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Steering Shaft Shim

Discussion in '6.9L IH & 7.3L IDI Diesels' started by adamsanders, Mar 30, 2020.

  1. adamsanders

    adamsanders Full Access Member

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    Last night I was pulling my steering gear box out to replace it and it brought the lower portion of the steering shaft with it. I should have made sure the splined connection was loose first but I thought the weight of the box would help it out.

    Unfortunately, now I cannot find the piece of spring steel that helps keep these shafts tight together. I have the plastic sleeve, just no spring. Does anyone have a suggestion on how to remedy this? Or at least have a picture of the piece in question? I know it’s supposed to be there but I’ve never actually seen one and can’t find a good picture online. The whole workspace has been right around the front of the truck so it has to be there somewhere, I’m just worried it’s in the engine bay somewhere stuck to the layers of grease and oil. If it knew what I was looking for exactly it may help out some. Has anyone just drilled and tapped a set screw? I know you lose some of the safety of the freely telescoping shaft but I would think it would move even with a set screw in a front end collision. Thanks!
     
  2. franklin2

    franklin2 Full Access Member

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    It looks like a very short narrow leaf spring. The guy at the repair shop lost mine. I took a short piece of brake line, flattened it out with a hammer on one end and left the other end round. I then tapped that up between the two shafts till it would not go anymore, and then fastened the rest of it sticking out to the steering shaft with tape. Kind of hokey, but it has been working for years like that.

    I found a article on it.

    https://www.fullsizebronco.com/thre...cedure-for-excessive-play-in-steering.465730/
     
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  3. adamsanders

    adamsanders Full Access Member

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    I found the spring! I was able to successfully get the shaft back together with the spring in place. I have my new steering box ready to go but I do have an important question. I was under the impression the pitman arm would only go on one way but upon removing it from the old box today I realized it could be put on in 90 degree increments. How can I be sure that get everything back into the correct alignment? My steering wheel was perfectly straight before when going straight down the road and I would really like to keep it that way if possible. Thanks!
     
  4. mblaney

    mblaney Full Access Member

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    Well if 90 degree increments, then it is easy to eliminate two positions. So now you are down to 50/50! :kick:

    A google image search of "f250 IDI pitman arm" seems to show it pointing forward ;burnout

    Since you changed the steering box you will need an alignment, at least to center your steering wheel. That is an easy adjustment. I think I posted an "alignment at home" article here somewhere.
     
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  5. adamsanders

    adamsanders Full Access Member

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    I guess my question is how do I know where the new box is right now? It would about have to be centered I would think to provide any kind of consistency on installation. Theoretically I think you could put the new box on, and let’s say it’s actually fully turned one way or the other, you could put the pitman arm on 90degrees out to attach to the drag link since the wheels are where they are unless you jack the truck up and manually move them. Then you could only go one direction since all the movement internally on the gearbox is toward one direction. I know it’s a quick fix but I’d rather not do it twice.
     
  6. Black dawg

    Black dawg Registered User

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    count steering gear turns lock to lock and divide by two. Turn gear to center (you will feel it get tighter in center)
    pitman arm points straight ahead.
     
  7. franklin2

    franklin2 Full Access Member

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    The divide by two way above is the way to do it. But don't be surprised if the steering wheel is off some even when you do that.

    I had my truck aligned, everything was perfect. The the box went out. After it was put back in, the wheel was off a little bit. It still drove perfectly fine, but the wheel was angled a little bit. I could have gone underneath and moved each outer tie rod equally to re center it, but i was lazy and after driving a year or so like that, I just took the steering wheel off, moved it a little, and put it back on the splines. I had a factory engineer guy swear it was not possible to do because the steering wheel splines are keyed like the pitman arm, but it went right on and I have done it to other trucks also. They must not have much of a key up there.
     
  8. chillman88

    chillman88 Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    They are keyed, but they're aluminum. If you pull the wheel off, you can force the flat spot on the wheel over the splines. It's not "right" but it works.
     
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  9. adamsanders

    adamsanders Full Access Member

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    That’s what I was thinking. I had my wheel off not too long ago and I remembered that it would only go on one way easily.
     

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