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Loose steering shaft?

Evicerate

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City, State
KY
Year, Model & Trim Level
1994 XLT
I've checked the other threads and all of the guys with similar problems seem to have body lifts.

My 1994 X is stock height and the steering is getting squirrelly. The steering wheel is also cocked a little to the left when the X is going straight.

I've checked the tie rods and they're fine. Bearings are good too as they were replaced when I put new rotors on in July. Tightening the steering gear corrected the slop for about 2 days. However, when the steering wheel is locked I can grab the steeing shaft under the hood and twist it about 5 degrees back and forth.

I am assuming the slop, the cockeyed wheel tilt, and the shaft play are not normal. Does anyone have any input on what's wrong? Is it worn U-joints on the steering shaft, a worn out gearbox, or something else? any helf is appreciated.
 
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DeRocha

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City, State
Brockton, MA
Year, Model & Trim Level
'93 XLT 4x4
On my '93 the steering was getting progressively worse over the past 2-3 years. I replaced tie rods, ball joints, U-joints, and bushings (axle pivot, sway bar, and Radius arm). I then got it aligned dead on by a mechanic, but my steering was still loose.. When driving I could move the steering wheel 1/2"+ left or right before the wheels responded. As such the ride was very squirrelly (Progressively worse with speed)at highway speeds as any bump would steer the car. This required constant steering correction to keep the vehicle going straight. Tightening the steering gear helped a little, but it just means it needs to be replaced.

At the end of July I lifted my X 4" and I replaced the steering gear at the same time.. I expected the steering to be crappy, but to my surprise it handled Great... No more loose or wandering steering... BTW it was fairly easy to replace the steering gear (about an hour or two at an easy pace). I did enlisted a friend to help as the gear is rather heavy and slightly awkward.
 
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Evicerate

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Thanks.
Do you replace the whole steering box?
 
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DeRocha

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'93 XLT 4x4
Yes... I don't believe you can buy a rebuild kit for the steering gear. My remanufactured steering gear was around $200... If you plan on re-using your PS hoses then start soaking the hose fittings with penetrating oil (PB Blaster) a few times/day to help loosen up the rust. I have the Haynes manual which detailed the removal/installation process. My new unit came with instructions on flushing the PS pump and bleeding the new gear which I followed exactly. Flushing the pump is necessary to get ride of any contaminants that could hasten the wear on the new unit. The flushing & bleeding procedures basically have you crank the engine while turning the wheel slightly. To prevent the engine from starting pull the wires off the fuel pump inertia switch.
 
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Evicerate

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Year, Model & Trim Level
1994 XLT
Hopefully I can bribe a friend with beer to help me out with that

Thank you very much
 
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