67 Impala steering wheel play - Impala Tech
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-01-2016, 07:50 AM Thread Starter
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67 Impala steering wheel play

on my 67 impala I have a little play in the steering. everything in the linkage is new. should I try adjusting the steering box. It is the original and has no leaks .I don't want to introduce any problems.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-01-2016, 08:09 AM
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Are you saying there is slop in the wheel or that while driving you get the vague idea that your steering wheel isn't attached to the car. The later was intentional the first is a sign of wear in the column.

Big Dave

Last edited by Big Dave; 10-01-2016 at 02:15 PM.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-01-2016, 11:02 AM
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I also have a 67 Impala with real sloppy loose steering. Brand new Global West upper tubular control arms and lower strut rods. New shocks. The lower control arms have newer bushing and ball joints. The rest of the steering components all feel solid & tight. The steering feels terrible.

This winter one of my projects will be to have the steering gear rebuilt with a quicker ratio and less turns lock to lock.

My 70 Chevelle is 3 turns L to L, the Impala is 4-1/4 turns L to L. Big difference.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-01-2016, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
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While I'm driving there is a little play back & forth in the steering wheel, but the car still handles well, no vibration. I was wondering if I can adjust the screw with the lock nut on the top of the steering box, and how much to turn it.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-01-2016, 02:18 PM
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No the adjuster nut isn't for that purpose. Read this car mag article and you will understand the problem and the solution.

ww.hotrod.com/articles/ccrp-0901-gm-steering-box-upgrade/

Big Dave
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-01-2016, 11:01 PM
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Dave, what is the adjuster for then?

I've used it to tighten up slightly loose steering on many cars over the years and it worked very well. It just has to be tightened a tiny bit at a time because when it's been turned in too much a person will know right away, it feels awful. Typically I've loosened the nut, turned the screw in less than 1/8 of a turn and the difference has already been noticeable.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-02-2016, 10:10 AM
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It adjusts the distance between the Pitman shaft and the valve body to allow the steel balls that comprise the "gears" to make contact without being jammed in so hard the balls won't recirculate. It isn't for use as a means of taking up wear or slop in the front end or other worn steering parts, just the wear off the face of the ball bearing that forms the gears inside the gearbox.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-02-2016, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
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Dave, I'm glad I asked the question. I won't touch the locknut, I thought that was for adjusting play in the wheel. In my case as I described earlier on my 67 Impala, what do you think the problem is?
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-02-2016, 03:26 PM
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Could be excessive wear in the steering column as the factory used ball bearings in the bottom but there is no lubrication since day one when it was assembled. They wear out and eventually fall out allowing a half inch or more of play. Rag joints may look solid but inside the rubber has eroded and is missing in action allowing a lot of play in the front end.

You said you replaced the tie rod ends and idler arm with a full front end rebuild. Those are the parts most frequently associated with a sloppy front end though worn ball joints can also cause issue (this is most evident in strange tire wear patterns).

You could have wear in your steering gear box, as I have worn out several in my Suburban(s) by driving them all over the country and back again (put 270,00 miles on one and well over 360,000 on it's new replacement; before buying a new Silverado in 2011 to replace it, as the steering wheel had so much slop in it that my wife said to park it, and go buy a new one.

It is possible to rebuild a steering gear box (requires a few specialized tools), but for the price you can not beat a remanufactured replacement.

Big Dave
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-02-2016, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Dave View Post
It adjusts the distance between the Pitman shaft and the valve body to allow the steel balls that comprise the "gears" to make contact without being jammed in so hard the balls won't recirculate. It isn't for use as a means of taking up wear or slop in the front end or other worn steering parts, just the wear off the face of the ball bearing that forms the gears inside the gearbox.

Big Dave
I realize it won't take play out of the linkage (how could it) but it sure has made a difference on cars I've done it on.

Whons, do you know for sure that the play in your steering is all in the linkage and not in the steering gear (box)?
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-02-2016, 08:29 PM
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Quote:
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I realize it won't take play out of the linkage (how could it) but it sure has made a difference on cars I've done it on.

Whons, do you know for sure that the play in your steering is all in the linkage and not in the steering gear (box)?
If you tighten the gap the balls rub and do not move freely. This dampens the feeling of what is down stream such as worn out tie rod ends. It doesn't make them better it just removes the feed back from the suspension and creates more drag on the pump to suck power off the crank. So yes adjusting the steering box can improve the feel.

Big Dave
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-03-2016, 07:19 AM Thread Starter
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Big Dave, I have replaced all of the steering linkage , but I havn't replaced the control arm bushings. Right now I don't have the space to do the job. that will be a future job. I know they aren't very good.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-04-2016, 07:11 AM Thread Starter
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Could the worn control arm bushings be causing my problem, or do you think it is a steering box problem only?
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-04-2016, 08:27 AM
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If the control arms are moving around you will get play in your suspension. Even with new rubber bushing the suspension deflects several degrees under load. The rubber allows for about an eighth of an inch of compression. When getting your suspension aligned have him move the suspension an eighth of an inch before it is bolted down and record the deflection angles.

I used polyurethane bushings in my street driven car and either solid aluminum or steel with roller bearings (available from Speedway dot com that sells roundy-round suspension parts) bushings in my race cars.

Big Dave
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