View Full Version : How can I tighten up my steering?

12-13-2004, 04:24 PM
The steering on my 97 is so loose it is terrible. Every little bump along with every other little thing backfeeds through the wheel. I am constantly reacting to input from the wheel because the truck does not hold the road well at all. I know that my EVO sensor may be goin bad because every once in a while it goes into full boost mode and i can spin the wheel with my pinkie finger....This just seems like it is doing it all the time, are there any type of steering stabilizers, or some way of turning the assist down to stiffen up the steering pressure?

12-13-2004, 04:30 PM
Yep, steering stabalizer will help with the problem. However, you may have an actual problem and covering it up will not help the problem, it will just mask it.

12-13-2004, 06:26 PM
I would start out by checking out all your front end peices, ball joints, tie rod ends, idler arm, ect.....

If they are all tight, with the engine running, stand outside of the truck, with your window down, now, swing the steering wheel, back and forth. how much does the steering wheel move before the front tires start to move? There is a way to tighten that play but if you tighten that adjustment too much you can ruin your gear box!! And that is no fun! As for that adjustment, there should be a screw that is slotted, and a nut to keep it tightly in place. Losen the nut, and then tighten the screw 1/8 turn at a time. Then check the steering wheel play. Do this untill most of the play is removed. DO NOT TRY TO TAKE IT ALL OUT, IF IT BECOME OVER TIGHTED YOU CAN RUIN THE GEAR BOX!!! Hope any of this helped.

12-13-2004, 08:39 PM
You should not try to adjust the play with the lash adjuster. You will ruin the gear box. Give me a few minutes and i will post the write up i did for checking out the steering system

12-13-2004, 09:02 PM
Steering system check for full-size Chevy trucks (With or without EVO)

Listed below are the components you will check in the order you will check.

--Place the truck on jack stands.
--Spin the wheel around and listen for any noise other than what is caused by the brakes.
--With one hand on the top and the other on the bottom of the wheel, move the wheel in and out on the spindle. If there is any noticeable movement the wheel bearings will need servicing or replacement. Wheel bearings can only be serviced on 2WD trucks

--Remove wheel
--Place floor jack under the LCA and lift slightly.
Upper Ball Joint
--Using a screwdriver or pry bar, pry up on the UCA and look for slop on the ball joint.
--Wiggle the knuckle around and again look for slop in the ball joint.
Lower Ball Joint
--Measure the distance between the tip of the ball joint stud and the back side of the ball joint (or grease
fitting if installed).
--Now lower the jack and re-measure the ball joint again. If the difference is more than 3/32” you must replace the lower ball joint.

If either of the ball joints are bad I recommend changing them both while you have it apart.

Now reinstall the wheels and lower the truck.

For the remainder of the check you will need the assistance of a friend.


--Remove the front differential skid plate and cross member skid plate if so equipped.
--Have your friend move the steering wheel back and forth a few inches. Not enough to move the tires but enough to put force on all of the steering components. It may or may not be necessary to have the truck running for this. I usually leave the engine off with the key in the run position.
--Look for any play in the above listed components.

The sector shaft is what the Pitman Arm attaches to on the steering box. The sector shaft should start to rotate a little but should have ZERO side-to-side movement. Side to side movement indicates that the sector shaft bushings are bad.
The idler arm is on the opposite fame rail but in the same location as the steering box. The check for the idler arm mount is the same as for the sector shaft.
There are 4 tie rod ends to check, 2 on each side. One attaches to the center link and the other to the steering knuckle. If there is any play they should be replaced. The tie rods should also be checked by pushing up and then pulling down on them while looking for play.

All of the above listed parts are relatively simple to change if found bad with the exception of the sector shaft bushings. If they are found to be bad it is easier to replace the steering box. Usually when they are bad the truck will experience what is known as “DEATH WOBBLE”. It is much like bump steer except it is uncontrollable usually between 20-40 Mph.

