[PARTS] [Lower Steering Shaft] [ASSEMBLY REBUILD] [Tilt Column] [other columns]

PS. Later that day I removed the wire screen filter at the brass feed line of the Wiper Motor and added a small, external HD magnetic transmission filter to the other line
 (WIX P/N 58964).
It's a round black aluminum cylinder, ribbed, about 2" dia. about 3" long w/a 3/8" barb hose fitting on each end. Added it to the line out. Thats the same return line from the wiper motor to PS pump where you flushed before. Just added it for safety and peace of mind. It was $15 and came with everything needed (lines, clamps and filter). Most any auto store should have something like it. Also this helped my wipers work better!
Best of luck on this (hopefully now, not quite so hard) weekend project. Nate '75GB Omaha

Adding a Delco PF 883 power steering fluid filter at this time is easy. Cut the lower low pressure return line [between the PS pump inlet and the tube running up the radiator shroud] and install the filter with clamps. Pay attention to the direction of oil flow marked on the filter. Pump to PS pump and Gear toward the steering gear box. EGON

Power Steering Filter
AutoZone# 2210

you can get steering damper Moog# SSD55 for $35.95 from RockAuto on the net, ball joints
are best price I could find from them too,  for what it is worth... Guy Peeters

Other Steering  Columns

This will tell you which columns fit:
This will tell you what to do with it when you get it:
Be sure to preserve the wiring so you can also control your electric wipers
when you install them. :-)Ken Henderson

Tilt Steering Columns from  the Eldorado
We have two coaches that I converted to T&T columns, using the 79 and up Eldo columns.  You must split the columns at the middle of the tilt-joint.  Use the top of the Caddy and boyyom of the GMC.
You have to extend the rod that operates the turn switch.  When you  get the column, get the wiring plug for the turn-signals and transfer the terminals from your existing plug. You must also change the turn signal lever.  I like to use a Chevy turn signal lever and rewire the coach to use the resume cruise. Gary Kosier

This is a place that most of us don't look at, I know i never did, I would change just about everything under the hood so to speak, but still have steering wheel play, I called the guy that re mans my steering box and I told him that his box still has too much play, he asked me to bring over the motor home so he can see, Thats where it got interesting, he put a vise grip on the lower part of the steering column an told me to move the wheel through the drivers window and guess what, my play was in the column, so out comes the column right there and he took it apart and showed me just where the play was and he was right, now someone posted that there is a plastic ball in the joint, i haven't seen that ball  (it might be that later in the years GM did use a ball in the lighter duty steering columns) but there is a plastic coupling that acts as a u joint for the tilt.

I ask him how to prevent this from happening and with a funny look he told me, " It's lasted 30 years, in those 30 years how many times have you turned the wheel for whatever reason with the motor off!!!," guess he's right. Miguel

If you want to check the play in the column to see if the ball is causing a problem, you need to lock the bottom steering shaft so that it will not turn. I am not sure the best way to do that on the GMC, I need to go look at it. Then go inside and lightly turn the wheel side to side, I think you will find that is probably not your problem. There is a small spring clip in the ball to maintain tension in the joint. The ball could wear enough to cause some slop in the steering, but I do not believe it is very common. If the ball should brake or crack it would cause a lot of slop when you turn the wheel. A crack will sometimes show as a springing feeling in the turning the wheel in one  direction but not the other. If the ball brakes it can cause a free turning wheel for almost 180 degrees. I am not saying this does not happen, but the only time I have seen it, was in a extreme rock crawling jeep. I cracked one once when I pulled myself up into my Jeep with the steering unlocked and the tire was wedged in a rain rut while out four wheeling (if you have not meet me, I am a big boy and I don't mean tall). Miguel mentions in his reply that the half ring opens up, although he has a lot more experience than I with the GMC, and I am not disputing what he is saying, I have never seen a a steering shaft that the ball fork had opened up. I have seen some where the spring clip in the ball has worn the shaft and will no longer provide tension to the joint, but then most of experience with GM columns in on Jeeps, where big rocks, big tires, and big horse power, will brake things that you would think could not brake.

I have photos of a tear town of the ball that shows the spring clip and how to but it back together. I will post on the photo site.

