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Old 04-24-2012, 05:29 PM
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chevy truck alignment question

Hey guys wondering if someone can explain this to me ive looked and thought about it so much my head hurts. 75 chevy k20 finally figured out my loose steering problem was the cause of me not having the steering box centered at high point. I centered the box locked the steering wheel at center of the box and adjusted the drag link so it would fit in at center. My flat spot on the input shaft lines up with the factory mark on the gear box at center. At center my steering wheel is 90 degrees off. So before I would adjust my drag link to get the steering wheel back to center then the truck would be loose like crazy driving straight cause it was no longer at high point. I'm gonna take it in to have it aligned but I want to know how its supposed to be adjusted. Everyone says to adjust the drag link to center the steering wheel up but this moves the box off center. I might be overthinking it but I just wanna know how it works. Any suggestions or insight? Thanks!

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Old 04-25-2012, 06:15 AM
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center the wheel

centering the wheel is the last step and after the alignment is done. put some masking tape on the column and the wheel, drive the truck down the road straight ahead, put a pencil mark on both pieces when driving straight ahead, drive back to the shop , Turn the wheels until the pencil marks lines up. Now you remove the steering wheel with out turning it, rotate the wheel above the splines until you get it straight ahead then put it back down on the splines
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Old 04-25-2012, 07:44 AM
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So I can remove the steering wheel and set it back to center. Will the alignment shop do this? I have no problem doing it myself but I need them to do the alignment and I just don't want them adjusting the drag link to get the wheel straight and throwing the box off center.
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Old 04-25-2012, 08:21 AM
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tell them your problem

Expalain your problem and that you expect them to do it right.
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Old 04-25-2012, 08:39 AM
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Ok will do. Thanks
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Old 04-25-2012, 01:20 PM
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That is how I would have done it years ago, but that is not the case anymore. At least not with air bag cars, the clock spring can be damaged or not work properly if you do this.


You straighten the wheel with the centerlink or tie rod ends. In this case you center the steering wheel, then set the toe on each wheel until they are straight. Thus you have a straight steering wheel, and straight wheels.

Brian
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Old 04-25-2012, 06:11 PM
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That's how I was hoping it could be adjusted but wasn't for sure. Thank you sir!
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Old 04-25-2012, 07:49 PM
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If the steering wheel is moved in relation to the steering column, the turn signals won't cancel properly. There typically is an indicator on the top of the steering column shaft showing where center is. Either it is a line or a dimple. It should be at 12 o'clock, and then install the steering wheel so it is straight and level.

Disconnect the column from the steering box, center the box, make all the linkage so it connects to the pitman arm without moving it off center and with the tires pointed straight ahead. That includes the drag link and the center link or tie-rods. Then connect the column to the steering gear keeping it all centered.

When you get to that point you are ready to get it aligned.

Andy
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Old 04-25-2012, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aosborn
If the steering wheel is moved in relation to the steering column, the turn signals won't cancel properly. There typically is an indicator on the top of the steering column shaft showing where center is. Either it is a line or a dimple. It should be at 12 o'clock, and then install the steering wheel so it is straight and level.

Disconnect the column from the steering box, center the box, make all the linkage so it connects to the pitman arm without moving it off center and with the tires pointed straight ahead. That includes the drag link and the center link or tie-rods. Then connect the column to the steering gear keeping it all centered.

When you get to that point you are ready to get it aligned.

Andy
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:26 PM
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I just went through all this on my own 73 blazer..(all the same steering as a 75 k20)

Disconnect the pitman arm. You don't necessarily have to disconnect the steering column from the box, it won't do you any good inasfar as the steering wheel position goes just yet, as the column and shaft are all indexed to the box to go in one place. If you choose to leave the steering shaft connected to the box, add an inch pound or 2 to the preload values.

Adjust the steering box per your manual, to get the proper bearing preload, and sector shaft over center torque (this is the "high spot") If you don't have a manual, here's a thread with the instructions. Saginaw Steering box

NOW..if your box is worn out, crunchy bearings, worn balls, worn sector gear, you will find that the box will be impossible to get all the freeplay out without it having "sticky" spots when you are turning it.. DO NOT adjust the box so it is hard to turn..

With the box adjusted and centered, the steering wheel should be centered. I usually feel for the high spot instead of counting turns when I do a box centering, as there should be a noticable tightness to the center..There is about 10* steering wheel rotation either way off the center of the high spot. (NOTE: don't try to find the center of the box by counting turns if the pitman arm is hooked up, the travel stops on the axle are the limiting factor, and those are rarely equally adjusted in sync with the box) If, at this time, the steering wheel is not centered in sync with the box, you have an improperly installed steering wheel, or a messed up rag joint, or a messed up box. ( stuff one wheel in a sand bowl at 40 mph so hard that it instantly stops the truck and the box will get messed up..hahah don't ask how I know)

Once the box is centered, mark the steering wheel so that you know where the center is.
Install the pitman arm, and adjust the drag link so the wheels point straight ahead. Re-adjust as needed. It usually takes me a couple of test drives to get it all straight.

If your steering wheel was put on crooked,( sometimes the match mark is there, sometimes not), you can pull the wheel and re-orient it so it's straight. The turn signal cancellation cam can be moved around if needed, it's under the lock plate.

Hope this helps,
Later, mikey
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:31 AM
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I pulled the steering wheel last night just to see if it could be moved. I did notice that on every pic of a gm steering column without the wheel on the horn button was at about the 11 o'clock position. Mine was at the 3 o'clock position. The lock plate seemed to go into three different spots on the shaft.with it reclocked the wheel is almost straight and the horn button is near the 12 o'clock position. I think someonenmust have had this off before and reclocked the wheel to match their alignmnet. So it shouldn't take much adjustment to get the wheel perfect center now.
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