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Play in center position of steering wheel

Guanfy

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I've already adjusted the worm gear on the steering box about as tight as I dare. When I move the steering wheel with the hood up I see the steering shaft move about a quarter inch in either direction before it seems to engage the steering box. Is there a worn out bearing somewhere that would cause this behavior?
 


Eddo Rogue

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skyjacker front leveling kit
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My credo
Crossed threads are tight threads.
Could be a few other things...maybe loose steering components or ball joints? Or a bad U joint on the steering shaft?
If possible, have someone wiggle the steering wheel back and forth while you look around...try to pin point where the movement is coming from. I would do this with the wheels on and off the ground for comparison. If no luck, try doing it other way around, as in lock the steering wheel and wiggle the tires.

I replaced the U joint on my steering shaft and it helped. Its that weird rubber disk u joint looking thing. They're pretty cheap and easy to swap. Other than that if the play happens before your steering box moves anything on the other end, then the worm gear adjustment may not be enough, might have to replace the whole box (or rebuild it).
 

Guanfy

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Well.. the steering box is a new reman, I replaced both rag joints about a year ago and they are still in good shape. I did adjust the meshload on the steering box and that helped a bit, but dead center still is a soft spot. I rebuilt the front suspension about 2 years ago so that's still in pretty good shape. About the only thing I can think of is that the reman steering box is still junk or there's a u-joint hiding somewhere I need to service. Do you know if there is a u-joint on the back end of the steering column while it's still in the cab?
 

Eddo Rogue

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skyjacker front leveling kit
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My credo
Crossed threads are tight threads.
It's could be a bunk reman, I've heard of guys going through a few of em...or junk rag joints (thanks I forgot the name of those lol)...I can't recall if there's a joint in the cab but I guess it could be in the wheel itself...maybe splines...keep digging lol
 

Bgunner

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There is no joint inside the cab on the steering column on the 94's. The first joint is just through the firewall under the hood. If your steering components are good then the box itself has the play.
 

ericbphoto

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You could swap to real ujoints on the steering shaft. Otherwise, steering box. The center of the travel gets the most use. So it wears earlier.
 

bobbywalter

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sawzall?
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My credo
it is easier to fix and understand than "her"
The preload is a bad habit. if your adjusting that there's other issues.

The mesh of the sector and pinion is where the slop is. Good luck there.

BUT. BUTTT BUT BUT.

A perfectly working tib/ttb has a vague on center slack.

So I adjust alignment to taste.

With a swingset steering setup you can get it very tight....which is scary in a ttb.
 

Guanfy

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2WD
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Total Drop
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Tire Size
15in
I just came back from the junkyard. Whist I was there I checked the steering play on any rangers that still had complete steering systems that were steering box and... most of them were tight in the middle. So, pretty sure my reman is bunk. I'll save up the money and get a proper reman from blue top. Hopefully this will solve the problem for good.
 

Guanfy

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2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
Stock
Total Drop
Stock
Tire Size
15in
There is an adjustment procedure.
Indeed there is! I have an electronic copy of the workshop manual you are referencing. The issue is that if I have a badly done reman there will still be more wear in the middle of the worm gear than on its other sections of it. This in turn means that if I increase the mesh load enough to fix that, I'll probably bind other parts of the gear. I'll live with it for now until I can be a correctly done reman. I'm up to my eyeballs in a Fusion powertrain swap so this is on the backburner at the moment.
 

SenorNoob

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After much time considering it and looking at parts, I felt safer going with a guaranteed used gearbox than a rebuilt.

Got one from a 2wd that couldn't have been driven much.

It's really easy to see the slop after you take tie rods off. I could move mine several degrees at the output before it moved at the input.
 

bobbywalter

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4WD
Total Lift
sawzall?
Tire Size
33-44
My credo
it is easier to fix and understand than "her"
Very well.

Now. Take the old one apart and give yourself some hands on education.

The gear mesh sector and pinion is what it is. If these are not replaced on a "reman " ....or at least actually refurbished...as in built up and machined to tolerance....or still nice and tight....your reman is a POS ripoff.


I have a rare steering box on my ranger.....very difficult to find or have properly refurbed. At least the ranger box are like sand at the beach.
 

rumblecloud

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1-1/2 inch front leveling
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Hey BW...
Just saw this and you know what I've been doing over the last couple of weeks....So...
This begs the question of can you buy a replacement gear mesh sector and pinion that's new?
I haven't looked yet, just asking. I think I saw a rebuild kit on Rock Auto, but didn't look to see whats in it.
I know you can rebuild the steering gear as I saw a rebuild thread in the Tech section done by dunno - maybe you.:unsure:
 

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