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Centering my Steering
#1
Hi Y'ALL, since I didn't center my power steering box Shootself upon install I would like to do that now. I recently removed my headers so they can be ceramic coated (had them at a shop before to get this done and they POWDER coated them and telling me they ceramic coated them) . So anyway, what would be the correct approach to line up my steering so I will have equal turns. Perhaps this plays a factor why my car cannot be aligned correctly! Tie rods and strut rods are unequal, camber and toe in are within specs. Thanks!

71-73 Mustangs never die, they just go faster!
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#2
since this is a fresh install.. jack up and remove the pitman arm. center your tires forward. center your steering wheel and put pit back on. but if the pit has a special place and only fits one way then the rag joint needs to come off and reset. if nothing else was touched then those are the places of misaligned.
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#3
Ditto what Delawrebill said, but the rag joint splined connector has a flat on it, so it cannot be misaligned to the input shaft. You probably will need to remove (or loosen the box to remove the rag joint) and center the input shaft then put the rag joint back on. The pitman arm also has location (wider) splines on it. If the wheels are straight ahead and the steering wheel is correctly centered, if the PS box is centered as well, it should all go back together easily. Something is off for sure, just a question of what needs to be changed. It could be the pitman arm is off by 90 degrees. (without going to check, I believe there are 4 alignment splines, hence 90 deg out, 1/4 turn)
Hope that makes sense.
Geoff.

I learn something new every day!
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#4
This car does not have a tilt wheel right?

On cars without a tilt wheel the larger U-shaped relief for the larger rag joint pin (9/16” pin) should be at 12’o clock with the wheels pointing straight. I’d count turns lock to lock without anything connected to the sector shaft, & center it. With it centered that 9/16” pin should be at 12 O’clock. After that I would make adjustments with the tie rod ends assuming the pitman arm is clocked correctly on the sector shaft. With the box centered making a line from the center of the joint on the pitman to the center of the sector shaft should be parallel to the car. If it isn’t there is something wrong like the pitman is off a spline or more (not likely - most have a clocking spline cut into them so they only go on the sector shaft one way), could also indicate a twisted sector shaft that was damaged previously.
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#5
I think you guys are overthinking this one. I just centered mine the other day. I simply pulled the steering wheel off and put back straight. The steering wheel has no key just fine splines and can be indexed anywhere. Last time I had alignment done at the Ford dealer maybe 30 years ago me and mechanic went for test drive after he was through. Before we left he pulled the horn ring and took nut off the steering wheel. He put puller on and broke it loose. While we were going down the road he pulled the wheel off and put back on square. When back at shop he torqued the nut on the wheel.
BTW it does not screw up the turn signals or anything like that. I have tilt wheel also.


When a man is in the woods and talks and no women are there is he still wrong??
Tongue
David
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#6
(08-19-2019, 09:22 AM)Bentworker Wrote: This car does not have a tilt wheel right?

On cars without a tilt wheel the larger U-shaped relief for the larger rag joint pin (9/16” pin) should be at 12’o clock with the wheels pointing straight.  I’d count turns lock to lock without anything connected to the sector shaft, & center it.  With it centered that 9/16” pin should be at 12 O’clock.  After that I would make adjustments with the tie rod ends assuming the pitman arm is clocked correctly on the sector shaft.  With the box centered making a line from the center of the joint on the pitman to the center of the sector shaft should be parallel to the car.  If it isn’t there is something wrong like the pitman is off a spline or more (not likely - most have a clocking spline cut into them so they only go on the sector shaft one way), could also indicate a twisted sector shaft that was damaged previously.
Good point on the U slot. The S/wheel may be off as well on it's splines, so if that's the case and the S/wheel appears to be correct, then the rest will be off.
 Also, I'm pretty sure the clamp bolt on the rag joint, factory or aftermarket, should have the head uppermost. On the Lares 201, both pins are long enough to engage the U slots, but without the larger diam. pin as in factory, it could be off 180 deg., bolt head on underside in other words. If you have the Scott Drake pos, change it for a Lares 201, again assuming it's not a tilt column.
Something is off for sure.