Three things can cause a crooked steering wheel.
1. The tie rods ends were not properly adjusted for steering center when the truck was last aligned.
2. The Keyway splines are twisted on the input shaft of the steering box (not easily repairable, steering box must be replaced or rebuilt)
3. The splines on the sector shaft could be twisted. Keep in mind that the standard Chevy Saginaw type steering gear has a 16:1 reduction ratio. So if the splines were twisted by only 2 degrees the steering wheel would be off by 32 degrees. I don’t know about you but I have not been able to visually tell if the splines are twisted by that small of an amount.

Free play in the steering wheel should not be adjusted by messing with the lash adjuster. This is to set the preload in the steering gear. If you don’t know what you are doing here I suggest that you leave it alone.

On the top of the steering box you will see 4 hex head 10mm bolts holding on an access cover. In the center of the access cover there is an adjustment screw with a counter tightening nylock nut.

The following adjustments must be made with drag link disconnected from pitman arm and flange removed from worm shaft.
Loosen lock nut and turn lash adjuster screw all the way in (clockwise), then out (counterclockwise) three turns. This will remove load imposed on worm bearings by close meshing of rack and sector teeth.
Using a socket on steering gear worm shaft, turn shaft from one stop all the way to the other carefully counting total number of turns.
NOTE: Do not turn hard against stops when drag link is disconnected as damage to ball guides may result.
Turn the shaft back one-half total number of turns to center position and using an inch-pound torque wrench, measure pull required to keep worm shaft in motion through center position. This should be 1-1/2 - 5-1/2 inch pounds. If indicated pull does not lie between given limits, make the following adjustments:
a. Loosen lock nut
b. Turn adjuster until required resistance to pull is reached.
c. Tighten lock nut and recheck pull. It must lie between limits specified after lock nut is tightened.

Turn lash adjuster screw clockwise to remove lash and counter-clockwise to increase lash from gear teeth.

If you have any questions feel free to PM or E-mail me.

12-13-2004, 09:32 PM
Thank you all, I will check the front end components asap. The main problem I have is that the steering wheel turns too freely....thanks for your help

12-15-2004, 10:33 PM
I unplugged the sensor underneath my dash. It helped out a bunch

12-17-2004, 01:33 PM
Can someone take a pic of where you uplugged the EVO sensor? What does it look like. I think I have the same problem. I just replaced all my front end components (tie rods, ball joints, pitman and idler) and I still get a lot of steering wheel play.

12-17-2004, 10:14 PM
Look under your dash for a ring that goes around the steering shaft, I believe it has 3 wires. Sorry I don't have a digital camera for a pic.

12-18-2004, 08:41 AM
Steering system check for full-size Chevy trucks (With or without EVO)

If you have any questions feel free to PM or E-mail me.

good posting chief!!!

12-18-2004, 03:25 PM
Steering system check for full-size Chevy trucks (With or without EVO)

Listed below are the components you will check in the order you will check.

you need to post this up in the tech write up section, that is some good info!

12-19-2004, 03:07 PM
I have been having the same steering problem. I disconnected the EVO sensor and it seems to have solved the problem. Does anyone know the part no. for the sensor, I can't find a source. Thanks

12-19-2004, 04:00 PM
I offered it when i first wrote it...about a year ago as a Tech Article. That was before the tech section was really used. I will post it there later

12-19-2004, 06:09 PM
I did a search on steering sensor and found this GM part no. 26064468 for the evo sensor

12-19-2004, 06:11 PM
Oh, Here's the link with instructions and instructions http://www.fullsizechevy.com/forums/showthread.php?t=36716&page=2&pp=20&highlight=Steering+sensor

12-20-2004, 12:06 AM
The steering sensor actually helps out a lot dude. Mine was shot when I bought the truck and when my buddy replaced it, it was like night and day...the steering was so much more tight and had a more positive feel.

12-20-2004, 09:47 PM
Thanks for the links, I copied the installation instructions and will replace in the next couple of days. I will let you know if it helped. By the way, I drove my truck today with sensor unplugged and did not like the way it handled, real sloppy. I plugged it back in until I replace it. Thanks again

12-20-2004, 09:50 PM
I am revising my steering article and will submit it for the tech section shortly

12-20-2004, 10:40 PM
The revision is finished, Just waiting on a reply from Luke