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Old 08-10-2009, 08:36 PM
F250SuperCab F250SuperCab is offline
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steering box preload screw,how do i set or adjust it???

hello, today i noticed the preload screw on my steering box has moved and ive noticed my steering is kinda stiff and "jerky" .... so my guestion is there a process for checking the setting/adjustment of the "preload" or is this a hit and miss process? thanks in advance for any and all assistance,eric


PS: i did asearch and couldnt find the info i was looking for.
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:40 PM
shanes66charger shanes66charger is offline
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It moved???? WOW......ok.

Well, In my opinion and experience, Unless you know exactly what you are doing (I Don't) I would highly recommend you DO NOT try to adjust this. Honestly, I wouldn't trust any shop too either. I would go buy a rebuilt box.

I know several people who have messed with them and had there steering lock up solid. One guys froze solid going around a curve and he ended up in a slough!

Maybe someone on here knows a PROPER way to do this, but I would not attempt it in any case!
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:51 PM
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I did mine by myself. Like shanes66 said, I didn't have any idea of what i was doing either. I decided to go ahead and mess with it, if it locked up I was gonna need a new one anyway. It took the play down from about 6" to about 1/2". Although it has creept back out to 2 or 3".
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:05 PM
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I did the one on my Econoline years ago but that was after completely tearing a replacement steering gear apart and rebuilding it (the worm gear in the original box was bent and had spiral cracks in it as a result of a little fender-bender I got into)... I can't remember the process now but, as I recall, I read up on how to do it in a Chilton's book - one of those big thick books they put out that covers a wide range of trucks/vans of some odd year range - I think I may still have that book around here somewhere but I'm pretty sure it's still in print...
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Old 08-10-2009, 11:10 PM
shanes66charger shanes66charger is offline
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Again, I would NOT mess with it at all. Do what you will.
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:26 PM
F250SuperCab F250SuperCab is offline
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shanes666charger, Ya it moved/turned....ive been staring at it trying to figure a way to stop the thing from leaking w/o having to drop $400+ on a quality rebuild and a half days labor for the swapout( i have a core/spare that is rebuildable)... and I noticed the position of the slot in the abjustment stud/screw was it a different position than it was a couple days ago.... This isnt my first truck or my first set of tools. By no means am i a rocket scientist.... but im no idiot either...Im just looking for some adjustment info/specs if there available..... SOMEONE in this world has to know something....I think...
anyway thanks for the input. ideas and concerns...eric

Last edited by F250SuperCab; 08-11-2009 at 09:27 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 08-11-2009, 11:16 PM
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Bullitt390 Bullitt390 is offline
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joshjones.thewelder
Just loosen the locknut and start turning the adjustment screw in 1/4 at a time and see how much slack you have in the steering wheel.

You want a little bit of slack and you'll know when you have gone too far when you start the engine and the steering wheel violently turns on you.

You might find turning the adjustment screw all the way doesn't accomplish anything and then you'll know that the replacement gearbox isn't too far behind.

Josh
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Old 08-12-2009, 02:51 AM
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you have to loosen the lock nut and then turn in 1/4 turn increments as previously stated, as far as it turning its self, your lock nut may be worn out or loose, if it isnt then i would look into a replacement...but now the main question is this....."is it manual or power steering?"...if it is manual then you should be able to set it fairly easily, i had no problems with my 73, if it is power steering, i would take it to the dealership and have them adjust it...that way if they cause it to lock up they have the repair there work or pay for any damages done to your truck in the worst case cenario that you do get involved in an accident because of there services.....power steering i would say if you want to try it your self, i would try 1/16 inch increments it would take a lil longer but better to take your time with power assist steering boxes...lol..i have a repair manuel for the dent sides that has a segment in it on addjusting the steering box if you need it i can post it for you...
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Old 03-11-2010, 05:06 PM
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Timely posting ..... my '77 is in need of just a hair adjust.
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbear853 View Post
Timely posting ..... my '77 is in need of just a hair adjust.
Well, at that time (March 2010) my '77 F150 4X4 was still wandering a lot. I had long ago (May 1986) replaced all steering linkage with Moog components updating it to 78/79 style from pittman arm to tie rod ends (totally getting rid of crappy inverted Y linkage) . For years she steered much much better, solid like, steady even. In about 2003-4 she started wandering a little, but I hardly ever drove her much .... just haul trash, etc. so I put up with it.

