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Steering Wheel Play

Number4

"I'm counting to 3, then I'm getting your dad."
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04 Ford Explorer 4.6l
For the longest time I've had some play in my steering. Enough to notice but not cause a problem going down the road. Like you see in the movies (old movies) where you move the steering wheel back and forth while driving straight, I can do this without impacting the direction of the vehicle.

Tie rods have been replaced as well as suspension pieces. Just wondering if anyone else has had this problem and solved it. I was thinking that maybe it was in the gear box.

I've removed the steering wheel linkage in the engine bay, thinking the rag joint may be shot, but it looks to be in perfect condition.

With my engine out, I'd planned on taking the gear box apart, replacing the O-Rings at least, getting a reman'd if needed.
 
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natenkiki2004

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If you're ok with getting a reman unit, grab a Lares from RockAuto. I got their PS pump with a lifetime warranty, didn't bother sending a core back. You'll want to send the core in with a gearbox though.

Slop is reportedly fixed by adjusting the nut on the top of the gearbox, tightening 1/8-1/4 at a time. Back it off if your wheel doesn't return to center.
 
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vq5speed

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I think its just the way it is with these SUV. But the Rag joint is what I suspected. It may look fine but it could still be worn soft. The Gear box is gear driven so I wouldn't think you could get play there.

Just read what natenkiki said about adjusting. Didn't know gear boxes can be adjusted.. I just looked up on how to adjust them. Says you should remove it place in a vise to do the adjustment. The instruction on doing this seems complicated its not just tighting a nut.
 
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Jason94sport

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yeah I had 4 of these...all steered the same way.
 
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natenkiki2004

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vq5speed, there's probably a "right" way that is more complicated. But if you've looked at everything else, then it might be worth having a feel of that screw. It's there for a reason. Mark where it is now and try a 1/4 turn in, see how it is. I certainly wouldn't take it on the highway right away but I've read many people try this and it fixes slop. I'm going to try it on mine when I feel like braving the cold temps.
 
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tmwalsh

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If you can see the pittman arm or have someone watch, move the steering wheel back and forth slightly while watching. If the pittman arm doesn't move until the steering wheel has moved some distance, there's slop in the rag or the steering box.
The pittman should move as soon as the wheel is turned any amount. You can possibly turn the steering shaft from under the hood, and watch the pittman. If there's any slop or delay while watching, it is internal to the steering gearbox.
I don't know the particular one installed, but most have a locknut or jam nut on the top that holds a screw in place. Note the position of the slot in the screw, and loosen the jam nut. Turn the screw a bit clockwise(tighter), and while holding it, tighten the jam nut. If that removes the slack, and the steering will return to straight ahead by itself if released while going down the road, you're done. If the steering won't return, you may have the gears too tight, and should loosen the adjusting screw a bit.
tom
 
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