Classic Winnebagos & Vintage RVs!

Tech Talk => Info Articles => Tech Talk => Topic started by: Stripe on April 29, 2014, 09:28 PM

Title: Steering box adjustment Chevy P30 1980 - 1996 (Mine is an '84)
Post by: Stripe on April 29, 2014, 09:28 PM
Okay, so I had some travel in my steering that would need constant attention to make sure I wasn't all over the road. Not big adjustments, just that little bit to the left and to the right, you all know what I am talking about. Especially when you are about to pass or are being passed by a Semi truck pulling a trailer.

A day or two ago I decided to finally address it. Looking up how to do this was easy. So was the adjustment. Mind you I'm not talking about the bell crank, support assembly or idler arm assembly.

The tools I used were the leveling jacks to get it up, wheel chocks, three ton jack stands, a 5/32nds Hex Key/Wrench and a 5/8ths ratcheting box wrench. You might also want WD-40 or some other penetrant.

First you need to lift the front wheels from the ground making sure they are as straight as possible then locate the steering box. On most Chevy P30s it is located on the drivers side in front of the steering wheel mounted to the frame.  As you're looking towards the front of the RV on the P series the adjustment shaft and nut will be on the left side of the steering box (see photo).

The first thing I did was loosen the nut just a tiny bit.  Then I put the hex key into the shaft and while holding it, I backed the nut enough so the top of it was flush with the shaft.
After that I used the hex key to turn and tighten the shaft. When the hex key won't turn anymore (no need for excessive torque) then back off the shaft about 1/4 to 1/2 of a turn. 

I started the engine and put the steering wheel through its full range of motion being sure that it wasn't binding and would steer all the way left and right.
 Do this while at the same time watching your wheels. 
If you do that before the adjustments, then after adjustments you will notice that before the adjustments, when you turned the wheel it may take a second or so to see the wheel turn as I did.

After the Adjustments you will see the wheel turn immediately.

You may need to do a few more minor adjustments after driving a few miles and only takes about 30 sec and you don't need to jack it up.

I drove up and down the I5 a few miles each way and wow what a difference.


(http://i1282.photobucket.com/albums/a531/coachmanm500/Mobile%20Uploads/6bb9a774-b50c-43e0-90de-011a430a996a_zps8a2f11b7.jpg)
Title: Re: Steering box adjustment Chevy P30 1980 - 1996 (Mine is an '84)
Post by: TripleJ on April 30, 2014, 12:35 AM
Good info, it's now on my list of things to check.

I've heard you have to be careful adjusting steering boxes, that it is easy to over tighten?
Title: Re: Steering box adjustment Chevy P30 1980 - 1996 (Mine is an '84)
Post by: Stripe on April 30, 2014, 02:46 AM
Not really, just turn the center shaft until it stops without a lot of exertion then back it off between 1/4 - 1/2 turn. Then when done, while your wheels are still off the ground be sure you can turn your wheels through their full range of motion. If you find you have to fight it then back off the shaft about 1/8 to 1/4 turn.  Drive it a short distance on a straightaway then tweak it more if needs be..
Title: Re: Steering box adjustment Chevy P30 1980 - 1996 (Mine is an '84)
Post by: ClydesdaleKevin on April 30, 2014, 08:04 AM
Cool beans!  Thanks Frederic!  Gonna do this before we leave Oklahoma on the next leg of our journey...to upstate NY!  We pretty much decided to do Sterling renfaire instead of Tuxedo this year.

Kev
Title: Re: Steering box adjustment Chevy P30 1980 - 1996 (Mine is an '84)
Post by: Stripe on April 30, 2014, 10:59 AM
You're going to Sterling?! Cool!  But you don't know me if anyone asks, I hated the owner there. Dennis I think,  I worked there as security back in the early(ish) 90's. He ticked me off so I quit..  Lol, Not a lot of employees liked him though..  Although, I heard he got bought out in '08 by some guy named Doug?
Title: Re: Steering box adjustment Chevy P30 1980 - 1996 (Mine is an '84)
Post by: ClydesdaleKevin on April 30, 2014, 08:23 PM
Yep.  New owner now.

Kev
Title: Re: Steering box adjustment Chevy P30 1980 - 1996 (Mine is an '84)
Post by: Stripe on May 01, 2014, 02:51 AM
Groovy..
Title: Re: Steering box adjustment Chevy P30 1980 - 1996 (Mine is an '84)
Post by: ben2 on May 02, 2014, 12:40 AM
Great guide,I never knew you could adjust them. Mine being a dodge, but I have as older dodge 1973,with alot of free-play, I was just told I needed a new-one(steeringbox), on the 73..I am not sure where it is at. Thanks for the post..,another dollar saved and a major safety issue confronted..ben
Title: Re: Steering box adjustment Chevy P30 1980 - 1996 (Mine is an '84)
Post by: DaveVA78Chieftain on May 02, 2014, 12:31 PM
Ben,
You might want this thread for you Dodge based Winney: http://www.classicwinnebagos.com/forum/index.php/topic,2092.msg3088.html#msg3088 (http://www.classicwinnebagos.com/forum/index.php/topic,2092.msg3088.html#msg3088)

However, that is a Class A chassis, not a Class C van chassis.

Dave
Title: Steering box adjustment Chevy P30
Post by: engineer bill on June 21, 2014, 02:40 PM
Thanks for the great tutorial on steering box adjustment.

My Winne has been a bear to drive since I purchased it a few months back. To mention two specific problems: 1. When driving in windy conditions, and starting into a curve where the wind will come about and push the RV in a new direction, the change in steering input was extreme as our exposure to the wind changed. 2. When driving in construction zones where there are narrower than normal lane widths and concrete barrier set right at the right lane line, the unavoidable slight swerving of the RV threatened to crash us either into the barrior or the car next to us on the left.

Encouraged by your post, I did the steering box adjustment. At the same time I replaced the steering stabilizer with the Monroe unit: Monroe 555944 $47.79 at Rock Auto. The results were really encouraging: the amount of slop, as roughly measured at the steering wheel rim, was reduced from about 6" to about 3". (This probably due to the steering adjustment.) The "whippyness" (is that a word?) of the wheel back and forth, is pretty much eliminated. Huge results for very little time & $$$. 80/20 rule once again. Otherwise known as the Pareto Principal. I think I might go back and try to adjust a little itty bit more out of the steering box.

I am encouraged but still not entirely happy. I'm interested in seeing what else I could do to improve things.
Title: Re: Steering box adjustment Chevy P30 1980 - 1996 (Mine is an '84)
Post by: Rickf1985 on June 21, 2014, 03:32 PM
Have someone rock the steering wheel back and forth just enough to put pressure on it in each direction while you are underneath. Feel with your fingers right where the sector shaft comes out of the steering box and make sure it is not moving side to side while it is rotating. If it is then the adjustment will make no difference and you need a new steering box. Or you need to rebuild that one. Be very careful with trying to get to perfect on the adjustment because you could end up with a tight overcenter situation that could be very dangerous on the road. This may not show up while cold but after driving on the highway on a hot day it could catch you off guard.
Title: Re: Steering box adjustment Chevy P30 1980 - 1996 (Mine is an '84)
Post by: Stripe on June 23, 2014, 05:33 PM
You will also notice your arms not getting as tired while driving!