Lots of "play" in steering of a gen 1 viper

Burgstall

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Hi all,

I am a new owner of a Gen 1 RT/10, and on my way home with it I started to notice quite a nervous steering when changing lanes etc.

I investigated a bit today, and it looks like the play is somewhere after the steering axle enters the steering rack. It's about 5cm (2") of play altogether, before there is any movement of the wheels: https://youtu.be/quGvMqKXskU

The steering rack has been previously replaced, it only has about 20k miles on it. So, as the steering axle and its joints itself seems solid, my question is that is there anything that could have such play in it somewhere where the axle enters the steering rack? I find it unfathomable that a new steering rack wouldnt last longer than 20k miles.

Thanks.
 

MoparMap

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I'd check the entire rest of the system just to be sure. I would hope the new rack would have come with fresh ball joints as well. I think it could be possible that it's alignment related as well. You can set up a car to feel pretty lazy or very sharp by changing some of those settings. I don't know if it would come across as play in the wheel or not though.
 

Walter Clark

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The movement in your video looks like it is between the rack and pinion gears inside the rack. Almost all rack and pinion assemblies have a preload spring and/or ***** that presses the pinion gear against the rack thru a bushing. Some can be adjusted in the field, some not. If the preload is too little, the effect is much as you show. I havent had the need to dig into my Gen 1 steering yet so dont have first hand experience with its configuration, but if I had what you show, I would start by lo0oking for that preload and see if it is adjustable. Normally the ***** will be located at the junction of the pinion and rack and rotate 90 degrees around the rack axis from the pinion input shaft (steering input). From what I could fins online just now it might be a rather largish (like 27mm) plastic hex socket "set *****" which in turn pushes down on a spring to load the pinion bushing. If adjustable it would be turned clockwise to increase preload. If its not really adjustable (already all the way CW) then the spring under it might be bad, or the bushing it loads is shot (probably requiring a new rack). If it is indeed plastic, it shouldnt take a lot to turn it either way. 27mm is rather large as hex socket screws go. I have made up tools for similar fittings on other cars by using a suitable bolt and pair of nuts. The size of the bolt head is to fit the socket in the set ***** and the nuts are tightened to each other on the other end of the bolt to keep them from turning, then a wrench is applied to the inner nut to remove and the outer nut to tighten the set *****.
 

Burgstall

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Many thanks MoparMap and Walter Clark, and please excuse my failure to notice your responses earlier. This seems like something I will need to investigate thoroughly when the driving season is over in a month or so. I am planning to get the car on some jack stands and performing quite a few of restoration/maintenance jobs during the winter, and as the car is good enough to drive at least within city limits so I will just keep enjoying it a bit longer before I take much of it apart.
 
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