Steering Gear Box Replacement - Chevy Impala SS Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-15-2003, 12:09 PM
jdb1022
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Greetings. Long time reader, first time poster...

I need to replace my steering box due to excessive play. I planned on buying one from NAPA, since I haven't read anything negative about them. I noticed a price difference though between the '96 SS (which I have) box and the '94 SS. The specs appear the same, and from my searching, there doesn't appear to be any difference.

Will the '94 box be ok? FWIW, it is over $50 cheaper.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-15-2003, 02:22 PM
carl stevenson
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Welcome

Have you tried tightening up the box using the adjuster screw on top? It felt like I took about 75000 miles off my driver when I tightened it up---a world of difference.

Carl
post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-15-2003, 02:53 PM
jdb1022
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Yep. Actually removed the box, drained the fluid and adjusted according to factory specs (including the adjustment nut by the input shaft). It made no difference. Everything else in the steering has been replaced, and I have confirmed that the play is indeed in the box itself.
 
post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-15-2003, 03:01 PM
SSSSnyder
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I did the adjustment but after a couple of weeks it was loose again. So I dove in and had the box rebuilt. If you decide to do so, I can't stress how impressed I was with the work done by Lee Manufacturing on Pendleton Street in Sun Valley, CA, in the lovely San Fernando "Valley" part of Los Angeles. I have read numerous posts in the archives here about troubles people had with both A.Z. and AGR rebuilt boxes and can categorically say that I had no such problems with Tom Lee's service. They rebuilt my own box (which I prefer anyway), charged strictly on a parts + labor basis, and since I had no major problems inside the box, the bill was only $246, which included the "heavy valve" Firebird firm-feel upgrade. The shop was clean and professional racing work they were doing was clearly in evidence. I talked with the staff about my rebuild, and Tom was very concerned to hear from me should I experience any problems. He even tossed me a quart of fluid on my way out the door. The box came filled with fluid and pre-bled, went right in, and works like a champ. They also only took 8 of the original 10 business days they estimated to do it in.

I understand that taking your car out of service for a couple weeks might be a big hassle, as well as shipping, but I think of what I got as a full-on top-notch blueprint and hot-rodding of my own box, rather than just a Pep Boys trade-in job. And considering that it ended up costing only $246, I can't imagine doing it any other way. Of course, I am lucky enough to live in the Valley, but if you're serious about your car I would heartily recommend Tom Lee.
post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-15-2003, 06:46 PM
jdb1022
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Thanks, but I would prefer dealing with a chain due to warranty issues.

I really just want to make sure if a '94 box will fit in a '96. 2 issues I can think of is will the rag joint connecter fit into the input shaft, and will the existing pitman arm still work.
post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-15-2003, 07:43 PM
Navy Lifer
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SuperBest--

From all I know, the gear from the 94 fits. If you look at the shea_3 link below, you will see what if any difference there is between the 94 & 95/6 gears. There are no differences in the pitman arm or intermediate shaft connector.

Some things that might be of interest or help you:

http://www.citlink.net/~bowtie/steering.htm

http://www.chevelles.com/techref/shea_1.html

http://www.chevelles.com/techref/shea_3.html

I'll add from my own experience that Lee Manufacturing will give you far more satisfaction as a paying customer than someone at a generic parts store. IF there was any "warranty" issue, I assure you that Lee quality and workmanship is top-notch, whether that is of any interest to you, but the personal touch counts for alot with me. I can understand your desire to be able to take a defective part to a local store for replacement, and have your car fixed and back in operation quickly, so I only make the statements about Lee to reassure anyone else that might have interest in doing what SSSnyder described from his experience there.
post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-16-2003, 09:42 AM
kevm14
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Is there anybody on the east coast that could rebuild my box?
post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-16-2003, 10:17 AM
Navy Lifer
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Kevin, no idea. Use a search engine like Google and use some key words to take you in that direction.

I want to stress that this is not a matter of saying that the parts counter at the local NAPA or AZ or whatever is available to you is not OK too, but if you want anything custom, or if you want YOUR steering gear unit back, your options are much less.

Anything closer than the West Coast--try this:

(disclaimer--not an endorsement, I have no relationship with this company, no experience with their product or service)

http://www.detroitspeed.com/

Steering Gear Rebuild

Send us your tired and loose steering gear, and we will rebuild it with a new valve assembly with a heavier effort so you can feel your muscle car handle the road. All steering gears are cleaned, blasted, and rebuilt with new seals and bushings and then function checked and balanced left to right for symmetrical steering. Test data is returned with each gear.

1977 and earlier uses a 13/16"-36 input spline. 1978 and newer uses a 3/4"-30 input spline.
The earlier boxes use flare fittings, and the newer boxes use an O-ring style fitting.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Application:
Saginaw 800 Power Steering Box used on many General Motors vehicles from 1965-1998.

P/N:
090201

Prices:
The price of the rebuild varies based on the number of services that are performed. Please see the chart below for a detailed price breakdown.


Basic Rebuild $175.00
Complete Tear Down and Clean-Up
Sandblast Housing

Inspect for Wear

Install New Seals

Readjust to Factory Specs

Function/Leak Test

* Parts are extra if required

Modify Effort and Feel add $150.00
Change Ratio (Faster or Slower) add $100.00
post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-16-2003, 07:59 PM
kevan
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There's a place out here on the west coast that rebuilt my steering box, & changed the ratio as well. I can ask them if they know anyone out your way who will do the same.
These guys did a great job; the ratio was changed from the stock 17:1 with 4 turns lock-lock to a 12:1 with 2 7/8 turns lock-lock. The car responds like it has rack & pinion steering now, & even with 285's doesn't follow every little rift in the pavement any more. The steering effort increased a bit, but I like the firmness of it. They charged me $225 CDN for the whole thing.
post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-17-2003, 01:41 PM
kevm14
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You have no steering play? That's pretty incredible...I was under the impression that, even when new, our cars had pretty mediocre steering. But I guess that's a lot better than way worn out 179k steering.
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