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Thread: 1981 steering

  1. #1
    RayHardin
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    Default 1981 steering

    Hey guys. I have an '81 corvette with play in the steering wheel. I had a friend snug up the steering box and I still have play. I have checked all of the ball joints, tie rods and etc with nothing loose. I was hoping that someone could tell me if I would need to adjust the control valve to cure the problem or if there is another common problem similar to mine with most C3's. Thanks in advance!!

  2. #2
    Member GTR1999's Avatar
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    Loose steering causes:

    Worn suspension parts
    worn rag joint
    incorrect lash setting or worn out gears
    CV balance
    bearing play

    If the box was not correctly adjusted you may have caused more wear. Look at the lash screw in the cover, does it show 2+ threads above the nut?
    Look up my links to steering boxes as well to help.
    Gary
    GTR1999

  3. #3
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    1981 corvette Red/Red

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    Just for your info, I put a new steering box (GM) on my 81 and it had just as much play as the old one. The old one leaked and that is why it was replaced. I was disappointed with the play but was told that is the nature of that vintage.

  4. #4
    - Online
    Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
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    Explain how you adjusted the steering box.

  5. #5
    Member GTR1999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bills money pit View Post
    Just for your info, I put a new steering box (GM) on my 81 and it had just as much play as the old one. The old one leaked and that is why it was replaced. I was disappointed with the play but was told that is the nature of that vintage.
    Bill
    Something isn't correct then. A correctly built box will not have play in it. True if the box has too much grease and no room for expansion it will leak. Usually I use Mobil 1 and this has been a problem with this grease until recently. Now it's a new formulation and less likely to weep like before of course I wouldn't use it in bearings anymore though.

    The best way to adjust the box is out of the car but it can be done in the car as long as too much lash is not applied. The center tooth will wear fast if over adjusted and lead to slop on center that you will not be able to correct with a new gear set.
    Gary
    GTR1999

  6. #6
    RayHardin
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    hey guys, thanks for the responses. I had a reputable mechanic who owns his own Corvette adjust the box. I'm pretty confident he knows how to adjust the box. I forgot to mention that he said that the shaft in the power valve ( where the pitman arm attaches? ) moves a bit before it moves the steering ram when I am turning the steering wheel back and forth. This is why I asked about the power valve. I will check tomorrow how many threads I have above the lock nut tomorrow.

  7. #7
    Jimmy C
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    Quote Originally Posted by RayHardin View Post
    hey guys, thanks for the responses. I had a reputable mechanic who owns his own Corvette adjust the box. I'm pretty confident he knows how to adjust the box. I forgot to mention that he said that the shaft in the power valve ( where the pitman arm attaches? ) moves a bit before it moves the steering ram when I am turning the steering wheel back and forth. This is why I asked about the power valve. I will check tomorrow how many threads I have above the lock nut tomorrow.
    Ray, There is no shaft in the control valve, however there is one in the power cylinder. There should be "NO" slop in your steering. The guy who told you that "it's the nature of that vintage" is mis-informed. The '81 has a good steering system and should have "NO" play when working correctly. You obviously have a worn part somewhere in the system or got a replacement box that has worn gears, bushings, etc.. My '81 has never had any slop in the steering and reacts very well to quick twists of the steering wheel. Keep looking f/ the slop that shouldn't be there. I'd check that replacement box closely.

    Good Luck.

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