Tightening steering - box or pitman? - Vintage Mustang Forums

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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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Tightening steering - box or pitman?

I had my steering box rebuilt and it seemed much better than it was before

Now there is about 2 inches of steering wheel play before the box starts to turn the wheels and I'd like it to be more responsive. Mechanic says the box could be adjusted and the ball joint in the pitman arm could be rebuilt by rare parts for like $275+.

This is for a 67 with a 1 inch pitman so replacing the arm isn't an option.

The box was marked by the rebuilder so any adjustment by me voids the warranty.

Am I likely to get a bigger change by having the box adjusted or the pitman?

The rest of of the components were confirmed to be tight.

Sorry for long winded question and thanks in advance.

Rodney
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 01:08 AM
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If the steering is loose, shouldn't the rebuilder honor the warranty and fix it?

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 01:53 AM
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Before pulling the box and/or playing with the adjustments, make sure you don't have any loose components in the steering linkage itself. Don't know if you have power steering, but for manual steering, check the idler arm on the passenger side. My steering box had to be rebuilt, but the folks who did my front end alignment also found that my idler arm was worn and causing some issues too. Just check all the connections on the center link to make sure all the bushings are in place and the connections are tight.



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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 02:15 AM
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RareParts can rebuild that pitman arm. If its got slack have it rebuilt. Rareparts will also put a grease fitting in it.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 07:50 AM
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Is this a late '67 with the rag joint? Maybe that's just worn out.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 07:58 AM
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Im having trouble figuring out how a pitman arm goes bad. Its just bent steel and two holes. Whats to rebuild? I would not let anyone touch the steering box till the rest of the system is assessed. Ball joints tierod ends if there is power steering ram style there a whole new can o worms. Start with looking at the rag jount for the easiest solution. Watch the system with someone else turning the wheel back and forth. Bad alignment, toe in particular will give the same symptoms.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 08:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dobrostang View Post
Im having trouble figuring out how a pitman arm goes bad. Its just bent steel and two holes. Whats to rebuild? I would not let anyone touch the steering box till the rest of the system is assessed. Ball joints tierod ends if there is power steering ram style there a whole new can o worms. Start with looking at the rag jount for the easiest solution. Watch the system with someone else turning the wheel back and forth. Bad alignment, toe in particular will give the same symptoms.
65-66 mustangs use the same pitman arm for manual and power steering.
67-70 mustangs have 2 different pitman arms. one for power and one for manual. the power steering pitman arm has 2 holes like the 65-66. the manual steering pitman arm has one hole and a stud at the other end. the stud sits in a bushing so it can rotate. the bushing wears everytime the steering wheel is moved. Rareparts takes the pitman arm apart and puts a new bushing in the pitman arm. also the early 67 has a 1" hole and the late 67-70 has a 1.125" hole. the early 67 manual steering pitman arm is very rare. here is a foto of a 67-70 manual steering pitman arm.
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File Type: jpg manual steering pitman arm.JPG (10.9 KB, 28 views)
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Last edited by supershifter2; 04-21-2017 at 08:19 AM.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supershifter2 View Post
do you have power steering or manual steering ?

if you have power steering the ball and socket is probably worn out. the power steering pitman arm has 2 holes. the manual steering pitman arm has one hole and a stud at the other end. the stud sits in a bushing so it can rotate. the bushing wears everytime the steering wheel is moved. Rareparts takes the pitman arm apart and puts a new bushing in the pitman arm.
EPAS but that doesn't count, I used to have ram style power steering, didn't change the pitman going back to manual which is what EPAS really is with the power in the steering column... I get that the power steering valve system could need rebuilding and the fittings but the Pitman arm? Does the hole elongate?

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 08:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dobrostang View Post
EPAS but that doesn't count, I used to have ram style power steering, didn't change the pitman going back to manual which is what EPAS really is with the power in the steering column... I get that the power steering valve system could need rebuilding and the fittings but the Pitman arm? Does the hole elongate?
the pitman arm has a bushing wraped around the ball stud. the bushing wears out and you get side to side play between the ball stud and pitman arm frame. its just like what happens to a tie rod end. 67-70 uses 2 different types of pitman arms. 65-66 uses the same pitman arm for manual steering and power steering.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 08:37 AM
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There have been quite a few bits of truth shared in this thread.
We have to assume the OP has manual, as that's what I gather.
Most likely the play is in the box, even though its been "rebuilt."
Not ragging on that deal, but what was done during the rebuild?
It's literally "garbage in, garbage out" unless you address things
the correct way in that process. There is a big difference between
Smucketelli's rebuild at one end of the spectrum and a blueprinted
steering box at the other. And there variations in between......
The idler is always suspect on these cars. I'd put a roller idler
on it and call it a day. I've got one on my '68.
The pitman does wear and as already mentioned, can be redone
by RareParts. That is not the only way, but it is the path of least
cost. There is an entity making a new 1" pitman. They are stupid
expensive though.

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. I'm assuming that whoever rebuilt the steering box knew what they were doing. It was subbed out by the mustang repair shop in Seattle. I'm going to find out if I can have them adjust it while its in the car because pulling it again with the engine in seems like a total PITA.

If that doesn't work, I"ll send the pitman off for a rebuild.

Rodney
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney001 View Post
I had my steering box rebuilt and it seemed much better than it was before

Now there is about 2 inches of steering wheel play before the box starts to turn the wheels and I'd like it to be more responsive. Mechanic says the box could be adjusted and the ball joint in the pitman arm could be rebuilt by rare parts for like $275+.

This is for a 67 with a 1 inch pitman so replacing the arm isn't an option.

The box was marked by the rebuilder so any adjustment by me voids the warranty.

Am I likely to get a bigger change by having the box adjusted or the pitman?

The rest of of the components were confirmed to be tight.

Sorry for long winded question and thanks in advance.

Rodney
If there is more than zero lash in the gearbox when the wheel is centered, it was not rebuilt properly. Contact the builder.

If there is zero lash, and your mechanic wants to tighten it more, he basically wants you to die. Find another mechanic.

Why is driving a safe car not an option?

Amateur restorer. Well, sometimes I have been paid for it. But not right now.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Red-Head steering gears up here in the PNW did the work and they said they can adjust this afternoon if I swing by. Will let everyone know if it's improved.

Thanks!
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 05:37 PM
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Rodney---Please view 22GT's statement.

Then, If, they do set up the box IN THE CAR----Wow, I'd sure like to see these special tools, Or Magic, Must be David Copperfield tools>
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 12:14 AM Thread Starter
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To finish the story, Red Head Steering in Auburn WA did a magic job on the box this afternoon.

They spent about 45 minutes with me checking the lash, test driving around the block (twice) and gave it a snug up all for free under warranty. They said when they rebuild a box they set it to the lightest recommended setting but it can require some adjustment when it is installed.

Given the thousands of boxes I saw being rebuilt in their shop, I feel confident I'm in good hands. Plus they found a loose tie rod end that they tightened for free.

They also said rebuilding the pitman would help snug things up the rest of the way.

Drive home was much improved.

Rodney

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