The steering gear is of the rack and pinion type. The gear input shaft is connected to the steering shaft by means of a flexible coupling. A pinion gear, machined on the input shaft, engages the rack and rotation of the input shaft pinion causes the rack to move laterally. The system is either manual or power assisted.
The tie rod is attached at each end of the rack joint. This allows the tie rods to move with the front suspension. The gear is sealed at each end with rubber bellows. The manual steering gear is filled with approximately 5 oz. of SAE-90 EP oil at initial assembly and checking or refilling is not required unless fluid leakage is evident or repairs become necessary.
Couplings attaching the tie rods are retained on the rack, are pinned, and cannot be disassembled in service. Replacement of inner tie-rods, rack, housing, or upper pinion bearing requires installation of a new steering gear assembly.
If the steering linkage, front suspension, and steering column components are in good condition, there should be no more than 3 / 8 in. free-play in the steering wheel when measured at the rim of the wheel.
If a loud knock is heard when turning the steering wheel from lock-to-lock, the pinion bearing preload should be checked. A faint knock from the steering wheel when driving on very rough roads is normal and not an indication of a steering defect.
REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
- Disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery.
- Remove the one bolt retaining the flexible coupling to the input shaft.
- Leave the ignition key in the ON position, then raise and safely support the vehicle with jackstands.
- Remove the two tie rod end retaining cotter pins and nuts. Remove the studs from the spindle arms using a "fork" or press.
Do not use a hammer. You might damage the spindle arms or rod studs.
- Support the steering gear, and remove the two nuts, insulator washers, and bolts retaining the steering gear to the No. 2 crossmember.
- If equipped with power steering, lower the gear slightly and disconnect the pressure and return lines from the valve housing.
- Remove the steering gear assembly from the vehicle.
- Insert the input shaft into the flexible coupling aligning the flats and position the steering gear to the No. 2 crossmember. If equipped with power steering, connect the power steering hoses. Install the two bolts.
- Connect the tie rod ends to the spindle arms and install the two retaining nuts. Tighten the nuts to 40 ft. lbs. Install the two cotter pins.
- Lower the vehicle and install the one bolt retaining the flexible coupling to the input shaft. Tighten the bolt to 30 ft. lbs.
- Turn the ignition key to the OFF position.
- Reconnect the negative battery cable.
- Check the front end alignment (toe) and have it adjusted, if necessary.
There are two adjustments which can be performed on the manual rack and pinion steering gear: support yoke-to-rack adjustment and pinion bearing preload adjustment. The steering gear assembly must be removed from the car to perform either adjustment.
The power rack and pinion steering gear provides for only one service adjustment. The adjustment is for rack yoke plug preload, which may be necessary when the car wanders back and forth when the steering wheel is held firmly in position, or when noises or feedback occurs in the steering. The adjustment requires special tools and should be performed by qualified service personnel. The steering gear assembly requires removal for the adjustment. Removal can be done by the car owner and the assembly taken to a garage for the necessary work.Support Yoke-to-Rack
This procedure only applies to manual steering systems.
- Remove the steering gear from the car.
- Mount the steering gear in a soft-jawed vise with the yoke cover up. Clean the exterior of the gear.
- Remove the yoke cover, gasket, shims, and yoke spring. Clean the yoke cover and support it thoroughly.
- Reinstall the yoke cover on the support yoke.
- Tighten the yoke cover until it just touches the yoke support.
- Measure the clearance between the cover and support yoke flange.
- Add 0.006 in. to the clearance figure measured in Step 6.
- Measure the thickness of the shims and gasket that were removed from under the yoke cover in Step 3.
- Subtract the figure obtained in Step 8 from the figure obtained in Step 7. The remainder from this subtraction is the thickness of the shim that must be added under the yoke cover to obtain the correct support yoke-to-rack adjustment.
- Remove the yoke cover and install the yoke spring, shims, and gasket removed in Step 3, plus a shim of the correct thickness as determined in Step 9.
- Apply sealer to the yoke cover bolts and install the yoke cover.
- Turn the pinion shaft to ensure proper operation of the gear.
Return the pinion shaft to its centered position before installing it in the car.Pinion Bearing Preload
This procedure only applies to manual steering systems.
- Remove the steering gear assembly from the car.
- Mount the steering gear in a soft-jawed vise and clean the exterior of the gear.
- Remove the pinion cover.
- Clean the pinion flange area and remove the gasket and shims.
- Install a new gasket and install shims until the shim pack is flush with the gasket. Check by placing a straightedge on top of the gasket and applying light pressure.
- Remove the gasket and shims and reinstall the shims in the following order: the thinnest of the select fit shims first, followed by the other select fit shims and the 0.093 in. shim next to the cover.
- Add a 0.005 in. thick shim to the aforementioned shim pack, in order to preload the bearing. Place it in the correct order in the shim pack.
- Apply sealer to the cover attaching bolts and install the cover and gasket.
- Install the hook end of a pull scale through the hole in the tie rod end stud. The effort to move the tie rod should be 1-5 lbs. (manual steering) or 2-10 lbs. (power steering).
Do not damage the tie rod neck.
- Replace the ball joint tie rod assembly if the effort falls outside this range. Save the tie rod end for use on the new tie rod assembly.