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How to adjust Steering box slack or lag... Buick 1956 Riviera 46R


MrY
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Hi I have an old 1956 Buick 46R with power steering box

but there is a terrible about 4-5 inch slack in the steering wheel if the car is park and I wiggle it left and right without the pit man arm get engaged and move. It's no fun driving the car on the freeway cause I end up sitting and wiggling steering wheel left and right to keep the car  go straight and it get tiresome ......

 

The steering rag joint has been replace and the next to tackle is the steering box I guess.

 

I see there is a lock nut with a flat head screw in the middle of the X on the steering box top

I guess this is for adjusting it but I have never done this before on any car

Can anyone give me some hints on what to do ?

 

Loosening the lock nut and Turning it down make it tighter ?

I guess I want the gears to come closer to remove any gap or slack.....

Please advice before I try or mess up something

See picture of my steering box and locknut and screw.

thx

IMG_5201.jpg

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 On many steering boxes that is the way to take the play out by turning the screw down until the play is gone.

 The problem is that if you take out all the play, you end up with a bind when you turn the wheel and get to the point where there is less wear in the gears.

 You have to accept a happy medium between play and bind.

 Another problem you may have, is that your steering box may not be centered.

 

 I am not a Buick guy, Wait for a Buick P.S. expert to advise you.

Edited by Roger Walling (see edit history)
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The answers are in your shop manual. You do have a shop manual don't you? No? Well, I guess you can muck about in your steering box going by what someone here thinks might work. Good luck................Bob

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)
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OK, while I’m not claiming to be a “Buick P.S. expert”, I generally agree with b.d. above about the necessity/usefulness of the service manual, preferably one produced by the vehicle manufacturer, I’d like to add that before attempting ANY adjustments on the steering gear (“box”), it would be advisable to make sure ALL other steering related components between the rim of the steering wheel and the thread surfaces of (front) tires are correct and correctly installed as per application, fully serviced and functioning as intended. 

There could be several causes/contributors for slack in steering, some possibly even compounding the problem, not to mention undermining the operational safety, if not addressed adequately and with full understanding of the entire system.

 

 

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12 hours ago, mike6024 said:

Screenshot (439).png

All valid points, but the problem could also be caused by numerous faulty or incorrect components outside the steering “box”.

 

3 hours ago, DavidAU said:

I would say, get a power steering shop that knows this type of car and get them to do it.  It may save you a lot of time and trouble.

Also a sage advise, but may not be as easy as it seems behind the keyboard.

I live/work within an area of 20+ million population and where personal cars are used for transportation perhaps more than anywhere in the world, but would say that while there are countless automotive repair shops, including many that mainly work on vintage cars, finding a competent one with ability to properly address issues like this can become challenge by itself.

 

For example, just within 10-20 mile radius of my location, there’s probably dozens upon dozens of shops accommodating or specializing in old/vintage car repairs or services, but based on what I’ve heard or seen of their workmanship, I’m not sure I’d let most of them work on a used wheelbarrow, let alone a car intended to be driven on public roads/streets.

On the other hand, some, perhaps even many of them could be capable for proper work, if it wasn’t for their customers desire or insistence to “do it as cheaply as possible” (which sadly plagues this hobby far more than most realize).

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I read somewhere that I should turn the lock screw clockwise 1/8 - 1/4 and then take it for a drive,

If needed adjust another 1/8 - 1/4 and take it for a drive ...

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51 minutes ago, MrY said:

I read somewhere that I should turn the lock screw clockwise 1/8 - 1/4 and then take it for a drive,

If needed adjust another 1/8 - 1/4 and take it for a drive ...

 If you do that you will find the exact spot where it binds op on a sharp turn. Then back it off 1/8 until it removes the bind.

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After 70 years it is best to take the box out, disassemble it and check for wear and pitting on the worm and bearing surfaces. That screw is as tempting as screws sticking out of a carburetor. They will most likely get you in trouble.

You have power steering. The preload on that adjustment will affect the sensitivity of your power assist response. Too tight will make it twitchy. It could even make you think you need radial tires.

 

Or just get a rebuilt box from Lares Mfg.

 

In the 1990's I had a local alignment shop that did collector cars for me. The first thing he would do is test drive the car. He said he usually had to back off on the adjustment before starting work. At that time I think I put 4 or 5 Lares boxes in '60's Cadillacs that were already worn out. I also found that grit in the grease would wear the surface area of the pitman arm seal and cause early failure of replacement seals.

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60FlatTop,

 

 Your comments are correct as always, But, If we all replaced everything that gave us trouble with our cars, we would never learn how to repair them.

 

 It is very rewarding to adjust / repair things that went bang. 🛠️

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Just had supper and my wife asked if I had the alternator back together on my Buick convertible. Fixed that. In the same vice I drilled out the rivets of the exhaust hanger that I renewed the rubber in for the other Buick. Sometimes it just looks like the doctor held me up by the ankles and put all that information in with one slap. It really didn't happen that way.

 

Even my wife would laugh and shake her head if I had written my actual first thought about that adjusting screw.

 

There is also a politically incorrect way of stating that doctor thing I restrained from writing.

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