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 Moderator

    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 Member

    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 Member

    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 Member

    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 New Member

    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
  11. revscott

    revscott New Member

    thanks, but I'm not familiar with the t-bar key. Where is it, what do I do?
  12. ippielb

    ippielb New Member

    I have been burdened with a dreaded steering slop for a while, I have replaced tie rods inner and outer, pitman arm, idler arm, and just replaced the steering box in November, along with dual steering stabilizers, and the new steering box did wonders for two months, until the box **** the bed and now it's twice as worse as it was before. So now i have another replacment box to put on that hopefully will work instead of this garbage.

    First thing i would do is look for the problem, then go from there, more likely it will be the tie rods.
  13. Dana W

    Dana W Member

    The "T" bar key is a lever sort of at the back end of the torsion bar. You can't miss them. The torsion bars are 3 or 5 feet long and run from your control arm backward parallel to the frame rails. There is an adjusting bolt running through the "T" bar key that is captured in a plate on the frame. Turning this bolt will lift or lower your front suspension on one side or the other by rotating its associated torsion bar.

    CAUTION - turning this bolt also changes your spring rate by adding or removing preloaded tension into your torsion bar. If one of the bars is sagging low and the adjusting bolts are more or less already equally adjusted the same amount then your torsion bar is probably weakened somehow. The "T" bar keys however, are not meant to be adjusted to raise or lower the vehicle. They are used to remove tension from the torsion bar so it or your control arm can be removed for repair and used to level the truck up after the torsion bar has been installed. They are like having "on board" spring compressors.

    This brings me to a question. Exactly how much does the prior owner of your truck weigh anyhow.:rofl:
    I bought my '99 Burb from a guy who tops 300 lbs and it still sits level after 13 years. The driver's seat however, has a distinct list to Port.

    ---------- Post added at 10:52 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:33 PM ----------

    Two of 'em? I've heard those things, along with hugeomongous meats eat street spec GM (and most other brands) power steering boxes like Wheaties. You prolly should carry a spare one.:lol:
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  14. revscott

    revscott New Member

    Thanks but I am not familiar with the t-bar key. Can you tell me where it is and what to do.

    Sorry for double post, thought I had lost it. thanks for replies.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012
  15. Z71_guy

    Z71_guy New Member

  16. Dana W

    Dana W Member

  17. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog New Member

    Hey ,,,Uncle BillY Bobs Mudbogger is a sweet ride .......:sign0020:
  18. Dana W

    Dana W Member

    Billy Bob is a girl.
  19. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog New Member

    Lmao OOOPs :rofl:

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