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Thread: Manual Steering Box Question

  1. #1

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    Manual Steering Box Question

    Now to the forum here. Never dealt with a manual steering box before and just looking for some insight. The previous owner put a new tie-rod end on and didn't know how to re-align the truck.Well, the alignment machine at the shop showed -3 overall toe. It was so far off our heads wouldn't stay connected and it would squeal tires/jerk badly down the road.Me and a buddy aligned it the old school way with a measuring tape and about 12 beers. The truck drove perfectly straight at first, but now if you let go of the steering wheel it will try to turn the truck all the way to the right.I'm on vacation in Fenville, Michigan for the week, so before I get back to put it back on the alignment machine to double check it now that it is pretty close to straight I was wondering if this were something with the manual steering box.Do they have a re-centering mechanism that may be trying to kick in? Or could it just be the alignment still trying to pull the wheel?

  2. #2

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    Toe is self centering and does not cause pull to the left or right. Caster and camber will cause a pull. So will a sticky brake caliper. As hard it seems to be pulling, I'd check the right front brake to make sure it's not dragging. I suspect that may be your problem.

  3. #3

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    Appreciate the input. Unfortunately I never dived much into alignment work as I have engine and electrical, but what you are saying does make sense to me now.
    I'll check my calipers when I can get it back to the shop.
    I know the canber was out bad and the passenger caster as well. It appears the camber is changed by adding shims, but is there any special way to adjust caster on these trucks?
    First glance I saw what appears to be two struts bars? Ate these adjustable?

  4. #4

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    You need to go to an old school alignment shop (someone that can handle classic Mustangs etc) or buy the camber degree gauges and try doing it yourself. If you can dial in 1.5 degrees of camber, it will improve handling. If the control arms weren't touched you could achieve the same camber angle by lowering it by 2.5"
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  5. #5

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    typically you don't want to crank on the strut rods to adjust the caster. This will eat up the lower control arm bushings more quickly. On shimmed control arm cars, caster is usually adjusted by shimming the control arm more at the front or back pivot point only. This will move the upper balljoint forward or rearward causing a change in caster. Once the caster is set, even shims at both pivot points will adjust camber only. Then you set the toe. Like Geezer said, anyone who can do a mustang can do one of these trucks. Front suspension setup is identical (if you're two wheel drive).

  6. #6

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    Yeah these trucks are out of the norm for me.
    I originally took it to a reputable old school shop here, but they guy said I needed new inner tie rod sleeves because they were seized and never set the toe. Me and my buddy sprayed it with some Deep Creep, used a pipe wrench, and turned them easily. So I'm not sure if he just didn't even try to do the alignment. I was hoping he actually set the camber and caster while he had it there and I would have to do the toe.
    I really want to learn to do it, because I have plans to lower the truck amongst other things. If I cantcafigure it out when I get it back to the shop I'll take it somewhere else and see if I can learn a few things.
    Appreciate it guys. Will keep this updated.

  7. #7

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    There was an old school train of thought that "there's no such thing as too much caster" but as Giovanni has pointed out, cranking the caster rods in will destroy the lower control arm bushes on these trucks. You may want to think about replacing all of the bushes with urethane to take the 'iffyness' out of the front end unless it's already been rebuilt.
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  8. #8

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    I know from the looks that nothing has been replaced on the front end besides one tie rod end. I'm waiting to get the coils to lower the front before I replace anything. There is just a little bit of play in the pitman arm, but as I usually do with my personal vehicles I will more than likely replace all the front end steering and suspension parts/ bushings when I do it. I'm not in a huge rush because I drive my service truck every day, but I do want to get it to where I can atleast drive it on the weekends pretty easily for now until I get my wheels, coils, and blocks in.

  9. #9

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    Little bit of an update, and some potential bad news.

    To start with I finally powder coated my matching set of wheels at the shop today, and took the liberty of checking out the brakes while I had it on jack stands at the house. The passenger side has some scrubbing, but no resistance. Possibly the caliper is just sticking at times after braking. So I will take both sides off, clean the rotors, have them turned if needed, and inspect/clean both calipers.

    I noticed that brake parts are hard to get for these trucks. No parts store will keep the calipers or pads in stock, and they are special order. Before I order any online if I can't get these to act correctly, is there any rebuild kit, even one that has a wide variety of o-rings and parts, that I could order instead?

