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Frequently Asked Questions...

I have a 1972 ford pick-up with loose steering, is there any way to tighten it up?

I know there is a nut and scerw on the gear box but i dont know what it is for or how to adjust it.


Best Answer...

Answer:

Start here----->
have a friend sit in the cab, and move the steering wheel from one end of the "loose" free-play to the other without forcing it, and do it deliberately, not rapidly, but not so slow that you both go to sleep.
Get under the front end of the pick-up with a light, and watch all the moving parts from the pittman arm out.
If ALL of the parts are moving the same, and there are none moving further than the others, then the next step is adjust the steering gear.
I would be willing to bet that the DRAG LINK (center link) from the pittman arm to the right side steering arm is very loose, and should be replaced.
Also a weak point on an older Ford are all of the tie-rod ends. Chances are that they all could be replaced.
If there appears to be minimal looseness in the linkage, raise the front-end so that the front wheels are off the ground. USE JACK-STANDS!!
Open the hood, and as you stand near the left front fender, look into the engine bay, between the engine and the frame.
The steering gear is just below the hood hinge, a little to the front.
With a 5/8" (or posssibly 3/4") box wrench, or a socket, loosen the nut you see on the top of the gear.
Now retain that nut with a wrench, and with a large screwdriver, turn the bolt clockwise slowly JUST until you feel a SLIGHT resistance and stop. Don't go further.
Move the steering wheel from stop to stop slowly. If you don't feel a SLIGHT resistance somewhere near the middle, you can probably take it a LITTLE bit more, and check it again.
When you begin to feel a "hard spot" in the center of the free-play, back it up about 1/8 to 1/4 turn COUNTER-clockwise, and secure the bolt with your screwdriver, and then secure the retaining nut, with a torque of 45 ft/lbs (or quite tight, but not gorilla tight)
When you are finished, re-check that there is not a VERY HARD SPOT in the center. If not, remove the stands and road test for safe control.
If there is ANY doubt about anything you are to do, PLEASE have a professional do the repairs and / or adjustments.
If you OVER ADJUST the steering gear, it can cause a steering condition in which you cannot straighten the wheel from a turn, or it can cause your little pick-up to wander dangerously from lane to lane.

Good Luck