Manual Steering Box still has too much freeplay

The saga continues…
After putting my used steering box back together and on the car, with proper bearing preload and with the top adjustment bolt set correctly, I get about 3" of freeplay on the steering wheel perimeter. Very annoying to always be correcting as I drive the car.
That tells me the worm gear and nut are worn, right?
Good MK2 used steering boxes are impossible to find so my only option seems to be to get a full internal replacement kit from ICS or D&A Classic Steering in the UK.
Anyone here have any experience dealing with these 2 companies?
If negative feedback, please PM me.
John G.

Wouldn’t bigger balls be a remedy ?

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You need to helper to turn the wheel back and forth through the dead zone.

Then you take your fingers and go through the whole system, touching each connection and joint.

Just to make sure there’s no slop anywhere else.

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Hi John,
Not doubting your observation, but just to ensure that the play is actually in the steering box itself…

Did you bench-test the box to see if movement at the input shaft was immediately resulting in movement at the output?

Even on the car, you might have someone work the steering wheel while you observe the relation between motion at the box’s input shaft vs. the output. It would be a shame to get into that box again just to discover that there was free play somewhere else in your steering system. :frowning_face:

Best of luck,

I thought about that, but the bearings would have to be minimally larger (hard to find) and would probably bind as soon as the nut would travel away from center, where most of the wear must be.

When I had that symptom the problem was the rubber in the pin-and-bushing was deteriorated and the pin would move back and forth within the bushing before actually moving the wheels. Take everyone’s advice and determine exactly where the problem is before trying to solve it.


Tom and Jay,
With the wheels on the gound, I grab the lower u-joint by the steering box and can turn it 10 degrees in each direction without movement of the pitman arm.
I also observed the worm-gear (input shaft) for any in-out motion while turning, which would indicate a lack of preload on the outer bearings. None found.
So I conclude that there is wear on the worm, the nut and the spindle.

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Pins and bushings are new and tight, tie-rods have no freeplay either.
The problem is definitely at the steering box.

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Oh well, one could hope for an easy solution.

If you do go down this route please post your experience here.

This is a common problem with the saloon steering boxes.

I couldn’t get a kit for LHD when I reached out to both places. I needed the preload spring and it would have cost me $250.00. I sourced some for $30 total and have several spares.

Will do!

Jean Gadbois