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Steering Box Adjustment

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  • Steering: Steering Box Adjustment

    Hello, I'm driving my 55 half ton but the steering has a lot of play. The issue is in the box. Adjusting the cam lever did not make the feel of the steering normal. The service manual says that the steering post end play must be first adjusted. The manual simply says to add or remove the necessary number of shims to obtain proper end play adjustment. My question is, what is proper end play adjustment and how do I determine when the end play is correct? So, do I add and remove shims and each time put the top cover back on, tighten the 3 bolts and see how the steering wheel feels? The manual does not make sense to me. Can anyone help? Thanks. Bill

  • #2
    truckguy, I also have a '55 half ton. First, make sure the box is filled with the proper lubricant. And, be aware that sometimes a hard 'plug' of grease can hide just under the filler hole, making you think it's full when it is really empty! My '55 was like this, and oh what a difference when the correct lubricant was put in.

    As far as the adjustment, yes the shop manual does not give any hard numbers. Later manuals gave a 'pounds' of pull using a spring gauge (basically a fish weighing gauge). Like the manual says, it's more of a 'feel' thing - and it always takes me a couple of tries to get it just right.

    I have posted a picture of a page out of an old 'Motor' auto repair manual for the Ross TA type steering gears. The box you have is depticted as ROSS [3] Twin Lever Type. Maybe this description will help you. Be sure to make both adjustments, in the same order as the writeup. As mentioned, it took me several tries to get it just the way I liked it.

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    Winston-Salem, NC
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    • #3
      Paul, thank you for the response. So it is indeed a measure of how much pull is right to turn the steering wheel. Is that right? Also, it appears we are to clip out one shim at a time and reassemble the box cover until the steering wheel feel is right and there is not too much drag when turning the wheel. Would you agree.


      • #4
        OK, I read the attachment again and have the idea. I believe my questions are answered and will try removing one shim at a time with reassembly to get a smooth but not tight steering wheel turn. Thanks again!


        • #5
          Well, I messed that one up good! in removing one shim I mangled two others. I put the assembly back together and then noticed two ball bearings on the floor. That is not a good sign. The truck is VERY hard to steer and the steering catches. I'm going to pull the box out tomorrow and take it apart to see if I can find the problem. If not, I have a good steering box in my 59 Scotsman parts truck. I'm assuming for now that it will fit. Too bad this happened, after 3 1/2 years of work, the truck is now licensed and drives very well except for the steering.


          • #6
            yup, i'd pull the parts unit and put it in until I could get the old one done.
            BTW. '00' corn head grease from tractor supply works well for steering gearboxes.


            • #7
              I took the steering box out of the truck and laid it on the work bench. I carefully disassembled the unit by following the procedure in the service manual. When I pulled the steering shaft out of the jacket I saw the upper ball bearing retainer, bearings and lock ring but the lower bearing retainer and bearings were not there! The bearings were in the grease and the retainer was stuck to the bottom of the box. Apparently, when I tried to adjust the end play I disturbed the lower bearings. Anyway, I am now familiar with the unit and can see that to use it, I would need a lock ring and probably a couple shims. I will now put the steering box from the parts truck in my 55.
              Last edited by truckguy; 06-28-2016, 04:38 AM.