 It is also part of the GMCES seminar information that Ken and that team are working to get up on the web site. JWITIK Richard Sowers


Here is a great picture and description by Kelvin on how to get this assembly apart(4/4/5)


Pat -- Bert and Fay Curtis sell a relatively inexpensive two boot set that cover not only the universal but also the splined shaft above it.  I had already bought a NAPA boot to fit the universal but saw the Curtis boot set at the Prescott rally and bought the top boot from them for $7.00.  Their complete set of two boots was less that what I paid MAPA for the U joint boot and it fits better.  They can be reached at their email address Here is a list of their products Emery

Lower Steering Shaft Reconditioning (Frank Condos)

I finished rebuilding the lower steering shaft on my 78 Royale.  Following is the parts that a I used to rebuild it. 
Took the lower steering shaft off and went to: and read Ted Smith’s article about “Lower Steering Shaft Reconditioning”.

I can confirm that Precision Universal Kit #338 for the lower universal joint is available from NAPA for $7.99.

For the CV joint, as Ted suggested, I went to a ball bearing house....only on the internet. I found a company at:

A&W Bearings
4935 Sharp Street
Dallas, Texas 75247
fax 214-630-4049

I could not order the balls online because I did not know their part #, (still don’t)  so I called their 800 number and ordered six Standard 5/8 in. chrome ball bearings for $.60 each! UPS will had it here in a couple of days. Cones and bearing cages were OK, If these are not OK, it would seem

that total shaft replacement is necessary. I also drilled the upper shaft flange for a zirk so that I can give the upper CV a shot of synthetic grease when doing a grease job.

As for the splines,  I was to be able to clean up the splines, lub and reassemble. The Thermal Plastic coating was in good condition....Lucky Me!!  As for the seal at the spline, it literally disintegrated upon disassembly.  I got NAPA part #JV730 for $5.39....which is a main bearing rope seal for a mid 70’s Ford V8.  Cut the seal to fit in the ring seal carrier,  place it on the spline and formed it around the spline. Then assemble the lower part onto the spline shaft and bend the securing tabs on the seal carrier to hold it in place.

CV joint Boot                 NAPA # 2410 fits- Denny
                                        79 Accord CV.-   Fit the CV very nicely and ended just above the shaft zerk.

This Boot covered the upper par t of the shaft only, and left the Thermal Plastic splines exposed to the weather.  After reading a reference to a 4X4 shock boot being used by somebody, and looking at a picture of the whole shaft in a Caspro catalog, I went to NAPA where I opened every box that had a shock
boot and found one that fit almost perfect. NAPA part # 63975 for $15.95.  It covers the CV joint clear down to the zirk on the lower part of the shaft.  The upper end was a tight fit and is held in place with the zip tie supplied with the boot. Lower part was just a little big so I fit the split
in the boot around the zirk and put a zip tie on either side of the zirk, keeping it from sliding either up or down, but still leaving the zirk out for greasing.
 Precision Universal Kit #338                        $7.99
Six Standard 5/8 in. chrome ball bearings      $3.60
Spline Shaft Seal  NAPA part #JV730         $5.39
Dust Boot  NAPA part # 63975                  $15.95
Hope this helps somebody.Larry  :-)

The CV joint does not use 5/8" balls. The balls are actually .624", and in my case the extra thousandth of the 5/8" balls made a difference. I have a box of them, and could not get them to fit into the races at all, even with expert help.

It is possible to refinish the races to accept the larger balls, but this takes some effort--the races are dead hard. The trick is to take a bit of emery cloth, and wipe the ball race using your thumb to keep it in contact with the whole race. Patience is a virtue.

But I have no patience, and I ended up replacing my corroded CV joint with a new one. Bring your checkbook--these are not being made and they are expensive.

Often, just removing the CV joint, disassembling and cleaning it thoroughly, and then relubricating it with CV-joint grease that contains moly disulfide (example: Valvoline Synpower), is all that it takes to restore smooth steering. (Mobil1 grease still bound, but Synpower did not--the moly disulfide is absolutely critical in this application.) Then, replace the boot, and seal the opening in the steering-shaft spline clamp right above the CV joint with RTV to prevent future water intrusion.

My symptoms were exactly as Tom describes, where the steering would be fine but would catch when making a small correction. I would free it by turning it in the direction I didn't want to go, and then steering back in the direction I did. That's nerve-wracking, to say the least. My slide spline has never been bound up, so I don't know if the symptoms of that are exactly the same.

