Steering issues, please help!

Help Support 7173Mustangs.com:

Jackwagon3

Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2021
Messages
12
Reaction score
10
Location
Richmond Ky
Ok so my 71 mach 1 is having steering issues I just can't figure out and I'm beyond frustrated. I sent my pump and saginaw box off to be rebuilt. They weren't bad but since I spent over $20k in parts alone, I figured I may as well send them off to be refreshed. Got the pump ans gear box back and installed them just as they were before. Everything worked just fine but now that I re-installed them back on the car I can't turn right more than half lock. Turning right is perfect and no issues. But if I jack the front end up with tires off the ground, it turns perfectly both ways lock to lock. Put it on the ground, and left is still perfect but the steering wheel stops after one turn to the right. Makes no sense. I bled the air out of the lines like I was supposed to but it still won't turn right like it should. What the hell went wrong? I just finished converting auto to a 5 speed, new 3:73 rear end gears, new axles, installed AC, and had the entire wiring harness refreshed, all new front and rear suspension and complete brake systems replacement. I've been able to put about 50 break in miles this last weekend but I'm scared to do much more until I figure out the steering issue. What could it possibly be? I'm beyond frustrated and just want to drive the car as it's been off the road since November. Any help is appreciated. In very close to just saying screw it and buying a new pump and gear box. But I'd really rather not take it all apart again
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2015
Messages
5,905
Reaction score
971
Location
SW Ontario
My Car
1971 Mustang Mach 1, M code, 4 speed.
I'm guessing here, but if you did it right installing the box and you have full left/right lock with it up in the air, then something may be binding in the steering when on the ground.
Provided you ensured that the box was centered before connecting the column rag joint (new one I hope) and the pitman arm with wheels straight ahead, then it ought to work.
I don't think the problem is in the box as you have full turns (how many?). If it was, then you would not have that. However, there is one remote possibility and this happened to me. In my case, I lost power turning to the right, but could still turn to the left. I could turn the wheels without load to the right, but not grounded under power. I took the box back to the shop that did the first rebuild and was told the spool valve (the thing that makes the worm gear rotate) was out of round and was sticking. I managed to find a replacement V/R box (from Don at OMS) and the shop replaced the spool valve. All seemed good for a while and I'll not go further into that here, but long story short, I ended up learning how to rebuild my own PS boxes.
Hope that helps some.
 
Joined
May 19, 2021
Messages
422
Reaction score
138
Location
Fort Mohave, AZ & So Cal
My Car
73 Grande will undergo three phase build process. Phase 1 is to make roadworthy. Phase 2 is interior/exterior restoration. Phase 3 is ++ performance.
Hers an idea from a long ago problem my good friend had on his Torino. Had similar problem. His diagnosis approach proceeded after the off the ground test gave him the same results. What he did was, he put the drivers side tire on the ground with the passenger tire still in the air and did the test, same with passenger tire. He discovered he had a weird bind in one of the tie rod ends. Since he had done a rebuild of the front end and no steering box work, he was focused on those parts. Just an idea.
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2021
Messages
741
Reaction score
538
Location
East Texas
My Car
1971 Mustang Mach 1 M code 351 4 speed
Did you change anything in the steering system when you took the steering box and the PS pump out to be rebuilt? If you just took the box and pump out, sent them to be rebuilt and put them back in without replacing or moving anything then you may have an issue with the steering box. If all the steering was changed, or part of it, you could have your tie rods way off. On set of tie rods could be adjusted much longer than the other set, and that would cause the car to steer more to one side than the other. Maybe you changed the center link and got one that was not for a 71-73 Mustang?
 

Jackwagon3

Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2021
Messages
12
Reaction score
10
Location
Richmond Ky
Thanks for all the quick replies. I just wanna drive the damn car and enjoy all my hard work from the winter. The only thing I did was pull the pump and gear box and send them out. Last year I had replaced literally everything else other than those 2 things. And it drove and steered just fine. But the gear box leaked and I figured I may as well send em both out for refurbish. Last night I had my fiance (who is sick as a dog) sit in the car while running (which made her headache even better, haha) and turned the wheel with the car on the ground and then up in the air. I was under the car looking and I didn't see anything at all that was binding or loose or anything.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2014
Messages
3,584
Reaction score
541
Location
Madison, WI
My Car
1971 M-Code Mach 1 w/408C stroker
You may have to look under the car when you get to the point of premature stop. When the suspension gets loaded something is binding. Check the idler arm and tie rods for binding against the pinch welds or somewhere else. You may have to have someone turn the wheels while you are under the car; however, be careful if you have power steering and have the car on. It is better to park the front wheels on top of two sheets of plastic or two waxed boxes (such as cereal boxes). This will allow you to easily turn the wheels and check with the engine off.
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2015
Messages
5,905
Reaction score
971
Location
SW Ontario
My Car
1971 Mustang Mach 1, M code, 4 speed.
Thanks for all the quick replies. I just wanna drive the damn car and enjoy all my hard work from the winter. The only thing I did was pull the pump and gear box and send them out. Last year I had replaced literally everything else other than those 2 things. And it drove and steered just fine. But the gear box leaked and I figured I may as well send em both out for refurbish. Last night I had my fiance (who is sick as a dog) sit in the car while running (which made her headache even better, haha) and turned the wheel with the car on the ground and then up in the air. I was under the car looking and I didn't see anything at all that was binding or loose or anything.
Who rebuilt the PS box?
As others and I have mentioned, check all your steering components first and make sure you have bought the correct parts for this Mustang. If it drove fine last year before the PS rebuild, then maybe you'll need to go back to the PS box. Also check the rotations from center left and right. You have a 71 Mach 1, so the original PS box will be a variable ratio, so you will have a total of 3 1/8 turns LTL.
If the TAG is still on there, it ought to be SPA-T or V.
Good luck.
 

