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Play in Steering Wheel after rack replacement

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New User

Aug 19, 2016, 7:01 AM

Post #1 of 3 (3435 views)
Play in Steering Wheel after rack replacement Sign In

2003 Chevy Malibu, 250K, 3.1

Hi all,

I replaced the steering rack in my 03 Malibu. That job was a total nasty one.. took forever. Anyways one of the last things you do is connect the column to the new rack pinion whatever it is. I think we set it correctly, but there is A LOT of play in the wheel right now. The old rack seals were leaking bad, so I replaced the rack, and now have tons of play, not too safe to be driving, ya know?

So, what should I do? I still need to get an alignment done, but I'd like to see if I can fix the play in the wheel first... how do I go about making sure the column is all the way on the rack?

I'm assuming...
1) take driver wheel off
2) loosen set screw
3) make sure column is all the way on the pinion... Another thing though, I want to make sure the wheel is centered before I try to install it back onto the rack pinion thing.... so if I loosen the set screw and pull the column off, can I turn the wheel one way til it stops, or how do I know the wheel is back "center". I remember when we first put it on the new rack, I think we left the wheel pretty much center, but did turn it a bit to fit onto the new rack, however, I'd like to verify that the wheel itself is at "center" before trying to put back on pinion/ do I do this?

eagerly waiting for your expertise...thnx

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Aug 19, 2016, 8:24 AM

Post #2 of 3 (3430 views)
Re: Play in Steering Wheel after rack replacement Sign In

Don't change "center" of steering wheel. If for some reason you can put this on (rack) and it's not on center there would be built in free play.

Count turns from steering wheel's dead ahead center that it's equal to stops both ways. If not, where's the play just look for it with key turned so you can steer it only by hand at the shaft underhood w helper would be nice,


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Aug 19, 2016, 5:47 PM

Post #3 of 3 (3424 views)
Re: Play in Steering Wheel after rack replacement Sign In

This is pretty simple. You just need to observe it while a helper moves the wheel and find out where the play is. We can't tell you where it is.


We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.

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