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Slop in wheel on 58...is this a gearbox issue?


lancemb

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When I move the wheel back and forth it travels a couple inches in either direction before I feel it "engage" the steering linkage. Is this likely something in the gearbox? I have never taken one off or apart so I have no idea what I am up against.

I really want to take this car to South Bend but have a list of other stuff that needs to be done just to keep the wheels reliably moving and stopping so will be short on time.

Any ideas? Thanks!

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There is a fabric/rubber coupling that connects the steering shaft to the gearbox. Chances are that it has never been replaced. It is available from Buick/GM aftermarket vendors. Have someone move the steering wheel while you observe the coupling. It will let you know if it is the problem. - Dan

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Hey Lance,

For sure check that steering coupling as mine went to pieces on my Special years ago and will indeed lead you to believe your gearbox has slop or tie rod end wear or ball joints etc....

Here is a shot of my Limited's gear box with the coupling as I'm taking it apart due to it's overall condition.

post-36036-143141920512_thumb.jpg

Sorry..... saving this for my Roadmaster in case that one is toast but you can see where, between those bolts and pins, when the rubber breaks away will give you the slop between the steering wheel and the tires.

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1956Century: This seems to be a common problem, thanks! I ordered one from CARS and since it seems to be so common, and is relatively cheap and simple, I am going to replace it regardless and my bet is that it will take care of my problem. Will post back then!

p.s. thanks for the picture Doug, now I now exactly where to go!

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The one from NAPA (NOE 6301012) certainly looks like the other one - exact same parts in the photo, photo taken from different angle. Would be nice if someone could verify. The NAPA site says their kit is for 1980-1989 Ford/Lincoln/Mercury, but that may be all they know. When I get to this on my car, I may as well at least give NAPA a try - it's ~1/2 the cost of the other one, and no shipping...

post-92541-143141925916_thumb.jpg

Edited by Eric W
add NAPA part number (see edit history)
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I'm hoping this one will work on my '58 as well. I've added it to my shopping list as I can see some tears in the material on mine. No noticeable slop in the steering though, yet.

Haven't looked at the one on the '59 yet, if I can even see it.

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'55s don't use a rag joint, so you shouldn't have to worry about this.

That would explain why it was so hard to see.:eek: Checking the shop manual, THAT explains that slop in '55 steering was a more expensive issue.:(

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Finally got under the car to check it out, and I think this is the culprit! Current coupling is disintegrated! Didn't have time to change it though, and not looking forward to it. Not the easiest bolts to get to, and I bet they won't loosen with a friendly tug...

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Guest Rob McDonald

Looking over Lance's shoulder here, do '57s have the same coupling? I've never noticed mine, probably because my steering is reasonably snug.

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Shoot, how tough is it to change this thing? What is the easiest way to get the shaft separated to change this? I did not see anything in the chassis manual for changing it. I am supposed to take the car out of town next weekend and would like to change this, but not sure what I am getting into if I start taking things apart...

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I ended up removing my steering gear box to get to mine...mostly because I figured it would be easier to clean, as well... Once you have the power steering hoses disconnected, it's only about a 10 minute removal:rolleyes:

If you do this, make sure you clock your steering wheel back in the right position. I had to turn mine 180 degrees once I realized the wheel was upside down and the wheels were straight. I didn't have any point of reference, though.

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  • 1 month later...

I finally got this thing changed last weekend, hooray! Was about what I expected after the feedback I received here - access to the bolts was the hardest part. I was able to shortcut the job though by leaving the power steering hoses attached as well as the pitman arm (even though I had already removed the nut). There was enough play that I was able to unbolt the gear box and move it forward enough to change out the coupling. Feels much better going down the road now!

Thanks to all for your feedback

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