: Is there an easy steering box adjustment?(79 deville)



caddydave2001
11-12-09, 12:24 PM
When I first got the car, I wanted the steering to be a little tighter, so I asked my mechanic if he could do that. He said it was an easy adjustment on the steering box, and did it for me. WHile now, after Ive replaced alot of components, and tires, its too sensitive for my tastes. if I turn the wheel ever so slightly in either direction, it goes in that direction immediately, so It can be tough to keep the car driving straight with natural steering wheel movement. Is there something I can do that will ease up the sensitivity, and allow me to move the wheel slightly without the car immediately going in those directions?

outsider
11-12-09, 12:56 PM
I've been wondering the same thing with my 87...interested to hear the answers

csbuckn
11-12-09, 02:02 PM
I was wondering about this also. mine is way too sloppy right now. I couldnt find anything on the internet about it either. Looking at the steering box, I couldnt see any way to fix it but I have to be missing something.

caddydave2001
11-12-09, 04:23 PM
Well, worse case guys, I will take it back to the mechanic who originally adjusted the box and ask him how he does it. (if we dont get a response on here.) I believe the correct adjustment on these should allow a little slop to where while driving, you should be able to (picture the wheel as a clock) steer the wheel from 59-01 (minutes) without the car wanting to go left or right. Before the adjustment, i could go from say 57/58 to 02/03 and nothing would happen.(not responsive anough) But after he adjusted it,the car wants to change lanes practically when it reaches halfway between 59 or 01. WAY TO SENSITIVE.

outsider
11-12-09, 04:30 PM
Yup, I have that same problem. Just the natural play in the steering wheel makes the car go from line to line!

jayoldschool
11-12-09, 07:10 PM
Short version: you loosen the nut and on top of the box. Then, tighten the set screw a TINY little bit. Then, re-tighten the nut.

Long version (http://www.monte-list.nu/tech/boxmesh.shtml)

I'll find a picture... here we go:

http://image.fourwheeler.com/f/9539839+w750+st0/129_0801_34_z+saginaw_steering_box+adjust_sector_s haft_tension.jpg

outsider
11-12-09, 08:27 PM
oooooh nice picture. thanks jay :D

caddydave2001
11-13-09, 11:28 AM
Thank you Jay! One question though, will tightening the screw make the steering more sensitive, and loosening make the steering sloppier??

csbuckn
11-13-09, 04:53 PM
according to the long version, tightening will make it more sensitive.

Benzilla
03-12-13, 06:03 PM
The link to the resolution is dead now. I am curious about this subject, can anyone point me towards a full explanation? Pretty please?

Ben

cadillac kevin
03-12-13, 06:09 PM
I'd be interested in this...my steering doesn't respond until 52-55/ 05-08 (minutes on a clock)....quite annoying.

The Ape Man
03-13-13, 09:42 AM
The adjustment pictured usually only can be done ever so slightly. Any more and the steering gear will bind causing sticky steering.

One overlooked steering component is the "rag" joint. Many generous motors cars of this area had issues with that.

There's a black fiber looking disc near where the column marries the steering box.

Have an ass-is-tant rock the steering back and fourth about 15-20 degrees car off wheels on the ground.

Look for slop and worn parts which take grease.

Ball joint play on these cars must be checked with a floor jack under lower control arm.

Upper A frame bushings on worn cars will make steering wander and take corners off tires. Tyres if you are in GB.

deVille33
03-13-13, 02:36 PM
Long time since I have been into a steering box. Three parts, a worm, a rack and a sector. The worm rides inside a rotory valve which increases pressure to the rack piston, which forces the rack and moves it along the sector. The adjustment is made on the sector shaft bushing located under top cover of the steering box. When you tighten the adjuster, you are moving the sector down into the rack, so there is less clearance.

Seville fan
03-13-13, 03:53 PM
My alignment guy was explaining that when the steering coupler starts to wear, and I guess they all do, some play can develop in the steering wheel. He said a simple fix is to tighten the coupler but like Ape Man said that can lead to sticky steering.

I have the optional rear sway bar on my 1986 FWB, stock springs and replacement Delco shocks. I love the ride and the car handles amazingly well for its size. There is no play in the steering at speed, in fact it feels perfect. Still I have been thinking about installing a quicker steering gear which is an easy swap according to Tom Lee in California, who rebuilds them. He can do a core exchange to something like 2.8 turns lock-to-lock, which is what the Firebird TransAm had. If you pick the right s/box you can even keep the same turning circle you have now.

My concern is that I would end up with the opposite problem deVille33 is having i.e. too much sensitivity at speed (where even a small unintended tug at the wheel makes the car dart around and feel nervous).

I'm sure at parking lot speeds the quicker ratio would be fantastic and lead to less rowing about. I would want to keep plenty of power steering assist as that's one of the things that makes this big car so effortless to drive. But maybe that would feel weird with the quicker steering???

I suppose a quicker steering gear should be combined with thicker front and rear sway bars which wouldn't be a deal breaker. However having to go to stiffer springs and shocks would be unless there is some magic combo that can improve the handling without sacrificing the ride. Maybe keep the springs but go with Bilsteins? Did I read somewhere that there is a "ride comfort" version of Bilsteins for these big cars?

Anyway if anyone has performed the steering gear swap please chime in with your experiences good and bad.

The Ape Man
03-13-13, 04:02 PM
I ran a Trans Am steering gear in my '81 CDV for years. My current 1980 Fleetwood Coupe comes from the factory with less lock to lock turns than garden variety cars. No problems at highway or any other speeds.

There are ways to increase caster beyond spec for more road feedback. I've done that on some of my Cadillacs too. My current ride still has the factory wheel alignment.

Seville fan
03-13-13, 04:23 PM
Yes on the caster. I read here to go with 4.5 degrees (stock is 2 I think). My alignment guy said there was room to go higher so I went with 5. It was a subtle change but worth it IMO. Steering is a tad heavier but it returns to center better and there is a little more "feel".

cadillac_al
03-14-13, 06:53 AM
When I first got the car, I wanted the steering to be a little tighter, so I asked my mechanic if he could do that. He said it was an easy adjustment on the steering box, and did it for me. WHile now, after Ive replaced alot of components, and tires, its too sensitive for my tastes. if I turn the wheel ever so slightly in either direction, it goes in that direction immediately, so It can be tough to keep the car driving straight with natural steering wheel movement. Is there something I can do that will ease up the sensitivity, and allow me to move the wheel slightly without the car immediately going in those directions?

It sounds like they went a tiny bit too far. Like Jay said in post #6, it only has to be turned a tiny bit. If you go too far it is over sensitive and hard to find center. I would just loosen it an 1/8-1/4 turn and see how you like it there. A 1/4 turn is a lot so try 1/8 first or just go 1/4 turn and see if it is too loose.

drmenard
03-14-13, 09:00 PM
I think if you go 1/4 or even 1/8 turn its going to be too much... Its been years since I played with that adjustment.. If I remember right that screw was torqued to a few inch pounds when rebuilding the unit... Before I did any adjusting I would scribe a good line to know where you started...