MY TRUCK IS A ONE OWNER THAT HAS 212,000 MILES ON IT. THE STEERING HAS DEVELOPED SOME BACKLASH AND MAKES IT ROAM ALITTLE. THE TRUCK IS SERVICED REGULARLY AND AS FAR AS I KNOW THERE IS NO PROBLEM WITH THE SUSPENSION.IS THERE ANY WAY TO TIGHTEN THIS UP IN THE STEERING BOX?
Yes, it is possible to adjust the over-center preload on the steering gear.
I will add that you need to be sure there are no other issues with the steering linkage or suspension parts. Have someone check the suspension, ball joints, and steering linkage before any adjustments are done.
I will look up the procedure and post back once I have it. It probably won’t be until Thursday morning before I can post back.
This is the over-center adjustment for a Saginaw recirculating ball nut steering gear from ALLDATA. Please verify that this is the type of steering gear before you attempt any adjustments.
Turn steering wheel gently from one stop over to other. Turn wheel back exactly half-way to center position.
Turn over center adjuster screw, Fig. 2 , clockwise to take out all lash between ball nut and pitman shaft sector teeth.
Tighten jam nut to specifications.
Check torque at steering wheel, taking highest reading as wheel is turned through center position.
If necessary, loosen jam nut and adjust the over-center adjuster screw to obtain proper torque of 16 inch lbs. Tighten jam nut and recheck reading through center of travel.
If maximum torque is exceeded, turn the over-center adjuster screw counterclockwise, then come up on adjustment by turning jam nut clockwise.
Install pitman arm onto shaft, lining up marks made during removal.
Here’s a tip. When adjusting the screw keep moving the steering wheel back and forth slightly until the adjustment is made. You may have to repeat the process if the slack is still there after tightening the locknut.
When adjusting the steering gearbox, you want to be super CAREFUL that you don’t adjust it too tight. If you do adjust too tight, the steering will lock up, and you will mess your pants !
When adjusting the screw, use only two fingers, the thumb and the pinkie, to turn the screw driver. That torque wrench on the steering wheel is to measure INCH ounces (NOT foot pounds).
Check that the steering gearbox hasn’t cracked the frame. This is particularly possible if you have raised the truck or put oversized wheels / tires on it. Also, check for wear in ball joints and rod ends.
It would be worthwhile to closely check all the suspension and steering components before attempting to tighten the steering box. The idler arm and pittman arm are commonly replaced to correct your problem.
Before you do ANY of this, be SURE the rest of the steering linkage is sound. Also BOTH front wheels must be off the ground as you turn the wheel lock to lock so you will feel the steering binding up if you managed to over-tighten it…The wheels should be off the ground when you check the linkage for slop in other areas…
Actually the pitman arm has to be disconnected for this adjustment so you are not measuring any drag from the steering linkage.