Play inside steering column - Chevy Impala SS Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-27-2003, 09:50 AM
BackInBlack
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I still had too much play in the steering with all new parts. With one assistant keeping the locked steering wheel from moving at all and another turning a raised front wheel left-to-right, it looks like the play is inside the steering column. Anyone else had this? What parts did you replace? How much did they cost? How long did it take? Did you need any special pullers? (Mine is a 96 with floor shift).
I wonder if I can just safely wait until I garage the car for the winter and do this at the same time I make some mods?
Thanks in advance!
Tim
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-28-2003, 11:25 PM
BackInBlack
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Someone else must have had this same problem before?
post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-29-2003, 01:18 AM
Jimbeau
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Have someone flex the steering wheel back & forth several inches with the engine off while you look under the hood for play in the steering shaft pieces. There's a shrouded U-joint knuckle right next to the firewall, a male/female 'round shaft with two flats' slide assembly, and a rag joint near the steering box. Any or all could be causing looseness. Also the box itself could be loose on the frame. - Jim
 
post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-29-2003, 07:38 AM
SStealth
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Assuming the front end is tight, then the issue is either with the intermediate steering shaft, or the steering box itself.

Try what Jimbo suggested.

Been down this road already. Replaced the intermediate steering shaft assembly (there is a special kit) for $142, from Dal. Replacement took all of 10 minutes.

Found the u-joint at the upper end of the shaft worn (sloppy), and the layers of material in the rag joint were separating, which resulted in a lot of slop in the steering.

The new unit made a big difference, but I still had problems, so ended up replacing the steering box as well (but my ride has 130K miles on it). That made for very tight, responsive steering.

HTH,
Steve

EDIT: Forgot to mention - no special tools required. When you go to do the job, best bet is to get the wheels straight, and then lock the column.

The plastic steering column cover unhooks from the steering box fitting and slides up out of the way. Then use a 7/16 socket to remove the nut on the column at the steering box. Use a big screwdriver or pry bar to gently move the column up, to disengage the column at the steering box. The other end can then be slid down to disengage the splined connection at the firewall end.

Note: DO NOT turn the steering wheel at any point until the new shaft is installed. You can damage the SIR coil.

Replacement is the reverse of the removal process. The spline at the steering box is keyed so the new intermediate column will go on correctly.

Hook up the firewall end first, then extend the shaft assembly to connect to the steering box. Tighten the clamp nut and slide the plastic column cover down and fit the ear over the steering box fitting again. Done deal.

Lastly - you will find more detailed info within the forum. Dare I say it - use the "search" function (ducking and running).

Steve
post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-29-2003, 09:13 AM
BackInBlack
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Thanks for your help guys, but this play is INSIDE the steering column.
When one assistant holds the locked steering wheel completely stationary and another assistant grabs one of the raised front tires and turns it left and right, everything up to the bottom of the shaft that is inside the steering column (at the firewall) move together as a single unit. The play is inside the steering coulumn. The steering column must have a joint for the tilt mechanism and it must have a sliding shaft for the accident safety collapse feature.
Anyone else had play inside the steering column?
Thanks!
Tim
post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-29-2003, 11:40 AM
KJH96SS
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Tim,
Here is what I have found. This was on an 88 Chevy Pickup with tilt wheel. The screws holding the tilt bowl came loose allowing the steering wheel to wobble. Before I fixed it the screws loosened more and the steering wheel would 'orbit' the column. To repair it you have to take the top of the steering column apart to get to the screws. You need two special tools to get to the screws. One assist with removal of the snap ring and the other pulls the pins from the two bowl halves so you can reach the screws.
Hope this helps.

Ken Hennessy
post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-30-2003, 10:13 AM
BackInBlack
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Thanks Ken.
Definitely one more thing to check for all the "All new front end parts, but still steering play/road wondering" posts.
Tim
post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-30-2003, 10:47 PM
Billy Johnson
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Tim I have the same problem paid a company to tightnen the internal steering componets to no avail. Mine moves up and down slightly and its irritating, do you have the P/N to the parts you bought so far and the prices?
post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-31-2003, 12:37 AM
BackInBlack
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I probably will not touch mine until this winter, so I don't know any part numbers or prices yet.
Tim
post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2003, 08:50 PM
Jimbeau
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There is a miniature universal joint in the steering column centered right where the wheel tilts. Sounds like yours is worn out. It's a pain to take apart & I wouldn't advise you to try it without a FSM. It takes a few special tools also. It might be easier & cheaper to fish a column assembly from a boneyard & replace the whole shebang. - Jim
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