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Thread: steering is sloppy

  1. #1
    Registered User bondoking's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    Orlando, FL

    Default steering is sloppy

    Happy day. My 78' Zmobile was fitted with 16" Konig Silver Rewinds and Cooper RS3's today, but.........

    The guys at Tire Kingdom tell me that my rack "has some play", and the steering wheel will arc back and forth approx 3" each way before I feel the tires grab and start to turn. My mechanic has told me that new urethane bushings will help a lot to tighten things up and I don't mind spending the bucks for that. Do you think that will do the trick or I looking at a total rack and pinion replacement ?

    It is a one owner, and has 105,000 miles on it. No abuse, but I have not ever had to do anything with the steering section. Is my lucky streak over? I remember when it was new it would turn on a dime and give you 5 cents change. I want that tight turning feel again. What to do ?

    Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Registered User Ben's Z's Avatar
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    May 2010
    Spring, TX


    I'd try the rag joint coupler just outside of the firewall, at least check it. 105k easy miles or not that car is 35 years old. I spent 3 months on my back last summer with my 280z on 6 4x4's and stripped the entire chassis. I media blasted it all, painted it, put in all new poly bushings, KYB strut cartridges and Eibach springs. It was quite the project, I even did the spindle pins, what a bastard those are. I even tried to replicate all the factory assembly line paint dabs and created by hand a stencil to reduplicate the numbers found on the mustache bar that you might be able to see through the right rear wheel well where it attached to the body.
    1977 280Z 5 Speed

    Do you know where my Grandpa's 240z is? He sold it around 1994. I think it was a 72. It was orange with black interior and some sort of scissors style aftermarket crank up sunroof. I think it was sold to a fellow pharmacist and I think he was from Egg Harbor Wisconsin. At the time the car had between 32-36k original miles. He sold it for the lowly sum of $3000-$3500. My grandpa passed away a few years ago and I would like to know its whereabouts.

  3. #3
    Supporting Member EScanlon's Avatar
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    Dec 2001
    Vancouver, WA


    I had a bit of slipage on mine, and one day while working on the turn signals I pushed on the tire and noticed that the whole steering rack shifted slightly.

    A little investigation showed that the rubber bushings holding/ clamping the steering rack in place had deteriorated and allowed up to 3/4" of play in either direction... for a total of 1.5" AT THE RACK! That explained why the car would wander erratically while holding the steering wheel straight, one time it would be pulling to the right, next time to the left and then other times... straight.

    R&R the bushings, cleaned and tightened them and the problem went away.

    Check that before you go disassembling the whole front end.

    71 240 920 Gold
    72 240 Orange
    73 240 Red
    67 1600 Sports Roadster Spicy Orange Mica
    68 2000 Sports Roadster Red

  4. #4
    Registered User tlorber's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    Los Angeles


    In addition to what has been stated, there is also some lash adjustment on the rack. Take off the large retaining nut and screw on the rack, make sure everything I'd lubed, a d snug it back together.

  5. #5
    Registered User EuroDat's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
    The Netherlands


    I had play in the right hand side tie-rod of the rack & pinion. It was a pain to adjust. Had to remove the rack and cut the weld that locked it together and then reweld it. The old mount rubbers and the steering coupling rubber replaced with urethane. The steering tightened up a lot & now feels very responsive. I changed all the suspension rubbers with eruthane. Helps handeling a lot, but ride comfort and noise suffer. Been on a rattle hunt since then.
    Last edited by EuroDat; 10-06-2012 at 04:25 AM.

  6. #6
    No more body roll! SteveJ's Avatar
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    Gainesville, GA


    Quote Originally Posted by tlorber View Post
    In addition to what has been stated, there is also some lash adjustment on the rack. Take off the large retaining nut and screw on the rack, make sure everything I'd lubed, a d snug it back together.
    I did the same thing on my 73 about 15 years ago (and front bushings, too) and haven't had a problem with sloppy steering since.
    73 240Z
    74 260Z

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