Rick "who had to buy 100 5/8" balls and then couldn't make them fit" Denney                                                                 

tie rod ends-                   ES361R and RL412RL

ideler arm bushings-      not available, besides if you rebushed the idler arm, Murphy would rip out the ball socket on the other end!

ideler arms-                  Discontinued through regular parts houses but they are available through specialty houses.

drag link assembly-      Discontinued but available in one or 3 piece units through specialty sources.  I would suggest the 3 piece so you can center your steering wheel without having to use an alignment machine.

absorber assembly-     If you mean the steering shock, yes, you can get them.  I can't remember the number.  Call me at the shop tomorrow & I'll give you that #.

lever assembly-           The relay lever is also discontinued but is available from those special folks crazy enough to play with these coaches.

any of the moving steering parts between the pitman arm and the outer tie rods-   The steering shaft assembly is getting scarce and "A" arms will need to be rebuilt or modified from a Toro but the rest of the stuff can be had.  Hope this helps,Jim Bounds

Repair kits are available at most Auto parts stores for the Idler arm bushing.  TRW # 12240 @ about $10.  They are not difficult to R&R (press in/out).

Here is an excellent rebuild and upgrade (5/26/07)

Centering The Steering Wheel
All that is happening is that normal manufacturing tolerances are showing up at the steering wheel. When you replace your steering gear box with another one nominally the same, there is still going to be a slight difference in where the pittman arm comes out on the sector shaft. This will be magnified at the steering wheel by the reduction ratio in the this case, it's working against you. A slight change at the pittman arm translates into a relatively large this case 30 the steering wheel. The reduction ratio of the steering gear is something like 15 to 1, so 30 degrees at the wheel means the pittman arm is indexed to the sector shaft 2 degrees different from the previous gear...hardly a problem. Nothing to worry about; that's why the tie rod ends have considerable adjustment available.

And the tie rod ends are the only place you should attempt to correct this problem, assuming you replaced the gearbox correctly. The steering gear is designed to be a little sloppy everywhere except straight ahead to reduce friction. When you are in a turn, you aren't aware of a little slack in the steering. But this means that if you install the gearbox with the steering wheel's straight ahead position off-index from the high spot in the steering gear, you will have this slack when going straight down the road...not good. Notice that the shaft on the steering column has a tick mark to indicate 12 o'clock. And the splines from the column through the joint to the steering gear should be keyed so that they'll only go one way. But if you take the bolts out of the joint and rotate it 60 or whatever degrees, you've lost the high spot and you don't have symmetrical endpoints either. Bad kimshi.

If everything is assembled correctly, the steering wheel is at 12 o'clock with the gear in the center of its travel and at its high or tight spot. You then adjust the tie rods to make the coach go straight down the road. If the toe in is set to suit you, all you have to do is move both tie rods the same amount until you like how it lines up. Just remember to turn the adjusting sleeves on the tie rods the same direction on each side....that is, if you turn the driver's side front down, turn the passenger's side front down the exact same amount and you will move the relationship of the steering wheel to the wheels but not affect the toe in. If you have any doubts about the toe in, this would be an excellent time to get the front end aligned and the wheel will be right. And if you attempt this, go easy until you get a feel for how much is enough. A quarter turn on the adjusting sleeves will move the steering wheel quite a bit. All you'll need is a 1/2" socket and a backup 1/2" wrench to loosen the clamps and a pair of channel locks to turn the sleeve. Be sure to tighten all 4 clamps when you're done!

Please think it all the way through before considering changing the relationship between the steering wheel and the input shaft of the steering gear. You just shouldn't do it. Travis
Centering Steering Wheel

Lowered Steering wheel

Yes, I inserted 2 pieces of 1"square tubing, cut about 6" long each and drilled with 4 holes each (2 for the original bolt location and 2 for the new bolt location created by the drop, using longer bolts of course), at the mounted horizontally front to rear, where the steering wheel mounts to the bottom of the dash. I'm 6'-2" tall and was experiencing the same problem. It also allows me a better view of the dash instruments over the wheel. It dropped the wheel slightly over 2" (very nice) while only pulling the sleeve out of the steering box less than 1/8". I've been using this setup for over 8 years and 60,000+ miles with no problems.

Brackets are available from
GMC Custom Instrument Panels
Gear Box
If your steering has a resistance or hard spot when turning, your recirculating ball nut steering gear is bad.  Happened to my 78 Kingsley 15 years ago.  It will get worse and it may get to a point that you will not be able to turn the coach back to straight which is not good when you are me I know (the hard way).  REPLACE THE GEAR BOX!!!

