Steering box adjustments

Posted By: Lugnutz

Steering box adjustments - Fri Nov 15 2019 06:20 PM

I replaced the steering box on my 1963 C10. I had a spare in much better condition than my original. My old 1963 steering box is in the pictures. I’ve always been curious about the adjustments on these. The pictures show me pointing to the big locknut and adjustment nut for the steering shaft. The smaller nut with a screw is also adjustable. What is the proper procedure? I checked the tech tips section, but it seemed the instructions there were for a different model steering gear.

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Posted By: Hotrod Lincoln

Re: Steering box adjustments - Fri Nov 15 2019 07:38 PM

The big nut on top surrounding the input shaft is a preload adjustment for the worm gear. Basically, it gets tightened just enough to eliminate any up/down play in that shaft, plus a slight amount of preload on the bearings. The smaller adjustment on the side moves the sector gear in and out of mesh with the worm gear, and it has variable clearance. Turn the steering gear lock to lock and count the turns, then turn back halfway. That's the "high point" of the worm gear. There needs to be a 10 inch-pound rise in turning effort of the steering shaft as the sector gear crosses the center point. Once I've found the theoretical high point, I attach an inch/pound torque wrench to the shaft and adjust the sector preload until I can see the proper torque rise as the center point is passed. For instance- - - -if the torque to move the shaft is 10 in/lbs half a turn away from center, the torque wrench reading should rise To 20 in/lbs as the center point is passed, then drop back to its original reading on the other side. If there's a rise/drop/rise situation where the torque decreases at the center point, the worm gear and possibly the sector is worn out and can't be adjusted properly.
Posted By: Lugnutz

Re: Steering box adjustments - Fri Nov 15 2019 11:35 PM

I think I noticed more slop in the gear box when everything was connected an still on the truck. On the bench there seems to be less slop. Also, on the bench, as I turn the shaft I notice certain points where the play goes away. It makes me think that the parts inside are too badly worn to salvage. Thus it’s only good as a core.
Posted By: Hotrod Lincoln

Re: Steering box adjustments - Sat Nov 16 2019 03:00 AM

If you're off the center point in either direction, there's supposed to be some clearance- - - -you might be able to get a little movement from the Pitman arm. That's why it's so important to have the steering centered while driving straight ahead. A steering wheel that's 1/4 turn off center will allow the vehicle to wander, follow ruts or streetcar tracks, etc.
Posted By: Joe H

Re: Steering box adjustments - Sat Nov 16 2019 03:10 PM

Since it's a spare, pull it apart and give it a good cleaning. Assemble with some motor oil to coat the bearings and see if you can adjust it. The older manual you looked at is still relevant as far as the adjustments go, even the assembly will be similar.
( ) Motor oil is thin enough to let you know if the gears are still good, grease will give a false reading if its to thick. If you have tight gear mesh out on the ends and not in the center, the sector or worm are worn out. I had one like that, it was all over the lane going down the road and I got pretty tired of always correcting it.
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