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Old 08-01-2017, 09:46 PM   #1
lsejlowe
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steering wheel centering

I rebuilt my steering column last winter. When I got the horn button off I discovered that the mark on the steering wheel did not align with the mark on the end of the steering column shaft:


At re-assembly I corrected this and lined them up. Now my steering wheel is not centered when the wheels are pointed straight ahead. Should have seen that one coming


The flat on the steering box input shaft is also not pointing straight up:


So what's my best option for getting the steering wheel centered? Do I adjust the toe rods to make them unequal length? (currently they are within a 1/16" of being the same length) Seems like that would be the "right" thing to do so the steering box input shaft is back on the high point. Per the service manual:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steering Wheel Alignment and High Point Centering
3. If gear has been moved off high point when setting wheels in straight ahead position, loosen adjusting sleeve clamps on both left and right hand tie rods, then turn both sleeves an equal number of turns in the same direction to bring gear back on high point.
Or should I leave the tie rods and rotate the steering wheel on the column shaft like it was before?

Do I recall correctly that the pitman arm can only go on the steering box output every 90 degrees?
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Old 08-02-2017, 12:09 PM   #2
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Hi Jason
This my be redundant for you since we emailed earlier but it may help others when it comes to steering boxes and wheel alignment.

When new the boxes were marked with a chisel mark or D-Flat at 12 o'clock, same for the column and steering wheel.
The world was good.

However, these cars have been around over 50 years now, probably fair to say they have been abused, smashed, rebuilt and who knows what else in that time. So finding yours out isn't a big surprise.

I am going to guess the steering wheel was indexed on the column at some point before you owned the car. The most likely reason for this is the steering box was either rebuilt or swapped out for another used one or vendor rebuild at some point. The replacement box was installed and the steering wheel off center. Possibly toe adjustment was made but many times the owner will just pull the wheel and index it to center it. Sometime it works without issue other times it doesn't.

So why would taking one vette box and swapping it into another vette cause this issue? Well in theory there are 2 centers, the true center of the box- the point 1/2 way in between lock to lock AND the high center or Lash- where the gear mesh is at the tightest point. Also in theory the two centers should be on and the same- so there is only one center. In reality, since 1963 into 1982 and with aftermarket boxes, the two vary a lot. One of the first things I do when I blueprint a box is to check both centers, most of the time they are not the same. Sometimes they are dead on. When I build a box and can reuse the gears I know it will be where it was when I got it in, regardless of 1 or 2 centers, that box was setup for that car and it's alignment. I still mark the position so I know where the new gears need to be and even then the car should be aligned correctly on a machine or string method.

So I suspect your case is a bit of all the above.
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Old 08-02-2017, 05:49 PM   #3
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One of the main things to consider is turn signal cancellation. Does reindexing the wheel make one signal require an additional 20 degrees of wheel rotation before the signal cancels? If so that may rule out one of the fix options. Good luck!
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Old 08-14-2017, 06:49 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsejlowe View Post
I rebuilt my steering column last winter. When I got the horn button off I discovered that the mark on the steering wheel did not align with the mark on the end of the steering column shaft:


At re-assembly I corrected this and lined them up. Now my steering wheel is not centered when the wheels are pointed straight ahead. Should have seen that one coming


The flat on the steering box input shaft is also not pointing straight up:


So what's my best option for getting the steering wheel centered? Do I adjust the toe rods to make them unequal length? (currently they are within a 1/16" of being the same length) Seems like that would be the "right" thing to do so the steering box input shaft is back on the high point. Per the service manual:


Or should I leave the tie rods and rotate the steering wheel on the column shaft like it was before?

Do I recall correctly that the pitman arm can only go on the steering box output every 90 degrees?
I just did this. Jim Shea has a paper on this very thing.
http://jimshea.corvettefaq.com/wp-co...v28jl20091.pdf

See you soon. Bird
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Old 08-14-2017, 07:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtr1999 View Post
hi jason
this my be redundant for you since we emailed earlier but it may help others when it comes to steering boxes and wheel alignment.

When new the boxes were marked with a chisel mark or d-flat at 12 o'clock, same for the column and steering wheel.
The world was good.

However, these cars have been around over 50 years now, probably fair to say they have been abused, smashed, rebuilt and who knows what else in that time. So finding yours out isn't a big surprise.

I am going to guess the steering wheel was indexed on the column at some point before you owned the car. The most likely reason for this is the steering box was either rebuilt or swapped out for another used one or vendor rebuild at some point. The replacement box was installed and the steering wheel off center. Possibly toe adjustment was made but many times the owner will just pull the wheel and index it to center it. Sometime it works without issue other times it doesn't.

So why would taking one vette box and swapping it into another vette cause this issue? Well in theory there are 2 centers, the true center of the box- the point 1/2 way in between lock to lock and the high center or lash- where the gear mesh is at the tightest point. Also in theory the two centers should be on and the same- so there is only one center. In reality, since 1963 into 1982 and with aftermarket boxes, the two vary a lot. One of the first things i do when i blueprint a box is to check both centers, most of the time they are not the same. Sometimes they are dead on. When i build a box and can reuse the gears i know it will be where it was when i got it in, regardless of 1 or 2 centers, that box was setup for that car and it's alignment. I still mark the position so i know where the new gears need to be and even then the car should be aligned correctly on a machine or string method.

So i suspect your case is a bit of all the above.
Hello old friend.
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Old 08-14-2017, 08:44 AM   #6
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Hi Jeff,
Are you enjoying retired life these days?
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Old 08-14-2017, 09:33 AM   #7
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Hi Jeff,
Are you enjoying retired life these days?
Absolutely. I highly recommend it.
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Old 08-14-2017, 09:36 AM   #8
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I can only wish at this point, enjoy my friend.
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Old 01-08-2020, 04:31 AM   #9
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you can find some useful information on steering wheels here woodensteeringwheel They also restore wooden, leather steering wheels and dashboards (if that's relevant) for cars, boats, etc.

Last edited by The Torch; 01-09-2020 at 03:57 AM. Reason: dropped link on two year old thread
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Old 01-08-2020, 09:46 AM   #10
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Get the steering wheel as close as you can by aligning the wheels to straight and as previously mentioned the blinker cam centered. Final adjustments of the wheel can be done by the alignment shop by moving the center bar a little left or right using the tie rod links. There isn't allot of adjustment here but they can center the wheel exactly if the assembly is close enough.
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Old 01-09-2020, 03:55 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hayden011 View Post
you can find some useful information on steering wheels here: woodensteeringwheels
They also restore wooden, leather steering wheels and dashboards (if that's relevant) for cars, boats, etc.
That would be all well and good if you lived in or near Lithuania. Most of us don't
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