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Too much play in steering wheel

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I've always had the issue of having too much play in my steering wheel. When the car is parked and off, I can turn the steering wheel approx 20 degrees without moving the tires. What is that an indicator of?
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The steering is tightest in the center of the range of motion. I would first do a simple check by rotating the wheel one revolution in both directions and see it the box tightens up in either direction. It is possible the previous alignment was done without the steering box being centered. If it doesn't improve, I would first look for worn suspension/steering parts and then rebuild the steering box.
 

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look at the rag joint
 

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.. and if it's power steering, it will always have play on center with the engine off. That's how the system works.
 
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If all suspension tight. Jack up front end with suspension hanging loosen lock nut on top of steering box and turn center stud in 1/2 to 1 turn while holding lock nut and then check play again by seeing how much play in steering wheel and turning wheels all the way in each direction (to make sure you don't impact full range of motion by going to far). Made huge difference in my 70.
 

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DO NOT TOUCH the sector to ball nut adjustment unless you have removed the Pitman arm, checked and adjusted the input shaft bearing pre-load and then checked lash using an inch-pound torque wrench as per the factory shop manual. It is also imperative that the gearbox is not damaged and is filled with the proper lubricant. Simply cranking down the sector shaft adjustment is a recipe for steering failure at the least opportune moment. Those who have successfully done so have cheated Darwin.
 

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DO NOT TOUCH the sector to ball nut adjustment unless you have removed the Pitman arm, checked and adjusted the input shaft bearing pre-load and then checked lash using an inch-pound torque wrench as per the factory shop manual. It is also imperative that the gearbox is not damaged and is filled with the proper lubricant. Simply cranking down the sector shaft adjustment is a recipe for steering failure at the least opportune moment. Those who have successfully done so have cheated Darwin.
Please listen to Woodchuck statement. Failure to do so, adjust freely might be the last time you will.
 

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.. and if it's power steering, it will always have play on center with the engine off. That's how the system works.
Yep. A lot of play is normal with the engine off.

Oh, and either way if the gearbox is adjusted you must follow the Ford Shop Manual to the letter. Any deviation might cause death.
 

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I wouldn't think leaving it attached to the shaft would affect the resistance that much. I tried to pull mine and it destroyed the puller. I figured it could stay for the inch pound test
 

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I wouldn't think leaving it attached to the shaft would affect the resistance that much. I tried to pull mine and it destroyed the puller. I figured it could stay for the inch pound test
You figured wrong.

ex-Global West GM
1991-1995
 

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I've always had the issue of having too much play in my steering wheel. When the car is parked and off, I can turn the steering wheel approx 20 degrees without moving the tires. What is that an indicator of?
20 degrees isn’t excessive in that mode……. Of course by now you know that isn’t a valid way of determining steering system condition.

ex-Global West GM
1991-1995
 

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When you're talking about adjustments made in the 8-10 INCH POUNDS range it can mean a heck of a lot since gravity will exert force on the Pitman arm.

View attachment 869501
Yes sir
These boxes and steering valves are setup in inch pounds and thousands . These types of measurement can not be felt by the hand, only instruments can read the setup.
Look at the spool travel 60 thousands. Any more will affect the turning capability's.
 
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