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Loose steering/steering gear box question

Discussion in 'Stock 1991 - 1994 Explorers' started by scott.475, October 5, 2012.

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  1. scott.475

    scott.475 Active Member

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    Hey all, my steering is fairly loose in my '94 V6. Without the engine off, it has quite a bit of play in the wheel. I have checked from the wheel, down the shaft, and to the gear box. Every thing outside the box looks to be in fine shape, so the problem is certainly in the box itself.

    In stages, I tightened down the adjusting screw a full half turn. Based on other posts I've read here, the key is to not tighten it too much or bottom it out. I read one post that said you can tighten until you feel resistance, then back it off a little, but I didn't go that far. I had it on jack stands and would run the wheel back and forth to make sure I wasn't feeling any resistance along the way, which I didn't. It did seem to improve it, I'm almost positive it did, but now I'm worried about tightening the screw any more. I don't know if a half turn already is a lot, not much, or seems about normal. Anybody know or have advice?

    Also, what is it exactly that you are tightening when you do this? Is it some kind of valve or something in there?

    Finally, at some point, I suppose you would just run out of adjustment room on the screw and need to replace or rebuild the box. I see that I can buy a seal rebuild kit online for about $20, is it just the seals that typically wear out on these? I don't see any obvious signs of external leakage, but will a leak between seals internally cause this looseness? I did not see anything, in my brief search, available for actually rebuilding any of the gears, etc, so maybe it is a rare thing to need to replace the gears? My Ex hasn't really been beat on or anything, so anything going on in the box should be normal wear related, not from hard off-roading or anything.

    Just trying to decide what my best investment of time/money is going to be. I'm afraid if I pick up a junk yard one, it'd have the same issue.

    Any advice would be appreciated, thanks.
     
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  3. wood1

    wood1 Well-Known Member

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    From what I have read (did adjust the slop out of an E-150 box about 10 years ago) if you over tighten the steering won't center properly. I'd keep adjusting it 1/4 turn at a time until it's either good enough or the steering feels strange.
     
  4. arco777

    arco777 Elite Explorer

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    Agreed, on both of my Explorers I just adjusted it a bit, then drove it. There's a sweet spot that takes the slack out but doesn't make the steering feel too tight. You have to drive it though, not just turn the wheel in the driveway after adjustments.

    On mine it got better and better as I tightened it, to a point where it felt wrong, The wheel wouldn't center itself (unwind) after a turn. In my opinion the right spot for adjustment is where the slop is minimized yet the wheel still self-centers freely.
     
  5. DR_APLET

    DR_APLET Member

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    i am having similar issues. does any one have any pictures of this adjustment screw? if i an using this for snow wheeling but have to drive it there would a little tighter be better? or will it over heat the box. i don't know how to test the box. mine may be leaking how often does this go bad. i have wheeled it pretty hard at times.
     
  6. wood1

    wood1 Well-Known Member

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    Look at the top of the steering box. It has an adjustment screw with a locknut.

    I stand by my first post. Adjust 1/4 turn, drive it repeat until it won't centre then go back 1/4 turn.
     

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