Lesson 1/Learning Event 3
Examine the steering column and steering wheel to see if they are bent,
cracked, or damaged in any way.
Look for leaking seals and gaskets. There are three oil seals in this
steering gear. There are also two gaskets that can leak. Even if the seals
and gaskets are not leaking, check the lube level in the steering gear
Check the mounting brackets and bolts for secure mounting. To do this, you
have to do more than look; use a wrench to see if the bolts are tight.
Check for too much free play (slack) in the steering system. Remember that
steering gears are designed to have very little free play when the wheels
are straight ahead. This means that, when the steering wheel is in the
center of its travel, there should be no noticeable free play. This center
point is called the high point or midposition. When the steering gear is
not on the high point, some free play is normal.
Next, roadtest the vehicle and check for binding, wander, or shimmy while
the vehicle is moving forward.
If any of these malfunctions show up, they may be caused by the steering
gear or by some of the linkage.
Let's suppose that you notice binding. It will now be necessary to take the
load off the steering gear by disconnecting the steering linkage from the
steering. If the binding is still present when the steering wheel is turned
after the linkage is disconnected, the trouble is in the steering gear.
That is as far as a unit mechanic can go, because adjusting or replacing the
steering gear on this vehicle is a job for the next level of maintenance.