<VV> Steering diagnosis - Pittman shaft spline question (long)

jryall at juno.com jryall at juno.com
Wed Jul 5 09:11:35 EDT 2006

I would go back to the start and recheck a few items.  

Remove the pitman arm.  Turn the wheel all the way to one side, then
back, counting the turns.  Divide the number of turns in half, and turn
the wheel back that number of turns.  The steering box should now be
centered.  Remove the horn button and look at the end of the steering
shaft.  There is a mark on the end of the shaft that should be pointing
up.  If the mark is not up, then the connection between the steering box
and the shaft is not aligned correctly.  If the mark is up, the steering
wheel should also be centered.  If you make any changes, recheck to be
sure that the steering box is still centered.

At this point, the pitman arm can be reinstalled.  It should be pointing
straight back, and parallel to the idler arm.  If the arm is not straight
back, I would suspect the steering box.  The rebuilder may have replaced
the original parts with 'something that fits' that prevents you from
getting the correct alignment of the rest of the parts.  If it is not
parallel, you may not have the correct drag link in the car.

With the pitman arm installed and centered with the arm pointing back,
the tie rods can be adjusted on each side.  Fix the steering wheel in the
center position, or have someone hold it so it doesn't move.  What I do
is, with the front end on ramps so that the suspension is loaded, adjust
the tie rod until I can sight across the rim of the front wheel and
rotate the adjustment until I just barely see the back wheel.  I then go
1/2 turn further to give a little bit of toe in. Repeat on the other
side.  The alignment should be very close.  Now rock the wheel slightly,
not enough to actually turn the wheels to check for play.  If it seems
too lose, tighten the steering box adjustment to remove the play.

One further check I would make is to measure the steering arms to be
certain that they are the same length, and not a mix of standard on one
side and fast on the other.

John Ryall

turn the steering wheel to one side then the other, counting the turns. 
On Tue, 04 Jul 2006 23:09:18 -0400 paulsgt at aol.com writes:
> Good evening!
> Happy Independance day.
> I have been trying to diagnose a problem with the steering in my 65 
> Monza convertible for some time.  I finally dug into it today and am 
> puzzled with the results.  
> The steering at highway speeds had a lot of play (maybe 30+ degrees) 
> but it seemed that the play was only to the right and not left.  It 
> was a handful to drive at highway speeds.  Anyway, I was determined 
> to follow the shop manual instructions for adjusting the steering 
> gear.  Once I got the pittman arm off, I followed the directions.  
> When I went to put the pittman arm back on, I tried to line up the 
> 4-key ways (?) on the pittman arm with the same on the pittman 
> shaft.  to line these up, I had to turn the wheels so they were 
> pointed about 20 degrees to the right.  I know the steering shaft is 
> lined up correctly with the shaft coming out of the box, I can feel 
> the steering box 'center' at the steering wheel with the pittman arm 
> disconnected.  I thought about trying to adjust the tie rod sleeves 
> but I could not take up that much distance with the tie rods alone.  
> So I have a problem that is a little out of my league.  to 
> straighten the wheels, I have to turn the steering wheel
>   about one turn to the left.
> Can someone help me understand what I missed?
> A couple of other points.  1) all front-end parts are newer with 
> less than 3,000 miles.  the front-end seems tight otherwise.  2) I 
> had the steering box disassembled and cleaned by a professional.  I 
> don't remember how (or if) I lined everything up with the splines on 
> the pittman shaft when I installed the box 2-3 years ago.  My geuss 
> is that I did not based on how much trouble I had getting the 
> pittman arm off the shaft.  It goes on/off much easier than it did 
> before.
> Help, advice, direction, thoughts, guidance all welcome.
> Thank you!
> Sincerely,
> Paul Sergeant
> Member - Corvair Minnesota, CORSA, VV, Corvanantics, POCI, Little 
> Indians
> 65 Monza Convertible (110/PG)
> 61 Pontiac Tempest Safari Wagon
> Several newer rides.
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