Slack in the Steering

Discussion in 'Chevy C/K Truck Forum' started by revscott, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. revscott

    revscott New Member

    I seem to have a little slack in my steering. It is most noticeable at hwy speeds. Dangerous im sure and a little scary. What could be the cause and is it something I may be able to fix myself. Im not ASE certified but Im pretty good with cars. RWD at least! :lol:
  2. 59diesel

    59diesel New Member

    If you are lucky and it is not bad parts, like bjoints, bushings or tie rods, its prob in the steering gearbox, and its easily adjusted....on top of the gearbox you will see a hex head stud (female, like an allen wrench will fit) with a nut on it, nut wrench size usually about 3/4, 11/16, somewhere in there, stud allen size I cant remember and not near mine right now to check it for you.....anyway, hold the allen, break the nut loose as it is just a jam/lock for the allen. Turn the allen inwards/clockwise, then slightly tighten the nut and check the steering play, adjust more as necessary. You may have to drive it after some adjustment to get the true feel of how much adjustment you have made. This will remove the slack, but at the same time it WILL also tighted up the steering and make it seem stiffer, especially at first.......once adjusted to your satisfaction, lock down the jam nut and you are done..........hope this helps..........
  3. moogvo

    moogvo Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    If you determine that it is the steering box, when making this adjustment, go A LITTLE AT A TIME! Start with a quarter turn and go from there. Also, the more you tighten the bolt, the less your steering return will work. If it is so bad that you have to run the bolt down enough to kill the steering return (If you have to manually straighten the wheels back out after a turn) then you should look for another steering box.

    Don't START at the steering box! If you have worn suspension parts that are causing the slop in the steering, adjusting the steering gear will not work!
  4. revscott

    revscott New Member

    Thanks guys, I had a new set of tires put on in Feb and the tech said I needed a new pitman arm and control arm. I will get those replaced and have the front end thouroughly inspected before going to the gearbox. This was great help thanks again.
  5. Dana W

    Dana W Rockstar 3 Years 500 Posts

    Well, now. There's yer problem.

    I am a little concerned about you needing a new control arm. Is there accident damage to it? Bent? Usually, a set of bushings and/or ball joints will fix control arm issues.

    I just replaced my pitman arm, and the whole idler arm assy on my '99 Burb at 112,120 mi. It made a world of difference to the steering feel and function.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  6. revscott

    revscott New Member

    Sorry, I meant idler arm and pitman arm, not control arm. Yeah I'm going to do that soon, he was talking $300+ though I felt that may have been a little steep, it does include the alignment though.
  7. Dana W

    Dana W Rockstar 3 Years 500 Posts

    After having done this myself, I have access to a lift and air tools, I would have gladly paid somebody 3 bills including alignment to do it. It is NOT a piece of cake. Mine cost me about 100 bucks in parts from AutoZone, so for parts, labor, and alignment, 3 bills ain't bad. Warning - Do not try this at home. That Pitman arm is ON THERE, and you need an extra long pickle fork to pop the ball studs out. There's almost no room to swing a 2 lb sledge up in there. The Idler assy is a piece of cake if you do the whole thing, meaning the arm and pivot both, just don't drop the non-captured bolts or the socket down in the frame. I dropped both, one at a time and spent the better part of an hour on each item, with a rare earth magnet on an extendable rod fishin' them out.

    Torque specs for the biga$$ nut holding the pitman and idler arms on is 184 ft lbs. Cheeeze, I don't even weigh that much.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  8. revscott

    revscott New Member

    Thanks Dana, will definitely let the shop do it then. Hope this straigtens out the steering as well. BTW, I notice on a level surface the left (driver) side of my truck seems to sit lower than the right. I dont notice it while in the cabin or driving. Just curious as to what would cause it.
  9. Dana W

    Dana W Rockstar 3 Years 500 Posts

    It could be as simple as a completely dead shock or two. They only hold it up a tiny bit though, and then only if they are gas charged. It could also be way out of whack front end alignment. It is probably a saggy torsion bar and/or rear spring. Worst case scenario would be accident or pothole damage to the lower control arm(s).

    In one case I know of, a frind's friend found two broken body mounts on the right side of his pickup which made it lean a little the other way "sometimes". They were missed by a body shop which repaired damage from a low speed head-on.
  10. Z71_guy

    Z71_guy Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    The lean is probaly caused by the torsion bar on the drivers side being worn out. Known as the Chevy lean you can just crank the t-bar key up to level it out

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