What do you guys think could be the reasoning for the excessive steering play? 3-5 inches while in park, engine off.
When the car is parked, I can move the wheel a good 2 inches in both directions. How can you tell that the idler arm is loose? What do you look for? When I installed the gear, i didn't replace the pitman arm. The guy I bought it form said it was made to use the original (bought it from a p/s dealer at the Pomona Swap Meet).how much play do you have at steering wheel? you should be able to feel less than 1/8 inch when turning . looks like idler arm is loose.All steering components should be snug with no play. did you change the pitman arm when you changed over to p/steering? the nut and center bolt at the steering box is a lash adjuster the nut is a lock nut and the center bolt is the adjustment. loosen the nut and then screw in the center bolt by hand till you feel some resistance, then back it off slightly and retighten lock nut. this takes out the play between the gears
This is really helpful, thank you. I'll pull the pitman arm, and re-install to see if I can bring it up, unless the threads are shot.One thing I see is that the nut is not on the sector shaft straight, nor are any threads extending beyond the nut. That is not normal. There should always be a couple of threads showing past the nut. I think you have either cross-threaded the nut, or have not tightened it all the way, and that is why there is so much clearance between the pitman arm and the bottom of the steering box. The pitman arm isn't pulled all the way up tight on the sector shaft, and has some play.
Just my $.02.
As long as the threads aren't screwed up on the sector shaft, or can be straightened out, a new nut would be in order. NEVER put the nut on with an impact wrench! You can use one to remove the nut, but putting it back on with one is asking for trouble.This is really helpful, thank you. I'll pull the pitman arm, and re-install to see if I can bring it up, unless the threads are shot.
Perhaps a new box and pitman arm?