Turn off the caps lock and we can chat..... much depends on the condition of
the steering gear. If the gear`is excessively worn, adjusting the mesh
preload over centre can give us the white knuckle ride of our life.
By design, the centre portion of the steering gear travel is tighter than
the area to each side. Since most of our driving is done with the wheel very
close to the straight ahead position, this extends the expected life of the
The problem arises when this high point erodes to the point of problems.
Instead of the single, original high point (tight spot might be a better
term), we wind up with two "new" high points... one on each side of centre.
Bad enough to try and steer it in this configuration, adjusting the steering
box tighter will usually give us something that we don't drive... instead,
all we can do is herd it down the road, looking more like the aftermath of a
new years party rather than a responsible driver.....
Give it a try, if you like.... Personally, on a steering gear that is 40+
years old, I'd be thinking replacement.....
Older cars, even when properly maintained with good tires, usually do not
steer as accurately as most newer cars.
If the bushings, tie rod ends,ball joints, drag links, wheel bearing,
brakes, and steering box are in good shape, nothing is bent and rust has not
eaten up some of underbody areas where steering parts are mounted to it may
just be that you are not comfortable with what was considered acceptable at
the time. In that case adding some better parts, sway bars, suspension and
body stiffeners might make it better.
the adjustment process is very long and drawn out. if you want to do it the
proper way, get a factory service manual. if you want to easy way out on it,
I usually jack the front end up, loosen the nut, then tighten the inner
screw till I just feel resistance. then tighten nut and try it, turning lock
to lock with wheels up. if all feels good, then I go for a short spin on
back roads to check it out, slow at first then faster if all seems well
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