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  #1  
Old 02-25-2012, 02:18 AM
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Default Loose Steering

I have a 96 dodge ram with the 5.2. the steering has alot of play in it and i can turn it almost half a rotation withoout it turning the tires. Just wondering if theres a way to tighten up my steering.
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Old 02-25-2012, 04:00 AM
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There are so many things that would cause sloppy steering, you could write a short book about it

Tie rod adjustment & steering box adjustment are just 2 of the main ones
then there are just sloppy fittings to add into the equations
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:46 AM
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Yep, check everything, ball joints, tie rod ends, drag link, track bar. Then add one of these to the steering box http://www.solidsteel.biz/dss.htm

I never got anywhere by tightening up the nut on my steering box. All it did was make the wheel not return to center. So I backed it off to where it was and started fixing the stuff that was actually worn out.
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:17 PM
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ok ill check it out. thanks!
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:53 PM
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On most steering boxes that have a worm gear
there is a fine adjustment screw, that is held in place with a lock nut
there is also a course adjustment screw, also held in place with a large lock nut

first find the center of travel by counting the turns from right to left & left to right
split that number in half to find center

Look at the steering box closely for a small screw with a locknut, if there is one, it has to be backed off just a bit

Then, Loosen the locknut on the pitman shaft adjuster screw Make sure the adjuster screw is held and does not turn with the locknut

Turn the adjuster screw in approximately 1/8 of a turn. While holding the adjuster screw, tighten the adjuster screw locknut.

If was a smaller adjustment screw, turn it down until it bottoms out & then back off about an 1/8 of a turn, lock it down using the same method as mentioned above

Now test the amount of play, if it feels good, test drive it

This illustration may explain it a bit better
http://dodgeram.org/tech/mods/steeri...ear/Adjust.htm

from another forum

Tools Needed:

16mm Open End Box Wrench
4.5 or 5.0 hex key.
Maybe some Brake Cleaner for the dirty ones

Step 1:
If the box has dirt and other debris on it you are going to want to spray the box down with brake wash to remove most of the dirt. Make sure you clean the top of the box.

Step 2:
On the top of the steering gearbox you will see a large bolt located on the top near the middle. This is the 16mm bolt that you will need to lossen.

Step 3:
Insert the Hex Key into the top of the nut and point it to wards the front of the truck. Then loosen the 16mm nut about 1 or 2 turns. Keep the hex key pointed to the front.

Step 4:
Either have another person sit in the truck and wiggle the wheel back in forth while you tighten the screw or get up and down a lot to take up the play. You should only adjust the screw about a 1/4 turn at a time. A 3/4 turn will roughly take out 2 inches of slop. Don't tighten the hex too tight or it may cause damage to the steering box. The steering should be tight but not so tight that when you are finished that you have to muscle the wheel.

Step 5:
After adjusting the screw. Hold the hex in the position where you adjusted it and tighten the 16mm nut. Nice and snug. DON'T OVER TIGHTEN.

Step 6:
Start the truck and check for any leaks. Test your steering see if you still have play. If so you can repeat the steps to get rid of most of it.

-----------------------------------------------------
Further explanation of the adjustment, so you may be able to picture it in your mind

This part of the post is also from that same forum

These are Saginaw steering boxes, designed in the 60s. What you're actually doing is adjusting the backlash (i.e. tooth clearance); much like setting up a differential gear assembly (Ring/Pinion) after a rebuild/replace/whatever.

The plate under this nut you're loosening is called a 'top plate adjuster.' This nut determines the backlash between the power piston teeth (what the steering column/shaft connects to) and the sector shaft teeth (what the pitman arm connects to), and thus, the return to center characteristics of the steering. By adjusting this, you will be able to get back most of the stock characteristics of the steering. Improperly adjusted, you risk the chance of binding/disengagement of the teeth due to improper backlash.

It's DEFINITELY not something to take lightly, as it is the steering that we're dealing with, here.


Basically, the sector shaft has tapered teeth (3); wide at the top (closest to the adjuster nut) and narrow at the bottom (closes to the pitman arm.) The power piston teeth are not tapered, but are widely spaced.

When you adjust the allen at the top of the box, you're moving the sector shaft up and/or down, changing the clearances of the tooth mesh, or backlash.
Too far down, or tight, and you force the sector shaft teeth to power piston teeth, causing binding to occur. This results in an oddly tight steering response, binding, lack of RTC (return to center), and possible breakage of steering components within the box.
Too far up, or loose, and you increase the sloppiness in steering response, as well as risk possible disengagement of the steering teeth, resulting in no steering control.
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Last edited by GTyankee; 02-28-2012 at 07:02 PM.
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  #6  
Old 02-28-2012, 07:22 PM
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If you either have a DEATH WOBBLE, or it feels like it may happen

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=...ture=endscreen
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Last edited by GTyankee; 02-28-2012 at 07:24 PM.
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  #7  
Old 03-03-2012, 01:24 AM
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ok ill check it out 2morro. thanks guys
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Old 03-03-2012, 01:34 PM
dezertrunner dezertrunner is offline
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Dear God please don't buy one of those "steering stabilizers". By connecting the frame to the output shaft of your steering gear you are opening up yourself to a world of hurt. Any impact or load powerful enough to even so much flex the frame can cause your steering to bind, leaving you stuck in the direction you are going.

I wish people actually though about some of the things that they "design" and market.

If you want to stiffen up your steering, start by stiffening up your frame. Go to a welder and have him weld a piece of 1.75" .120 wall tubing between your frame rails. That will cost you about $20 and probably alleviate most of the problem.
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Old 03-06-2012, 10:35 AM
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How is welding a piece of steel between the frame rails going to support the steering box shaft? The drop pitman arms on those trucks wear the steering box bushing out quickly. I bought my 96 with 35k on it and it was already loose and worn. The stabilizer supports that shaft so it doesn't wear the bushing out and cause the seal to leak it also gets rid of a lot of steering wheel play.

You guys can do what you like, but in the end you're really not supposed to be crashing your vehicles. You can slip and kill yourself in the shower also, hopefully everyone doesn't stop showering because of it.
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Old 03-13-2012, 11:53 PM
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I recently installed a rancho steering stabilizer shock and it significantly tightened up my steering. Night and day difference over the cheap napa stab.
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