Jackwagon3

Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2021
Messages
12
Reaction score
10
Location
Richmond Ky
Roger Rode rebuilt it for me. He said everything checked out great before he sent it back to me. And I believe him. He knows his stuff. I wonder if I screwed up something putting it all back together but for the life of me I can't figure it out. The rag joint is in great shape so I know that is OK. I was told I need to make sure I have the timing marks lined up on the shaft too. When I take the steering wheel off there are 2 short line grooves in the threads and I assume those are them and they need to be at 12 o'clock?. I'm taking it all apart again tonight and taking off the gear box and try again from scratch. But I don't think those marks on the shaft threads are what my problem is. The rag joint only goes on to the end of the shaft one way and it only goes on to the gearbox shaft one way too. So I don't think that's it either.
I'll use a couple of cereal boxes tonight after work, good idea. And I'll really closely check if anything is binding up in the steering components. And the pitman arm was sent to Rode still on the gearbox and he wrote Truecenter on it with a dot on the shaft when he sent it back to me. And just to make sure I have it orientated correctly, I will count how many turns I get and make sure I have it in the middle before I reconnect the pitman arm. Hopefully that covers it all...
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2021
Messages
741
Reaction score
538
Location
East Texas
My Car
1971 Mustang Mach 1 M code 351 4 speed
Besides cereal boxes another thing that works great are 55 gallon trash bags. You fold the bag over itself and make a small square shaped bag to lay flat on the ground under the tire, those trash bags are very slick when they are folded a couple times over. A lot of circle track racers use the trash bags to align their cars in their garage when they do not have the proper turn plates.
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2015
Messages
5,905
Reaction score
971
Location
SW Ontario
My Car
1971 Mustang Mach 1, M code, 4 speed.
Roger Rode rebuilt it for me. He said everything checked out great before he sent it back to me. And I believe him. He knows his stuff. I wonder if I screwed up something putting it all back together but for the life of me I can't figure it out. The rag joint is in great shape so I know that is OK. I was told I need to make sure I have the timing marks lined up on the shaft too. When I take the steering wheel off there are 2 short line grooves in the threads and I assume those are them and they need to be at 12 o'clock?. I'm taking it all apart again tonight and taking off the gear box and try again from scratch. But I don't think those marks on the shaft threads are what my problem is. The rag joint only goes on to the end of the shaft one way and it only goes on to the gearbox shaft one way too. So I don't think that's it either.
I'll use a couple of cereal boxes tonight after work, good idea. And I'll really closely check if anything is binding up in the steering components. And the pitman arm was sent to Rode still on the gearbox and he wrote Truecenter on it with a dot on the shaft when he sent it back to me. And just to make sure I have it orientated correctly, I will count how many turns I get and make sure I have it in the middle before I reconnect the pitman arm. Hopefully that covers it all...
As a Canuck, I'm not familiar with Roger Rode, so I'll take your word that he knows his stuff. He's right though, the sector shaft must be centered. The steering wheel (why are you taking it off?) also must be centered and the rag joint installed on the input shaft, only goes one way as you say, with the bolt head upward. This ought to align with the column. You will probably have to rotate the coupler to tighten the nuts, but make sure you center it once done. With the wheels dead straight ahead, the pitman arm ought to align with the correct wider spline (blue marks show what I mean). If it doesn't, recheck your center. You'll see what I mean. Actually, before you go to the trouble of taking it all apart, just do a visual check, If all good, move on to the rest of the steering.
If when done, your steering wheel is off a bit, then pull it to realign.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_0756.1.JPG
    IMG_0756.1.JPG
    680.6 KB · Views: 7

Ron Tanzi

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 10, 2014
Messages
341
Reaction score
74
Location
United States
My Car
1972 Ford Mustang Mach 1 bright red, standard black interior,pb,ps
gauge package.rim blow steering wheel,15" magnum 500s,351 C 2bbl running a 4bbl Holley 600,MSD 6a with stock distributor and Pertronix,Comp cam mild grind, The Engine(rebuilt by me in 2002 for the second time the first rebuild I did was stock in 1995) made 305hp and 358 lb ft on the dyno. 9" 2.75 rear end,Global west sub frame connectors,620 front coils.Rear defroster. My parents bought my car brand new the year before I was born. I cherish it like my child.
This how I approach situations like this. What was the steering like before anything was replaced? You say it all worked fine and you only had the box rebuilt because it leaked. Ok then, what is the new ingredient? The rebuilt power steering box. If everything is back together the way it was then it is the box. It was not assembled correctly and obviously binding under load/resistance. I would send it back. I know shit like this is frustrating, We have all been there. Have patience and don't jump to conclusions.

