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92 E350 Loose Steering Wheel

  #1  
Old 10-02-2018, 03:02 PM
Bustin Loose
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92 E350 Loose Steering Wheel

Hello everyone long time no see! I've sold my old 01 E150 Club Wagon and picked up an even older E350 extended Club Wagon.

Very recently an issue has come up with my steering wheel where it is loose, as in I can wiggle it around while parked. I'm quite short and have been using the wheel to get in and out of the van so I'm pretty sure that has a lot to do with it. It happened suddenly not over time. I noticed when I tried to pull out of a parking spot and it really did not want to turn to the left. I backed up and the issue seemed to clear up but the steering wheel wiggled around after.

I took off whatever plastic I could as well as the horn pad. There is no air bag. The nut in the center was tight. I don't have a steering wheel puller so I'm not able to really get in there and dig around but the looseness appears to be coming from the area of the tilt mechanism. I pulled on the shaft going down into the fire wall and it was solid.

I did a forum search using "steering", "steering wheel" and "tilt steering" but nothing came up relevant in the last year or so unless I missed it. Advice appreciated. This is might hold up my annual snowbird trip to AZ and I am a sad panda atm.
 
  #2  
Old 10-02-2018, 03:33 PM
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I'll check outside. Pit arm connection, tie rod...worst case steering box. You can lift one wheel, or both, shake them and see if any connection is loose.
From the steering box to the steering wheel all forces are low, I would not expect to see a lot of wear. From the box to the wheels is a different kind of force.
 
  #3  
Old 10-02-2018, 03:39 PM
Bustin Loose
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Everything outside the fire wall is fine. This is specifically interior steering column related.
 
  #4  
Old 10-07-2018, 09:36 PM
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Upper column bearing could be worn out.
 
  #5  
Old 10-11-2018, 05:26 PM
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Bustin loose - You can go to autozone and borrow a steering wheel puller from them. You will need a steering column bushing kit. Im not sure what year yours is so I couldnt give ya a part number. Our fleet trucks have this done often as drivers use the wheel to help pull themselves in as you said you do lol. Again, not sure about your year, but ours are not to bad to do, Hope this helps.
Tim
 
  #6  
Old 10-12-2018, 08:30 PM
Wildman25
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Bustin Loose - Sounds like the the steering column bearing are dead, had this same problem on a '94 and ended up replacing the bearings, and solved the problem.

Other's on this forum have done this, and couldn't find the write-ups on it for the E series, but found this one from the F series, and the columns are the the same internally.

https://www.ford-trucks.com/.../1214819-steering-column-bearings-anyone- want-a-write-up.html

Read thru that, and the part numbers are there.

Last time I did one (and I need to do my '92 now) I took the steering wheel off, and then took the entire column out of the van, removing the mid-shaft, 2 bolts and 2 retaining nuts, and half dozen connectors and shiftier cable.
Working on it out on the work bench I think is easier. While out, you should also replace the shiftier rod bushings.

Another thought........is the mid-shaft u-joints, check them for wear......found the old post on that subject - https://www.ford-trucks.com/.../1372271-replacement-of-steering-u-joint. html

And.......next time your in a Pick-n-pull, grab a grab handle off the A-pillar from a '96+ van, added that to my '92 and much better getting in and out, and a must have for the E350's.
Glad my '05 E350 came factory on both side
 
  #7  
Old 10-13-2018, 06:08 AM
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^^^Good advice there---I'd add:

I think the factory A-Pillar grab handles didn't appear until 2003 but that was 15 years ago so many, many E-Series in the scrap yards will have 'em now. I will say from experience the A-Pillar trim AND headliner is different with factory grab handles so keep that in mind if snatching parts from a scrap yard.

Also running boards help avoid an entering driver from pulling their full weight against the steering wheel. I fabricated my own set but any readily available set that DOES NOT have holes drilled into the body would work well for this too.

Removing the entire steering column is by far one of the easiest ways to service it---should be two or three wiring harness connectors, four attaching nuts and loosening the u-joint just below the column steering shaft. Once out it can be thoroughly inspected for wear items like the gear selector detent part and the column shift shaft bushings too---not to mention tightening any loose fasteners that always seem to work themselves loose.

Once the column is out replacing the bearings etc is fairly easy. Of course all this can be done with it still in the vehicle but for me I like having to NOT work around obstacles. Do remember to carefully mark the position of the installed steering wheel relative to the rest of the steering gear---wouldn't want to put it all back together and have the steering wheel 90* cocked.

HTH
 
  #8  
Old 10-13-2018, 10:39 AM
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JWA ==

Couldn't remember what year the grab handles started, thanks for the input, as far as the A-pillar trim is different from the 90's era, that's correct.
Went I installed mine in the '92, I cut the 'base' of the handle into the trim piece, and used 2 tek screws to screw it into the A-pillar.
My cuts could have been better........but, it's a work truck with a functioning grab handle.

I agree that the column should be removed to service the bearings and related moving parts.

I know this is second nature to you, but you forgot to mention removing the seat to get under the dash for removing the 4 column mounting bolts. It is a very tight fit under there.

Another item to check and even replace while the column is out and apart, it the Ignition switch activator rod.
I had the "dis-pleasure" of replacing this in my '05 2 months ago
I did it with the column in place, and basically the entire top half of the column needs to be removed to replace the rod.
This turned into a full day job. And the rod is only available from a dealer. Paid $29 for a 5" piece of plastic
Yes, could have gotten one on line for half that, but when you need it, you paid premium and not wait for shipping.
 


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