    Now, the bad news. I took off work early today to go handle the registration for my MM. Been putting it on the back burner until we had a slow day. Come to find out, the vehicle was branded as salvaged in North Carolina for a mere fender bender that damaged the bed and bumper. No frame damage. The insurance company however put it down as a total loss for the cost of parts/repair vs the value of the truck in 2014.

    In the state of Georgia, a vehicle now has to be repaired and presented for safety inspection by a "licensed rebuilder". This has changed in recent years as use to the owner could do it themselves. I don't really see the importance behind who does the repair, as it has to be inspected either way. You have to show before and after pictures of the damage along with receipts of all parts purchased to repair. Also, if any parts are used, the vin number of the vehicle they are removed from must be noted.

    Being I bought the it from Florida, and it is legal to drive a salvage branded vehicle in that state, the owner never bothered to apply for a rebuilt title. Not that it matters, because Georgia would make me have it re-inspected anyways because they do no accept Florida's inspections.

    If they do not accept that the vehicle was fixed prior to my purchase to do the inspection, I will need to find me a roller that I can swap all my good onto. I have read stories of people who had the vehicle repair, with no proof, and were denied inspection unless they did a frame swap.

    So my structurally sound MM could be deemed a boat anchor over a bed and bumper.

    Georgia is a nightmare.

  10. #10

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    I think you will still be good to go on this. As this is a 'body on frame' vehicle and the frame wasn't structurally damaged, I would hope they would only need to do a visual inspection of your truck and green light it. There is always a side door entrance to bypassing the bureaucratic nonsense. As for the brake calipers they will probably only need new slide pins or you can take them out, clean and polish them up and give them a wipe with some fresh anti-seize grease. There is a listing on the rockauto thread with new pins going stupid cheap - https://www.rockauto.com/RSS/vehicle...l=en&html=true
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  11. #11

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    If it could be that easy I would be so relieved. Getting the brakes and alignment 100% are the only mechanical issues right now. To be 24 years old that shows how tough they are.

    That's what I'm hoping is that they will see it is simply a minor inconvenience to cosmetics where the bedside is dented. In Georgia from what I understand they no longer send people to you, and I can't legally drive it on the road with the title issue. So I will have to trailer it 45 miles to an approved shop for inspection and hope they are lenient. Apparently a friend of mine who owns a wrecker business says he had to part out his last truck since it would never pass because everything down down to the cig. lighter had to work. Said it took 6-8 hours each time he had it inspected. However, that was a different shop as well and an OBD-II vehicle that is much easier to catch electrical issues on.

  12. #12

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    Good news! It doesn't say it on the GA DMV website, but I have verification from the body shop that a regular unlicensed person can rebuild up to 2 salvage vehicles a year. So a bumper, tailgate, and 3rd light cover puts me in the clear.

  13. #13




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    Good for you! I went though the same thing with my 1992 Prelude - it was a rear hit, all sheet metal, but the insurance company totaled it, and I bought it back. In PA, you have to do an enhanced inspection to return the salvage vehicle to the road, and all systems have to work - it threw an ABS light, and the guy was going to fail it, but turning the ignition off and on cleared it, so he passed it - it would pass a normal inspection. I even had to paint it to have it inspected - they want it to look like it came out of the showroom!
    Last edited by pennyman1; 11-15-2019 at 05:45 PM.
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  14. #14

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    I understand the DMV doesn't want a ghetto fixed death trap put onto the road, but failing an inspection because the paint isn't matching or something like the cigarette lighter is out... ludicrous
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  15. #15

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    That's insane they make you paint the car! In GA you are told the opposite. You are not aloud to repaint the damaged area or coat the frame where there are welds without going through inspection first.

    I agree as well. 90% of my automotive knowledge is engines, electrical, and fabrication with basic knowledge of the rest. For people who are able to do such repairs it is very convenient to allow us to do it ourselves. However, some people shouldn't be aloud near a welder, much less a frame rail. Anything luxury or cosmetic should not count towards the inspection IMO though.

    Hopefully it will stop raining this weekend so I can get back to work on the truck. Miss my garage more and more everyday. At the least of things I'll be putting up some sort of tarps or shelter soon. Scavaging the junkyard if weather permits for a tailgate. I've got some steel, so I'm thinking about making a bumper myself since the shop said parts dont have to be OE spec.

  16. #16




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    PA is total BS - they want to make sure you really want it and are willing to suffer to get there, not to mention the fees to get the reconstructed title. 300.00 for the enhanced inspection, and that was cheap - most were 500+.
    Pennyman1
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