Steering Gear Box Described

Replace The Steering Gear Box

Boje Hjelm  has his own company, called Racemate (he's a Porsche racecar specialist I believe). Telephone is 416 251 9811   fax 416 251 5950
29 Connell Court, Unit 12,
Etobicoke, Ontario M8Z 5T7.

I have had my GMC box switched to a variable ratio (17:13) and I had my Chev 4x4 truck switched to a 12:1 (which was a remarkable improvement). I wish that I had switched to coach to this ratio as well. The very good news is that he no longer charges $361Cdn. My cost on these was around $200Cdn ($140US) plus shipping (about $50Cdn). He is a very informed and as I understand that it has stops that are different than most other boxes of this type.

I just installed a rebuilt steering box from Harry's Steering Gear Repairs, Inc. of Fraser, MI.
1 888 783 3746, I am pleased to report that the box is perfect and the price is reasonable.
Box No. 7519/ $175 + $50 Core + UPS
They don't mind not getting a core back. Also changed the ratio for free. Went from 4 1/2 turns to 3 turns-lock to lock.  Talk to Sam."George Calhoun

Bdub's list of replacement Boxes

Parts needed:

Steering Box NAPA ($175 + $160 core P/N 27-7519)
            The NAPA # is 27-7519, the A-i Cardon # 277519
Pitman Arm Puller. This is a must have and really works slick ($9.99 P/N
2990068 Princess Auto 1-888-460-7989 or elsewhere)
Flare Nut Wrenches ($11.99 P/N 2922839 Princess Auto or Sears or ...)
1 5/16" Socket (Set of 8 - 3/4 drive - impact sockets $29.99 P/N 3414760
Princess Auto)
Breaker or large ratchet for above (anywhere)
Normal Screw drivers, etc.
Drain pan and shop towels
2 quarts hi temp Power Steering Fluid.

Handy Tips to know before you start (or things I wished someone whould have told me so I'd have known):

1.   I found that I wished I have flushed the system before changing the box to make it easier. That old PS fluid was pretty nasty and shouldn't be in your new pump!   I left the procedure as I really did it. Do it like this tip first and you'll be glad you did.
   Just unhook the return line from the Windshield Wiper Motor (right side 3/8" rubber line that goes back to pump), add a 6" length of 3/8" hose to it. Hose clamp it on and place open end of new hose in a gallon jug below it. Fill PS pump w/new fluid. Idle engine for 10-15 sec to pump though fluid. Shut off engine and fill pump, repeat till fluid coming out of line is clean and clear (about 1 qt). (Note: I didn't try just putting the loose end of the old return line to the pump in a jug of new fluid to see if it would self fill the pump w/suction but I'll bet this would work pretty slick! Let me know on this one).

2. Good time to change the rubber boot on the Steering Shaft CV if needed, which mine did (Golby has these $11). If needed remove pinch bolt on CV joint (completely, thank you), mark the position so you get it on the same, remove from splines to change boot. Clean CV joint well and lube. Install new boot and tie wrap. Check position and reinstall on splines with pinch bolt.

3. While you have the bottom part of the Steering Shaft out clean the top blue (Teflon coated) splines of old hard grease and dirt as well as the lower coupler with the zerk on it. Be careful of the old cork dust seal as it's brittle. Be sure the blue shaft spines allow the bottom coupler to freely move up and down or this will bind and cause problems. I had to file mine a bit and sand paper (very lightly) to get it to free up. Lube (grease) well and you're in business. Thank Jim Bounds for this tip! Also I see Caspro's catalog has a nifty rubber boot as a dust seal to cover that whole area on their replacement. Don't know if the sell these alone but I wish I'd have had one of those.

4. Didn't change my lines as the NAPA instructions recommended but would be a good time to do this if they are hard and you're ambitious.

5. When you finally install the box, just loosely install the four bolts THEN add the steering shaft to the splines on top since it slides up and down. You do have to align it properly so the pinch bolt will fit in it's groove on the spines. I'll bet this will save a lot of grunting and groaning the way I did it below.

6. Tighten all bolts to torque specs in manual.

Removal Procedure (how I did it):

Didn't need to jack it up as there is plenty of room but you can to make more.
Remove the Pitman arm nut and washer.
Use the manditory puller to remove Pitman arm. Don't try to use a pickle fork, please.
Remove pump hydraulic lines with flare wrenches. Drain lines.
Remove pinch bolt (completely) on steering shaft and remove
Remove four bolts holding steering box to frame.
Remove steering box. Should slide out with bottom half of steering shaft
attached. If not remove steering shaft from splines. My shaft was almost like it was glued together and would not slide (see above).
Flush lines with new fluid to remove old fluid. (forget this if you read the tip above).
Clean blue splines and lube (see above)
If needed... Change rubber boot on Steering Shaft as mentioned.

