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Old 03-01-2019, 10:37 AM   #1
Rayfry
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Default Steering wheel play

My 1949 Shoebox has about a 1/4 turn play in the steering wheel. Checked all components underneath and also tried to tighten steering box adjustment nut, still no difference. I constantly have to correct steering or I'm all over the road. Could the steering gear box be bad and if so where do I get another one.
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Old 03-01-2019, 10:45 AM   #2
JT FORD
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Default Re: Steering wheel play

I would be surprised if it wasn't shot! And the problem is getting new parts that are any good (china) or worse. Then finding someone that can or will rebuild it. Get the green repair manual and see what you can do for it.
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Old 03-01-2019, 10:48 AM   #3
tubman
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Default Re: Steering wheel play

Try these guys : https://www.larescorp.com/. They appear to have parts and complete rebuilt boxes.
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Old 03-01-2019, 11:04 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steering wheel play

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Originally Posted by JT FORD View Post
I would be surprised if it wasn't shot! And the problem is getting new parts that are any good (china) or worse. Then finding someone that can or will rebuild it. Get the green repair manual and see what you can do for it.
check the bolts that holds it to the frame, they are prone to rusting and breaking
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Old 03-01-2019, 11:15 AM   #5
tubman
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Check the bolts that holds it to the frame, they are prone to rusting and breaking
Good point. This is a known problem with shoebox Fords.
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Old 03-01-2019, 11:21 AM   #6
Drbrown
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Default Re: Steering wheel play

Shouldn't have to over-tighten the steering box, that'll just accelerate wear on the worm gear assembly. I assume you checked the wheel bearings, king pins and tie rod ends for play and have your tires properly inflated.

I don't have a shoebox but have read about the loose-bolt problem. Otherwise totally agree with others here .... get a state-side rebuild. A search of this forum or the one at Early Ford V8 will uncover some sources.

I still have Bias Ply tires that came on my Ford and they tend to do their own steering sometimes. Can't wait to wear them out and get radials.
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Old 03-01-2019, 11:58 AM   #7
50fordcoupeman
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Default Re: Steering wheel play

Hi rayfry. That nut on the top of the box does not tighten up your steering. It holds the slotted stud in place which puts tension on internal parts. Adjust the steering as follows: loosen the big nut and loosen the slotted stud about half turn. Get your front wheels safely off the ground and center your steering wheel. Crawl under the car and loosen the 4 bolts on the bottom plate of the steering box. Do not take this plate off. This plate has slotted bolt holes so the the plate rotates. This adjusts the slop. Rotate the plate a little bit-like an 1/8" or less. (Dont remember which way to turn it-one way tightens and other way loosens the slop). Tighten the 4 bolts and try steering for slop. Keep doing this until you are satisfied with steering slop. It will take several tries. When you are satisfied, lightly snug down the slotted stud on top of the box and tighten the nut that holds it. Check box for lubricant. PM me if you have questions.

My steering had about 4" of slop and now I have about an inch which to me is acceptable. Hope this helps. PM me if you have questions. Good luck!!
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Old 03-01-2019, 12:35 PM   #8
19Fordy
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Default Re: Steering wheel play

50fordcoupeman: Does 40 ford steering box adjust the same way? I am thinking no, but not sure.
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Old 03-01-2019, 01:14 PM   #9
50fordcoupeman
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Default Re: Steering wheel play

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50fordcoupeman: Does 40 ford steering box adjust the same way? I am thinking no, but not sure.
19Fordy....sorry to show you my ignorance but I dont really know if they have similar boxes. It would make sense though if they did.
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Old 03-01-2019, 01:31 PM   #10
50fordcoupeman
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Default Re: Steering wheel play

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50fordcoupeman: Does 40 ford steering box adjust the same way? I am thinking no, but not sure.
fordy........just did a little research. On the Vanpelt site it indicates that in 1949 Ford changed box styles. Their site has an explanation how to adjust the pre-49 boxes.
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Old 03-01-2019, 01:39 PM   #11
mfirth
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Default Re: Steering wheel play

50fordcoupeman, what about 1952 Victoria, same as shoebox ? THANKS in advance, mike
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Old 03-01-2019, 02:18 PM   #12
50fordcoupeman
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Default Re: Steering wheel play

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50fordcoupeman, what about 1952 Victoria, same as shoebox ? THANKS in advance, mike
Hi Mike. I dont really know. Maybe a call to Vanpelt is in order. If you could send me a photo I might be able to help. PM me and we can do this over the phone.

Most people including me make the mistake that the big nut with the slotted stud in the top adjusts the steering wheel slop. It actually adjusts the sector shaft inside the box.
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Old 03-01-2019, 02:33 PM   #13
Flathead Fever
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Default Re: Steering wheel play

With the car on the ground, have somebody turn the steering wheel back and forth and watch for any movement in the steering and suspension. If anything is worn you will see it move with the weight of the car resting on it. That is how we did the 90-Day, CA CHP Bit Inspections on the heavy trucks. It works on cars just as well.

In general, steering boxes need to have the preload adjusted on the worm and sector bearings first. That is so there is no movement up and down, back and forth in the gears. Then the box is centered "exactly" in the middle. Then all the play is taken out. Its better to do this with the linkage disconnected from the box so you will have a better feel for how tight the adjustment is. In all the boxes I've rebuilt on later vehicles you want the gears to have just a "little" resistance as they rotate past the center (straight ahead). Because the gears are slightly looser on either side of center the car can wander a bit if the box if off of that center when driving straight. You want the worm and sector on that center resistance spot when going straight down the road. I've seen some manuals that have you hook a fish scale to the steering wheel spokes to measure how much pull it takes to rotate the box through that center high spot. Holding the steering wheel on that centered high spot then you adjust the draglink so the wheels are pointing straight ahead. Then check your toe-in. If you can't get the play out of the box doing these adjustments its probably time for new gears.
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Old 03-01-2019, 05:19 PM   #14
terry
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Default Re: Steering wheel play

My 48 F1 pickup had steering wheel play but not nearly as much as yours. Taking just one shim from end of steering box made a big difference and fixed the problem. But, this was after I checked for loose fittings elsewhere as others have suggested. I'm thinking, though, that your problem with that amount of freeplay may be in looseness with other parts of steering. Terry
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Old 03-02-2019, 07:25 AM   #15
38coop
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Default Re: Steering wheel play

Call Chris at Shoebox Central. 405-259-9222. He rebuilds them.
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Old 03-02-2019, 11:26 AM   #16
19Fordy
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Default Re: Steering wheel play

Thank you 50fordcoupeman for the answer.
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