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Are you sure it’s not the pitman arm?
 

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Saginaw steering gear adjustment

I wouldn't bother adjusting the play until it get to be more than 1" of play in the steering. The process requires removal of the gearbox and that is more than a couple of hours work for a DIY. I know I just replaced a broken steering box on my 93 burb. If you are interested the procedure for adjusting the Saginaw gearbox can be found at: http://www.partsmikeparts.com/saginaw_steering_box_adjustment.htm

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Saginaw Steering Box Adjustment

The nut and screw adjust Worm bearing Preload and Sector shaft mesh. NOTE! The steering gear must be out of the vehicle to adjust it on all 1974 and later Saginaw rotary gear units. The earlier models can be adjusted (sector shaft preload) on vehicle. Here is the manner that GM Saginaw Division recommends how to adjust. Disconnect the pitman arm from the sector shaft, completely back off the sector shaft adjusting screw on the sector shaft cover. Center steering on the "high point" then attach an inch lb torque wrench to the steering wheel shaft, the torque required to keep the shaft moving for one complete turn should be 1/2 - 2 in lbs. If the torque is not within these limits, loosen the thrust bearing locknut or tighten valve sleeve adjuster plug to bring the preload within limits. Tighten the thrust bearing locknut and recheck preload. Slowly rotate the steering shaft several times, then center the steering on high point. Now, turn the sector shaft adjusting screw until a steering shaft torque of 3 - 6 in lbs more is required to move the worm through the center point. Tighten the sector shaft locknut to 35 ft lbs and recheck the sector mesh adjustment. Total steering gear preload should be 14 in lbs or less. Install the pitman arm and replace back in vehicle. To try and adjust the sector shaft screw without doing the preceding will DAMAGE the steering gear. Most of the play is not in the sector shaft adjustment, it is the spool valve area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I checked today, with a friend standing outside. with the engine off, I moved the wheel back and forth, the wheels immediately turned with the motions of the steering wheel.

the play occurs, only with the engine running.
steering linkage in good shape
 

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I recently went to BFG AT KO's LT265 75R16's on my 06 Silverado with no difference in driveability. My 93 burb has Goodyear LT305 75R16's and they work fine, but are a little resistive on low speed tight turns. I don't think the issue is your tires, but check your tire pressure just in case.:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I went ahead and swapped the rear wheels off My van (had better tread,was going to do it anyway). still about an inch of play, occurs only with engine running. so, looks like a steering gear is needed :( the linkages are in good condition
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
well, I had a shop look at things, was determined that the steering gear was shot, I found a good one at a auto/truck recycling center in a nearby town for $65
I braved the single digit temps and went and picked it up this morning. it is in much better shape, even got the matching pitman arm still attached
will put it on this weekend, it will be warmer :)
 

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Take some pics if you have some time. Make sure you have that 1 5/16 socket.
 

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Please let me know how this turns out I have a 89 with a lot of play in the steering and every bump in the road feels like a pot hole. I want to do the work myself so I need tro know all I can.
Could also be the pitman arm, have it checked out by a front end alignment shop before you do anything like this.

It could be a lot of other things.
 
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