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Methods for getting steering wheel straight

Discussion in 'Tech Discussion' started by MisterB, Jul 8, 2020.

  1. MisterB

    MisterB Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    What adjustments methods are there to straighten the steering wheel? I had an alignment and they got it good, but since then I've replaced my steering column with a tilt one and then later replaced the lower shaft down to the steering box. I tried my best to get it centered, but it's off a bit. Shy of removing the shaft and adjusting it that way or removing the steering wheel (but that only has so much adjustment due to the cancel cam in the way), what is the proper adjustment procedure to center the steering wheel, so I can do it myself?

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  2. Jethro224

    Jethro224 Full Access Member

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    4wd is easy, the tie rod setup that connects to the pitman arm centers the steering wheel. Just loosen the sleeve and turn one way or the other until the wheel is straight.
    2wd you'd have to move one side toe out and the other side toe in equally. If you don't get them equal it will change the toe setting of your alignment. Might be best to take it back to the shop.
     
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  3. Turbo4whl

    Turbo4whl Full Access Member

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    @Jethro224 if you adjust your steering wheel to center with the drag link, the steering box may not be centered anymore.
    An exaggerated example, is you turn the wheel from center to full right stop, 2 1/2 turns. From center to full left, 2 turns. If the box is centered, then 2 1/4 turns to lock each way.

    @MisterB Wheels straight, check your box travel. Center to lock each way should be the same amount of turns each way. If everything is good pull the wheel off and move it. I am not familiar with the tilt column, but there should be a way to line up the signal cancel.
     
  4. Goldie Driver

    Goldie Driver Full Access Member

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  5. Jethro224

    Jethro224 Full Access Member

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    Good point Turbo4whl. I was assuming the steering box was center or close with the steering wheel straight.
    There are the stop bolts on the steering knuckles to consider too.
    If you just jump in the truck, turn the wheel straight and then count turns lock to lock, you may be hitting those stops.

    IMG_20200708_205344488.jpg
     
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  6. Goldie Driver

    Goldie Driver Full Access Member

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    Oops - double post...

    :confused:

    Did this a while back , if yours is 4 wheel drive:

    https://www.gmsquarebody.com/thread...-your-square-lately.3435/page-641#post-569296

    @MisterB - the cancel cam should be the same idea tilt or non tilt.

    You only have so much you can move the wheel from center - it can't just be put on say 30 degrees off center.

    Since the tit on the cancel cam goes up through a hole in the wheel for the horn contact you can only move it so far, too.

    http://fieros.de/en/articles/steering.html
     
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  7. bucket

    bucket Super Moderator Staff Member

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    If it's 4wd and the steering wheel is less than 180* off, simply adjust the drag link to center the wheel. Easy peasy.
     
  8. PrairieDrifter

    PrairieDrifter Full Access Member

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    In theory as long as you're close to being straight originally, and the horn knob on the cancel cam is in the correct position, that's where the steering wheel should be. As long as you have those things straight and then you adjust the drag link on 4wd, you should be at the very center of the steering box, as that would be the natural "center line" it follows, in theory of course.
     
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  9. idahovette

    idahovette Full Access Member

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    Steering wheel has to be centered to the gear. The only sure way to find out is to pull the linkage from the gear and run it lock to lock and then center then see if the steering wheel is in the proper spot at the half way point. Either pop the outer tie rod ends from the steering arms or pull the drag link from the pitman or pull the pitman arm from the gear. If the steering wheel is centered at that point , then you can adjust the draglink by loosening the sleeve and turning it. If you are lucky and the drag link is on correctly you can turn the sleeve the same way as the steering wheel needs to go....... I think this is how I've done it..... I'm old and it's late
     
  10. 80BrownK10

    80BrownK10 Full Access Member

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    Pull it off and set it back straight.
     
  11. MisterB

    MisterB Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    I wish it were that simple, but I upgraded to the U-Joint, non rag joint shaft, and to remove it is really a pain.

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  12. Turbo4whl

    Turbo4whl Full Access Member

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    Andy, re-read post #3 and read post #9

    @idahovette explained it better than I did. With the steering wheel straight, you need to be in the center of the steering box.
     
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  13. Turbo4whl

    Turbo4whl Full Access Member

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    One more statement to clarify why the center of the steering box, with the wheels straight: You have all read this, "GM variably ratio power steering" These squares all have this. It means when you are going straight and move the steering wheel they do not turn much. As you turn the steering wheel further, the wheels turn a lot more.
     
  14. bucket

    bucket Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, but if the truck drives well, turns the same amount in both directions and the steering wheel is only off to one side a little bit, the box is centered and the drag link just needs adjustment.
     
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  15. MisterB

    MisterB Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Update:

    I took a look at the drag link, and the front rubber bushing is really soft. Had someone turn the steering wheel back and forth with the truck on, and there's a ton of slop in it. I'm guessing that's not normal?

    I went ahead and purchased a new drag link with all new bushings and adjuster sleeve from LMC. No sense in getting the steering wheel straight right now if I'm going to replace the drag link anyway. Plus I'm hoping this will improve handling

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