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Old 10-04-2018, 10:54 AM   #1
CRatcliff
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Default Volvo 144 Steering Sloppy, Box Fully Tightened

Hey All,

The steering on my 140 feels pretty sloppy - particularly at highway speeds - and I went to tighten the steering box, only to find that it won't tighten any more. Loosened the lock nut, and it will screw out, but no further in than it is. There are still some threads available above the lock nut, but it just won't go any tighter.

Do I need to replace the steering box? Rebuild it? Or is the problem elsewhere?

Thanks!
--Colin
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:04 AM   #2
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Are all the rod ends tight? How's the idler bushing?
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:06 AM   #3
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Are all the rod ends tight? How's the idler bushing?
My mechanic checked and replaced all of the bushings that were worn. I can check again, but I'm 99% confident that they're all good
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:13 AM   #4
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Nature of the beast! 1-2" at the steering wheel is how they roll.

Time to adopt a 240 with a steering rack!
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:14 AM   #5
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Nature of the beast! 1-2" at the steering wheel is how they roll.

Time to adopt a 240 with a steering rack!
Oof. Good to know. Gets a little hairy at 70mph in the mountain passes with high winds.
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:18 AM   #6
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Have someone wiggle the steering wheel while you look underneath. See what's moving and what isn't.

You *should* be able to adjust a half decent steering box to have very little slack in the straight-ahead position. By design (?) they're always going to have some slack when turned to the side.

Although that might be something you could try, turn the steering to one side and see if the adjuster will go further in. You can certainly overtighten a box doing that, which is very bad, but just to see if that allows the adjuster further in?

Also, try doing this with the wheels off the ground, so you can easily spend the steering back and forth? You should set the adjuster with them straight ahead, though. I'm just wondering if it's binding up for some reason.
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:20 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by CRatcliff View Post
Oof. Good to know. Gets a little hairy at 70mph in the mountain passes with high winds.
Sway bars helps for the car feeling like it wants to tip over in turns. In the wind too.

Be sure alignment is on the money. I like them to have more caster then Volvo calls for but getting there takes changing shims that isn't happening at 90% of alignment shops. Takes real effort. Toe it in 1/16"
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:21 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by CRatcliff View Post
Hey All,

The steering on my 140 feels pretty sloppy - particularly at highway speeds - and I went to tighten the steering box, only to find that it won't tighten any more. Loosened the lock nut, and it will screw out, but no further in than it is. There are still some threads available above the lock nut, but it just won't go any tighter.

Do I need to replace the steering box? Rebuild it? Or is the problem elsewhere?

Thanks!
--Colin
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how psi stock cna support?

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Old 10-04-2018, 11:37 AM   #9
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Growing up we had a WORN out old farm truck (51 Ford 3/4 ton). Very loose steering. We just tended to let some air out of one of the front tires so it would pull to one side, keeping all the slack in one direction. That way you would be in better control going down a straight road.
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:39 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by JohnLane View Post
Sway bars helps for the car feeling like it wants to tip over in turns. In the wind too.

Be sure alignment is on the money. I like them to have more caster then Volvo calls for but getting there takes changing shims that isn't happening at 90% of alignment shops. Takes real effort. Toe it in 1/16"
Good to know, yeah, I've been waiting to do the alignment until I have the rest of the steering dialed in. If the problem isn't in the steering box, and I don't need to replace it, then I'll get the alignment set.
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:40 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by JohnMc View Post
Have someone wiggle the steering wheel while you look underneath. See what's moving and what isn't.

You *should* be able to adjust a half decent steering box to have very little slack in the straight-ahead position. By design (?) they're always going to have some slack when turned to the side.

Although that might be something you could try, turn the steering to one side and see if the adjuster will go further in. You can certainly overtighten a box doing that, which is very bad, but just to see if that allows the adjuster further in?

Also, try doing this with the wheels off the ground, so you can easily spend the steering back and forth? You should set the adjuster with them straight ahead, though. I'm just wondering if it's binding up for some reason.
Yeah I was wondering that as well. I'll try it out with the wheels off.
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:56 AM   #12
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Good to know, yeah, I've been waiting to do the alignment until I have the rest of the steering dialed in. If the problem isn't in the steering box, and I don't need to replace it, then I'll get the alignment set.
Take another look the steering box is independent of the alignment.
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Old 10-04-2018, 12:04 PM   #13
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Take another look the steering box is independent of the alignment.
Roger. Would replacing the steering box do anything?
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Old 10-04-2018, 12:11 PM   #14
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You're screwed.
yup just fubar his box 100%
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Old 10-04-2018, 12:18 PM   #15
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Roger. Would replacing the steering box do anything?
Yep if you can find a good one.

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yup just fubar his box 100%
+1

3/4" to 1" of static play or death do it part.
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Old 10-04-2018, 12:22 PM   #16
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Oh & NB4 the JV steering box .
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Old 10-04-2018, 12:23 PM   #17
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thats if it was bad to begin with
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Old 10-04-2018, 01:22 PM   #18
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Too bad your car isn't a '73-'74. I have 3 NOS steering boxes.

If the steering box is in good shape it will do what you described. Adjusting the screw will move the pitman shaft up and down which determines how much free play there is. This adjustment must be done with the wheels pointed straight and with the front wheels off the ground so you can turn the wheel and feel any binding through the center point. If the bushings and bearings are in good shape, the roller on the pitman shaft will bind against the worm gear and prevent the adjusting screw from going all the way in. When the parts are worn, the roller will be able to go past the center on the worm gear and you'll never be able to properly adjust the box.
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Old 10-04-2018, 01:32 PM   #19
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Too bad your car isn't a '73-'74. I have 3 NOS steering boxes.

If the steering box is in good shape it will do what you described. Adjusting the screw will move the pitman shaft up and down which determines how much free play there is. This adjustment must be done with the wheels pointed straight and with the front wheels off the ground so you can turn the wheel and feel any binding through the center point. If the bushings and bearings are in good shape, the roller on the pitman shaft will bind against the worm gear and prevent the adjusting screw from going all the way in. When the parts are worn, the roller will be able to go past the center on the worm gear and you'll never be able to properly adjust the box.
Okay that makes complete sense. Considering it's stopping with quite a few threads left, it sounds like there's a good chance something is wrong somewhere else. I'll hunt around some more, and also try to adjust it with the wheels off the ground. Thus far I've been doing the adjustment with wheels straight forward on the ground.
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Old 10-04-2018, 10:20 PM   #20
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Too bad your car isn't a '73-'74.
Not interchangeable with earlier boxes? Can't just swap the pittman arm?
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:18 PM   #21
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The Pitman arm and idler arm are different as well as the tie rod between them. If the car was built before '69, you'd also need to change the steering rods, tie rod ends and spindles.
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:41 PM   #22
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So I gather that what you are saying is that one could not put an early pitman arm on a later box. Right?
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Old 10-05-2018, 12:20 AM   #23
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The splined output shaft on the later boxes is larger so the early Pitman arm won't fit.
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Old 10-05-2018, 12:52 PM   #24
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Got it, thanks.
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