I have a 1995 Caprice Classic 4.3 V8 owned since new with 132K mileage*( not positive since the odometer seems to lose digital memory. I have in the past years asked my mechanic about the steering wandering back and forth. I know that this is not a sports suspension and he has changed the lower ball joints, passenger side tie rod end even found a disintegrated stabilizer bushing on 1 side. The steering was so bad last week that a Trooper pulled me overt on the Interstate and said that I was all over on the white line and if I was OK or drunk? ( Yes, it is worse when the wind conditions are up as the whole car seems to vibrate. What can this be that holds the steering in place or was there a typical issue with that car? Idler arm or Pitman arm? I love the car and it runs as new but don't want to guess as to what is wrong and keep trial and error with $$$ Thanks
The steering box needs to be adjusted, Best left to an expert, if done wrong the pitman shaft can be cut in half causing steering loss! But here's how.
PITMAN SHAFT OVER-CENTER TURNING TORQUE OVERHAUL
NOTE: Adjust worm bearing preload before performing this procedure. See
WORM BEARING PRELOAD. This procedure adjusts clearance
between rack piston and pitman shaft sector teeth.
Remove steering gear. See STEERING GEAR under REMOVAL & INSTALLATION.
Rotate stub shaft in both directions to drain fluid from steering gear. Loosen pitman shaft
adjuster lock nut. See Fig. 1. Rotate pitman shaft adjuster screw counterclockwise until fully
extended, and then turn clockwise one full turn.
Turn stub shaft from stop to stop, counting number of turns between stops. Beginning at either
stop, turn shaft away from stop 1/2 the number of turns counted. This centers the gear. With
gear centered, flat on stub shaft should face upward, parallel to side cover, and master spline on
pitman shaft should align with adjuster screw.
Using an INCH-lb. Torque wrench with handle pointing upward, rotate stub shaft 45 degrees to
each side of center to measure worm bearing preload torque. See Fig. 9. Record highest turning
torque measured on or near center.
If turning torque measured is not 6-15 INCH lbs. (.7-1.7 N.M), turn pitman shaft adjuster screw
clockwise until torque is as specified, and then tighten screw an additional 6-10 INCH lbs. (.7-
1.1 N.M). While preventing adjuster screw from turning, tighten lock nut.
WORM BEARING PRELOAD OVERHAUL
1. Remove steering gear. See STEERING GEAR under REMOVAL & INSTALLATION.
Rotate stub shaft in both directions to drain fluid from steering gear. Using punch, remove
adjuster plug lock nut from adjuster plug near stub shaft. See Fig. 1.
2. Using Spanner Wrench (J-7624), tighten adjuster plug until firmly seated in housing. See Fig.
8. This requires 22 ft. Lbs. (30 N.M) of torque. Mark gear housing at a place opposite one hole
in adjuster plug. Measure back (counterclockwise) 1/2" (13 mm) from first mark, and then
make another mark on housing.
3. Turn adjuster plug counterclockwise until hole in adjuster plug is aligned with second mark on
housing. Hold adjuster plug to maintain alignment with index mark. Tighten adjuster plug lock
NOTE: This procedure adjusts amount of compression force exerted by the
worm shaft on worm shaft conical bearing.
February, 20, 2011 AT 7:04 AM
Can you feel any play in the wheel? If so track it down in the steering parts. If wheel turns to easy and pitman does not, do the steering gear adjustments.