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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm sick of this wandering and sloppy steering. I'm going to pull the steering box and make the two preload adjustments, and if that doesn't work I'll get a rebuilt box.

What are the steps to pull out the steering box? What tools will I need? I think I can get away without taking the pitman arm off, correct? I'm not rebuilding it, just resetting bearing and sector shaft preloads.

Help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Nobody has pulled a steering box? Am I the first?
 

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are you talking about the adjuster on top of the steering box? I can adjust mine just fine without having to take anything out

if you're talking about something else though, you should totally take some pics. mine's not that old and it's still sloppy as hell
 

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Why not invest in a FSM?

Remove the power steering hoses (use flare wrenches and be prepared to FUBAR them anyway if the box has never been removed). Three(?) bolts to the frame. I don't know if you need to remove the pitman arm to do those adjustments. You will need to either remove it, or separate it from the steering linkage at the other end. Disconnect the steering shaft from the steering gear and collapse it to get it out of the way. It's a very straightforward job to remove the steering gear, complicated by the fact that most of these cars are a million years old now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've hit all the bolts with PB Blaster, etc. ever since I started researching the wandering issue and it lead me to the box, months ago. I'll hit them again tonight with a fresh shot.

Thanks all.

The main one I want to do is the bearing preload, which sounds like a delicate "feel" is required to get right.
 

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I've been gathering supplies to hopefully pull mine this weekend. Anybody happen to know what size flare wrench I'd need for the lines? I tried to size it up with a crescent wrench, but my set is missing alot of sizes

searched and all i found was this:
http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/showthread.php?t=246973

maybe his lines were corroded and a 17mm could be forced on?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Before I got to the box, I replaced the center link and idler arm. Whenever you search for 'wander', you get center link and/or idler arm. So I figured I'd do those as well, despite the fact that two alignment shops had said the front end was fine. Well surprise surprise, this was a BIG improvement to the steering. The car tracks far more stably now, and doesn't pull left or right under braking. There is still almost zero steering feel because of the play in the box, but I've grown accustomed to that. At least the random wandering is much reduced now.

The box is still next, and I'm hoping to finally feel connected to the front wheels.
 

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Anybody happen to know what size flare wrench I'd need for the lines
get a 16mm X 18mm wrench at autozone for $8
 

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When you pull the box make sure you change the rag joint that will help with some of the slop in the steering wheel.
 

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get a 16mm X 18mm wrench at autozone for $8

It was a 18 and 19 on my car. The PS pump High pressure line was a 16. If your working on your own car one should plan on having a tool set with all sorts of sizes of all sorts of tools! Use the wrench that fits. With the age of the lines I would recommend buying new ones. Mine sprung a leak on both!
 

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get a 16mm X 18mm wrench at autozone for $8
It was a 18 and 19 on my car. The PS pump High pressure line was a 16. If your working on your own car one should plan on having a tool set with all sorts of sizes of all sorts of tools! Use the wrench that fits. With the age of the lines I would recommend buying new ones. Mine sprung a leak on both!
Thanks guys. I would have just bought a set of wrenches by now, but I'm getting a set for christmas, so i've been holding off lol
 

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Thanks guys. I would have just bought a set of wrenches by now, but I'm getting a set for christmas, so i've been holding off lol
sounds like christmas needs to come early this year:D
 

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haha, yeah it does

running back and forth to autozone can be a p.i.t.a sometimes.

... even though its literally 2 blocks from my house lol
 

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Before replacing the steering box, I would:

Crawl under the front of the car, grab the centerlink near the idler arm (over by the passenger's side frame) and see if you can move that end of the centerlink up & down. If so, replace the idler arm (Moog $45).

Jack up the passenger's side front corner (jack under the frame) until the tire comes off the ground. Grab the front and rear 'sides' of the tire (3 & 9 O'Clock) and try to shake the tire 'in and out' (towards & away from the motor). If you can wiggle the tire, start looking at replacing the centerlink and the inner/outer tie-rod ends.

With the tire still up in the air, grab the 'top & bottom" of the tire (12 & 6 O'Clock) and shake it 'in & out' again. If you can wiggle the tire, start looking at your ball joints. With the tire still in the air, put the end of a long 2x4 under the tire and over a fulcrum (another piece of 2x4, etc.) - then push down on the opposite end of the first 2x4 (like a pry bar) - if you can lift the tire & wheel up (but not the front suspension), you really need to replace the ball joints.

The pitman arm is a solid chunk of steel. Unless it is loose at the steering box or centerlink, it's fine. If it loose - tighten the nuts.

It's kind of a pain, but you can loosen the 'sleeve' that GM put over the lower part of the steering shaft (looks like a small, blue, baseball bat?), slide it up the steering shaft (or just remove the damn thing) and inspect the rag-joint (you can replace just the 'rag' part of it with 'Help" parts from a parts store, if necessary).

Then adjust the lash out of your steering box. Loosen the 16mm locknut on the top center of your steering box, then s-l-o-w-l-y tighten the 4.5mm allen screw while somone turns the steering wheel side to side (30 degrees each way should do it) until you hear/feel a 'clicking' in the steering-wheel/steering-box. Then back off the allen screw until the clicking goes away and re-tighten the locking nut. Do this in 1/8 turn increments of the allen screw. What you are doing is pusing the gears in the steering box closer together to compensate for the years of wear.

HTH
 
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