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1995 Impala SS
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21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know I mentioned elsewhere that I've gone through and replaced a lot of suspension parts. However, I figured that finding the last piece of the puzzle was worth noting and giving a shout out to where I got it.

The steering gear box was where most of the funk was in the steering. It was also apparently the culprit for my steering wheel/column being loose. If I put a little bit of pressure downward, the steering wheel would lower. Not a dangerous amount but just enough to be really annoying. I figured the tilt part of the wheel was worn out. Maybe the guy who owned it before me really liked to get up on that wheel. I was really not looking forward to digging into that.

Nobody sells new gear boxes anymore. So the options for Rebuilt are hit or miss. I couldn't find any brand that there weren't complaints about having them only last only a couple thousand miles or them being garbage right out of the box. Except Lee was always getting great reviews. But damn that's a pricy fix.

Since I'd rather fix it once, I begrudgingly shelled out the money. Turnaround was quick. No issues on the install. And I understand that part of his design is to add extra oomf to have to turn them but yeesh. That thing was stiff as hell to turn. I knew that coming in and from one of the reviews on here, someone said that it gets less stiff. So I rode it out for about a month.

Now, I'm not going to be hitting any U-turns with nothing but my pinky, but it's gotten a lot less stiff as I've driven it.

And, the important part is that I don't have to keep snatching the wheel back over because it's wandering into another lane. No more loosie-goosy.

Another bonus is that my steering wheel doesn't bounce anymore when you put pressure on it.
 

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There are a couple of things in the steering shaft/column that you can do as well to remove small amounts of play from wear.
The intermediate shaft/rag joint connection to the steering box.
The white plastic bearing where the intermediate shaft connects to the steering column up at the brake master cylinder area.
Play in the the steering column itself might not be the tilt mechanism. That's basically a unlocking lever, a compressed spring and a couple of big pins for the upper part to rotate on. More likely column wear is some pain in the rear work--the plastic spherical joint near the bottom and a roller bearing.
Sounds like you've taken care of the major causes, though! Nice, isn't it.
 

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Tightening the input shaft Torrington bearing makes a lot of difference in the slop. When tightening it, loosen the clamping ring, turn the wheel to the left, and then bring it up to center (this is not addressed in the FSM). Tighten the bearing until it is just snug, and then tighten the clamping ring without allowing the bearing adjuster to move. You will notice a marked improvement in slack. If you still have a little, now is the time to tighten the output shaft. It can be done with the box in the car. I can even get to it with the 454 in my car.
 

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1995 Impala SS
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I did go with a Lee steering box.

Since there were different options/variations to choose from on his site, I'm not sure about a part number but the full name description for the one I got:

Saginaw 800 3-bolt 12:1 Power Steering Gearbox For GM Classic CarsFitting: O-Ring for 1980-present

It was pricy. But it seems like the right choice.
 

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1995 Impala SS
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21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Tightening the input shaft Torrington bearing makes a lot of difference in the slop. When tightening it, loosen the clamping ring, turn the wheel to the left, and then bring it up to center (this is not addressed in the FSM). Tighten the bearing until it is just snug, and then tighten the clamping ring without allowing the bearing adjuster to move. You will notice a marked improvement in slack. If you still have a little, now is the time to tighten the output shaft. It can be done with the box in the car. I can even get to it with the 454 in my car.
Yessir. I spent a lot of time adjusting that, taking it around the block and adjusting it some more.

With all the adjustments, either sloppy or way too binding. So unfortunately I had to bite the bullet and get it replaced.
 

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There aren't enough adjustments to compensate for a steering box that is just plain wore out.
 

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There are a lot of good boxes out there that just need the proper adjustment, but if it is worn out, no amount of adjusting will fix it.
 

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1995 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham
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On some of the newer BMW's, it almost feels like there is no power steering.

It feels weird at first, but it is supposedly better at high speeds and during spirited driving. You certainly don't need to turn the wheel much to change lanes on the autobahn.
 

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1996 BBB
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2,469 Posts
I went with a Turn One 600 series box and it made a huge difference over any other B body I have driven. not cheap at all, but combined with the borgeson steering shaft there is zero slop and the steering feels great. One thing i have noticed as well is I have practically wander with the car wanting to pull into grooves on the roadway, even with the 275s up front. I've built/driven/owned a few b bodies with all the aftermarket suspension goodies and i've never had one that didn't pull you around pretty badly into grooves and uneven parts of roadways on the highway with wide tires up front until this current setup.
 
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