Steering loose spot is off-center - Chevy Impala SS Forum
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post #1 of 42 (permalink) Old 10-09-2017, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
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Steering loose spot is off-center

The loose spot in the steering is typically dead center, but in my Caprice, it's off to the right slightly, like around 1230-100. It's got an SS box that was rebuilt by Lee's Manufacturing, installed by me. It's been like this ever since I installed the rebuilt box, which was years ago. I had the front end aligned after the box was installed.

I noticed a bit of wear on the inside edge of the right front tire, so the car is going in for another alignment tomorrow and I figured I'd see if there was something I could do to make the loose spot on-center. I assumed that maybe the input shaft or pittman arm were off by one tooth, but they are both keyed so they can only install one way.

What else can I do? Can I move the steering wheel one tooth to the right, perhaps? Could the location of the loose spot be fixed by the alignment?

--'94 Caprice "SS" wagon, 0.30 over, high-volume oil pump, LT4 hot cam, 1.6:1 rockers, ported aluminum Corvette heads, shorty headers, PCM4Less tune, 4.10s, shift kit, side-exit dual exhaust with Flowmasters, OR X-pipe, F-body gauge cluster, Bonneville front and rear seats (working electrics), Bravada console shifter, Bilsteins, 12.7:1 Impala steering box, Boss 338s with 255/45R20s, bunch of other stuff I'm forgetting.
--'04 Mustang Cobra, '15 Audi S4
--1125R, 1050, VMax, VFR800, DRZ-400E
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post #2 of 42 (permalink) Old 10-10-2017, 08:50 AM
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The steering wheel can be moved on the splines.

The sloppy spot in the steering box is the center. While you have other things apart, you can adjust the box for minimum play. Instructions are in the FSM with one exception. When adjusting the Torrington bearing play, always turn the shaft from left to right before setting the plate, or the screw shaft will push the bearing against the plate, and it will be loose.

First you should check the tierods to see if they are the same length as adjusted. If they are noticeably different lengths, the steering box is not using the center point of its travel (I think you will find this to be the case).

Another way to check whether the box is centered is to first mark the Pittman arm when going straight as a reference. Rotate the steering from one extreme to the other and then move it half the distance. Compare the original mark, with the position of the arm. You may find that it is at the sloppy area.

If it is not centered, you will also have a side to side differential in the rotation when the cancel cam for the turn signals turns off the turn signal. Get the turn signals to turn off at the same but opposite points, and you can tell how far off the box is. Once you find that point, you may have to rotate the locking ring to get the horn button connector to go through the locking ring, and use that to install the steering wheel straight up. The clock spring and steering wheel aligns with the locking ring, so check that too.

1991 OCC 461 (.030 over 454) BBC, 3.23 posi, flash to pass, drop spindles & springs, Impala rims, Hydroboost, Recaros, MOMO/wood SW w/QR, custom wood shift knob, Pioneer DEH P77DH
1992 OCC now with 5.7 tbi, DEH P77DH
For a parts list, check https://www.impalassforum.com/vBulle...ion-parts.html
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post #3 of 42 (permalink) Old 10-10-2017, 09:29 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Kiehl View Post
The steering wheel can be moved on the splines.

First you should check the tierods to see if they are the same length as adjusted. If they are noticeably different lengths, the steering box is not using the center point of its travel (I think you will find this to be the case).
Looking under the car, there are more threads showing on one tie rod than on the other, which seems to confirm that the steering wheel is off center. I'll get a puller, remove the steering wheel, and turn it a spline or two to the right. Is there more to it than that? Your other statement sounds like there might be, so I'll re-read it once I have the steering wheel off.

Quote:
If it is not centered, you will also have a side to side differential in the rotation when the cancel cam for the turn signals turns off the turn signal. Get the turn signals to turn off at the same but opposite points, and you can tell how far off the box is. Once you find that point, you may have to rotate the locking ring to get the horn button connector to go through the locking ring, and use that to install the steering wheel straight up. The clock spring and steering wheel aligns with the locking ring, so check that too.
Interestingly the turn signal cancellation "click" (the point at which, once past, if I turn back towards center, the signal will cancel itself) seems to be at about the same place on both sides--930 or so on the left, and 230 or so on the right.

The box doesn't have a lot of play in it--it feels like it has about the same amount now as it did when I got it back from Lee's. I assume they adjusted it optimally, so I am hesitant to make any adjustments myself.

Thanks!

--'94 Caprice "SS" wagon, 0.30 over, high-volume oil pump, LT4 hot cam, 1.6:1 rockers, ported aluminum Corvette heads, shorty headers, PCM4Less tune, 4.10s, shift kit, side-exit dual exhaust with Flowmasters, OR X-pipe, F-body gauge cluster, Bonneville front and rear seats (working electrics), Bravada console shifter, Bilsteins, 12.7:1 Impala steering box, Boss 338s with 255/45R20s, bunch of other stuff I'm forgetting.
--'04 Mustang Cobra, '15 Audi S4
--1125R, 1050, VMax, VFR800, DRZ-400E
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post #4 of 42 (permalink) Old 10-10-2017, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Kiehl View Post
First you should check the tierods to see if they are the same length as adjusted. If they are noticeably different lengths, the steering box is not using the center point of its travel (I think you will find this to be the case).

