Jump to content

Steering box 'adjustment' ?

Recommended Posts

even with the adjustment you might actually find that the play is in the idler arms - the links between the steering box and teh wheel hubs. I wasted time and money changing the box only to find the play was elsewhere!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

(re-tread of stuff I've posted before elsewhere..but here goes:)

There are many places that play can creep in, not just the box. If the box is 'tight' as you say then you must also check for play:

- the clamp nut on the box output arm i.e. check there's no slop on the spline.

- the big nut at the base of the steering column (above pedals in cabin)

- the two universal joints in the steering shaft before the box

- the clamp nuts of the above - check they are tight!

- the intermediate tie-rod driven from the steering box and all its (4) joints

- the tie-rod ends

- The idler-arm bearing.

None of these are actually difficult to address, just time spent poking, not driving. But it's worth it.

Now - if you want to adjust the steering box -

It is much harder to get-at in a 540 than the 6-cylinder variants, but the adjustment *is* on the top. First off - Do Not mess with that nut on the 'end' of the box! The V8 procedure, having done it..:

You need to jack-up the front of the car and support on axle stands so you are comfortable lying underneath.

Remove the under trays (10mm nuts/bolts)

Undo the two mounting nuts on the RHS engine mount visible through the subframe (two different size nuts, something like 13 and 17mm)

With some packing under the cast sump, jack the engine GENTLY until the RHS mount studs clear the subframe holes by at least 1/2 inch. This requires lifting the engine about 3" and flexes *everything* attached. Take it slow and carefully! I had a mate as a 'spotter' for binding/problems.

Remove two 10mm nuts holding the heatshield on top of steering box - one on the end, one only very bloody awkward to get at... discard h/shield.

Now you can get your fingers - by touch! - on the box adjuster, under the RHS manifold. You need a 17mm ring spanner to loosen the locknut, and a 5mm allen key to actually set the adjuster bolt. All done by touch under the manifold. It's nearly worth buying a cheap 17mm combination spanner and sawing-off the open-wrench end to get greater 'swing' here. It is definitely worth buying a cheap allen key and cutting-down the short side to c.10mm long to get it located cleanly and easily (this enables you to revisit teh setting without jacking teh engine after the first time..)

Fit the allen key in place however it fits, noting its angle relative to something local. This is your baseline for adjustment of your car's box: now loosen the locknut. It may take quite a lot of force, but keep/return to the noted allen key 'angle' set.

Now the adjustment: Nip-up the allen key, clockwise form above, in *tiny* increments, checking play over-centre by swinging the steering wheel. You'll feel the 'play' quickly reduce while you watch the movement of the front wheels. On mine, it only took about 30-45degrees of movement of the allen key to take-out 1/2-3/4" of free play at the steering wheel rim. If in doubt LEAVE IT LOOSE not tighter. Much, much bwtter to leave 1/8" play straight ahead than bind-up the box overcentre and wear it out more in a few weeks than the last 15years.

Now 'hold' the allen key angle and nip-up the 17mm locknut. It doesn't need to be really tight.

Lower engine, fix engine mount/trays/ etc. Go for drive.

First time it took me about 1 1/2hrs start to finish, working this out as we went. It is worth the effort. Second time to re-check, about 15mins!

Edited by Huff

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now