all you should make sure the your gear does not have axial lash.
In order to make the other bearing adjustment (the one that eliminates input shaft axial lash) you do turn the gear nearly to full lock. First, with the gear in that position have someone rock the steering wheel back and forth. If you notice that the input shaft on the gear is moving in and out this would mean that the thrust bearing needs to be adjusted to eliminate the axial motion. With the gear in that position, you loosen the big stamped nut that sorrounds the input shaft. Then you need to carefully tighten the (I think it is 1 3/4 inch hex) nut underneath it to eliminate the lash.

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Old 09-04-2001, 08:04 PM   #19
Jim Shea
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Default Re: Steering Box Lube (Jim Shea)

One more point of clarification. When I talk about axial motion of the input shaft. When you have this axial motion it actually translates to lost rotational motion in the steering system.

JIML82@aol.com
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Old 09-04-2001, 11:34 PM   #20
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Default Re: Steering Box Lube (Jim Shea)

Thanks for the info Jim. You sure know how to steer a guy right :lol: :lol:
John
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Old 09-04-2001, 11:34 PM
 
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