Steering Box

Bottoms out? Shimmies? Shackles, springs, shocks, steering linkage etc. The old messages from the NPCA 'Suspension' category are here.

Postby G60 » Tue May 31, 2016 5:09 pm

Hello guys
what is the best way to take the slop out of the steering box other than tightening the adjuster bolt.
cheers
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Postby Esteban » Wed Jun 01, 2016 8:22 am

You need to know if the slop you have is only in the steering box or is in due to the whole system. Please take a look at the diagram below. The components are showing the LHD parts, but the same applies for you. They will be reversed.

You can try checking visually if the pitman arm doesn't move while you check the play at the steering wheel. The manual states that this should be less than 35mm (1 3/8") Be careful not tightening the adjusting screw at the top of the steering box (A) too much. You should tighten it and then backup just enough so the roller shaft (where the pitman is attached) moves smoothly. I just have part of my steering box out, and found that some shims under the roller shaft have broken, probably due to much pressure on the adjusting screw. I will post some pictures by the end of this week.

If the play is beyond those limits, there's no much that you can do in terms of adjustment. It's probably due to excessive wear. But out of my own experience, these steering boxes are incredibly well built and the quality is beyond any comparison with others. Mine has over 300k miles on it, and doesn't have any flat spots or chips. In fact the biggest wear is at the seal area of the roller shaft.

If you're satisfied with the end play, then the next step will be to adjust the draglink at both ends (B). The draglink end caps #2 can be rotated in and out to take the play out of the draglink. If you find that the wear on the ball stud #5 is too much, you can take it out and rotate 90° and insert again. Sometimes the heavy spring under the seat balls is broken and that will create some play. If you dismantle all this components, polish the balls of the pitman and the stud with a 600 grade wet sandpaper.

Steering components.jpg
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Postby r1lark » Wed Jun 01, 2016 5:07 pm

Let me add one caution to Estaban's great writeup. I have not adjusted a Patrol steering box, so take this with a grain of salt. But when adjusting the end play, do it with the front end jacked up (tires off the ground) so you can feel the 'high spot' in the steering gear. You don't want it so tight it drags over the high spot. The high spot should be in the straight ahead position (ie, center of the steering wheel travel). If you get the box too tight, you may not get the re-centering effect when recovering from a turn.

The more experienced Patrol guys can tell me now if I'm all wet. My experience is on '50s and '60s American cars, but most boxes are the same basic design (except for rack and pinion of course).
Paul
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Postby Flaggoni » Fri Jun 03, 2016 10:51 am

Paul's cautionary remark is good safety advice. Can't recall the vehicle,(or even if it was rack and pinion) but it was probably a mid-sixties vehicle that I over tightened the steering, then took around the block for a test drive. The steering was ok when driving straight, but my first right-hand turn locked-up and would not recenter. My 90 degree turn quickly became a 180 into (fortunately) a driveway before I could recover.
Also, in addition to Esteban's info on slop removal, the tie-rod ends themselves can be disassembled and adjusted on patrols. (I learned this on this forum somewhere) Take a wire brush to the underside of the rod ends. This will reveal a long screwdriver-slot that has been peened into place to lock it's adjustment.
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Postby Esteban » Thu Jun 09, 2016 3:04 pm

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I found some broken shims under the sector shaft of my steering box when in the process of changing the seal.

Taking the pitman arm proved a little challenging and I had to use a two-jaw extractor (loaner set from the parts store ;) ). Space is limited so I had to put a bottle jack between the leaf spring and the chassis to raise it, and allow the extractor to be positioned.

Steering box - extractor.jpg


Once the pitman was out, I tried to take the seal, but had no luck, so decided to open the top cover and take the whole sector shaft out. At this time I found some broken and worn out shims. Who knows how long they've been in that state. The steering box was the only component in this Patrol that has never been serviced, except for probably a couple of oil changes in 300k miles! and some minor adjustment (more on this later)

Steering box 1.jpg


In the picture you can see pieces of one of the thin 0.003" shims and the damaged ones. Also showing in the picture is the sector shaft (original) next to a brand new RHD sector shaft. I took measurements at every point, and the wear was very minor. I just polished later the seal area with 600 grit wet sandpaper. In fact, the seal area of the sector shaft was the only one showing some wear. Please note in the picture the different orientation of the roller in the sector shafts. This and the steering housing, are the only differences between LHD and RHD models.

The seal has the following dimensions: 32x45x8mm (ID x OD x H) My internet search took me to eBay where I found only a seal with a 7mm height, so I ordered two. My brother pointed out that this was probably good since the seal would be running on a fresh area of the sector shaft. Once the order was placed and I found the store website, they do have the 8mm height one (Part #OSDL32458) just in case anybody is interested. Really good service and prices. The variety of seals offered is big.

http://www.oringsandmore.com/oil-shaft- ... -for-1-pc/

Going back to the RHD sector shaft: some 25 years ago, while still in Ecuador, the dealer decided to get rid of most of old stock that haven't moved in its inventory. Among other things I bought the RHD sector shaft (no wonder it was not moving :twisted: ) and part of the steering box housing as you'll see in the next picture. The reason for the sector shaft was that I could take the roller out and transfer to the old sector shaft. This is entirely feasible, and very old parts manuals list them as separate pieces. Since the wear was minor, I decided not to mess with it, since you have to grind the weld that secures the nut of the roller pin. The steering box housing part I bought for two reasons: one, it's the same as the one I have, and the other is that it came with the bushings. I had also a 74 Patrol at that time, and at least the roller and the bushings could be reused. Again, I didn't mess with them since they are very thin walled, and installing them is probably better done with the housing out.

