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1971 Mach 1.  All new front suspension, rebuilt close ratio steering box, rebuilt tilt column, new rag joint for tilt column.  Steering box has been centered and front end alignment performed  

My steering wheel and rag joint move in unison. When I turn the rag joint by hand, I have 3/4” to 1” of free play before I feel it engage in the steering box.  I attempted to adjust the free play by loosening the lock nut on top of the box and rotating the Allen screw in clockwise an 1/8” at a time. I continued this process until I felt pressure against the Allen screw. There was no change in the free play between the rag joint and the steering box. 

This was sold to me by a retail business as a rebuilt box. Would you suggest sending it back to be rebuilt again, or purchasing a new box?

The rebuilt  tilt column that I purchased from the same business had excessive up and down play in it. I sent it back to have it rebuilt again. After installing it a second time it still has the same issue. I am pulling it out again and sending it back to be corrected. 

I have been unable to locate an aftermarket steering column with an ignition switch. Is such an item produced?

The business I purchased these items from has stood behind their sales. They have provided shipping labels to me to send the items back to be rebuilt  I’m just getting tired of changing things two or three times . 😂

I would appreciate  any input on steering boxes and tilt columns  

 

thanks

 

 

 

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1) There will be some free play on a power steering box by design.  The valve that ports oil one way or the other to provide the assist has a little torsion bar in it.  That torsion bar will deflect when you apply about 20 inch pounds to the steering wheel.  That small amount of “play” when the car is off allows the magic of power steering to happen.  What you are describing sounds normal to me.
 

2) Adjusting the preload on a box isn’t something you should do in the car.  You probably have it too tight now.  There are specific instructions on how to do it from Saginaw, but basically if you are going to do it “cowboy” style you should support the front of your car off the ground, unlock your steering wheel and turn your car lock to lock a couple times by grasping the rag joint by hand.  (Edit... Engine MUST be off). If it ever feels tight or takes more effort in one area you have the preload too tight. 

 

Pages from Sag800-Service.jpg

Edited by Bentworker
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I raised the front tires off of the ground. Tightened the steering box screw down fairly tight. With the motor running, the wheel turned smoothly from left to right. At center position I still have a couple of inches of slop in the steering wheel. 

With the motor running I have about 3/4” of play when I turn the rag joint before the pitman arm moves. 

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I failed to specify the “cowboy” method if chosen should be done with the engine off.  You probably have it WAY too tight now.  Repeat what you did with the engine off, the reason behind turning the steering at the rag joint is that you are rotating something that is about 3” in diameter, so it is a lot easier to feel any resistance instead of with a large steering wheel.  You are trying to feel a 6-10 inch pound difference in torque.

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I tried the cowboy method the first time with the engine off. Starting after each adjustment and checking for play. I now have to column separated from the rag joint and I’m off to the parts store for a ball joint separator.  I’m going to send the box to Roger Rode’s and see what he can make of it. 

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I dont know if adjusting the steering box screw is the proper way to go. I've read where people experiment with that adjustment ( I believe its adjusting the sector shaft ), things seem better and then there is no steering at some point, usually while driving down the road.

If you are not happy with their "rebuild" you could send it to another place. Myself and others have used the following:

 

http://www.powersteering.com/power-steering-gearbox-rebuilds/

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Bentworker has taught me a lot via the forum, and his advice is right on imo.

From what you are describing, it sounds like the box was basically just put back together without anything other than new seals being put in. This happened to me a few years back. I sent my v/r box out to a local steering gear rebuilder. It came back all nice and clean, but that was about all. There was still a load of free play at the s/wheel. I tried the "cowboy method" and nearly ditched the car. The steering was "grabbing" both left and right and all I'd done was tighten the sector shaft screw down about a 1/2 turn. I backed it off a 1/4 turn and the steering was good again, until it was not. Not going into that tight now.

What I eventually found out, was the balls in the worm screw need to be replaced. Ford used to have 5 or 6 different sized set, all to 5 decimal dimensioning. In other words, extremely small increments between sizes. These are NLA, but individual balls can be purchased from ball bearing manufacturers, but NOT CHEAP. That's probably why your rebuilder didn't replace them. I got lucky and found a US rebuilder who offered to sell me a set  of larger balls for 1 box rebuild, as a favor, so I can't say who that was. Since then, I only have the predicted aprrox 1/2 -3/4" play on the steering wheel and the car drives at 70 mph no hands (if I dare).

So imo, either the balls are worn or the worm screw is or a combination of both. Below is a scan from the Ford manual re balls sizes.

Scan0004.jpg

Scan0003.jpg

Geoff.

 I learn something new every day!

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Thanks for your reply. The person who rebuilt the box is well known and respected. Although I can’t see it as being anything other than a box issue, I don’t dare point fingers, as there is always the possibility of error on my part. I have sent the box back to him. Postage paid by the retailer from whom I purchased the box from. 

I looked at my ford manuals and knew those adjustments are beyond my pay grade. 😂 

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6 minutes ago, klinton994 said:

Thanks for your reply. The person who rebuilt the box is well known and respected. Although I can’t see it as being anything other than a box issue, I don’t dare point fingers, as there is always the possibility of error on my part. I have sent the box back to him. Postage paid by the retailer from whom I purchased the box from. 

I looked at my ford manuals and knew those adjustments are beyond my pay grade. 😂 

That's a good response, if you're not sure, don't blame others. We have all eaten "Crow" a few times I'm sure.

I hope this time, it will perform as you expect. Please let us know how it works out when you get the box back. Good luck.

Geoff.

 I learn something new every day!

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