Cadillac Owners Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
927 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I need some opinions I have replaced ball joints, tie rods, centerlink, idler arm w/ problem solver. They all helped to solve other bad problems I had with slack in the steering. This was done about 12 months ago.

I don't really remember when this slack in the steering started but the odd thing is that it is only in one direction when turning to the right.

I have begun suspecting my gearbox only because about 2 years ago my car was in an accident another car hit my left front wheel and only the wheel but the ball joints did snap so the wheel was in-ward at the top.A repair shop replaced the control arms ball joints and tie rods at that time.

For a long time now more than 12 months ago there has been a dead spot to the right of center and I am thinking it might have been possible that one of the teeth in the gearbox could be worn or broken.
The slack is most noticeable on the expressway because when inthe left lane i have to turn the wheel about 3-5" to the right to go straight.Yet to the left there is No slack at all and it responds very well.

There is no slack in the bjs, tie rods, centerlink, or idler arm. The idler arm does go up and down about 1/8" maybe less but there is a slight movement although this idler arm is only about 6 months old.

My car has 56,000 miles.

The gearbox is expensive so I don't really want to replace it.I've had 2
alignments done in the past year thinking it might help but they didn't.

I have even tried aligning it myself but there is always slack in the right side.
I have thoroughly checked the rag joints but there is no slack.I also thought if the joint was bad that it would have slack to both directions.

Tell me what you guys think and if it's worth a shot at replacing the gearbox.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,382 Posts
I have a considerable amount of slack in my '93, to both the left and the right, off center. Car has 102k and still looks to be largely untouched underneath up front, save for the new ball joint we just had installed.

Not something that bothers me unless I'm on the highway (lots of straight cruising) and it happens to be windy--it's absolute hell trying to keep the car going straight then, since the car wants to go one way in the wind, you try to correct, but the slop in the wheel pretty much prevents that from happening easily.

My father seems to think "that's just the way they designed it--light and easy", but I know it definately had to be at least a little more precise earlier in life.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
927 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I'm certain there shouldnt be any play int he wheel at all it's unsafe.

In your case I would suggest looking at the ragjoint just in case its the joints that go between the steering wheel and the gearbox.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,543 Posts
turbocaddy said:
the only thing left is the pitman arm and steering box..
There should be an adjustment screw (worm gear) surrounded by a lock-nut on the gearbox. This will take up minor slack in the steering gear.

For all RWD cars with conventional steering, the adjuster should be located on the top of the gearbox. If the screw head is at or below the lock nut, you have no more adjustment.

A bent or stripped pitman arm will cause more problems than slack, it will pop and groan and cause very inconsistant steering problems.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
927 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Something interesting I found out today it seems through more thorough checking that there really isn't slack in the steering I had someone turn the steering wheel with both wheels off the ground and then I also tried with both wheels on the ground and we turn it back and forth but there was really no dead spot and no slack anywhere.

What it seems like is that to the left there is a little bit more resistance felt when turning the wheel this gives the impression that it is reacting sooner and since to the right it's lighter less effort required to turn the wheel it makes it seem as if there is a dead spot.

It's really odd so now I'm thinking it may be an alignment issue or maybe even a tire issue I will change out my front wheels with each other to see if that helps.

I'm going to give it a try to do my own alignment I just don't trust the shops anymore I've tried 4 diff. shops and each one sucks including firestone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,534 Posts
I only do my own alignments. Shops are typically lazy and don't do much. They hire the cheapest worker they can. You get what you pay for....

I have found on my Cad, as I have been fussing with alignment is that caster when off too much to one side will throw off the on center feel too.

So with mine, I am trying to get it dialed in to where it is perfect, but it is proving more difficult than any other car I have owned. I have checked the tie rods, rag joint, replaced drag link, idler arm and all seems ok. So I am now down to just tweaking it in.

1. Car pulls to side with most CASTER.

2. BUT, if too MUCH caster, it will start to pull the other way. I have proven this on 2 vehicles. So don't go too far.

3. GM specs to not have more than 10mm difference in shim dimensions from front to back on each arm. I am starting to think there is a good reason why. It won't align well that far out.

4. Tie Rods. They MUST be equal length. Period. Do not ever allow them to be dissimilar lengths. This will screw up bump steer and ackerman angle. A sign is corning one direction differently than the other. The tires won't drive around the same circle the same way.

5. Always run at least 1 shim, don't allow the upper arm shaft to contact directly on the frame, it tends to get stiff there and can be difficult to get loose. A flat pry bar like one for roofing is all I could use to get it to back off. Mainly on the front, when you are going for high caster, the front shims are next to nothing.

6. When adjusting CASTER, add 1 shim to back bolt to increase caster. OR remove 1 from FRONT bolt. OR both. BUT doing only 1 will tweak camber.

7. To adjust CAMBER, add exact same thickness shims to both bolts. This will not disturb caster and only tweak camber.

8. Check toe with 2 6 foot or longer bar stock supported by bricks to to get the rod up over the sidewall bulge. Get 2 25 foot or longer tape measures and measure the distance between the bars. I use a spring clamp to hold the end of the tape on the bar, and then run the tape out to around 15 feet to allow it to rest on the bar without bowing much or bending the tape. Shoot for 1/16" toe in @ 6 foot bar length. This is around 0.02-0.05 degrees toe in. You will have to ensure both bars sit on the tire sidewalls the same on both sides before you make your readings. And always pull out the tires at the front to make sure the tie rods are preloaded out not in, this is closer to what you see down the road.

9. To recenter wheel, turn both tie rod adjusters same way. To toe in opposite, toe out opposite of toe in, but still both opposite. A little adjustment goes a LONG way, so turn in 1/8 turn increments. Hold tie rod with vice grips to keep it front turning on you. It will mess up measurements when it does, because you have to turn it back.
10. ALWAYS make sure the adjusters are where they were when you loosened them, or how GM specs if you have an FSM. They can contact the frame at full extension and bend the rod if they are in the wrong place.

I shoot for as much caster as the car will take while keeping a 0 camber. If I can, -0.25 degrees camber is helpful if you drive hard. S500 Benz has around 10 degrees Caster. You can't have enough in my book! The car will bite harder in corners with more caster. BUT don't exceed GM limits, you don't want to break a ball joint in a bump at extreme limits. I prefer closer to 0 toe. Toe out will hurt tire wear and fuel economy, but will enhance handling some.

Enjoy!
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
About this Discussion
7 Replies
5 Participants
N0DIH
Top