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Rag joint - hopefully a how to

This is a discussion on Rag joint - hopefully a how to within the Technical / Maintenance forums, part of the General Discussion category; I'm going to undertake the ragjoint this weekend. I picked it up at Autozone, Dorman Help part #31002. It was ...

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    Registered User masintenn's Avatar
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    Post Rag joint - hopefully a how to


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    I'm going to undertake the ragjoint this weekend. I picked it up at Autozone, Dorman Help part #31002. It was the smaller of the two and I think I've read that is the correct one. It came with all the bolts and washers.

    Can anyone verify this is the correct part before I start pulling things apart?



    '96 Tahoe...5.7 Vortec...4wd...~205,000...Stock

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    Registered User jolt11's Avatar
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    Re: Rag joint - hopefully a how to

    Thats the same part number for the one I used on my 91 obs. Was the missing link in my sloppy steering.
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    G-FORCE FinalBreath's Avatar
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    Re: Rag joint - hopefully a how to

    I just got the whole shaft from the dealer. It was only like 85 bucks my cost.
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    Registered User masintenn's Avatar
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    Re: Rag joint - hopefully a how to

    I guess I should also say the reason I'm doing it is that after a complete steering rebuild, minus the box, there is still a couple inches of play when turning right. Alignment has been checked twice and was within spec at both shops. I've never tried to adjust the stearing gear so I sure hope that doesn't end up being the problem!!!!!! I'd rather replace a rubber disk than screw up the box and cause it to wear out or fail, so I decided to undertake this first.

    So here's what I've accomplished tonight.....

    I couldn't slide the cover back far enough to see what was going on, so I jacked up the front end and loosened the 3 bolts for the stearing gear. This gave me the clearance to get the cover back. Yeah, I need to replace the 13 year old seeping power steering lines!



    Then I removed the pinch bolt and marked the shaft and steering gear with a silver sharpie. I was then able to pry the shaft back with a flathead screwdriver. It's keyed at the gear.



    The power steering lines prevented me from removing the lower shaft, so I had to remove them from the box and zip tie them out of the way.



    Once I did that it was easy to slide the shaft down and remove it. It's important to mention that I used the seatbelt to hold the steering wheel in place! Failure to do this could damage the airbag!!!!! I'll add a picture of this tomorrow.

    So here's the shaft and rag joint out of the truck and ready to kick my a$$ removing the rivets. I'm going to undertake this tomorrow. Anyone think a couple good chisels and a BFH will be sufficient? I'll soon find out since I don't have an air chisel.



    It really doesn't seem to be in that bad a shape. I could articulate it some with a pair of channel locks, but at this point I can't tell if the holes are reamed out. I spent about an hour and a half on it up to this point and haven't even busted a knuckle.


    '96 Tahoe...5.7 Vortec...4wd...~205,000...Stock

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    Re: Rag joint - hopefully a how to

    I'd be grinding/drilling the heads off and tapping them through.
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    Registered User masintenn's Avatar
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    Re: Rag joint - hopefully a how to

    Finished!

    As expected, the hardest part for me was drilling out the rivets. I bought some grade 8 bolts at Lowes and used teflon lock nuts. The bolts were 3/8-16 x 1-1/4. They worked perfectly and I staggered them on install. Reinstalled the power steering lines and torqued the stearing box bolts to 100 ft lbs. I also had to put some more power steering fluid in from the stuff that leaked.



    The wheels are still off, but I fired it up and cranked it back and forth. No binding, so it seems good so far! Once I get some new rotors on (warped thanks to Firestone in Mobile over-torqueing the wheels - nearly impossible to get some of the lugs off!) I'll take it for a good test drive and post the final results.


    '96 Tahoe...5.7 Vortec...4wd...~205,000...Stock

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    Registered User masintenn's Avatar
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    Re: Rag joint - hopefully a how to

    My steering is now perfect! I went for a long drive down some back roads and it is much more responsive now. I no longer have the 2 inches of play when turning right.

    This has to be one of the most overlooked steering repairs. This should be a sticky.


