Steering issues, please help!

Help Support 7173Mustangs.com:

Hoagie Ranch

Active member
Joined
Jan 3, 2022
Messages
41
Reaction score
8
My Car
1971 MUSTANG MACH 1 429 SCJ
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
Hello, I need a new steering box too. I have been told by a repair shop that they would have to remove the engine to get to the Box. I was wondering if you removed your engine to replace your box. Thanks
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2015
Messages
1,528
Reaction score
219
Location
California
My Car
71' Grande project.
Hello, I need a new steering box too. I have been told by a repair shop that they would have to remove the engine to get to the Box. I was wondering if you removed your engine to replace your box. Thanks
You do not have to remove the engine. It drops out the bottom.
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2015
Messages
1,528
Reaction score
219
Location
California
My Car
71' Grande project.
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.
I don’t agree.

OP stated they could go lock to lock with the car up in the air. If the pitman was installed one tooth off that wouldn’t be the case.
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2015
Messages
5,909
Reaction score
974
Location
SW Ontario
My Car
1971 Mustang Mach 1, M code, 4 speed.
I don’t agree.

OP stated they could go lock to lock with the car up in the air. If the pitman was installed one tooth off that wouldn’t be the case.
Yes, I totally agree with you Bentworker. It's not the sector shaft. If it were you would not get equal lock as stated, up in the air or otherwise. I just don't see it happening by any professional rebuilder. It's something else I'm sure.
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2015
Messages
5,909
Reaction score
974
Location
SW Ontario
My Car
1971 Mustang Mach 1, M code, 4 speed.
Hello, I need a new steering box too. I have been told by a repair shop that they would have to remove the engine to get to the Box. I was wondering if you removed your engine to replace your box. Thanks
They're either totally incompetent or thinking they have a "fish on the line". Find another shop if you are unable to do this yourself.
 

73inNH

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 16, 2021
Messages
190
Reaction score
52
My Car
1973 Convertible, Q code, 4 speed, 3.25, A/C, P/S
Hello, I need a new steering box too. I have been told by a repair shop that they would have to remove the engine to get to the Box. I was wondering if you removed your engine to replace your box. Thanks
I just did this a few weeks ago. I promise, my engine stayed in the car. :)

The whole job can be done from underneath the car. I have a lift which makes it much easier, but it could be done on jackstands as well.
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2015
Messages
5,909
Reaction score
974
Location
SW Ontario
My Car
1971 Mustang Mach 1, M code, 4 speed.
Hello, I need a new steering box too. I have been told by a repair shop that they would have to remove the engine to get to the Box. I was wondering if you removed your engine to replace your box. Thanks
The hard part of removing the box is separating the pitman arm, BUT the easier way is to separate the pitman arm at the center link. You can buy a small puller that will work at your local parts store, or use a tie rod 'pickle fork' remover. You will almost certainly need a new pitman arm regardless. Finding the correct one, we can help on that later. If your steering is really old and crusty, it's the best time to go over all of it and replace the idler arm as well as tie rods. I know, the "snow ball effect", but a job worth doing is worth doing well.
If you do do this yourself, have someone help you especially to reinstall the box. They are heavy and a bit awkward to handle on your own, trust me I know.
We can offer more tips and tricks later if you just ask.
 

Hemikiller

Well-known member
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
3,668
Reaction score
935
Location
Killingworth, CT
My Car
71 Mach 1
65 coupe
Hello, I need a new steering box too. I have been told by a repair shop that they would have to remove the engine to get to the Box. I was wondering if you removed your engine to replace your box. Thanks

What is the reason they say you need a new box? I would have serious reservations about anything they say. Echoing Stanglover, the shop is either completely incompetent or trying to rip you off. The job is two nuts on the coupler, two p/s lines, the cotter pin/castle nut/ joint on the pitman arm, and three bolts on the frame. It'll then land in your lap. The *only* caveat would if you have Hooker or other aftermarket headers. the driver's side may header have to be unbolted.

IMO, I would remove the box and send it to be rebuilt by RedHead/Lee/Rhodes etc, rather than sourcing a reman unit. I'd send the pump with it, and get new hoses, so you have a completely fresh system when it's put back together.
 

73inNH

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 16, 2021
Messages
190
Reaction score
52
My Car
1973 Convertible, Q code, 4 speed, 3.25, A/C, P/S
What is the reason they say you need a new box? I would have serious reservations about anything they say. Echoing Stanglover, the shop is either completely incompetent or trying to rip you off. The job is two nuts on the coupler, two p/s lines, the cotter pin/castle nut/ joint on the pitman arm, and three bolts on the frame. It'll then land in your lap. The *only* caveat would if you have Hooker or other aftermarket headers. the driver's side may header have to be unbolted.

IMO, I would remove the box and send it to be rebuilt by RedHead/Lee/Rhodes etc, rather than sourcing a reman unit. I'd send the pump with it, and get new hoses, so you have a completely fresh system when it's put back together.
I echo Hemikiller. I installed a Redhead and literally have zero play in the steering wheel. None.

Most of my steering components we're replaced a few years ago so they were in good shape regardless. The steering box was the last to go.

