Discussion in 'Member Trucks' started by MIHELA, May 12, 2020.
Looking forward to reading more of this story
It's a Great Neck. It's one of my favorite most used tools with the swivel head.
So as you all know, the Saginaw steering gearboxes these trucks come with kinda suck. They are 1960's tech. They have little to no on center feel which only gets worse as they age. They are a real pain to adjust if you can even get them back in spec. A couple years into GMT800 production, GM released a more modern gear made by Delphi. While not as smooth and precise as a rack and pinion, they are vastly better than the Saginaw. In 2015 I was having problems trying to adjust my steering. It was difficult to drive when it was windy and my attempts to adjust it caused me to lose the return to center function, which is scary. So I found an 04 Silverado crew that had been in a rollover with 43k on it at Lem's and set to figuring out if I could make it work in my truck.
The first thing you will notice is the Saginaw using a spline to attach to the steering shaft, and the Delphi using a 17mm DD shaft. I looked around trying to find adapters, then looking at other vehicles that might also use this type of setup. Enter the WJ Cherokee shaft. It uses a 3/4" DD shaft on one end and a 17DD on the gear end. Now I had to figure out how to mate it to the column. With all my focus on the truck other problems I didn't mess with this issue until 2016 when I was taking the dash out. I needed an automatic column for the gear shifter, so I took the opportunity to do some checking. I ended up cutting up my old steering shaft and removing the joint off then end of the column. I harvested about 4 inches of the old 3/4 shaft from the old shaft, then I carefully cut a slot in it for the pinch bolt and drilled a through hole for the through bolt on the end of the column, making an adapter. Just one more complication to fix...
It’s awesome watching you trying stuff like this! You might stumble on a huge upgrade!
The shaft works properly and is long enough to reach. But the joints on the WJ shaft are 90 degrees off of the GMT400 shaft. Gm shafts use a key spline to locate the steering wheel so they can only go on one way. The fix is to grind the spline 90 degrees clockwise from the key spline so that the wheel can be centered again. This doesn't affect the clockspring as long as you have the wheel centered when you install it, it is keyed differently and will work.
I've been running this setup for 2 years and 1500 miles and I felt it was safe enough to finally reveal. I actually installed it in 2016 but couldn't test it for obvious reasons.
The steering gear bolts up to the frame the same but make sure if you grab a gear that you get the mounting bolts AND the washers for them or the bolts will bottom out on the gear body. Use the GMT400 pitman. I think they are the same, but since the old one fits and was a new Moog I used it.
End of July 2016. i pulled the greaseball NV3500 out. The engine was already removed so it wasn't too difficult. I hauled the transfer case dow
n to the basement.
Next the hunt for a TBI for a 454 and a Quadrajet adapter. I have several 350 TBIs but they are way too small both in air and fuel capacity. Starting scouring Craigslist again. I found on in Minnesota that the guy was willing to ship, from a dually truck that was stolen brand new off the lot and rolled in 1988. Other pics are the trans cleaned up and the crossmember moved to the back set of holes. Some of the newer trucks don't have that luxury of dual holes.
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