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Old 04-12-12, 10:56 AM
JJE JJE is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Pretoria
Age: 47
Posts: 549
Default How to fix vague steering on a Ranger / Drifter with steering box

Just thought I'd write this to help you guys who want to improve steering on these. They were never that great for steering when compared to the new Ranger, but it can be improved lots if just done correctly.

1) Tighten bolts of steering box to chassis and idler arm to chassis. These frequently work loose over time and will make the car too sensitive to road camber.

2) Centre steering box: Steering boxes have little play in the centre and lots on the sides. This is so it can be adjusted up as wear occur in the centre, without binding up while turning.
How to?:
a) remove stoppers on the knuckles so steering box can turn lock to lock.
b) loosen steering wheel. TAKE CARE NOT TO BREAK CLOCKSPRING! (wound contact for horn)
c) steering wheel should turn 2 turns to either side, then box is centred. If out a lot, the wheel will stop against knuclke before steering box bottoms out. If exposed thread on tie rod ends are a lot different, you might have this problem. Remove and replace steering wheel until it turns 2 turns to either side. Move clockspring with steering wheel!!
d) Replace stoppers on knuckles. Steering wheel will now be skew when driving straight. Go to a wheel alignment place and adjust toe WITHOUT REMOVING STEERING WHEEL.

3) Tighten steering box only if required. Never adjust steering box if not properly centred. Never overadjust steering box. Most I ever needed to adjust a steering box is about 1/8th of a turn.

If above is right, the difference in steering is huge and it steers quite pleasant.

Hope this helps some people.
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Old 04-12-12, 11:00 AM
JJE JJE is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Pretoria
Age: 47
Posts: 549

O, obviously the ball joints and tie rod ends need to be in good condition.

Some tyres are more vague than others.

My wheel alignment preference for these cars are:
Camber: In spec, but as upright as possible (small positive caster value)
Caster: In spec, but as low as possible. High caster give nice straight line stability, but makes this car too sensitive to road camber. Not nice on poor secondary roads.
Toe: In spec, but as much toe out as possible.

Obviously one needs to set the ride height correct before fiddling with the wheel alignment as wheel alignment completely changes with ride height.
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Old 06-12-12, 01:54 PM
ozosborne's Avatar
ozosborne ozosborne is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Alberton
Age: 37
Posts: 723

Thanks for this, gonna have a look at it when my bakkie goes back to DVR next year.
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