Ron
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2015
Messages
5,905
Reaction score
971
Location
SW Ontario
My Car
1971 Mustang Mach 1, M code, 4 speed.
This how I approach situations like this. What was the steering like before anything was replaced? You say it all worked fine and you only had the box rebuilt because it leaked. Ok then, what is the new ingredient? The rebuilt power steering box. If everything is back together the way it was then it is the box. It was not assembled correctly and obviously binding under load/resistance. I would send it back. I know shit like this is frustrating, We have all been there. Have patience and don't jump to conclusions.

Ron
Agreed, but let's wait to hear what he says after a trial run. Damn frustrating for sure.

Sorry guys, these two replies got mixed up together somehow. Couldn't separate them. Oh well!


When your wheels are straight forward are the two pins on your rag joint at 12 and 6 O'clock with the larger pin at 12?
True, unless he's bought the Lares 201, which has two identical diameter and longer pins and imo, is the best alternative to the original coupler. The larger pin on the original, was more than likely there to aid the production line get the box on correctly.
 

Jackwagon3

Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2021
Messages
12
Reaction score
10
Location
Richmond Ky
Get a chance to dig into it yet?
Ugh yes..I took the steering box back off and made sure the pitman arm was centered left to right. And I made very sure that the rag joint was on correct with the large pin upwards. Bled the shit out of the pump too. Same damn result. Car in the air and it turns perfectly lock to lock. Put it on the ground, goes left perfectly but only one full turn to the right. It should go 1.5 turns but only makes it one full turn. I even put plastic trash bags under it, same result. Think next I'll try the same tests with one wheel in the air and see if something is binding. I did get under it and look while someone turned the wheels for me. Nothing looked out of place..
Do you think I could still have air in the system? I bled it with the wheels in the air, car off and then with the car running. I probably went lock to lock about 20 times. Can't imagine there would still be air in the system..getting frustrated. All I wanna do is drive the damn thing!
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2015
Messages
5,905
Reaction score
971
Location
SW Ontario
My Car
1971 Mustang Mach 1, M code, 4 speed.
Agree with Hemikiller. send it back FOR A REFUND!! I think the spool valve is the likely culprit. I had a bad one on one of my boxes. No idea how, but it was just 1 thou (.001") out of round (measured on a CMM machine) and THAT was enough to cause it to stick. In fact, it made it hard to assemble the valve components. 1 thou doesn't sound much, but think of it this way, an Indy car travelling at 200 mph, has another following 1 second behind, the gap is huge. 1/10th of a second is hard to make up, let alone 1 second. It's the same with measurements.
There might be one other remote possibility, but I really don't see it as you can turn LTL 3 turns in the air and that is there is 1 ball that has dropped off the worn screw and stopping the rack piston travelling all the way in one direction. I had that problem too and why I do my own now.
Maybe buy a RedHead 3 turn box. They definitely know what they're doing from reading the write-up.
 

Jackwagon3

Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2021
Messages
12
Reaction score
10
Location
Richmond Ky
Agree with Hemikiller. send it back FOR A REFUND!! I think the spool valve is the likely culprit. I had a bad one on one of my boxes. No idea how, but it was just 1 thou (.001") out of round (measured on a CMM machine) and THAT was enough to cause it to stick. In fact, it made it hard to assemble the valve components. 1 thou doesn't sound much, but think of it this way, an Indy car travelling at 200 mph, has another following 1 second behind, the gap is huge. 1/10th of a second is hard to make up, let alone 1 second. It's the same with measurements.
There might be one other remote possibility, but I really don't see it as you can turn LTL 3 turns in the air and that is there is 1 ball that has dropped off the worn screw and stopping the rack piston travelling all the way in one direction. I had that problem too and why I do my own now.
Maybe buy a RedHead 3 turn box. They definitely know what they're doing from reading the write-up.
I just got off the phone with Roger and he said to send it back and he'll send me one that is redone and clean and swap me. Hopefully it comes to me soon. I'll keep you posted. Thanks for all the replies!!
 

piper62j

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 6, 2014
Messages
349
Reaction score
19
Location
34613
My Car
1973 Q-Code Mach 1. Full restoration in progress.
The sector shaft was not installed properly during the rebuild.. Easy fix.. Remove the bolted on cover, pull the pitman arm off, slide the sector shaft up out of the worm gear and re-install it in the centered position. Should take about 45 minutes start to finish.
 
Top