You can do that up to a point. Turn it in too much and you will
create excessive wear. They are designed to be "tight" when on center
and have slightly more clearance off center. When they are worn most
of the wear is in the on-center area so if you tighten that so it's
"tight" it could wind up too tight in the off-center portion. So
check the full range as you go.
STEERING GEAR? Is that the gear in the steering box? How do I tell
if the steering gear is on center? I'm beginning to think I better
not fool with it. What do you think, Tom? Is it something someone
untrained can do safely?
Since it might allow or prevent the steering gear to work properly in a
fast maneuver (like trying to *NOT* hit someone or something), I
wouldn't play with it.
Steering boxes are kinda loose compared to Rack and Pinion systems. I
just compared my 99 Grand Marquis (steering box) to a 07 Grand Marquis
(R&P), and there's quite a difference in steering play.
On Sun, 01 Jul 2007 18:53:11 -0700, Ashton Crusher
Not necessarily if someone has aligned the wheels without
centering the steering first. Many are lazy and set the
steering wheel straight ahead and align the wheels to the
steering wheel which is usually pretty close. If, however,
the gearbox has ever been replaced, or the Pittman arm
replaced, the gearbox may not have been correctly centered
at installation. If needs to be checked by turning lock to
lock and finding the center just to be sure the entire
steering system is assembled correctly. If centered, it
should turn almost exactly the same turns to left and right.
The steering travel can be stopped by either the steering
stops or the travel limits of the gearbox itself. If there
is any uncertainty of whether or not the box or steering is
doing the stopping, the Pittman arm should be removed to
find the center of the gearbox. I've seen the things off by
a half turn because of someone replacing the pittman arm
incorrectly. The FSM gives the correct procedure for doing
this. If the gearbox is not centered and the slack
adjusted, the steering will want to lock as it goes over the
high spot at it's center which can be rather exciting after
turning a corner or if you need to steer that direction
quickly. If the gearbox is not centered when the wheels are
aligned, there will be an apparent excess slack when the
wheels are pointed straight ahead. It would be a mistake to
try to adjust this out. Also, it is not recommended that
the adjustment be backed up once it is tightened as internal
damage can occur. That is why it must be done incrementally
by the numbers. Adjusting the gearbox without following the
correct procedure is a crapshoot that can be expensive if
not done correctly. BTDT.
I am not trying to throw a monkey wrench into the fact that
most vehicles can be checked and adjusted after a quick lock
to lock operation of the steering wheel to make sure it
makes the trip closely. If it is off much, the basic setup
needs to be checked.
The OP also needs to be sure he checks the frame around the
gearbox for any signs of cracking or the mounting bolts
working loose as these were a bit of a problem on that
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