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Suspension issues

Suspension

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#1 captainkim

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 07:19 PM

Have a 87 with 75K.   Installed new tie rods, idler arm, bushings, and center link (GNT) and also steering coupler from BC_99.   Thought that would fix my steering looseness but after installed ands went to test drive ....it felt even worse than before.   It moves side to side on it own and i couldnt even go more than a block....   I cant imagine doing anything incorrectly since all I did was replace the parts.  I havent changed the struts and shocks but cant imagine thats whats casing this major issue.   Ill have to go and recheck all the torques but even then it shouldnt be this bad.   Could the steering box itself be that bad that it's un drivable?  Or is this user error and i need to re evaluate what i did?   Any assistance is appreciated





#2 captainkim

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 07:37 PM

gonna order ball joints and see if that helps

#3 TexasQuest

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 08:50 PM

It's possible that all the new parts have exposed how bad the steering gear box is.
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View PostJohnnyWadd, on 04 March 2010 - 10:01 PM, said:

my shaft was big i dont know what your talking about.

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#4 Crazy larry

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 10:27 PM

maybe lower control arm bushings
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#5 captainkim

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 08:52 PM

I hope it's not the box.   I'll try changing the lower control arm bushings first.

#6 mikec

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 09:57 PM

Take some time to do some tests, save a few bucks.  If your car is as bad as you describe, the problem ought to be fairly obvious with simple tests.

First, chock the rear wheels and jack the front end and put it on jackstands.  Turn the steering wheel until the steering wheel lock engages.  Now grab either front tire/wheel at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions.  Shake the wheel as hard as you can, pushing with one hand, pulling with the other, back and forth.  If you feel clunking then something is loose somewhere.  It may help to have somebody shake the tire/wheel while you eyeball underneath.  Look for any part moving while the piece it connects to moves less.  That's a problem.  Typical problems:

* Loose wheel bearings.  Grabbing the tire/wheel at 12 and 6 o'clock to shake it will help identify this as your shaking is opposite the steering linkage direction; thus the steering system doesn't have to resist this motion.  If the wheel wiggles, either the rim is loose on the wheel or the wheel bearings are loose/shot, or the lower control arm and/or bushings have issues.

* worn joints in the steering linkage.  This will be visible as one part moving a lot and another part it connects to moves less as you shake a front wheel at 3 & 9 o'clock.  You can also grab the tie rods, the center link, etc. and firmly try moving them.  It's pretty easy to spot sloppy/loose joints this way.

* bad idler arm support bushings.  The idler arm supports the center steering link by mimicing the pitman arm coming from the steering box.  The idler arm goes into bushings bolted to the car chassis.  If those bushings are worn, the idler arm can wiggle so that end of the steering center link is unsupported and lets the passenger side wheel steer wherever it wants.  Grab the idler arm and try wiggling it - wiggle hard.  There should be no lateral (slop) motion in the shaft going where it goes into the housing & bushing part bolted to the chassis... it should only rotate (about a vertical axis) in those bushings.

* really worn out steering gear box.  The easiest way to ID this is to put the front wheels back on the ground.  Turn the ignition key to the ACC position to unlock the steering wheel.  Have a helper slowly move the steering wheel back and forth about 5 inches either way.  You stand at the driver side fender, looking straight down to the gearbox with a flashlight.  You'll see the input shaft coming from the steering column.  Watch how it moves relative to the pitman arm coming from the bottom of the gearbox.  They should move in sync if the gearbox is healthy.  You should also see the front wheel steering a little bit, back and forth.  If the steering wheel is easy to move for the first few inches (from the "straight ahead" position) and then it suddenly firms up, that's a sign of slop either in the box itself or in the linkages attached to the pitman arm.  There is a nut + threaded rod coming through the top of the gearbox; this is mistakenly called the "steering slop adjuster."  The purpose of that threaded rod (with a screwdriver slot in the top of it) is to put preload into the vertical shaft portion of the steering gearbox.  Too lose and there will be freeplay inside the box resulting in steering slop; too much preload just adds friction to the steering making the steering wheel harder to turn and making the "return to center" as you release the steering wheel after completing a turn not work... the steering wheel won't return to center very well so you have to push it back yourself.  Loosen that nut and unscrew the screw a little bit, then - while holding the nut loose - turn the threaded shaft inwards a bit.  You'll eventualy feel it getting stiff once it is causing preload in the steering box.  Turn it a full turn or two past this point to push the internal parts together, then back the screw out 2 or 3 turns so it's loose again, then tighten it until it just begins to get firm again.  Hold the screw in this position while tightening the nut.  Test the steering wheel - how much force does it take to move?  If it feels tight, back off the screw a little bit (after loosening the locking nut) and then turn the steering wheel back and forth stop-to-stop.  Finish with the steering wheel centers ("straight ahead" position) and then check if it's too tight or too loose.

* While eyeballing the gearbox from above, follow the steering column from the gearbox to where it pokes through the firewall.  You'll see a rubber covered (hopefully... the cover may be long-gone) coupler assembly.  This coupler, aka isolator, helps dampen vibrations from the steering system from reaching the steering wheel.  It's somewhat like a U-joint in construction... two "Y" shaped pieces: one "Y" base going to the steering wheel, the other "Y"'s base going to the gearbox, the upper fingers of the "Y"s are interlocked via a hard rubber part.  That rubber piece disintegrates with time, especially if the outer cover is damaged/missing or if the brake system ever leaked and dribbed brake fluid onto this coupler.  When the coupler is realy bad, you can move the steering wheel nearly a quarter turn each way with minimal steering effect.  When it's just beginning to fail the slop at the steering wheel won't be quite so bad.

Another sneaky thing that screws up the steering is bad REAR wheel control arm bushings.  Bad bushings allow the semi-trailing arms to shift which makes the wheel attached to that control arm steer a bit - i.e. it alters the toe angle of a rear wheel.  Just a little bit of rear-steer really affects a car.  This bug is harder to detect; you have to chock the front wheels securely and jack up the back of the car and put the back on jackstands.  Then use a prybar to push the control arm around relative to where it attaches to the chassis and where it attaches to the rear wheel hub.  Other than pivoting about the axis bolt, there should be no motion.  When really bad, worn rear control arm bushings typically manifest themselves as surprise steering inputs when you try to accelerate or lift off the throttle - i.e. whenever the rear tires are puting push or pull forces into the chassis.

If the car has accident damage, or significant rust issues, the chassis itself may be flexing under load which causes the wheels to move around.  A visual inspection from underneath the car is needed.  Look especially at the chassis "frame rails" on either side of the engine bay that extend towards the rear of the car.  The passenger side one tends to rust out internally because the air conditioner condensate hose drails through it... if this hose goes bad the frame rail gets a water bath all the time.

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#7 importwarrior

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 07:23 PM

Please read this thread.

http://www.starquest...howtopic=149195



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#8 psu_Crash

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 10:52 AM

Beat me to it I-W
CaptainKim I'd be surprised if your steering box DIDN'T have play in it.
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