Installation Procedure:

While steering box is still out line up splines and install lower Steering Arm coupler to steering box with pinch bolt and tighten.
With top half of (blue) Steering Shaft in place, lift box, line up shaft and coupler so they start to slide together and install one bolt to hold box to
frame (see grunting and groaning above).
Install other three bolts and tighten all. Install and tighten hydraulic lines (with flare nut wrenches). I had to hold
my mouth just right... to get one of them on! Install Pitman Arm with washer and nut. Tighten to specs.
Grease steering shaft at zerk.
Fill pump. Idle engine a few sec and shut off. Refill pump. Idle engine and
turn wheels stop to stop. Stop engine and check pump level. Add if needed.
Check for leaks or binds and if wipers work OK.
Test drive.
Recheck for leaks and pump level.

Congratulations! Bet she steers like a new coach. Mine sure did! Hope you're as happy with your results as I am with mine.

PS. Later that day I removed the wire screen filter at the brass feed line of the Wiper Motor and added a small, external HD magnetic transmission filter to the other line (WIX P/N 58964). It's a round black aluminum cylinder, ribbed, about 2" dia. about 3" long w/a 3/8" barb hose fitting on each end. Added it to the line out. Thats the same return line from the wiper motor to PS pump where you flushed before. Just added it for safety and peace of mind. It was $15 and came with everything needed (lines, clamps and filter). Most any auto store should have something like it. Also this helped my wipers work better!
Best of luck on this (hopefully now, not quite so hard) weekend project. Nate '75GB Omaha

Steering Sector Adjustment
After my last alignment I had to work harder at keeping the rig straight.I thought that perhaps since the wheels were now running true something else reared it's ugly head, which of course it did. I assumed it might  be the lack  of steering damper or worn out steering box or that it was  being caused by toad.

Here is what I did:
Loosen the locknut  a turn or better, i.e. not just enough to unlock the allen screw loosen the allen screw, wiggle the steering wheel and loosend  it some more using allen wrench. be sure the nut is far enough off to be  sure it will not tighten first. now turn the nut itself back in to tighten  it. no allen wrench is used for this.this will the allen screw will make  contact first. continue to tighten the locknut. still no allen wrench used. apparently the tension provided by tightening of the locknut is usually exactly right.

It certainly worked in my case. I would not have believed it had I not experienced/done it myself.

Apparently it is a common mistake to tighten the adjustment more than necessary during an alignment, even by the most expert. My own misconception  was that tighter means better or rather that the adjustment was left too loose so I tightened it a 1/4 turn more, which didn't change handling.

While I was being set straight it was explained that if the adjustment is too tight, oversteering occurs because it takes more pressure. It was explained that if too tight it'll appear to wander, too loose and more  steering wheel travel required, but no wander. Steering damper has nothing to do with wander/no-wander.Heinz


If you grease your own (or have it greased), have you ever wondered what's the proper technique for greasing the steering column shift assembly (the grease zerk between the two U-joints which
is above the steering gear box)? Since grease never comes out the top slide surface. The grease seems to disappear or goes out the bottom near the lower U-joint. Here's a tip for proper greasing
of the steering column. First of all, the column should be filed with grease to allow free operation and to keep out water. Water will run into the cavity and causes all kinds of problems
if it stays inside. Filling the cavity with grease can be accomplished via grease gun and a properly placed finger. That's right! Place your finger at the bottom of the cavity (small hole in center)
which is just above the lower U-joint. Press your finger over the hole while greasing the shaft zerk and eventually the grease will flow out of the top of the cavity. Now it's full and water can
not enter! While you are at it, don't forget to grease the zerk in the center of the lower universal joint. Western States Tech

I had a BAD case of steering CV joint "notchiness" a few years back.  On the way to Orlando, I'd pull into every big parking lot I saw to do "dippsey doodles" trying to free it up.  By the time I got to Jim
Bounds' I could hardly turn the wheel.  After disassembling it I could find no flaws, but even lubricated it was still stiff.  Jim was on the 'phone trying to find me a replacement when I regreased the joint with
Valvoline Synthetic with MS02.  Immediately it freed up and I told Jim to forget the order.  That was at least 4 years ago and I haven't had a bit more trouble with it. KenH  2/10/08