So, I'd noticed the steering on my SS was starting to degrade. It was feeling rather "loose" and was wandering something fierce.
Looking further into it, I found I had 2 issues
- The intermediate shaft had a LOT of play in it.</font>
- The Steering Gearbox itself had some play.</font>
In my case, the tires are fine and the front end parts are in good (very good!) shape.
Not being one to fix a problem with "stock" parts when an aftermarket part will solve the problem better, I looked into alternatives on the steering shaft. The best one I found was from Borgeson. They had the following parts you could buy and assemble to "brew your own" steering shaft : </font>
- Upper U-joint (PN 015252)</font>
- Collapsible shaft (PN 450024). Like the stock shaft, it's important to keep the shaft collapsible for crash protection purposes (Borgeson also sells a non-collapsible shaft).</font>
- Lower U-joint with splined end (PN 034931)</font>
The upper and lower U-joints from Borgeson get used as-is, while you have to modify (i.e. cut) the collapsable shaft to the proper length using the directions provided. To keep the collapsability safely intact, it is necessary on our cars to cut BOTH ENDS of the Borgeson shaft. Also, due to the design of our steering column Double-D end junction (which mates with the upper U-joint in the engine bay) it is necessary to make a small spacer for the set screws. 2 minutes with a grinder on a $0.02 washer and the spacer issue was solved. Both of these "mods" are well covered in the directions that came with the Borgeson parts.
Took about 1.5 hours, and the shaft was installed (thanks for the help, Tully!).
Test drive showed that steering was a lot better....but still had a dead spot that was too big. So, I decided to adjust the gearbox according to the FSM directions. Plainly put, there was a LOT of "slop" in the box (about 2/3 of a turn of tightening on the adjuster allen set screw!).
So, with the shaft replaced and box adjusted......it drives like a completely different car now. There is a bit more road "feel", but steering is a lot more responsive and precise! Dead spot is minimal, but just what you want (you want SOME dead spot on center, or the car will be annoying to drive on real-world streets that have bumps in them). And the wandering on bad roads? GONE!
Nice side benefit to the Borgeson shaft is it looks a lot cooler/nicer than the stock shaft as well [img]smile.gif[/img] . Guarantee it'll be the best looking steering shaft on ANY of the Impalas at Cops-n-Rodders next weekend
Cost : about $250 shipped for all the parts. For comparison, you're looking at $150-160 shipped from Dal for the stock intermediate shaft.
Post install, I tore down the stock shaft. The stock shaft has two "wear" items in it : the rubber rag joint (next to the gearbox, replaced with the tighter lower U-joint by Borgeson) and the upper U-joint (the one below the booster). The rag joint was still in very good shape, but the U-joint had a scary amount of play in it! And on our cars, adding headers puts quite a bit of heat into this upper joint.
I took pictures, look for a future tech article in Impala SScene