How to fix loose steering?

Interior and Electrical

  1. ttocs15

    ttocs15 Member

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    Hi there,

    I have a 1980 volare. The steering seems pretty loose. I do not have a lot of experience working on cars, but I am trying to learn. I was wondering if someone has a guide or advice on how to tighten up the steering?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Oldiron440

    Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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    You have to look at all the steering components, tie rods, idler arm, ball joints etc. for louse fit or play.
     
  3. volare 77

    volare 77 Well-Known Member

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    could be a worn steering box
     
  4. bbeep79

    bbeep79 Member

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    My road runner, which I bought new in June of '79, had a worn out steering box before 70k miles.
    Took the car for tires and alignment, and the shop could not align because the steering box was shot. They had it on a lift, and you could move the steering arm on the box all over. The bushings in the box were worn out. It was very disappointing to me considering the mileage, and the car had always been maintained. Never thought the box would be shot in that short of time. Get it up in the air and check each joint in the linkage to see if something is worn. If you jack it up, be sure to use jack stands. Safety first !
    Good luck!
     
  5. Dr Lebaron

    Dr Lebaron Well-Known Member

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    My Lebaron's box was garbage at 59,000 miles.
    I bought a Firm Feel stage 2 box in 97 and it's still great.
     
  6. Oldiron440

    Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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    Are these power boxes that are bad?
     
  7. Dr Lebaron

    Dr Lebaron Well-Known Member

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    Mine was.
    Would think the R/R had power too.
     
  8. Oldiron440

    Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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    The manual box on the Volare was good at 73K.
     
  9. bbeep79

    bbeep79 Member

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    Yup, the rr was power steering also
     
  10. Dr Lebaron

    Dr Lebaron Well-Known Member

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    A cheaper option is get a parts place M body cop/taxi box.
     
  11. Oldiron440

    Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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    I had two wagons with power steering, one had almost 100k on it when I bought it and the other had that when I sold it, neither one had front end problems.
     
  12. ttocs15

    ttocs15 Member

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    Are they much better? There is a 360 V8 M body cop car for sale near me I was considering buying as a parts car. I posted another thread asking about suspension as well.
     
  13. Dr Lebaron

    Dr Lebaron Well-Known Member

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    Much better, that's why I did it.
    Wasn't going to pop for another FF.
    Although FF is a nice box.

    M body cop cars are usually are parts gold mine.
     
  14. volare 77

    volare 77 Well-Known Member

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    as long as that one isn`t worn out also, cop car? maybe
     
  15. MBDale

    MBDale Well-Known Member

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    Just reading the above posts on how cars won’t align, worn out boxes, etc. Confirms my purchase for a Borgeson system.
     
  16. Aspen500

    Aspen500 Well-Known Member

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    The stock Chrysler steering gear always has a loose feeling "dead spot" on center. It's the design and how they work that causes it. They also tend to be over boosted, which makes it feel loose as well. Not a cut on Mopar p.s., just saying that's the way they were, even when brand new.

    Even the FF Stage II box still has a dead spot but it's a lot less and the assist isn't so overpowering. Took my car (with an overhauled stock gear) from a point and shoot and not even comfortable to drive, to pretty darn good (the FF box). That's with literally every single steering and suspension wear item replaced, along with some non-wear items as well. It's not rack and pinion but a whole lot closer than it ever was since the day I bought it 31 years ago with 72,000 miles. It's still no corner carver but with a BB and A/C it's just a tad nose heavy and never will corner well but, I can live with it now.
     
  17. BudW

    BudW Moderator Staff Member

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    Parts that can cause “play” in steering (in no particular order):
    - Loose or failed wheel bearings
    - Loose lug nuts or wheels with damage in lug nut area (wheel won’t be tight against brake rotor)
    - Loose tie rod ends (4x on the car)
    - Loose idler arm
    - Loose Pittman arm
    - Loose (or misadjusted) steering gear.
    - Loose Pot Coupler (white circle, below)
    - Wore out Rag Joint (Chrysler calls it a “fabric coupling”) (yellow arrows, below)
    - Broken (or incomplete) welds in K-frame.
    - Broken or wore out Rubber mounts between K-frame and Frame. (picture, below)
    - Failed steering column bearings
    - Failed tilt-steering shaft joint OR loose screws that hold steering column together by the tilt mechanism (providing you have tilt-steering).
    - Any combination of above.

    20170519_135230r.jpg
    The pot coupler in this picture - the cap (right side of the white oval) came undone, grease escaped and dirt entered. The coupler shown is loose because of that.

    Rag.jpg

    20160411_153503 A.jpg

    The K-frames on these cars – sometimes the steering gear attachment bracket is welded firmly to K-frame, sometimes (mostly?) not.
    Anytime a FMJ K-frame is out of car, take it to get welded up and have extra gussets added in the steering gear area. Also, reinstall the K-frame using aluminum, iron or urethane mounts (and toss the wore out rubber biscuits).

    Don’t use cheap (ie: Chinese) tie rod ends. Pay more to get quality tie rods, with grease nipples – and add a shot of grease every oil change.
    BudW
     
    Master M and 76B5 like this.
  18. BudW

    BudW Moderator Staff Member

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    The steering gears on our cars is a known problem area. Basically, it was designed in the early 1960’s (or before?) and was decent in its time. Chrysler still used it until the B-van production ended (2003).

    It is over-boosted and there are tips on internet to lower the pressure going to the steering gear.

    Firm Feel (FFI) has performed modifications to the factory gears that make them a lot firmer and last longer – but their gears are costly. I have one in my garage, ready for install.

    Borgeson has taken the steering gear from Jeeps and adapted them to fit our cars. It is a smaller package, faster turning ratio and slop is mostly eliminated – but their gears are (more) costly and requires some modifications to fit the intermediate steering shaft (the item in white circle and rag joint attaches to – in photo in above post).

    Also, I believe the steering gears in a lot of FMJ vehicles fail prematurely because of their proximity to the driver’s side pre-catalytic converter. Converters operate at 1,000’ F (540’ C) or in some cases – operate white or red hot (glows in the dark) from being so hot. I feel that heat melts or hardens the seals on the steering gear causing them to leak oil.
    The steering gear on my ’86 Fifth Ave – I have to add fluid to it every couple of days.

    I have plans on getting rid of the pre-cats soon, and will swap out steering gear at same time (both are in each other’s way for removal).

    Getting a Borgeson gear and replacing the original is my plan for my other car (when I can find extra $$).
    BudW
     
  19. MoparDan

    MoparDan Well-Known Member

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    Mine just started leaking at 195K miles...I feel better about now after reading how early they can fail
     
  20. AJ/FormS

    AJ/FormS Well-Known Member

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    Find out where the play as and when.
    With the engine off, you will have quite a bit of movement of the steering wheel before the box starts transmitting that motion to the pitman arm. That is how the torque-sensing system is engineered and some or most of it is normal. After you start her up, a lot of that goes away.
    There is a procedure in the FSM to adjust the sector-shaft, and whatever is left over is in the reaction springs....... which can also be adjusted
    but the box has to come apart. Chrysler used to sell a package of those pretty cheap; but it will take you all afternoon to get them in there and back to driving. I don't know if they are still available.