<VV> Steering Adjustment

roboman91324 at aol.com roboman91324 at aol.com
Wed Mar 20 15:18:10 EDT 2019


Though you can adjust play from the steering box independently, you should eliminate other possible points of play in the steering system as well.  If nothing else, you should make yourself aware of any developing issues while you are crawling around under the car.  First, the box itself.
1.  There is an internal worm shaft in the box.  This is a short ball-screw.  The moving contact is between the bearing balls and the shaft.  The balls follow the indented "worm" on the shaft.  Though there are other bearing points in the system this is likely the main wear point.
2.  On the outside case of the box is the adjusting screw and its lock nut.  To make adjustments, you will need to loosen the nut and turn the screw which will increase pressure between the balls and the screw.  More on this later.
Next, determining if the box needs to be adjusted.
1.  Park the car with the tires facing directly forward.  Stand outside and reach in through the window and gently turn the steering wheel back and forth.  You are outside the car to watch the tire and make sure you are not significantly turning the wheels.
2.  If the steering wheel moves back and forth excessively without the tires turning to one side or the other, you have too much play in the steering components and something should be done.  There are several components which could cause this but we will concentrate on the box for now.  Keep in mind that even in a perfectly adjusted system, there will be some level of play.
3.  Assuming you have too much play, you will need an assistant for this next task.  Get under the car where you can see the steering shaft at the input into the box as well as the PPittman arm (output) hooked to the rest of your steering system.  While your assistant turns the steering wheel back and forth as in point 1 above, watch the input shaft and the Pittman arm.  If the input shaft turns without the arm moving, there is play in the box.  Ideally, when the input shaft turns even slightly, there should be some movement to the arm.
4.  If the steering wheel can be rocked back and forth significantly but there is no observed play between the input shaft and arm, you need to look for play elsewhere but more on that later.
Assuming the box needs adjustment ...
1.  loosen the locking nut on the adjustment screw.  You will probably observe that the screw will turn outward with the nut.  That's not a big deal but I prefer to start out with the screw where it started.  You accomplish this by holding the screw where it starts with a screwdriver while turning the nut.  The connection may have become quite stiff over the decades.  Back the nut away a couple of turns before taking the screwdriver from the screw's slot.  You may want to clean and lubricate the thread contact between the nut and adjusting screw because this could be an issue when tightening things later.
2.  Have your assistant rock the steering wheel back and forth like before.  Keep in mind that this should be done gently.  You are not trying to move the wheels against the road.  Adjust the screw inward as the input shafts moves back and forth.  You will observe that there will be less play between the input shaft and output arm as you continue adjustment.
3.  You do not want to adjust all of the play out of the system.  If the adjustment is too tight, it will cause stress between the bearing balls and the worm screw.  tightness will be magnified when turning the steering to the far right or left.  Here's why ...  The vast, vast amount of your driving is done with the steering facing directly forward more or less.  Hard turns are limited to turning corners, parking, etc. which are done much less often than driving in a straight line.  This means that the worm shaft will wear mostly in the center position while the extreme positions see very little wear.  If you adjust the box tight in the center position, it will be too tight when making significant turns.  You may want to adjust the play fairly tight at full left or right and then see what play you have in the center position but I don't want to over complicate things.  If you can't adjust the play out in the center position without being too tight on the right or left extremes you will need a new box or just live with the sloppy steering until it gets too bad.
4.  Once the adjusting screw is where you want it, you must re-tighten the lock nut.  This may seem straightforward but it deserves some explanation.  If you try to just tighten the nut, the screw will probably move in with it.  This will over tighten the box.  Insert your screwdriver into the screw's slot and hold it in place while tightening the lock nut.  Use the largest screwdriver that will fit in the slot to get leverage.
Now for other areas where there may be play.  Every moving joint in the linkage has a potential for introducing play into your steering system.  These are the tie rod ends and idler arm joints.  You can check these at the same time you initially check the play in the steering box.  While your assistant rocks the steering back and forth, look at each joint in turn to see if there is play in any of them.  Replace as necessary.  Keep in mind that a moderate amount of play in a joint will get worse.  There is a hammer/impact effect in a loose joint that a tight joint won't experience.  Loose ball joints will also introduce steering issues but that is a tale for another day.
For those of you who think there is too much detail in the above explanation, please forgive me.  I assume that people with all levels of experience will be reading this.  What is elementary to one person might be an epiphany for someone else.

In a message dated 3/20/2019 9:00:15 AM Pacific Standard Time, virtualvairs-request at corvair.org writes:

Message: 3Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2019 14:59:31 -0400From: "Jim" <corvair at frontiernet.net>To: <virtualvairs at corvair.org>Subject: <VV> Steering Box Adjustment/CheckMessage-ID: <7F9886F8FF3E48F1ACA089F9879D8D1F at DESKTOPKNVDCMV>Content-Type: text/plain;    charset="us-ascii"
I want to check the adjustment of the steering box on my '64 Spyder.  Other than the shop manuals & CORSA Tech Guide, does anyone have any suggestions Jim Bartasevich

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