Steering box and sector shaft new.jpg


For the broken shims, in the past I had scouted the shims lists of Ratech Manufacturing Co, based in Cincinnati, OH. If you scroll down to the shims in the following link, you'll see shims package #1118, that has an internal diameter of 1.26" or 32mm as the sector shaft. I had to grind the ID with a Dremel tool, to make them fit. Was a very easy task.

http://www.ratechmfg.com/Dimension%20Chart.htm

In the second picture above you see a chart of the adjustment done with the shims. The initial approach was to get rid of the damaged shims and replace them with ones from the Ratech package. This package contains only shims of 0.011", 0.016', and 0.020", so the possible combinations are not many when dealing with 0.003" damaged shims. I installed the shim package, put the gear case cover and tweaked the adjusting screw and measured the backlash at the tip of the pitman ball. Then tried the other combinations listed. The interesting thing is that I actually reduced 0.004" from the original pack, and got a backlash of 0.008". Within specs, so I called good. All this adjustment process was done without installing the seal. After I was satisfied, installed the seal and torqued the pitman nut. The following picture shows the measuring of the backlash.

Steering box 4 - Backlash.jpg


The pitman arm was replaced some 30 years ago. I polished it with 400 grit, and then 600. I also measured and it's still in good shape.

One final note. The manual is not clear at all regarding adjustment for the gear box. Gives a detail procedure for the shims on the worm shaft, but nothing regarding the shims for the sector shaft except a note that a "standard shim package should be installed". Nothing else. Also, regarding the adjustment screw at the top of the gearbox, it is totally different in it's function from what many of you might be used with some steering boxes from American cars. In many of them, the adjusting screw can move the sector shaft up or down. Not so in this box. The manual only states the following:

Turn roller shaft adjusting screw in clock-wise until inside flange of screw is attached to end of roller shaft. Then loosen screw just enough so that roller shaft can rotate smoothly. Check backlash at end of gear arm. Backlash should be within 0 to 0.2 mm (0 to 0.008 in) at mid-position (or center) of wheel turns. No backlash more than 4 mm (0.16 in) should be allowed at any position of wheel turn.

I only drove around the neighborhood and it feels good. I will probably mess with the adjusting screw a bit more after some miles.

Thanks.
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Postby soft60 » Thu Jun 09, 2016 4:53 pm

I have nothing to offer here except for an intense sense of wonder at the knowledge and generosity of the members of this board and my gratitude therefore. You guys (and gals, River!!) are incredible.
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Postby RiverPatrol » Thu Jun 09, 2016 6:45 pm

Excellent write up! :clap: :clap: :clap: Thank you Esteban.
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Postby G60 » Sun Jun 19, 2016 4:30 am

Thanks very much guys, very helpful
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Postby OldLRRP » Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:04 am

Excellent info here! Maybe this helps resolve my questions that I just posted. Still, curious about what would cause the wheel to turn past it's normal stop - am I barking up the right tree?
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Postby plateaucal » Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:08 pm

A couple of things: Thanks to Esteban for the tutorial. Just installed my new seal from his referenced source. Also, Autozone has a loaner pitman arm puller that works like a dream. The part number is 27016. This was about an hour job with the puller.
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Postby Toads Patrol » Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:56 pm

5781
Steering link parts
5780
steering link pitman arm side dissembled
5779
pitman arm ball showing wear - more cosmetic than actual wear

The steering had a lot of play in it and the steering box is fine. I used the info in this thread to disassemble the steering arm and ball joints. The drag link side was in good shape and ball was rotated 90 deg. The Pittman had some wear, not bad as you can see. shimmed up the spring a bit for higher contact pressure and reassembled. Steering is MUCH IMPROVED. Highly recommended and fairly easy to do.

It is possible to rotate the pittman arm ball by grinding the weld off, rotate and re-weld. I do not recommend this procedure as the is a steering safety-critical part which should not be modified under any circumstance.

It is soon time for a road test with the new springs and adjusted steering repaired rear diff and othe items - here's hoping
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Postby RiverPatrol » Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:35 pm

Sometimes it is possible to locate a pitman rebuild kit. I haven't seen any for some time though.

Very nice info and pictures, thank you.
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Postby krc65tan » Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:12 am

RiverPatrol wrote:Sometimes it is possible to locate a pitman rebuild kit. I haven't seen any for some time though.

Very nice info and pictures, thank you.

In rebuilding my gearbox, I found out that the main bearings #'s crossed over to bearings that are the same in all dimensions except are 3mm smaller in diameter. I ended up machining collars to go around to outer races. Taking measurements of the pitman seal, I was able to find the correct seal that, oddly enough can be found as a cam seal for PT Cruiser or a crank seal for a 2012 Porsche!
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Postby krc65tan » Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:18 am

RiverPatrol wrote:Sometimes it is possible to locate a pitman rebuild kit. I haven't seen any for some time though.

Very nice info and pictures, thank you.

I did find original bearings but they were sitting on a parts shelf in Russia- local pickup only! Ha!
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