The only crappy parts of the job were removing the pitman arm (mine was almost new so I could reuse it), and the whole job is pretty messy. Power steering fluid gets everywhere.

And I agree with Stanglover, it's difficult to hold the steering box in place with one hand and screw it in with the other. I had a helper.
 

Jackwagon3

Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2021
Messages
12
Reaction score
10
Location
Richmond Ky
Ok I'm having a blantons and cooling off...
Had another box sent to me in 2 days, which was nice, and was told it was completely went thru and looks great. Wasn't expecting it that fast. Of course I couldn't wait to put it in so I could put more break in miles on it. Bled the shit out of it again.. similar result..
Up in the air, it turns like butter LTL. Put in on the ground and it turns left perfectly. Now as soon as you turn right, it has tons of tension the whole way. It will go to lock but it's a struggle to get there. About to lose my $hit...
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2015
Messages
1,528
Reaction score
219
Location
California
My Car
71' Grande project.
If you safely support the front end off the ground (tires in the air straight forward). and start the engine does it steer by itself? By steer by itself does it go to lock in one direction on its own without you touching the steering wheel?
 

midlife

Shorts checker
Joined
Jan 24, 2012
Messages
4,111
Reaction score
526
Location
Tucson, AZ
My Car
No Mustangs at the moment.
It's obvious to me that there is something binding when the car weight is on the wheels vs. up in the air. The only way to isolate the problem is with it sitting on the ground and someone small enough to get underneath and examine what is going on.
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2015
Messages
1,528
Reaction score
219
Location
California
My Car
71' Grande project.
It's obvious to me that there is something binding when the car weight is on the wheels vs. up in the air. The only way to isolate the problem is with it sitting on the ground and someone small enough to get underneath and examine what is going on.
Or a 4 post lift…
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2015
Messages
5,909
Reaction score
974
Location
SW Ontario
My Car
1971 Mustang Mach 1, M code, 4 speed.
Well that proves it's not the sector shaft incorrectly installed (which is physically impossible) or a spool valve out of round and sticking as happened to me.
It HAS to be in the steering linkage somewhere. If it all looks good, then let me ask this, do you have the correct Idler Arm installed. I honestly can't think of anything else other than a bent center link, or...............
 

Jackwagon3

Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2021
Messages
12
Reaction score
10
Location
Richmond Ky
Yea im stumped too. Before I sent off the saginaw box and pump to be rebuild, everything worked just fine, just leaked a bit. But since I just dumped $20k in parts over the winter I figured I may as well do the steering box and pump. After the reinstall is when shit went wrong. Only thing that hasn't been replaced on the steering system is the center link. But it was fine before and nothing binded. Can't understand why now it chose to not work correctly. I did add AC from Classic Auto Air and it works fantastic. And the new belt for that does go around the power steering pump too. But I don't think it has anything to do with it.
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2015
Messages
1,528
Reaction score
219
Location
California
My Car
71' Grande project.
If you safely support the front end off the ground (tires in the air straight forward). and start the engine does it steer by itself? By steer by itself does it go to lock in one direction on its own without you touching the steering wheel?
Curious if you were able to do this test.
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2021
Messages
744
Reaction score
542
Location
East Texas
My Car
1971 Mustang Mach 1 M code 351 4 speed
I am starting to think that something is binding, although it kind of does not make any sense as the only thing changed was the steering box. After a lot of thinking all I could think of was, with the vehicle on the ground, disconnect one side of the tie rod ends and then move the steering wheel lock to lock and see if it moves all the way, then connect that side and disconnect the other side and move the steering wheel lock to lock. If something is binding you will be able to isolate which side is binding. Also when you disconnect each side of the tie rods, you should be able to move the wheels by hand in their complete arc while on the floor, if you have some trash bags under the tires. Hopefully you find something that is hitting something or binding like that. One side at a time, with some patience.
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2015
Messages
5,909
Reaction score
974
Location
SW Ontario
My Car
1971 Mustang Mach 1, M code, 4 speed.
This is WEIRD!!!
The one part that jumps out at me is the Idler Arm is the wrong part is may be binding. What is the part brand and number of the Idler Arm you bought?
The I/A I have on my car is from NPD is #3355-1A. The problem with this particular part is that the top bolt hole MUST be slotted upward to get it to fit. Other than that, the geometry is correct and the quality is very good.
Below is a sketch I did to illustrate the importance of correct geometry. The sketch is a bit on the light side, but you can see which dimensions are critical, X & Y. I can re-do it if necessary.
 

Attachments

  • Idler arm.pdf
    141.8 KB · Views: 9
Joined
Jul 10, 2011
Messages
1,928
Reaction score
444
Location
Germany, Southwest, Black Forest
My Car
1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1 T5 Q-Code 4-Speed
Geoff, that's the one thing I think of the most. We have discussed that a few times here over the years and know now how important the right geometry is. To get the right one for our cars is not easy these days...
But what wonders me about how could it be ok before rebuild of the steering box and now something is binding and he didn't change anything since. Could it be that the steering linkage was or is so worn out that now it shows it??? Perhaps something is mounted the wrong way now and he is not seeing the obvious? We all know this - you are searching something and walk by it a zillion times but don't see it.
It's so difficult to evaluate from a distance and without being there...
 
Top