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Originally Posted by TheFleshRocket View Post
Looking under the car, there are more threads showing on one tie rod than on the other, which seems to confirm that the steering wheel is off center. I'll get a puller, remove the steering wheel, and turn it a spline or two to the right. Is there more to it than that? Your other statement sounds like there might be, so I'll re-read it once I have the steering wheel off.



!
I think what Fred is saying, and you confirmed is if your tie rods do appear different length (based on counting threads or measuring, correct that FIRST as that may be likely the centering issue.

Maybe when car was aligned the shop got it off. I took a car back after alignment because the wheel was no longer centered and they fixed it by re-adjusting tie rods

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post #5 of 42 (permalink) Old 10-10-2017, 11:00 AM
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It isn't hard to center the wheel by turning both tie-rod adjusters the same number of turns in the same direction of rotation..

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post #6 of 42 (permalink) Old 10-10-2017, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BALLSS View Post
I think what Fred is saying, and you confirmed is if your tie rods do appear different length (based on counting threads or measuring, correct that FIRST as that may be likely the centering issue.

Maybe when car was aligned the shop got it off. I took a car back after alignment because the wheel was no longer centered and they fixed it by re-adjusting tie rods
Okay, just trying to wrap my head around this. So if the car has 4 inches of exposed tie rod threads on one side and 2 inches of exposed thread on the other side (these are random numbers), and the alignment shop corrects it so that there are 3 inches of exposed thread on both sides.. can they do that and still keep the steering wheel centered? Won't adjusting the tie rods so that the exposed threads are even on both sides result in the steering wheel being cocked to one side when the car is going straight?

Just to make sure I'm clear on what the situation is--right now, when I have the steering wheel at 1200, the car goes down the road straight. But when I'm at a stop and I move the steering wheel right or left, I can tell that the loose spot is around the 1230 to 100 position. And, as soon as I release the steering wheel while driving, it goes to the 1230-100 position and the car pulls to the right.

--'94 Caprice "SS" wagon, 0.30 over, high-volume oil pump, LT4 hot cam, 1.6:1 rockers, ported aluminum Corvette heads, shorty headers, PCM4Less tune, 4.10s, shift kit, side-exit dual exhaust with Flowmasters, OR X-pipe, F-body gauge cluster, Bonneville front and rear seats (working electrics), Bravada console shifter, Bilsteins, 12.7:1 Impala steering box, Boss 338s with 255/45R20s, bunch of other stuff I'm forgetting.
--'04 Mustang Cobra, '15 Audi S4
--1125R, 1050, VMax, VFR800, DRZ-400E
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post #7 of 42 (permalink) Old 10-10-2017, 11:09 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1slow96 View Post
It isn't hard to center the wheel by turning both tie-rod adjusters the same number of turns in the same direction of rotation..
Oooooh okay.. I think that answers my main question in the post above this.

So basically what you're saying is that the alignment shop can put the loose spot back at 1200, AND have the car be going down the road straight when the steering wheel is as the 1200 position (the slack in the loose spot and the pull from road crown notwithstanding)?

--'94 Caprice "SS" wagon, 0.30 over, high-volume oil pump, LT4 hot cam, 1.6:1 rockers, ported aluminum Corvette heads, shorty headers, PCM4Less tune, 4.10s, shift kit, side-exit dual exhaust with Flowmasters, OR X-pipe, F-body gauge cluster, Bonneville front and rear seats (working electrics), Bravada console shifter, Bilsteins, 12.7:1 Impala steering box, Boss 338s with 255/45R20s, bunch of other stuff I'm forgetting.
--'04 Mustang Cobra, '15 Audi S4
--1125R, 1050, VMax, VFR800, DRZ-400E
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post #8 of 42 (permalink) Old 10-10-2017, 11:34 AM
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^^^yes, that is what Fred, 1Slow and I are saying.

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post #9 of 42 (permalink) Old 10-10-2017, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, guys. I dunno how I got confused about this.

--'94 Caprice "SS" wagon, 0.30 over, high-volume oil pump, LT4 hot cam, 1.6:1 rockers, ported aluminum Corvette heads, shorty headers, PCM4Less tune, 4.10s, shift kit, side-exit dual exhaust with Flowmasters, OR X-pipe, F-body gauge cluster, Bonneville front and rear seats (working electrics), Bravada console shifter, Bilsteins, 12.7:1 Impala steering box, Boss 338s with 255/45R20s, bunch of other stuff I'm forgetting.
--'04 Mustang Cobra, '15 Audi S4
--1125R, 1050, VMax, VFR800, DRZ-400E
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post #10 of 42 (permalink) Old 10-10-2017, 09:37 PM
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When the steering box is centered, that does not necessarily mean the steering wheel will be centered. If the steering wheel is centered, that is a good thing, but if it is not, you may have to adjust a number of things to make it straight. You did not say if your steering wheel was centered in its current condition.

1991 OCC 461 (.030 over 454) BBC, 3.23 posi, flash to pass, drop spindles & springs, Impala rims, Hydroboost, Recaros, MOMO/wood SW w/QR, custom wood shift knob, Pioneer DEH P77DH
1992 OCC now with 5.7 tbi, DEH P77DH
For a parts list, check https://www.impalassforum.com/vBulle...ion-parts.html
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