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1st Generation Specific (1979-1985) 1979-1985 Discussion including performance modifications and technical support sections

Steering Wheel Play

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Old 12-07-17, 06:20 PM
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Steering Wheel Play

I took delivery of my '85 GSL-SE today. I may well have stolen the car. All good!

From my test drive I was a bit worried about the amount of play in the steering wheel. While researching, I read where someone said tire pressures can have a big impact on the play. So I took my Longacre tire pressure gauge and all 4 were low. The rears were in the 15 lb range and the fronts were about 19 lb each. I brought them up to 28 lb. and headed home in the car. The amount of play was dramatically reduced.

Thus I have 2 questions. First, what is considered a normal or acceptable amount of play / movement in the steering wheel?

Second, let's say I was to replace pretty much everything in the steering eco system like DreamInRotary is doing here, post #16, would there be zero play, or is some movement just inherent with a rotating ball steering system?

THANKS!
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Old 12-07-17, 08:33 PM
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.2 to .8 inches measured at the wheel rim according to the FSM.
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Old 12-07-17, 08:33 PM
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My 85 has no play, but I have a manual box,
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Old 12-08-17, 08:34 AM
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Thanks, guys. I probably have a bit too much play and will move ahead with the suspension parts.
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Old 12-08-17, 11:32 AM
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Do all the suspension parts and then look at adjusting the box, do you have manual or power steering?
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Old 12-08-17, 11:49 AM
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Andrew, manual steering.
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Old 12-08-17, 01:57 PM
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You need to do the suspension. I went all Moog from RockAuto and it was a huge improvement.
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Old 12-08-17, 04:05 PM
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T_G, when you say "huge improvement" are you inside the spec's as described by RWatson? Just trying to understand the various actions / reactions with making changes.

Appreciate the help.
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Old 12-08-17, 08:26 PM
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84, GSL, manual steering.

I had between 1.5-1.75" of free play with nasty bump-steer.
Rehabed the front suspension/steering and some on the rear for a slight improvement and handling.
Looked into replacing the steering box, but just getting the box out w/air appeared to be a bit of a task.
I decided to try and adjust the box.
Found a procedure online which could be done with the box in the car.
Here is a link to how I did it successfully following the basic procedure.

https://www.rx7club.com/1st-generati...7-gsl-1114116/

I now have about .5" free play. I could have taken it lower but I have a tendency of over-tightening things, which is not always good.

And yes, don't adjust the box till all the other slop down stream has been corrected.
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Old 12-08-17, 10:53 PM
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And whatever you do don't overtighten the box,,,,,, big mistake.
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Old 12-08-17, 11:03 PM
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Don't throw your money away replacing the entire suspension, just figure out what's loose before you really have at it. You could change the entire thing and notice no difference because nothing was wrong with it.

Modern tires make a big difference.

Steering box will never feel like a modern rack, but you can definitely get it good.
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Old 12-10-17, 04:23 PM
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I have about 1/2" of play in mine, it'd be nice to get less than that but I'm afraid of messing up the steering box - so I leave it alone.
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Old 12-11-17, 03:33 PM
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I never measured the play that accurately. I will say I don't consider it an issue. Of course I grew up driving worm gear steering equiped cars and never even notice. If you have always had R&P and its the first time with steering like this I can imagine its a bit unnerving to some folks. It is what it is.

These cars are 30+ years old. Replacing all the wear items to get it back to new spec is a good base to start from. All the rubber, all the seals, springs, fluids are all at end of life by now, even if the car just sat in a garage for 30+ years.

Last edited by t_g_farrell; 12-11-17 at 03:35 PM.
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