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Can You Adjust Steering Play???

Discussion in 'Stock 1991 - 1994 Explorers' started by Explodr94, April 22, 2008.

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    1. Explodr94

      Explodr94 Active Member

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      Last weekend, put in new bearings and races. Wheels felt nice and tight up and down. When I grabbed the tire from side to side I noticed that there was a lot of play. I did not put the car down and check the tie rods properly, but will do that. However, when I did the same check on the driver side, I noticed that the steering gear had a lot of play and I am starting to think that is the issue, not tie rods. On my friend's old corvette you can adjust the play on the steering gear. The gear box on the ex looks like it has an adjusting nut, but I could not find an adjustment procedure in the Haynes manual. Can you adjust the steering play on a 94 ex? And what is the procedure?
       
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    3. DeRocha

      DeRocha NEX Vice President Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      As you have found the steering gear can be adjusted with the set screw located on the top. You would loosen the lock nut and turn the set screw clockwise to tighten up the gear. I did this a several years back when my steering felt really loose. I first loosened the locknut, turned the setscrew a 1/4 turn, tightened the locknut and drove around the block. I repeated the above until it felt the best. BTW If you over tighten the setscrew the steering wheel will NOT return to center on its own which will be obvious when you take a test drive.

      Bear in mind the set screw only tightens the gear and doesn't remove any unwanted slop do to internal wear (which was the problem I had). I ended up replacing the steering gear and my steering has been Fantastic ever since.
       
      Last edited: January 13, 2009
    4. Blacksheep Josh

      Blacksheep Josh Slinky+Escalator=Fun Elite Explorer

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      yup, i'm having to adjust my stearing gear. i'm not willing to pay to replace it yet. my steering wheels (if centered) can travel 3 inches either way before starting to turn. yikes!
       
    5. 410Fortune

      410Fortune ELITE BRONCO2ERER Moderator Emeritus

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      check your pitman arm and steering linkage for looseness

      3" is nothing, I haev 1/2 a full turn of steering slop
      My slop was in my steering linkage
       
    6. Blacksheep Josh

      Blacksheep Josh Slinky+Escalator=Fun Elite Explorer

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      linkage would be what's viisble under the hood correct?
       
    7. underconstruct

      underconstruct New Member

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      Look iunedr your truck ... look for tie rod end pitman arm and the steering box ...look if you can play with the centerlink... if you can move it with your and and the steering doesn't move check for loose side by side and look for the joint on the pitman arm ...
       
    8. Explodr94

      Explodr94 Active Member

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      Thanks, I let you know the results when I get it done.
       
    9. wolfnutts

      wolfnutts Active Member

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      id say it may be your rag joint . just behind the box their is a plastic cover move that outa the way an look their while some one turns steering wheel back an forth
       
    10. Masterd

      Masterd Active Member

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      Ive narrowed mine down to box wear, probably.

      The rag joint is solid, and you can turn the steering shaft both ways a bit and clearly see the play is in the box.

      Now to the good part...I'd adjust the screw if I had ANY way of breaking that lock nut loose. No amount of liquid wrench did any good, even after taking a hammer to the back end of the wrench.
       
    11. Maniak

      Maniak Moderator-Stock 91-94 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      use pb blaster on the nut to see if it will free it up..
      If you still can't get it free the only thing I can think of is an impact wrench on it to break it free.. For something like that I'd use my 12V impact wrench as it has one hit every 5 seconds.. That way once it pops free it won't spin it all the way.. It also won't have the risk of spinning the adjusting screw if they screw and nut are stuck together still.

      ~Mark
       
    12. Titan09

      Titan09 Member

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      I have a '93 Sport, and I'm also having this issue. Is getting to the adjusting screw and actually adjusting it a simple procedure? Or is there dismantling involved? I've never had to deal with anything like that before.
       
    13. DeRocha

      DeRocha NEX Vice President Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      I don't believe you need to remove anything to access the set screw.. its been awhile.. At the most you'd need to remove the air intake, but I do believe you can access the set screw from above with several long socket extensions.
       
    14. RangerX

      RangerX Elite Ranger Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      As DeRocha said in this earlier post, the set screw is not there to correct freeplay. I recommend having someone rock the steering wheel back and forth (engine running) while you look down into the engine bay at the gearbox and the steering column, and then at the steering linkage itself. See where the looseness is. These parts all wear.

      When I have major play, it was the splines on the very end of the steering column, where it clamps onto the splined end of the input shaft of the gearbox.
      I suggest you look there, your splines may be wearing down. I put in a new used ragjoint section, and solved my problem.
       
    15. Titan09

      Titan09 Member

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      Well, thankfully I didn't have any major play in the wheel...I just tightened the adjusting screw a bit and it works great now :)
       
    16. monsterblur

      monsterblur New Member

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      I adjusted my steering box a little too much and the steering was tight, then when I tried to loosen it, I couldn't turn the adjustment scew back any. The locking bolt will move but not the set screw. Any suggestions?
       
    17. Maniak

      Maniak Moderator-Stock 91-94 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      I've done that too.. to get it to turn back, wiggle the steering column as you try to loosen the bolt. Each time it moves back/forth it will allow the bolt to turn a little.

      ~Mark
       
    18. nitro71

      nitro71 Well-Known Member

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      And if you want to know more about the inards of that thing here you go!

      http://www.stangerssite.com/HowItWorksSteeringBox.html

      That adjusting nut is setting the mesh between two gears. Two tight and it'll bind, cause wear. To loose and your steering wanders. I'm pretty sure that the text book way to set it is on a bench with a torque wrench turning the gear.

      I've had luck using a longer screw driver on the adjusting nut and getting a wrench on the lock nut.
       
    19. monsterblur

      monsterblur New Member

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      That worked.
      Thanks for the advice.
       
    20. gmanpaint

      gmanpaint Torsion Bar Free Elite Explorer

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      Sweet!

      I was just going to do a search on this subject. I have a little play in the 94 steering after lifting it a little. Guess it couldn't hurt to try this. I wont go crazy, just a little bit at a time turning that screw.
       
    21. nak4af

      nak4af Elite Explorer

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      I'm gonna try this when I get home from work.
       
    22. jd4242

      jd4242 Elite Explorer

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      x2 ,i always wonder what that was for:thumbsup:
       
    23. sjdurb

      sjdurb New Member

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      Hm. Someone said that you can adjust this from the top, I just dont see it happening. 1998 Ford Explorer Sport... what am I missing here? Is it much easier to go in from the bottom?
       
    24. DeRocha

      DeRocha NEX Vice President Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      Your posting in a 1st Gen forum (91-94). Later generations (95+) use a power steering rack not a steering gear.
       
    25. MrQ

      MrQ Take the Bull by the Horns Moderator Emeritus

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      This us a 1st gen gearbox sjdurb, it may be different in your vehicle. BTW best way to get to this is to remove the fan and shroud. Lock nut is 17mm deep wall.
       
    26. nak4af

      nak4af Elite Explorer

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      Done and it did corect a lot of the steering wander. I still have a few more 1/4 turns left but it's too cold outside to do anything.
       

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