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Thread: Setting Alignment

  1. #1

    Default Setting Alignment

    Last week I replaced my steering box with a Cardone 276555, I also replaced the pitman arm, both inner tie rods, outers and sleeves, I then set the alignment using the string method, once completed I had the steering wheel slightly to the right (barely noticeable) The next day I set the alignment at work using our John Bean alignment machine, I set the steering wheel straight and adjusted as necessary, once I completed this my steering wheel was significantly to the left, (while test driving) I tried a few more times, but I just couldn't get it centred. I've also replaced the rag joint and idler arm last year and I know the front end of the car is tight, and all the hardware for the items replaced are properly tightened. Any advice on what to do next would be appreciated, thanks
    Last edited by 1985crownvicltd85; 06-22-2020 at 07:50 PM.

  2. #2
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    sounds like maybe your alignment machine is full of beans. If this is one of those deals that tells you when the wheel is straight based on the toe sweep, maybe ignore that each time you do it and set the wheel where it goes. Fix the toe as needed to make the car go down the road correctly.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  3. #3
    fomoco panthers !
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    Did you use the tool to "lock" the steering wheel straight when putting it on the alignment machine ?
    Another possibility in the the steering box. With my 96 CV. even after alignment and it being straight coming off the rack, the wheel would not be straight very soon afterward. Replacing the steering box with a Red Head box fixed that plus other problems. Cardone boxes have not proven to be great quality. My mechanic is on box #4 on his Surburban. Only reason he keeps using Cardone is it is under warranty.

  4. #4

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    I tried with the steering wheel lock tool and with my coworker sitting in my car holding the steering wheel, im sure if I try it again I can get it better, but I dont see it being perfect. Also do they make better Steering boxes for these vehicles, like the red head steering boxes? If so send me a link.

  5. #5
    fomoco panthers !
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    Just go to Redhead steering gears.com Go to the rebuilding tab on the top of the page. Send them a request for a quote. They may have one in stock. They did not show your application on the site. Same with when I needed mine. When I sent a request they had one in stock. If they do not, they take your box and rebuild it.
    I am very pleased. Fast turn around prompt refund of the core charge. Return shipping label enclosed. Just follow all instructions that are included. Smooth transaction. Steering box works very well. 1 year warranty.

  6. #6
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    How sloppy is the steering box on it? if there is a lot of of dead steering wheel action and its not a problem in the linkages, that could explain it.

    Tom, can they do custom rebuilds? I don't need one, but just thinking if they could use the stiffer torsion bar from a later one in a stock 80s gear that would be great. I'm not a big fan of the over-boosted feel that 80s models had. Mine has a really nice 01 CVPI box but most of those are slapped out by now and it requires steering shaft and line mods to make it fit. If a stock box could be made to have better wheel feel and require zero modifications I'd call that a big win.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  7. #7
    fomoco panthers !
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    Gadget, You might email or call them. They seem pretty decent people to deal with. I think they just rebuild however they might do a custom job. I know when I emailed them I got a call the next day by not a office clerk but someone who knows how the job is done. We did the deal right over the phone.

  8. #8
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    fair 'nuff. Possible they could build two out of one, use the old case and input shaft but the later torsion bar. I've never opened the boxes up to actually see what changed inside.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  9. #9
    Fastest Box In South Jersey 86VickyLX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1985crownvicltd85 View Post
    I tried with the steering wheel lock tool and with my coworker sitting in my car holding the steering wheel, im sure if I try it again I can get it better, but I dont see it being perfect. Also do they make better Steering boxes for these vehicles, like the red head steering boxes? If so send me a link.
    My suggestion for one with a tired steering box would be to do the alignment with the vehicle running. It may help with centering. You're gonna be slightly adjusting to center the play.

  10. #10

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    I did try that too, but it didn't make much of a difference, It was closer but I couldn't get it where I wanted to. I ended up removing the cardone box, and am currently looking to buy a 98-02 steering box.

  11. #11
    P31 Pursuit Car Brown_Muscle's Avatar
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    Gadget- if you find anything out from Redhead let me know, I may be interested in a similar rebuild/mod. maybe with more interested parties it would make them take interest. my box leaks, but still works...for now
    -Phil



    +1982 Ford LTD-S Police Car. 351w, GT40 Heads, Edelbrock 1906 Carb, Full exhaust headers to tails. 3.27 Trac-Lok Rear. Aluminum Police Driveshaft. Speedway Springs+Bilstein Shocks, Intermediate Brakes, Baumann Shift kit.

    +1975 Maverick- Fuel injected 302, Trickflow 170 heads, XE270 cam, explorer intakes, 24# injectors, custom tune. T5 transmission, 3.55 Yukon Trac-Lok rear.

  12. #12
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    I'm not really looking to change whats on my car, mostly was just curious for future reference. You'd have better luck asking them since I don't actually need a steering box.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  13. #13
    Stow It! GM_Guy's Avatar
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    I battled this on one car. Until one day the alignment was so bad vs the steering wheel/straight ahead you couldn't help but notice that the steering just did not feel right--especially in a manual steering box. Whenever it went in for an alignment, nobody ever checks that the steering box is centered, they only worry about the steering wheel--summation of tolerance errors over the years.

    Quick check, how many turns lock to lock? Center the steering wheel by driving the car into your garage in a straight line (ignore where the steering wheel is pointing for now). Use pieice of tape to mark 12oclock. Jack up front of car to take pressure off wheels. Count turns in each direction to lock, down to the EXACT fraction. If these are not equal your steering box is not centered. Time to take shit apart.

    Did you center your steering box before installing it? And hopefully paint a white/visible line at the top of the input shaft? If you did, excellent, most of the battle is done. If you did not do so, disconnect your center link from the pitman arm (non-optional, the steering stops on the control arms are going to fuck this up). Turn the steering box lock to lock (don't slam them, your finding the internal steering stops now) count the turns. Divide by two. Go to a lock and turn back by that number. Mark the 12 oclock point. Turn from that theroritical straight ahead point Left and Right. Make sure turns in each direction are IDENTICAL. Down to the degree. Mark 12oclock as necessary to split the difference until you find actual 12oclock. Bungee steering wheel so that 12'oclock is dead nuts 12ocklock. Go make a visible line at the top of the steering box input shaft. If your steering wheel happens to be at 12oclock, excellent. If not, pull the horn cover, is the witness mark at 12ocklock, yes, pull steering wheel and put it on correct. If not, rekey the rag joint on the steering box input shaft (the splined side) its probably out by a spline or two. (assuming this isn't keyed on a ford that it only fits one way). Now reconnect the center link. Where are the wheels pointing? Probably not straight ahead is my guess, probably visibly turned elsewhere. Adjust toe on one side to bring the wheel straight. COUNT THE TURNS, adjust the other side toe an equal amount in the opposite direction. You'll preserve your alignment, and you'll have all the steering bits pointing straight & centered.

    Steering box being dead center is the most important part of this to getting a good alignment. If you can't get your steering wheel exactly straight, make sure you make a mark on the steering wheel at 12 oclock and make sure the alignment guy uses that as the straight ahead reference; NOT THE STEERING WHEEL, otherwise you are going to have lop sided steering. Dead straight in the steering box is a bit of a dead zone (which is why you need to be exact to the degree when finding center on the turn to lock). A variable ratio steering box also depends on being actually straight, if not, one direction you will steer to immediately, and the other direction will feel a bit dead as your turn through the actual straight ahead area, and then engage the ever increasing ratio built into the worm gear.

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