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Steering Column Repair/Sloppy Steering Wheel


I have a 1986 Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta 305 V8 5.0L Automatic Transmission with tilt column. The steering wheel feels very loose as soon as I unlock the steering wheel. Steering wheel moves 1 inch or move left or right before the tires turn. All the steering suspension checks out as good and tight. What would cause this steering wheel slop in the upper steering column?

Hello David:
Most of the time the play you are describing is in the steering gearbox.  All it takes to remedy it is an adjustment.  You need to have someone work with you to determine where the play is developing.
Sitting in the car, gently turn the wheel.  Have the other person indicate when the output shaft of the steering column begins to move.  If it moves immediately then the play is NOT in the column, but further down the line.  They should then lay under the car looking at the output shaft of the gearbox and see when the steering linkage under the car begins to move.  That's where the gearbox play would be revealed.
If the output shaft of the column does not move until your 1" of play is completed, then the problem is in the column.  The only place that play can occur would be in a worn or broken tilt knuckle itself.
Here is a link to that part.  
Tilt steering knuckle
It's pretty rare that it would be bad and it would make driving very difficult (noise and clunking every time you turn the wheel), but they do break from time to time.

Steering Column Repair

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Douglas Gan


My specialties are stolen vehicles, steering column and ignition locks repair, airbag service and installation and diagnosis. My work includes both domestic (USA) vehicles and foreign designs.


30 years owning a company that specializes in steering columns, ignition & airbag related problems

GM certified, ASE certified, 4 yrs college, Mech Tech degree
I own multiple auto repair companies and can help you professionally through any of our websites at: ---- we stock many older steering column parts and can rebuild your column if you ship it to us --- we sell airbag replacement information (no parts) -- we perform investigations for many types of vehicle claims
Please feel free to contact us through any of our websites for more information or help

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