Steering dead band

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Having just bought my first Vw bus of any kind , and loving it, there’s just only one issue that’s spoiling the way it drives. The heavy unpowered steering I totally expected and have no problem living with at all (and quite like in a sadistic way) BUT although it steers ok I can suddenly get a 5 inch dead band were the steering suddenly slips and becomes very light but with no input to which way the front wheels are pointing. Does this sound like something can be fixed with the steering box adjustment ? Or is a symptom of a failing steering box due to lack of oil or general wear and tear .I’m asking as a new owner to vw bus ownership.
Gary
 
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Hi, I’ve been working away for several months and have just got back to look at the steering problem. I’ve changed the drop link as both ball joints were absolutely shot to say the least the steering is so much better , still not perfect but I can live it . I checked the oil level and tried adjusting the box but if I go even slightly tighter on the peg adjuster the steering becomes notchy and stupidly hard to turn . like I say I can live with it for now but may invest in a recon steering box next year.
 

Earlybay1

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Being the devils advocate here but check the rubber coupling from the column to the steering box and also that the steering wheel is on tight. (you should know that if steering wheel loses its position!)
To adjust box get wheels off ground first and then with wheels straight adjust until you get min steering backlash . Then move steering wheel left and right and see if you have any tight spots. If so re adjust until tight spots are eliminated/minimised and strike a balance with best forward adjustment. Then go for a drive. The most important part is getting a reasonable steering response when driving with minimum backlash and no tight spots. You may have backlash at max turning angles but max left and right will always be at low speed. ie three point turning unless you aquaplane or hit ice on a bend!!
 
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Hi, Thanks for the reply I checked / adjusted the steering while on axle stands as you described and had the wife turning the wheel while I was underneath looking to see where the slop was coming from. Like I say both drop link ball joints had excessive play in all directions and changing that has obviously made a huge difference, but theres no play any any other steering components even with the vehicle back on its wheels. The backlash I have is in the initial turning of the wheel.
 
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Also check that with wheels dead ahead that the worm is contacting the “tight spot” in the middle of L-R travel. I did find on adjusting mine that someone had adjusted the tracking to the point that when driving straight I was on the slacker portion of the worm with masses of slop. Once centred and adjusted it was much better. I have got it a little tight though, so may still have to slacken it off a bit
 

Earlybay1

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Hi, Thanks for the reply I checked / adjusted the steering while on axle stands as you described and had the wife turning the wheel while I was underneath looking to see where the slop was coming from. Like I say both drop link ball joints had excessive play in all directions and changing that has obviously made a huge difference, but theres no play any any other steering components even with the vehicle back on its wheels. The backlash I have is in the initial turning of the wheel.
And also try a hi viscosity oil like the syrupy additive from STP? I asked a VW expert and he uses grease. It is all slow speed rotation in box so no problem if it improves your steering and saves you money1
 

garytype2

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I have LHD boxes that were taken from vans that have been sitting for years decommissioned in California
Any I have fitted have worked out good
£150 each
 

ozziedog

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There is a liquid grease specifically for old rattlers like ours. I’m gonna try this at some point as I’m not a hundred percent sure about us grease as it may keep any worn metal in suspension hence adding to the grinding paste conundrum especially as it’s not moving much.:)

Ozziedog,,,,,,m even though it don’t feel like that at the wheel :eek:
 

Eddie531

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There is a liquid grease specifically for old rattlers like ours. I’m gonna try this at some point as I’m not a hundred percent sure about us grease as it may keep any worn metal in suspension hence adding to the grinding paste conundrum especially as it’s not moving much.:)

Ozziedog,,,,,,m even though it don’t feel like that at the wheel :eek:
Hi Ozziedog. Yes. Agree with your concerns about grease tuning to grinding paste but by the time it gets that bad after installing new grease most of us will be past caring. The grease / semi-grease recommended by most is Penrite Steering Box Lube but Im a fan of oil rather than semi-grease in a steering box for the reasons you say. Oil can be drained and changed easily and as often as you like but the oil has to be thick. Thicker than standard GB oil at SAE 75/90. I am a fan of Penrite oils so use Penrite SAE 140 in my steering box. No probs with worn pegs/worms in +20 years. Hope this helps someone.
 
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