I learn something new every day!
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#7
With the tie rods that different, you may not be able to center the input shaft with the pitman arm attached, as the spindles will limit the movement. Remove the pitman arm and then center the input shaft, using the steering wheel. Turn the steering wheel all of the way in one direction and mark its relation to the top, bottom, or turn signal lever. Do not pay any attention to the location of the steering wheel spoke/horn pad location. Turn the steering wheel all of the way in the other direction, counting the number of turns as you turn it. Then, using the same reference point, mark the steering wheel again. Rotate the steering wheel back to the approximate center by counting the turns. The exact center will be halfway between the reference marks.

Being careful to not rotate the steering shaft, remove and replace the steering wheel with it centered. It will help to mark the shaft before removing the steering wheel nut. This will give you a readily visible reference as you proceed.

Because the tie rod ends are way off, I would approximately center them, by turning the adjustment sleeves in opposite directions the same number of full turns. You might see how close the pitman arm alignment splines are before doing this, with the front wheels centered and the steering wheel centered.

With the steering wheel centered turn the front wheels to the center, and see how close to the pitman arm is to fitting the alignment splines. If it's way off, that may indicate frame problems. I believe David recommended in a previous thread that you may need to take it to a frame shop. With help, you may be able to get some measurements at home, using the diagrams that have been posted in the forum.



“If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.”
--Albert Einstein
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#8
I have attached a scan of the 1973 Chassis Assembly Manual from Jim Osborn. It is a copy of the original Ford documents used on the assembly line for training. 
The illustrations are very faint due to copy of a copy I suspect. Note in the bottom right corner it states for Fixed & Tilt. The assembly numbers for the tilt and fixed rag joint are the same they use the same parts. 
If you look at the bottom just on the center they have a view U and it shows a special tool that spaces the joint .150" different than the non tilt. The engineering number for the rag joint is 3A525 Assembly and shows same for tilt on the R.H. side.
When Ford received the columns they had a sleeve around the bottom of the shaft to set the stick out distance and keep the shaft in position while being put on the gear box. They removed after install. If you have ever installed you know how it will move up into the column housing and you have to pull back out to go down on the gear box shaft. 
Unless the 71 72 is different this says they are the same.
The View W does reference a mark on the steering shaft and also on the wheel that they aligned.
My scanner bed not big enough to do in one scan the pages are 8" X 13 5/8".
I also scanned the page for assembly of the steering linkage.


Attached Files
.pdf   IMG_0003.pdf (Size: 727.79 KB / Downloads: 12)
.pdf   IMG_0002.pdf (Size: 721.71 KB / Downloads: 7)
.pdf   IMG_0001.pdf (Size: 1.03 MB / Downloads: 6)
.pdf   IMG.pdf (Size: 1.13 MB / Downloads: 9)


When a man is in the woods and talks and no women are there is he still wrong??
Tongue
David
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#9
runninpony 
Wow, thanks everyone for the wealth of information! This is a fixed column, original rag joint and everything else is original to the car but 1" lowering springs, roller perches and lower control arms have been replaced as well as all bushings (polyurethane and elastomer). Original power steering box  has been professionally rebuilt. Before I took the front end apart, car was really going straight down the road, steering wheel self centered after each turn, 2 1/2 turns each way on the steering wheel. But then I put all components aside to strip the paint and whatnot and after a couple of months I lost track what was on the right side or the left. I'm getting up in age LOL!  I don't know if I can pull the pitman arm with the tools I have or I can get a loaner puller if I have to. I'll start by removing tie rods, remove the bolts that hold the box, get the center link off the pitman arm and then re-align the rag joint. Does that sound right? Thanks again!!

71-73 Mustangs never die, they just go faster!
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#10
Perhaps David is right, we've all been over thinking this.
I'd now jack up the front end so wheels are off the ground. Rotate the s/wheel ltl, then halve the turns and see where the wheels are pointing. 5 turns is a lot, I/we assume this a PS box? a stock PS box @17.5:1 is only 4 turns LTL. a Variable is 3 1/8 turns or close to it according to my research and from playing with my own PS boxes.
A pitman arm can be a total b***h to remove without an impact and you'll need a 1 5/16" socket. Even on mine with the nut only tightened to about 150 ft/lbs by hand, it distorted my puller. If you don't have the tools, I'd leave it alone unless it's absolutely necessary.
From what you're now saying, it sounds like something else is misassembled. A process of elimination I guess, but you mentioned it was all good until you pulled it apart, correct?.
Geoff.

I learn something new every day!
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