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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
So I took advantage of quarantine and slowly rebuilt the front end of my 1998 Chevy S10 (2wd). It started with just changing ball joints, but soon realized **** near everything needed fixing.
So here is what I changed:
  • all ball joints
  • upper and lower control arm bushings
  • shocks
  • stock springs
  • replaced spindles with 2" drop spindles (originally had 2" drop springs)
  • abs sensor and shield
  • rotors and pads
  • idler arm
  • steering box
  • steering lines
  • upper steering shaft
  • chopped off lower rag joint and replaced with flaming river U joint.
  • sway bar bushings and end links.
My problem is with the steering. I replaced my stock box with a ZQ8 S10 rebuilt box from Rock auto (company was BBB). The ZQ8 has a tighter ratio which is what I wanted. My goal was to reduce all slack and free play from the steering.
Once the box was in and bled, I had a **** ton of free play. I was able to wiggle the steering shaft going into the box about 20 degrees side to side (rotationally).
It was really bad.
I looked up videos and saw there was an adjustment screw, I righted 1/8-1/4 turn then rechecked... the play didnt go away.
I ended up maybe turning a fill 2 turns and still had play, so much that I thought I had a bad box.
I went to Napa, bought another rebuild, another ZQ8.
Same issue. Right put of the box I have 20 degrees of free play at the steering wheel and I dont know why.
This time I backed the adjustment screw all the way out, recorded every 1/2 turn what the steering was doing. As I adjusted down the free play definitely was less, and the steering was much firmer to turn (wheels off the ground) but there is still ~15 degrees of play before the pitman arm moves.
I have a video here of the play
I literally have no idea what to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Have you actually driven the truck since replacing everything?
Yes i drove it to the shop to get aligned after the first rebuilt box was put in. The shop told me they had a hard time trying to keep the wheel straight after each alignment attempt, but chocked it up to new everything. They told me to break all the components in, then bring it back to check the values.

Driving there and back I noticed the play. And it is much different than the old gearbox, the old one had play for sure, but it still felt "connected." This one feels like an on/off switch. it either has 0 steering, or i am over correcting into the next lane. I drove it down to Napa and almost got carsick at the amount I had to pay attention.

I have not driven on the new Napa box, but the play is still the same at the input shaft.
 

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I've run into this before, sadly.

Sounds like you're confirming it is the box fairly certainly.

Problem is the rebuilt box was originally a really worm out box and the average rebuild company is only replacing seals and similar, but not checking for or replacing any worn hard parts. I went through a couple myself too - local rebuilder who assured me there would be "no slop" as well as the local parts store rebuild. I'd toss the box in, it felt decent, but within 1000 miles of street driving it would be sloppy again.

I ended up spending a bit more for a blueprinted box from Red Headed Steering Gear. They're around $400 for a rebuild/exchange + shipping costs, but the only true solution I've found with how old most of these steering boxes are. Lucky for me they're somewhat local and I dropped off and picked up the boxes when I was making a road trip up to Seattle.

Lee power steering is another company with the same service and reputation in the Southern California area. There's also Turn One in Michigan if you're more on the East Coast.

The red head box I have fixed the slop immediately and has lasted well so far including about 3 or 4 hours all out on a road course. It felt like a big jump in cost, but was definitely worth not blowing more and more money and time on crappy rebuilds.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I've run into this before, sadly.

Sounds like you're confirming it is the box fairly certainly.

Problem is the rebuilt box was originally a really worm out box and the average rebuild company is only replacing seals and similar, but not checking for or replacing any worn hard parts. I went through a couple myself too - local rebuilder who assured me there would be "no slop" as well as the local parts store rebuild. I'd toss the box in, it felt decent, but within 1000 miles of street driving it would be sloppy again.

I ended up spending a bit more for a blueprinted box from Red Headed Steering Gear. They're around $400 for a rebuild/exchange + shipping costs, but the only true solution I've found with how old most of these steering boxes are. Lucky for me they're somewhat local and I dropped off and picked up the boxes when I was making a road trip up to Seattle.

Lee power steering is another company with the same service and reputation in the Southern California area. There's also Turn One in Michigan if you're more on the East Coast.

The red head box I have fixed the slop immediately and has lasted well so far including about 3 or 4 hours all out on a road course. It felt like a big jump in cost, but was definitely worth not blowing more and more money and time on crappy rebuilds.
Yea I had a buddy come over and look at it. Fortunately I still have both boxes and he confirmed both still had slop. He mentioned Red Head as well So I might look them up.

Thanks for the advice
 
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