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Replaced steering box. Now need an alignment?
#1
I swapped out my steering box for another used one I had due to a bad leak. So far so good on the leaks but now I'm finding the steering feel isn't like it was. I swapped the box and pitman arm as a package deal. So my car now has those three things from another car. No issues with steering feel before. And all suspension parts are new or good shape. Now steering seems darty, and I have some bump steer. Also doesn't seem to want to go to the natural position (straight) all the time. Would this swap cause such a change? Just trying to confirm with others before I spend $100. on an alignment.
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#2
My 2 cents..

Alignment is always in order after changing parts just make sure ALL your components are good b4 doing so.

Steering box and pitman swap will not effect bump steer, but can effect return to center if guts are jacked up eg: bearing/gear tooth preloads etc
if you only changed drag link will not effect bump steer, alignment etc. Unless bent.

If you reinstall old drag link and still have probs I would think the box is the problem.

I'm guessing u didn't change tie rod ends or idler arm as that is a whole other story?

If I were in your shoes I'd put old drag link back on and if still had probs send box out to be rebuilt by a pro
some threads on recomendations for that here on this site.

hope others will chime in I'm no expert but been down that road.

Good Luck!

73 Grandé
351C 2v
Now 4v Carb/Cam/headers/T5


Gasoline is for washing parts.
Alcohol is for drinking.
Nitomethane is for racing!



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Last Update: 4/23/16

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#3
I revised my post. I kept my original drag link. Only pitman arm and box were changed. All rest of suspension unchanged and with no worn out parts. I don't know if it's really bump steer. It just seems jerky. Like I have to over correct the steering. The return to center seems sluggish and off. Not sure if the box is just much more worn than the one I took out or if the swap caused the tire alignment issues that need to be corrected now.
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#4
Swapping the steering gear will not have any effect on the alignment. It shouldn't even effect the steering wheel position, the pitman only goes on in 1 position. The ratio of the box can affect steering feel. A worn out box can feel darty. My car is very darty with the combination of low profile tires and a worn out steering gear... especially on the 18 wheeler ruts.

Jeff T.

Low buck, touring style, '73 Convertible "rolling restoration", 351c, 2v heads with a shave and a haircut, Performer intake, Holley 650(ish), roller rockers, screw in studs, guideplates, stainless valves, Duraspark / Motorsports MSD, T-5 conversion. 1-1/8" front, 3/4" rear swaybars KYB shocks and some home brewed subframe connectors. Future plans; JGC steering box, Cobra brakes and... paint, interior, etc.

When I die I want to die like grandpa, peacefully in my sleep... not screaming, like his passenger.

[Image: 1_12_09_14_10_15_11.png]
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#5
It's usually not a good idea to swap a steering box to another used one UNLESS you know it's history can confirm it's good..More than likely the box you got used is just as bad if not worse than your original..Send your original out have it rebuilt..reinstall than alignment..

LOVE OF BEAUTY IS TASTE..THE CREATION OF BEAUTY IS ART
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#6
Qcode351mach;191090 Wrote:It's usually not a good idea to swap a steering box to another used one UNLESS you know it's history can confirm it's good..More than likely the box you got used is just as bad if not worse than your original..Send your original out have it rebuilt..reinstall than alignment..

It's really a temporary option for now. My original box was leaking bad enough I couldn't drive the car. This one has no leaks. It came from one of my parts cars. I may try to tighten up the adjuster on it slightly and see if that helps.
Wonder if a new rag joint help with any of my reported issues?

droptop73;191089 Wrote:Swapping the steering gear will not have any effect on the alignment. It shouldn't even effect the steering wheel position, the pitman only goes on in 1 position. The ratio of the box can affect steering feel. A worn out box can feel darty. My car is very darty with the combination of low profile tires and a worn out steering gear... especially on the 18 wheeler ruts.

I did go from a standard rate to a variable rate. So I did have to move my steering wheel. That's fine. I'm guessing then as you point out the box is just much more worn than the leaky one I removed.
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#7
There is no need to do an alignment when you swap out the box and/or pitman arm. These are not adjustable from an 'alignment' perspective. Swapping them might cause the steering wheel to not be in the 'correct' position when going straight but swapping them will not affect tow, camber, caster.

This is my opinion and is only based on my understanding and some practical experience. I am not an expert in this field.

'Mike'
73 Convertible - 351C/4V CC heads/4bolt/forged flat tops/comp 270/rhodes/mallory unilite/tri-power/hookers/glasspacks/c6/3.50 limited slip/Gear Vendors/Global West sub frames, strut rods and shelby style traction bars/ Rear sway bar/tilt steering (not original)

Pics of modifications included in:
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#8
Having been in the automotive service industry for 30+ years, and having worked for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., I can confirm that your alignment hasn't changed with just a steering box change.
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#9
The question I have, is the pitman arm the same shape and length as the one you took off? If not, it would cause a variety of problems. If you don't know the history of the parts car it may have been swapped from something else.



“If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.”
--Albert Einstein
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#10
Don C;191131 Wrote:The question I have, is the pitman arm the same shape and length as the one you took off? If not, it would cause a variety of problems. If you don't know the history of the parts car it may have been swapped from something else.

Pitman arm is the same. With above responses and the more I drive it I'm going to say its just worn out esp compared to the one I removed. Car tracks straight and goes over bumps fine. It's when you turn the wheel that is the problem. It has slop and a flat spot. I'll just send an extra one out to be rebuilt to redhead.
I may turn in the adjuster nut slightly to see if it helps. Can't hurt it.
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