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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 04-20-2006, 08:18 PM
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power steering won't return to center

I'm working on a 37 ford slantback sedan with stock frame, 2 1/2" dropped axle with split wishbones. The steering box is a 605 saginaw with a gm pump. The steering arms and the pitman arm are dropped to match the axle. It is set up with cross steering with the drag link pretty close to parallel with the tie rod. there is about 5 degrees of caster in the axle. all the king pins and linkages are free and have no binding. there is one ujoint in an almost straight line with the steering box/column. There is no bind at the column. the tires are 70 series on center loaded rims with 35psi air.
The problem is that the steering wheel won't return to center as it should after a turn with out it being steered back. The power box has been changed out twice, both times with rebuilt units.
I put an old 525 manual box in it and it steers and returns fine.(empirical testing method) When I drive it on the freeway it doesn't dart and wander like it would if it didn't have enough caster.
Is the car too light for this power box? It has a 350/350 mounted fairly forward. Do we need to run more caster with a power box? (thats going to be fun to do with the split wishbones) I don't usually see power boxes in these cars so I'm kind of stumped. If it was me I would ditch the power box but this is a customer's car. thanks for reading this, mikey

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Old 04-21-2006, 05:31 PM
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maybe your running the pressure and return lines backwards
5 degrees of caster should be plenty
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Old 04-21-2006, 06:53 PM
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Is it a new or used pump?Ive heard this could happen if the pump is taking a dump.
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Old 04-21-2006, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobberaz
maybe your running the pressure and return lines backwards
5 degrees of caster should be plenty
Thanks. The lines are correct. I would think the thing would steer really hard if the lines were swapped. The power assist is fine, it just won't return to center without steering it there.
mikey
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Old 04-21-2006, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1969NovaSS
Is it a new or used pump?Ive heard this could happen if the pump is taking a dump.
it has plenty of power assist. no noise, no jerky feeling when parking. pumps going out usually display those symptoms also.
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Old 04-22-2006, 10:03 AM
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Another thought is did you have the alignment checked? This could also happen if the toe is not set up right.You said it worked good with the manual box but usually there are different specs for cars with manual steering. Manual steering uses a lot more toe then the PAS specs. Also old cars are set up for bias ply so they have a lot more toe then you need. you might have .30 degrees of toe when you only need .06-0.One more thing,my brother in laws mustang recently had this problem and it turned out his adjusting nut on his steering box ( I thinks its called the worm gear) needed to be loosened. I hope this helps.
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Old 04-27-2006, 11:11 AM
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Contrary to popular belief and old wive's tales...... it is not the caster that does the recentering, but the "king pin (ball joint) inclination" which is unalterable.

The other affecting factor is the scrub radius that might be altered too much due to wheel offset or tire diameter. Tread width also affects the feed back.

Since changing the steering box changes none of these things, the problem has to be in the box.
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Old 04-27-2006, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xntrik
Contrary to popular belief and old wive's tales...... it is not the caster that does the recentering, but the "king pin (ball joint) inclination" which is unalterable.

The other affecting factor is the scrub radius that might be altered too much due to wheel offset or tire diameter. Tread width also affects the feed back.

Since changing the steering box changes none of these things, the problem has to be in the box.
That is the same conclusion that I came to.

Without turning this into a thread about front end dynamics I will say this: I know that caster must have some influence on recovery, as too much will make a car hard to steer and and too little will make the car have very little directional stability. It is interrelated with steering axis inclination in that a greater amount of caster amplifies the effect of kingpin inclination, making the spindles want to return to the center position all the more..

So then the power box must have more internal friction than a manual, given that when I substitute the manual box in place of the power box, it recenters like it should. It doesn't act right with 3 different power boxes, 2 of which were rebuilt.
At this point it is all academic, the customer has his car and seems to be alright with steering it back himself. The options were to put in a manual box, try to put more caster, or live with it not returning to center as well as it could. He chose to live with it..
Thanks for reading this, mikey
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Old 04-27-2006, 02:47 PM
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Is it possible that the box is adjusted too tight?

IIRC there's a locking adjustment screw that can be overtightened.

Just wondering if its at the point where the power boost can overcome the drag, but the force of the wheels trying to straigten out when rolling isn't sufficient.

Just a wild guess from someone with just enough experience to be dangerous...
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Old 04-27-2006, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1969NovaSS
One more thing,my brother in laws mustang recently had this problem and it turned out his adjusting nut on his steering box ( I thinks its called the worm gear) needed to be loosened. I hope this helps.

