NISSAN Pictures of how I tightened the steering gear to reduce steering wheel play on my 87-95 Nissan Pathfinder.

I tightened the steering gear because the steering wheel had too much play and she wandered all over the freeway. The good people on 4x4 forums (see links page) pointed this out - steering wheel play can be in 3 main areas, rag joint in the steering column, the steering gear box, or the steering tie rod end joints. My play was in the gear box. Tightening the steering gear box adjustment screw helped a lot.

I have read several stories about overtightening the steering gear box causing the steering to fail suddenly and completely.

But first, lets pay some bills:

  1. On the right is the steering column shaft. On the left, under that hose, is the steering gear adjustment screw.
    steering column shaft

  2. The shaft.
    adjustment screw

  3. The screw. On the left is the AC compressor, above is the air filter box.

  4. Closer.

  5. Closer.

  6. Too close.

  7. I got nothing.

  8. Anyway, before I started adjustments, I turned the steering wheel a turn to one side. The theory being that the gear is worn where the wheel is straight ahead because you usually drive straight ahead. So if you tighten the gear with the wheel straight ahead, then when you turn the wheel, the gear will be too tight, and this will cause the gear to fail catastrophically.

  9. So then I loosened the lock nut and tightened the adjustment screw less than 1/8 turn. I tightened it to where I felt the slightest bit of contact or resistance. I am not positive this is the best way to do this. I do not fully understand the inner workings. I have seen diagrams in the manual, but I have never taken one of these apart. I would like to take one apart. Got a spare? Send it over, I'll dissect it and take pics.

  10. I tightened up the lock nut and drove away. This made a noticeable difference. Way less play driving down the freeway. Super super easy, and only possibly deadly and foolhardy.

  11. Next I sold out to make 02ยข so I can fulfill my lifelong dream of owning a 1986 944 with blown head gaskets.

    But no minivans!

  12. Then I finished my beer.

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Last modified: 11/22/2014