Jump to content

1951 Adjust steering gear?


Recommended Posts

If you mean steering box... not that hard.. get a helper,hard to  be under hood and in car at same time... raise wheels off ground. secure.... need to be able to feel changes !!... as long as you go in order as manual shows.. 3 steps... about 30 minutes you should be seeing a big improvement... no need to disconnect pitman arm if wheels are off the ground..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some lash can be accounted for but I have a Saginaw box on mine and the main area of lash is the lower sector shaft bushing.

Prop the hood up, lean over with a flashlight past the battery and look down at the Pitman arm, while an assistant rocks the steering left and right.

If the steering box end does a little wiggle before starting to turn, you cannot adjust that out; the box needs overhaul.

If not then the lash can be adjusted with the top nut and end adjustment.



  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites


If you look down with a flashlight, have someone rock the steering wheel back and forth moderately fast and you see that lateral movement, that cannot be adjusted out and requires a new lower bushing.


How that helps clarify. (Yes, mine there is totally worn out and needs overhaul).


Also, as a side-note the manual says to mix up a slurry of oil and grease to fill the box; in time the lighter components evaporate and leak out past the lower seal, the heavier components absorb moisture and the grease turns to the consistency of old cheese, which pushes out of the way and then totally fails to lubricate, particularly in the cold.


I cleaned mine and used John Deere "Corn Head" grease- it is a synthetic grease that's stable, thixotropic and designed not to weep past worn seals. When it's pushed out of the way, it has good "flop" characteristics meaning it'll settle back down onto the bearing surfaces rather than remaining pushed out of the way. 

It was designed for prolonged use in corn picking machinery, which have worm gear gearboxes like this. 

It's been good so far.

Available at most farm machinery stores, I bought mine online, a single 14oz tube is enough to fill it.



Edited by PhilAndrews (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On my 51 and the 53 the Idler arm was the  major culprit , or to be more specific the threaded section of it that rotates approx 90 deg or more. 

Im referring to the component on the passenger side opposite side  to the Steering box / Pitman arm where it attaches to the chassis rail.  Typically these threaded pivots wear over time - just as the upper and lower control arm threaded pivots are also prone  to do  especially if the sealing rubber has failed.  

Whilst you are there you may want to check the adjustable socket  ends on the tie rod as they are also adjustable for wear or the spring tension can wane over time leading to excess movement.

Even though the steering box and pitman may be in fine order with minimal slop , a lot of rotational movement from the box/ arm can be lost in the linkages on these pivot  points if they are worn or requiring adjustment.   

Particulary on vehicles that have  been driven a lot on country roads that are then subject  to dirt ingress over the years. The lubricant combined with the dirt and dust  turns to valve grind paste and gradually wears it away.  

Tie rod ends are similar thieves for loss of movement from the input from the steering wheel to the  king pins...

If you leave the car on the deck, then have an assistant  move the steering wheel,  it will be soon obvious where the worn components are if you observe the linkage. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...