I should read the whole thread more carefully next time...
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Old 04-27-2006, 03:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckucia
Is it possible that the box is adjusted too tight?

IIRC there's a locking adjustment screw that can be overtightened.

Just wondering if its at the point where the power boost can overcome the drag, but the force of the wheels trying to straigten out when rolling isn't sufficient.

Just a wild guess from someone with just enough experience to be dangerous...
The boxes were rebuilt by a local shop that only does steering components. We dealt directly with the owner on the second rebuilt one. I will assume that he made an extra effort to get it right the second time around.(the first rebuilt box had other issues besides returnability) All of the rebuilt boxes that I have ever gotten had instructions with them that said to NOT readjust the sector preload. I didn't figure I needed to mess with it. It seemed to turn ok. usually a tight sector screw will make things a little clunky.

At this point I am wondering if this car isn't too light in the front for a 605 box???
that was one of the things that the steering box shop suggested. I would try to compensate with some more caster if it wasn't such a PITA with the straight axle.
Thanks for the suggestions, mikey
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Old 04-28-2006, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powerrodsmike
That is the same conclusion that I came to.

Without turning this into a thread about front end dynamics I will say this: I know that caster must have some influence on recovery, as too much will make a car hard to steer and and too little will make the car have very little directional stability. It is interrelated with steering axis inclination in that a greater amount of caster amplifies the effect of kingpin inclination, making the spindles want to return to the center position all the more..

So then the power box must have more internal friction than a manual, given that when I substitute the manual box in place of the power box, it recenters like it should. It doesn't act right with 3 different power boxes, 2 of which were rebuilt.
At this point it is all academic, the customer has his car and seems to be alright with steering it back himself. The options were to put in a manual box, try to put more caster, or live with it not returning to center as well as it could. He chose to live with it..
Thanks for reading this, mikey
Certainly caster does. But adding 2 degrees more caster to an inclination that is already about 8 seems moot to me.
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Old 04-28-2006, 07:34 PM
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605 box

For years modified 605 steering boxes were the only option for 55-57
Chevies. Everyone had the same complaints; no road feel (overpowered)
and uncomfortable at speed because the box would not return to straight ahead.
No one ever found a cure for the problems. Tri five owners are converting
to CPP's power unit based on 670 intenal components and one that is
600 Saginaw based as well as power rack and pinion setups.


http://www.picturetrail.com/yelrah_dave
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Old 04-29-2006, 12:02 PM
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Here's how I learned.

In 72 my father bought a new Chevy SWB with manual steering. It was horrible.

He had the alignment shop set it up for 0 camber and 0 caster to make it steer easier. It was horrible. You couldn't tell the difference.

Ball joint inclination is the thing, and those Chevys had bunches.

He finally traded off the truck rather than have power steering installed.

Ya, he went back to Ford and loved the 73 Ranger XLT 1/2 ton SWB 390, ps, pb, AC. There was absolutely no comparison for ride, quiet, and handling.
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Old 04-30-2006, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xntrik
Here's how I learned.

In 72 my father bought a new Chevy SWB with manual steering. It was horrible.

He had the alignment shop set it up for 0 camber and 0 caster to make it steer easier. It was horrible. You couldn't tell the difference.

Ball joint inclination is the thing, and those Chevys had bunches.

He finally traded off the truck rather than have power steering installed.

Ya, he went back to Ford and loved the 73 Ranger XLT 1/2 ton SWB 390, ps, pb, AC. There was absolutely no comparison for ride, quiet, and handling.
X I got to agree with you on that. I love my 72 f100 "Ol Yeller"
short WB, 302, 3 on the tree, manual steering , manual brakes. It says "explorer" on the side of the bed. Goes to show there aint nothing new under the sun. My best friends dad bought it new, and I bought it from him in 88.

In 79 I was laying carpet for a company that gave me a 71 1/2 ton longbed chevy PU with manual steering and brakes. I HATED that truck. took 2 feet on the pedal to stop it and steering it was like pulling up the anchor on the queen mary.

If caster isn't the culprit, (it has 5 degrees) I'm going to do some measuring of steering arm lengths and see if there isn't a steering arm/pitman arm ratio discrepancy. The pitman arm is a little shorter than it was stock, (it was bent in a dogleg to get it lower), and I am wondering if the steering arms are not too long. I think I need to measure a camaro or find something stock that works right and do some measuring and compare. later, mikey
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