This truck has been mine since 1986 and she had 35K then, in 1992 she had 75K as I was using her regularly (as from 1990-91 I was wotrking FT and also serving as contractor building my log home, getting well in, etc), now she has almost 103K but in the last 8 years I've averaged 2-300 miles a year use .... or less. In May 2004 I did take her to pull a trailer (tandem U-haul axle loaded with furniture) to eastern Alabama (Muscadine) for about 1500 miles total that trip and seems to me I noticed the wandering starting ... or maybe just fought it the most.

I knew the tie rod ends were tight, the ball joints fine, and I have replaced all universals meaning I've had the spindles apart as well as brake hoses, etc ... and for some reason I convinced myself it was in the steering box that was the sloppy steering. I knew that I had made a drawing showing the screw slot and had played with adjustment. In 2011 I was frustrated as any tighter seemed too tight as the steering would not reurn to straight ahead unaided. So I had loosened it to make sure I didn't damage it ... but I lost my drawing and forgot where the screw slot was set OEM. One day last Summer I had "wife-unit" wiggle the wheel while I was under it .... that was last summer and I found that all the ball jointed ends in the front end were still tight except the one up where the drag link attached to the pittman arm .... it was very loose.

So then (Summer 2011) I installed a new Moog drag link. Steering was then much better .... but still she wandered a bit. In the meantime, I swapped a new carb and FPR on her, got the engine running smoother than it has in years, done a few other things, but largely did not drive her much at all due to that steering vagueness.

Yesterday evening after work after driving that truck home I decided to have another stab at it (and if I didn't find the sweet spot, I was gonna call Red Head or sell it). I raised the truck up in front on stands, turned the wheel both ways, counted turns, devide by 2 and centered the steering wheel between stops. I loosened the jamb nut with a 5/8 crows foot and ext/flex handle a turn holding the screw steady with a large FB screw driver. I then rocked the steering shaft back and forth with my right hand as I gently tightened the adjustment down and when there was no to turn like, when it seemed lightly bottomed while I was still lightly rocking the steering shaft, I stopped and then I backed off 1/8 turn. I held the screw there and picked up my crowsfoot set up and tightened the jamb nut good.

I then took her for a drive .... WOW! .... it was the best she's driven in years (even if not perfect).

It means I do not now need a "Red Head" rebuilt box.

EDIT 12-11-12:

Well, maybe I should have driven her further then.
The next day after that I drove her to work and still found I was chasing the front end at times. Then I read about the latest Red Head Group Buy here and looked at saving maybe $60 and decided to maybe consider it.
Dec 3rd I called Red Head. Dec 5th my "new" Red Head box arrived, Dec 7th I installed it .... and now since then I have taken several more drives to and from work and it is quite a treat. It's still a big wheel and slow ratio steering, and it's not like a rack & pinion setup yet, nor will it ever be .... but that Red Head box was worth what it costs.
I found that I really enjoyed driving it again, so relaxed, just hold the wheel steady and go. No steering and then counter steering back to correct, not even just a little. It's hard to describe, but it's better than I expected .... whatever that was?

Later .....
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:44 AM
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like previously stated, try 1/4 turn at a time, shouldn't need much to take the play out. It won't be perfect, but you can eliminate much play this way. I ended up turning mine in 1and 1/4 full turns before I got it were I was satisied, and this rebuilt box is only 2 years old with maybe 10km's on it. Its seems like I had to break in the rebuilt box and then set that screw. My play was getting pretty bad. I have in the past turned this too much and ended up with a tight spot in the turning, but back it off 1/4 turn and perfect. Good luck, don't be scared, just go1/4 turn at a time
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:58 PM
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I have been adjusting my 73 for about 4 months now. Somebody had over did it with the P.S.gear that was on it and made that flat spot on it,never could get it right. So i replaced it with a 79 P.S.gear that i knew was in pretty good shape i had on one of my old work trucks. I adjusted it 1/8" at a time and drove it a few miles in between each adjustment. It's almost there now ,maybe another 1/8 or less will do it. Altogether i have turned it about 3/4 of a turn and steering real good.__
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:30 PM
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I've got the '79 Ford Truck Manual. It's got the procedure in it. I'll be glad to type up the procedure if anybody wants it, but you will need a torque wrench that reads inch-pounds to adjust it 'by the book'.
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:34 AM
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Adjustment screw sets the preload of the sector shaft only. Overtighten it, steering box locks up tight.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VocaTexas View Post
I've got the '79 Ford Truck Manual. It's got the procedure in it. I'll be glad to type up the procedure if anybody wants it, but you will need a torque wrench that reads inch-pounds to adjust it 'by the book'.

I would love to see it if you want to take the time to type it out.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:55 PM
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