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521 Steering column modifications mklotz70


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I'm working on some steering column vids and info. I got a request for info on how to remove/replace the steering shaft on a 521. I thought about posting all this in the trucks section, but I thought this might be a better home for it. I'm looking to put a page or two up on my site, but for now, I'll just start dumping the pics and vids in here so others can use it for reference material.


I've broken the vids up a bit, partly for content, most for length. One covers the removal/replacement of the shaft/tube. Another addresses mainly steering wheel/adapter info. There will be another coming shortly on the machining/shortening of the column and tube. Anyway.....here's what I've got so far.



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Did a bit of comparison of a 510 auto column and the 521. Not so much a mod, but could be. Using the same process of shortening, a person could splice a 510 and 521 column together and end up with a crush zone in their 521...much safer. I might consider it, but I have a another route I may take.


The pics/vids are more informational since there's no real mod going on here.





















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This is by far the best thread on ratsun. The steering box on my 620 has always amazed me and I have always been to scared to mess with it enough to find out how it works.

The screw on top that you had trouble getting off in the first video, I have been told that this can take some of the play out of your steering wheel. I adjusted mine slightly clockwise and It did help but it did not solve my problems. I have replaced my idler arm, tie rods etc. and my steering still feels loose. I also added a damper kit. Im scared to turn the adjustment screw in anymore for fear of breaking something. Whats the proper process for using this adjustment screw? Can I cause damage by adjusting it too tight? Great job on the videos.

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Thanks! Glad you like them :)

You can download the factory manuals at http://www.bluehandsinc.com/manuals.html for free.....just go to the tech page. All the steering box adjustments are in there. I always though that you simply turned that screw down until the slop went away, but there's more to it. The shim with the adjustment screw is set pretty dang close....between about a half a thou and 1.5 thou.....which is what sets the end play on the sector shaft. The back and forth play on the pitman arm looks to be set by where the sector shaft is located on the ball nut. If the sector shaft has too much end play(up and down movement) it will allow the more movement in the pitman arm as well. If you run the screw down too far, it will simply push the sector shaft into the bushings which may not be good for them. Basically, the sector shaft floats at whatever height the screw sets it at. Up and down play is set by the shim on that screw. Anyway.....check out the procedure in the manual....it may make more sense then I am :)


I haven't played with it yet and I may push this steering stuff aside for a bit to get back to work on the control arms. I had really only planned on playing with the steering stuff on sunday. Maybe I'll pick it back up next sunday.

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Awesome once again!!

A suggestion: to prevent the bearings from falling out the races (seemed like it was troublesome :lol:) maybe you could use a magnet to hold it in place?

I've used this trick a couple times on assembling things and it always works out awesome!

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My best mag is at work....I tried a couple of others, but they wouldn't hold through the cast iron housing.


Some pics from yesterday and today. I'm going to be putting up a vid on adjusting the sector shaft.....then on to the control arms. :)



















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This may be a bit out of sequence, but it was pretty short so I wanted to go ahead and get it up now. I've got another with more details about the shaft shortening, which will go up a bit later. This should give you a better idea about what's going on with the adjustment.....but I didn't follow the manual .....so make sure you check it out.


I dropped the vid from 1080p to 720p to help save on time. Takes the same amount of time to process the vid, but it saves faster and uploads to youtube way faster.....and when I go full screen, I can't see much difference if any.



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You're welcome. It would be best to do it with the tierods disconnected, but if you just took the front end off the ground, it would probably get it close. If you feel binding in the steering wheel.....it's definitely too tight.



Here's another vid on the shortening....I'm back on the control arms for a bit. :)


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Awesome Mike. I have watched the whole thing. I've learned a lot too even where my tiny squeaking noise is coming from. I might put a drop of 3 in 1 oil on that.


You have inspired me to fix my steering box leak or replace the box. I filled it up many times and it just came out in a mess. I could never tell where it was leaking from being the flange or at the arm. So I'm embarrassed to say I've been driving it for a while with no fluid it which I know is a no no.


Maybe I'll even put on my 520 steering wheel with the chrome horn ring.

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Thanks! I'm glad they've helped. I meant to show some more of that rubber collar at the top of the tube.....turns out that there's a metal band inside. I'm not sure if it's a bearing or a bushing, but it's definitely metal. I wish I had an extra, I'd cut it apart. Hmmm.....this is half off weekend at the upullit.....maybe I'll go see if I can dig up some parts :)


Match that wheel up with some 520 chrome door pulls :)

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Went to the scrapyard today.....pulled a '73 620 steering wheel to see if it was different(based on the adapter kits). It was the same. I probably should have done some measurements, but it didn't have the plastic surround, so I wouldn't have know if the bell from the kit would work or not. I did try pulling it with a hammer, but the seat was out of the truck, so I couldn't get leverage on both sides of the wheel. Luckily, A100addict had a wheel puller in his bag. Popped of real easy with that. Anyway.....here's a couple of pics of the 620 wheel for comparison since there was some confusion generated by the lack of taper in the kit adapters. The 620 wheel has the same taper in the wheel.













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