    '96 Tahoe...5.7 Vortec...4wd...~205,000...Stock

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    Whippled 99bluetahoe's Avatar
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    Re: Rag joint - hopefully a how to

    This is definitely on my to do list when I swap in my hydroboost in the next week or so. Thanks. I figured my extra slop was intermediate steering shaft related.
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    Re: Rag joint - hopefully a how to

    Nice work

    all i wanna add is that worm gear preload adjustment can be made in less than 15 minutes and isn't terribly hard. But this fixed your problem anyway :)


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    Re: Rag joint - hopefully a how to

    i know this is a noob question but what is a ragjoint i thought i changed all my steering, but my steering is still hard when sitting but when i start moving its fine. but when sitting at light can is hard as hell to turn wheel and pump is whinneing.


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    Re: Rag joint - hopefully a how to

    Quote Originally Posted by bigtfw2000420 View Post
    i know this is a noob question but what is a ragjoint i thought i changed all my steering, but my steering is still hard when sitting but when i start moving its fine. but when sitting at light can is hard as hell to turn wheel and pump is whinneing.
    Let the car roll the tiniest bit while steering - dry-steering is really hard on the entire steering system.

    A rag joint won't cause that behavior, the rag joint's sole purpose (afaik) is to prevent some of the vibration from the steering system from coming up the steering column. A torn or worn rag joint will add quite a bit of play to the steering, but that's about it as far as I know.

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    Registered User jcunn78's Avatar
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    Re: Rag joint - hopefully a how to

    I'm going to try this out next weekend. I have play between 12 and 1 that is getting pretty old. I had a local shop take a look at it a while ago and they had mentioned something about the rag joint. They wanted a couple hundred to fix it so I decided to live with the play. If it was that easy to fix, I'll have to try it out.
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    Re: Rag joint - hopefully a how to

    bigtfw2000420 sounds like your power steering pump is going out.
    Check the fluid is it full?


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    Registered User Tigwldr's Avatar
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    Re: Rag joint - hopefully a how to

    Quote Originally Posted by masintenn View Post
    My steering is now perfect! I went for a long drive down some back roads and it is much more responsive now. I no longer have the 2 inches of play when turning right.

    This has to be one of the most overlooked steering repairs. This should be a sticky.
    Your steering only moved 2"s in one direction?

    I have play in both directions. I wonder if this would fix this problem.
    Last edited by Tigwldr; 08-29-2009 at 02:05 PM.

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    Registered User masintenn's Avatar
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    Re: Rag joint - hopefully a how to

    It will help and yes, strangely enough most of my play was when turning right.


    '96 Tahoe...5.7 Vortec...4wd...~205,000...Stock

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    Re: Rag joint - hopefully a how to

    Just curious, do you have pics of your steering wheel tied up with the seat belt?
    I'm getting ready to do mine this weekend, maybe today.
    Thanks

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    Registered User masintenn's Avatar
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    Re: Rag joint - hopefully a how to

    Quote Originally Posted by Tigwldr View Post
    Just curious, do you have pics of your steering wheel tied up with the seat belt?
    I'm getting ready to do mine this weekend, maybe today.
    Thanks
    I don't. Just pull it all the way out, put it through the steering wheel and buckle it.


    '96 Tahoe...5.7 Vortec...4wd...~205,000...Stock

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    TELL IT LIKE IT IS fire730's Avatar
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    Re: Rag joint - hopefully a how to

    I bought some grade 8 bolts at Lowes and used teflon lock nuts. The bolts were 3/8-16 x 1-1/4.
    What was wrong with the bolts that came with it? Just curious.
    Last edited by fire730; 10-03-2009 at 01:15 PM.
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    Registered User masintenn's Avatar
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    Re: Rag joint - hopefully a how to

    Quote Originally Posted by fire730 View Post
    What was wrong with the bolts that came with it? Just curious.
    They were too small.


    '96 Tahoe...5.7 Vortec...4wd...~205,000...Stock

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    Registered User Tigwldr's Avatar
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    Re: Rag joint - hopefully a how to

    Quote Originally Posted by FinalBreath View Post
    I just got the whole shaft from the dealer. It was only like 85 bucks my cost.
    I am curious.
    Do you have a part number for the whole shaft?

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