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i have a 67 with power steering and the steering box is out of the car when i turn it it gets hard to turn especially in the middle other than the middle its smooth. does that sound right, or should i rebuild it? thanxs
 

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I have a spare one out and I noticed the same thing. I was fooling with the lash adjustment, trying to remove slack between the input and output shafts. I can adjust it so there's almost no lash, but it gets very rough and tight in the center of movement. Backing off the lash enough so that the travel is smooth gives me about 1/4" of play. I'll bet this translates to at least an inch and a half of slop at the steering wheel.
This is a 30 year old used box. I suppose it's quite normal for a worn out box. I haven't messed with the one that's still in my car. It would be nice to have a rebuilt one to compare to though.
 

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Weird!!! I just discovered the same thing on my box last night. I have the center link disconnnected from the box and noticed the "tightness" when I was moving the pitman arm out of my way. It is definately in the center of the rotation. I called around this morning to see if anyone had a rebuilt box in stock, but no luck. I've always considered my steering box to be in good condition because of no slop and no detectible problems on the street. I think I'll replace it anyway just for piece of mind.
 

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I recently re-built the 16-1 out of my 65 w/ the kit from Va Mustang and it does the same thing. All the original parts looked good also when I pulled them .Weird.
 

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The tightness you are noticing in the center of travel is normal. Without it, the car will wander when driving straight down the road.
There are two adjustments on a steering box. First, the preload on the bearing on the input shaft is adjusted by the large nut that the steering shaft goes through at the top of the box. This preload creates about 5 in/lb of bearing drag. This insures that the bearings are tight enough to prevent play but loose enough that they do not bind or wear quickly.
The second adjustment is measuring the drag created by the action of the teeth on the sector shaft against the teeth of the rack block. This drag is measured as you turn the box from lock to lock and measure the center. The drag should remain about 5in/lb and then go up to a total of about 10 in/lb at the center, then go back down as you pass to the other side. A box that has no "high" spot at center is worn out and will never work correctly.
With the box out of the car you can just feel the difference when you turn the shaft by hand or with a wrench. It is very slight. That is why I cringe when I hear about people cranking on the adjustment screw at the top of the box. You just can't feel that small difference of adjustment in the car. By the time you can feel the difference, the box has been over adjusted and will either fail or wear quickly.
Be glad your box feels tighter at the center of travel - this means the teeth inside haven't worn out.
 

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I'd like to add that the ol' recirculating ball steering box in our Mustangs do have about a 2" swing in play at the steering wheel which is quite normal. I can't remember the exact spec's but they are in our Ford's Repair manual. Our Mustang's steering boxes aren't like today's moderned rack and pinion steering boxes. A little bit of play is normal.

About the only way a person can tighten up the steering on a '65/'66 is to convert to a steering box meant for the performance handling or power steering (without the power ram, pump and junk) and slap on the Shelby Quick steering kit.

Quicker responses at freeway speeds and builds your arm muscles when parallel parking! *G*

Dean T
 

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I started to wonder how normal this was, but mine tends to get a little tighter than you describe at the middle. The box is still in the car and I was moving the pitman arm out of the way and noticed the tightness in the middle, It actually will stop in the middle and I have to give it a little push to get past it (I'm guessing more than 10 inch pounds). The box has always felt great while driving with only about 1.5" of play at the steering wheel and a smooth turn from side to side. Do you think it is possible that someone has over adjusted it, or maybe it is a little tight due to age? I was considering replacing it until I read your reply, now I'm not sure if it is necessary.

Thanks
 

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So my box is 30 years old but may yet have some life in it? Cool.
I've been looking for excuse to buy a "low read" inch-pound torque wrench anyway. I seem to remember seeing some inch-pound adjustments in one of my manuals, done at the steering wheel. Now that I think about it, they should be easily checked in-car. You'd just have to disconnect the steering linkage from the Pitman arm, right?
 
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