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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
3 quick questions

1 - There's a 9C1 in a local yard. Will the steering box bolt up in to my RMS without issues, and am I correct to expect better steering response with the 9C1 box?

2 - How do you disconnect the pitman arm from the center link? I got the nut on top off, but can not get the 2 broken away from each other.

3 - I read about adjusting the steering box on the bench before install. Anyone have the correct procedure or a link? I don't have an FSM.

Thanks
 

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1 - Yes, the steering box will bolt up, but be sure to get the pitman arm as well. The 9C1's have a heavier duty pitman arm, but the center links were the same so it will install in any B-body no problem. The 9C1's got a fast ratio, 'high effort' box.

2 - They make a special tool for this O'Reilly, Auto Zone, etc will rent it to you.

3 - From http://www.monte-list.nu/tech/boxmesh.shtml

contributed by J. Matthew Daugherty

Well, after swapping the steering box twice in 4 days, I can tell you how to do it :) Not that bad a job really. The hardest part seems to be getting the center link to let go of the pitman arm.

I did learn some useful tricks while I had the stock LS (like slow) steering box out. There are two adjustments you can make to a GM box. One is the thrust bearing preload and the other is the pitman shaft "over center" sector adjustment. I set both of these with the box clamped in a vise. I have tried the "over center" adjustment many times when the box was in the car, but after doing it out of the car, I can see why the service manual says that it must be done on the bench. The previous adjustment turned out to be way to tight, even though it was set with more than a quarter turn that is sometimes recommended.

After I did the following adjustments, I couldn't believe how much better the steering felt. All of the slop and stickiness(?) on center was gone. It felt like a brand new box. Hmmm. I recommend these procedures for any used box and would go so far to say that it would be worthwhile to remove your steering box just to re-set it up. The results are worth the time and trouble.

Make sure to get as much fluid out of the box before attempting these adjustments!

Adjust thrust bearing preload. This adjustment sets the bearing preload for the worm gear shaft that the steering wheel turns. At the rear of the box there is a large lock nut with three slots. This holds the adjuster plug in position. Loosen this and remove. Using a spanner wrench or suitable tool (I used a large set of needle nose pliers!), turn the adjusting plug to tighten it. The correct torque is 20 ft. lbs. The point is to snug up the bearings, removing any clearances. Now, mark the position of the adjustment plug and also mark the housing in the same spot. Measure back counterclockwise 1/2" on the housing from your mark. Turn (loosen) the adjuster plug back until the mark on it lines up with the second mark on the housing. Reinstall the lock nut while making sure the adjuster plug does not move. Finished!
Pitman shaft "over center" adjustment. This can be done on the car, but I don't recommend doing it that way anymore. The loads of the other parts of the steering system and the position of the box in the car make it impossible to "feel" the way it should be setup. Loosen the lock nut on top of the box while holding the adjusting screw. Back off the lock nut a few turns. Put a small adjustable wrench on the input shaft, making sure that the box is in its straight ahead position (flat on shaft is horizontal, pitman arm almost inline with box). Rotate the input shaft back and forth slowly while also slowly turning the screw on top in, until you can feel that the box gets a little stiffer as is goes thru the straight ahead position. The trick is to get it so that you can just barely turn the shaft with your fingers. The on center torque only affects the box through about 30-40 degrees of motion. The box should turn easliy with your fingers outside of this range. The correct torque to turn the shaft over-center is 6 to 10 inch pounds, not even one foot pound! The point is to get the over-center adjustment just right. Try it several times before you do call it done. Fininshed
After you do these adjustments and put the box in the car, you will notice that the steering feels like new again. No play, no slop, and lots of road feel. If the "over center" adjustment is even slightly too tight, the steering will feel 'numb' on center and not want to return to center after a turn. I was amazed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info. What tool do I ask for to seperate the pitman arm? Unfortunately, the local AutoZone guys arn't the brightest bunch.
 
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