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Good Example of Bad Steering Box Gears (pics)

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Old 07-03-2008, 11:14 AM   #1
r3rep
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Default Good Example of Bad Steering Box Gears (pics)

For those who haven't seen the inside of their steering box, this is what you don't want to find. There wasn't any grease left to speak of, just a slight rust colored coating on the gears. Made my decision about the jeep box conversion easier!









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Old 07-03-2008, 11:56 AM   #2
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Ouch. Did that make any noise that you could hear?
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:00 PM   #3
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Did you have lots of play in the steering wheel?
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:27 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Durango_boy View Post
Ouch. Did that make any noise that you could hear?
I never took the chance to drive it as I found bubba-butchered dash harness after it was delivered. It definitely did not bind. Just too much play at the steering wheel.


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Did you have lots of play in the steering wheel?
There was ALOT of play in the steering. Probably 30 degrees on the rag joint while holding the pitman arm. Car came right off the truck and into the garage. Can't see how anyone drove it like that
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:39 PM   #5
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Probably never touched since the car was built.
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:43 PM   #6
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Bad pittting, I've seen that in a lot of boxes that have been sitting for a long time. Those gears would have had to be replaced.
Good luck with the Jeep box setup.
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Old 07-04-2008, 11:31 AM   #7
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Yeah, I would say that was a good candidate for replacement. I bet there are a lot of our vettes like this and we just do not know it. Lack of maintenance in this gear box is probably the norm for C3's.
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Old 07-04-2008, 12:14 PM   #8
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In inches, what is acceptable play at the steering wheel in the absence of front wheel movement?
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Old 07-04-2008, 12:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Durango_boy View Post
Ouch. Did that make any noise that you could hear?
Are you serious?
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Old 07-04-2008, 03:12 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by FB007 View Post
Are you serious?

Sure, why is that so hard to believe? I had a dodge box that was so bone dry you could hear everything grinding inside, and it vibrated the steering shaft.

(How did I know the ONE person you would quote in this thread would be me before I even read it, and it would have nothing to do with the OP's topic?)
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Old 07-04-2008, 03:31 PM   #11
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Yeah I agree Paul, I have some play in my wheel as well, Just dont know where to start to look. Steering wheel moves a good 4 or 5 inches before the wheels turn. Play looks to me to be in the box and not the ball joints or pitman arm. Kinda drives like a 40's farm tractor my dad had. Loosy-Goosey....at speed on the highway I gotta hold it against itself if ya know what I mean.
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Old 07-04-2008, 03:53 PM   #12
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i think they are supposed to have some play but as asked what is normal?
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Old 07-04-2008, 05:34 PM   #13
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Default Tracdogg's doing one for me - mine has 20-30 deg play

I have gone all out on this silly thing too. I ditched the rag joint in favor of a Flaming River SS Ujoint - that helped. Having gotten tired of the leaks and (even) worse play I had earlier ditched the whole PS setup and changed to a manual link, which helped more. Following that I found a new manual steering damper - which helped the most.

I almost forgot I ditched the whole '75 column in favor of a '77+ style shorter column after the !#*[email protected]# "safety first" collapsing collar area/serration thingies broke so badly the column nearly self destructed taking a bunch of hairpin turns in the beautiful middle of nowhere northbound on Colorado State 92 or 94. I still debate that was the right move instead of a Billet Specialties, Flaming River or Ididit replacement column, but most swore they have bad alignment issues (and run a cool half G in cost.)

BTW, I discovered the nature of the malfunction 200 miles AFTER returning from that 2500 mile trip to a Colorado MG Shoot - with $25K+ in xferrable MG's, ordinary 01 guns and cases of ammo in the seemingly cavernous rear compartment. I thought it was just loosening tilt screws (those ones that go in backwards from the inside out for some stupid "factory genius design" reason or another.) When I was looking at them after the trip the whole puppy fell almost in half in my lap.

A really great guy named George had that replacement column, parts of another and the whole manual steering link and some body parts in Austin, off of Craig's List.

Another steering BTW - just recently, on this replacement column, which, thanks to the super informative paper from Jim Shea I believe, was a snap to install, I thought I again had a loosening tilt screw situation, despite having Locktited the little puppies at install. *This* time they were tight (and the column thankfully wasn't self-collapsing *for my safety*) - instead it was these two (I hope just two - I couldn't see the third one I expected) silly little Torx 30 or 35 headed bolts that screw in towards the front of the vehicle near the internal column U-Joint - of course behind all the tilt mech, turning signal mess and that annoying pot-metal block/plate thing you have to pull with a gear puller and put back on with one hand pushing as hard as you can against the heavy valve spring-like main spring.

