CORVETTE RESTORATION UPDATES

JANUARY 2, 2006 - STEERING BOX REBUILD (CONT'D.) AND TRAILING ARM REBUILD

 

 

 

 

   

As of the last update I had determined that, for the most part, things inside the steering box were in decent shape. Since that time I was able to track down some new seals and complete the "rebuild" of my steering box. First on my list was to check the lash adjuster screw end clearance. According to specifications the end clearance should be 0.002" or less. I measured mine at about 0.005" so a shim needs to be added to remove the excess play.

Copyright - Tim Cote 2007

Here a shim has been added between the head of the bolt and the existing washer. After adding the shim the end play was between 0.001" and 0.002", well within spec.

Copyright - Tim Cote 2007

Removal of the existing seals was easy, I just pried them out with a screwdriver.

Copyright - Tim Cote 2007

Installation of the new seals was pretty simple too, but required a gentle touch. I used a socket to make sure I didn't accidentally dent or damage the new seal while making sure the seal seated evenly. Here the new wormshaft seal is being installed in the adjuster plug.

Copyright - Tim Cote 2007

The new pitman shaft seal was installed the same way.

Copyright - Tim Cote 2007

Prior to reassembly I coated the worm shaft assembly and pitman shaft with grease to be sure everything was thoroughly coated, plus the grease helped to hold the wormshaft bearings in place during reassembly (shown at each end of the wormshaft). I decided to go with Mobil-1 synthetic grease for the steering box. Although its a bit more expensive than the traditional stuff, the synthetic grease should hold up better, especially when considering that I'll be putting headers on the engine and they'll throw quite a bit of heat on the steering box.

Copyright - Tim Cote 2007

Pre-greasing the pitman shaft also insured that some grease made it between the pitman shaft and the shaft bushings in the steering box. The pitman shaft fits fairly snugly inside the bushings so I wanted to be sure some grease made it into this area. After putting the pitman shaft and wormshaft in the steering box I packed the steering box with about eleven ounces of grease, installed the adjuster plug, side cover gasket and side cover.

Copyright - Tim Cote 2007

Here's the completed and fully adjusted steering box ready for reinstallation on the car. It sure looks better then when I started!

Copyright - Tim Cote 2007

Before installing the steering box I decided to rebuild the steering coupler joint (rag joint) with the kit I bought. Long story short this kit was a total piece of junk. Not only did the kit come without directions, the new pieces didn't even come close to matching the original pieces so I never did figure out how to put it together (and I have a degree in engineering!). At this point I've decided to just order a complete new joint. Since the failure of this joint would result in the complete loss of any steering ability I figure its the safe way to go.

Copyright - Tim Cote 2007

Here I've installed the steering box on the car and bolted the pitman arm to the power steering control valve.

Copyright - Tim Cote 2007

Copyright - Tim Cote 2007

While in the process of rebuilding the steering box my trailing arms arrived back from the shop. If you recall I sent them out to be reassembled. I wanted to be sure the job was done right, especially considering the tight tolerances for the rear wheel bearings. Since I was unsure that local shops would take the time to do the work the way I wanted it I shipped the down to Gary, a.k.a. "gtr1999" on The Corvette Forum. He has a reputation for doing very nice work and it was no surprise when the trailing arms came back looking great. I definitely recommend him to anyone looking to have similar work done (he also does a bunch of other Corvette specialty stuff like differential and steering box rebuilds). Below are a few photos of the rebuilt trailing arm assemblies. The parking brake shoes and hardware are all stainless steel to prevent corrosion.

Left arm...

Copyright - Tim Cote 2007

Right arm...

Copyright - Tim Cote 2007

Gary was even nice enough to send along some photos of the rebuild process. Here's the new spindle I needed to buy. If you recall the old one had been damaged by the previous owner using a torch to remove the rear wheel bearings. We were unsure how this affected the strength of the steel so we choose to be safe and replace the spindle.

Copyright - Tim Cote 2007

Here the splash shield, bearing races, and parking brake hardware have been installed.

Copyright - Tim Cote 2007

New outer bearings installed and packed with Mobil1 synthetic grease.

Copyright - Tim Cote 2007

Outer bearing seal installed.

Copyright - Tim Cote 2007

Here we're looking at the back side of the trailing arm. You can see the inner wheel bearings, spindle, and spindle retainer nut have also been installed.

Copyright - Tim Cote 2007

Almost ready for installation on the car. First though I need to install the rotors, check their run-out and shim them as necessary to ensure the rotor run-out is within spec. More on that in a future update though, I had to order a dial gauge in order to do this and am still waiting for it to arrive...

Copyright - Tim Cote 2007

In the meantime I decided to install the gas tank. Here I've placed some roofing felt over the frame where the gas tank will rest to prevent squeaking.

Copyright - Tim Cote 2007

Tank, straps, and tank shield installed. Yeah, the trailing arms are on the car here, this was just a dry run to be sure everything fit up properly while waiting for that dial indicator to arrive... (any day now...)

Copyright - Tim Cote 2007

More of those little pieces. Below are the tranny mount and shifter bracket installed on the frame.

Copyright - Tim Cote 2007

More to come soon!

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Total time spent on restoration to date:

209 HOURS

JUMP TO THE NEXT UPDATE -  BRAKE AND FUEL LINE INSTALLATION

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