Sloppy Steering

Fuselage Years

  1. C Sickness

    C Sickness Member

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    I just bought my car, and it hasn't yet run in 20 years. I noticed the steering has a lot of play. I can turn the wheel rim about 3 inches left to right, before encountering any resistance.

    Maybe a little of the problem could be that the box has dried or drained a little. Fluid may not be all the way to the top. Also, the pump has a shaft seal leak, and I don't see any fluid in the reservoir.

    I think I can fix the problem by tightening the lash screw, will that fix it completely?

    I saw other posts, asking if the input shaft was sloppy, and would move in and out of the box. I don't see that happening on mine.
     
  2. 69PHOENIX

    69PHOENIX Member

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    G'Day,
    Have you actually Started the Motor yet.
    Depending on just how much play there is You may find some or Most of that Slack may Disappear when the Beastie is Fired up.
    Tony.M
     
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  3. Davea Lux

    Davea Lux Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    Download the FSM from www.mymopar.com it is free. The FSM gives the instructions on how to adjust the steering gear. If you feel free play with the engine not running, that is normal, to a point, but you need the engine to be running to properly adjust the steering gear. Free play can also be the result of a worn idler arm, a worn pitman arm bushing or worn tie rod ends, check all those items carefully before messing with the gear. The FSM also gives detailed instruction on how to replace the shaft seal on the pump should that prove necessary. A car that has not run for twenty years is probably going to have more serious problems than free play in the steering gear. You will need to pull and clean the fuel tank, replace all the fuel hoses, probably the fuel pump, rebuild the carb. Then replace all belts and radiator/heater hoses/coolant and do a full tune up. You should also figure on a full brake system rebuild with new hoses, wheel cylinders, master cylinder and power brake booster if so equipped. Brake linings if they are in good condition might be salvageable. It would also be a good idea to put some light oil in each cylinder to lubricate them prior to trying to start the engine.

    Dave
     
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  4. C Sickness

    C Sickness Member

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    Hoping to start it tomorrow. Will see if it gets any better.
     
  5. MrMoparCHP

    MrMoparCHP Senior Member

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    Have you ever driven a vintage Mopar with power steering? there is virtually no resistance on a perfect system.


    Alan
     
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  6. 69PHOENIX

    69PHOENIX Member

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    Have Heard people Complain about the "Lightness"
    I personally have Always believed there is No Such thing as Over steer or Under steer only Inexperienced Drivers.
    Have Driven Everything from a Morris Minor 1000 to Full Size Mack Army Heavy Ridgids. (No Power Assist)
    It's up to the Driver to "Handle" the Vehicle.
    I have Always found Chrysler Power Steer Delightful, Especially When Parking in a Tight Spot.
    Tony.M
     
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  7. Mr onetwo

    Mr onetwo Well-Known Member

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  8. Big_John

    Big_John Illegitimi non carborundum FCBO Gold Member

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    This is the answer to the question. Without the engine running, there will always be that type of "play" in the steering wheel.
     
  9. CBODY67

    CBODY67 Old Man with a Hat

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    There could well be some deterioration of the interface between the column and the gear in the steering coupler itself, possibly.

    Once you get the power steering filled with real Chrysler-approved power steering fluid, NOT atf, then you can carefully watch the lh front wheel as you slowly turn the steering wheel, watching for "response" in the tire moving.

    Compared to current power steering gear boxes and rack and pinion systems, there CAN always be a degree or so of steering wheel movement that will happen before the tire moves very slightly. From my experiences, the movement on the input side of the gear CAN appear as "slop" that can't be adjusted-out on the top of the gearbox "dome" (the normal place people look to adjust it). Too tight of an adjustment there can result in greater wear of the related gear teeth inside the box, too, plus the need to manually return the steering wheel "to center" rather than letting the normal caster-return do it, by observation.

    Typically, if you can get away from it, do not adjust a factory-adjusted Chrysler gearbox at all. Check all of the related steering linkage/front suspension issues FIRST. Then the noted coupler possibilities and the gearbox input-side possibilities. A minor movement in either place can look like 10 degrees of movement of the steering wheel's perimeter.

    On the 2018 GMC Sierra I have at work, there is a display in the DIC for "Steering Angle" on one of its displays. It shows how much the steering wheel moves vs. how much the tire moves. It does take about 2 inches of steering wheel rotation (or more) to result in 1 degree of front tire angle change. Maybe even more. With both it and the Chrysler system having about 3.75 turns lock-to-lock effective steering ratios. Of course, larger-diameter steering wheels can make things look worse than they actually might be.

    Just some of my experiences,
    CBODY67
     
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  10. 1970FuryConv

    1970FuryConv Senior Member

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    Hi C
    I agree strongly with checking the steering coupler in the steering shaft and checking the steering linkage before making ANY adjustments to the steering gear. Adjustments to steering gear should be last resort.
    I have had tons of steering wheel play from a bad steering coupler. Makes the car/truck feel unsafe. Have a friend turn the steering wheel while you watch the coupler from over the fender. The steering column shaft will turn, while the steering gear shaft stays still until you get to the end of travel in the broken coupler. If good, they will move in unison. Ben
     
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  11. C Sickness

    C Sickness Member

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    I appreciate your comments about the input coupling and possible play in the suspension parts.

    The input coupling looks good. I see this play when i grab the steering column about 2-3" above the steering box. I can twirl the shaft between my thumb and forefinger quite a few degrees before hitting any resistance at all.

    Suspension is an investigation for another time. There's all kinds of stuff that can be worn there. Concentrating now on starting the engine and being able to move the car around.
     
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  12. rapidtrans

    rapidtrans Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    Back in 63 I think Dad drove our wagon, pulling a travel trailer, all the way to California and back steering with two fingers on the wheel and arm on the window sill. Other arm draped across the bench seat. The classic driving position in those days.
    See wagon and trailer in my “Garage Pictures”.
     
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  13. CBODY67

    CBODY67 Old Man with a Hat

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    Part of a "luxury" car, back then, was very low effort to operate the car. "Feather-Touch" power brakes and steering were a part of that deal. It was not until the later '60s that "high-effort" power steering arrived on a very few vehicles, but it was still more-assisted than most anything now. So if you grew up with only more recent vehicles, that level of "power steering" is normal and the earlier vehicles will seem "too light", by comparison. Not to mention the "thin" steering wheels of the earlier cars.

    The "high-effort" steering of the early 1970s was supposed to imitate the "steering feel" of manual steering, but without the greater effort involved in steering the car, especially at low speeds or when parallel parking. Mostly on more performance-oriented vehicles, typically.

    By observation, that "single-finger" power steering allowed 97lb young females to "wheel around" a 6000lb Lincoln on a whim.

    Enjoy!
    CBODY67
     
  14. C Sickness

    C Sickness Member

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    Well, you folks were right. I started the car, and most all the slop went away. Now I see its leaking oil at the input shaft. Off to find the proper tool to pull the steering arm, and find a rebuilder.
     
  15. 69PHOENIX

    69PHOENIX Member

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    CBODY67
    I assume that Whim was one of the Cushioned Type, Otherwise it could have Proved Downright Uncomfortable on a Long Drive. LOL
    Tony.M