(This being about the nine-hundredth seeming time I tore apart the steering column on one of these in the middle of the night in the driveway before having to get to work in four hours (actually the second or third) in the seven years and $137K+ this red albatross has extracted from me, I cannot recommend enough a cheapy digital camera to take pics of every step - even for immediate reassembly and as large an array of misc tools as possible somewhat organized and findable at your immediate disposal. (With 100+ degree days, working on this in the middle of a windy cool(ish) (85 with 70% humidity) quiet 1-4am driveway with no screaming neighbors kids' to annoy one is not that bad an idea anyhow - nor is a healthy application of plastic bottle whiskey to get in a proper mood for yet another foray into the steering guts of one of these Chinese puzzle box engineered mechs.)

I also earlier replaced the steering box itself with a $150ish one from one of the larger suppliers, but, as several warned, it was worn out when it went on, despite the fresh paint and solvent.

With the complete VBP front and rear adjustable fiber spring suspensions, 18x8 Centerline and Eagle wheels/tires, Burnham's Folly has seen 1.17g on a decent large radius highway bank and handles like it's on rails - provided you are "into" the steering control area and not in the middle "dead zone." I can only imagine how great this will be when I'm not wandering side to side like a drunken construction worker after a 10 hour day on an asphalt roof when driving on Dallas' stupid mainly grooved surface highways.

Don't accept ANY detectable play on a performance car. A lot of that was supposed to be a design "feature" of the day to make up for driver inattentiveness or inexperience. As most new cars off the lot today have virtually none detectable, I think it was more an "ah hell - it's too hard to get this tighter without rack and pinion - let marketting handle this as being for 'enhanced safety'." While not really wanting 12:1 steering on a car that's seen nearly 190 (and will pass 200 with this engine) and having not been a witless new teenage driver since before Reagan was in office , I don't want *ANY* perceived play at the steering wheel.

Be aggressive in all the handling demands of one of these cars - if it's to be really driven and not a trailer queen nor "parking-for-adventure 50MPH in the left lane Harley driven by a middle-aged Heck's Angel" style statement. Only barely shy of the incredible active suspensions and best AWD's, the basic design is capable of nearly current world-class handling, once all the best mods, upgrades and specs are used.

(I sure hope I didn't fail to insult any particular poor-driving group... )
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Old 07-04-2008, 07:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
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(How did I know the ONE person you would quote in this thread would be me before I even read it, and it would have nothing to do with the OP's topic?)
Are you claiming to be psychic?
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Old 07-04-2008, 08:11 PM   #15
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A properly setup box will not have play on center. Those boxes you see for $150-$200 are not going to get you there. As stated above it was paint and grease without any change in feel. Remember you get what you pay for. These boxes get a bad rap because few take the time to set them up properly and correct the slop. It take machine work and gears,which are expensive to replace. There is no way you will buy a rebuilt box with new gears for $200, it's just not going to happen.

4-5" of travel is no good. Ask someone who has a blueprinted box how they like the feel for comparision.
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Old 07-04-2008, 09:51 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR1999 View Post
Remember you get what you pay for.

4-5" of travel is no good. Ask someone who has a blueprinted box how they like the feel for comparision.
You definitely get what you pay for. Well worth the money. And Gary does outstanding work.

Mark
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Old 07-05-2008, 01:29 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR1999 View Post
4-5" of travel is no good. Ask someone who has a blueprinted box how they like the feel for comparision.
There is no comparision...
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Old 07-05-2008, 03:45 AM   #18
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Have Gary rebuild your gear box and put in a new GM rag joint--I did. The car responds immediately with no play--like driving a race car--that's what a corvette is supposed to be.
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Old 07-05-2008, 09:11 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul67 View Post
In inches, what is acceptable play at the steering wheel in the absence of front wheel movement?
Paul, I would say with P/S and running the engine. You should not be able to move the wheel more than 1 to 2 inches from side to side before seeing the front wheel move. Anymore and I would check it out.
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Old 07-05-2008, 09:53 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul67 View Post
In inches, what is acceptable play at the steering wheel in the absence of front wheel movement?
NORMAL, is about 1-2 inches at steering wheel rim.....

with a rack it's about zero....damn nearly....ok, I give it 1/2 inch....

even IF not for the control valve on the end of the Pittman arm, you are at 16-1 magnification of anything with play in it....plus the radius of the steering wheel...that's a LOT of movement....
with a closer ratio box, or a rack at 12-1 obviously there is a 25% reduction in wheel play all else remaining equal.....

OH, I wanted to add one more thing.....I purposely 'misadjusted' the adjustment bolt and meshed the gears tightly on center...to take out ALL play, snug, but not over stupidly tight....NO gear play in there...and still was about 1-2" of play in the wheel before the front wheels moved, steering valve is the cause there.....



Last edited by mrvette; 07-05-2008 at 10:10 AM.
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