Ron Pope Motorsports                California Custom Roadsters               

The Heartbreak of Steering Slop


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Driving home the other night on the freeway at 50 mph the bucket would wander left, then I turned the steering wheel to the right, and the bucket would swerve right, and I would turn left and the bucket swerved left, etc. I was trying to go straight but having Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Not fun. At home I could turn the steering wheel 2” either way without any response at the road wheels. What’s up? I traced some of the slop to the manual rack and pinion. Its 30 years old and I thought maybe it was time for a new one. But I found this article on how to adjust the R&P. Seems there is a setscrew that adjusts the clearance between the rack and the pinion. Too much clearance and one gets the slop. I tightened the screw and the slop was gone. I still had a little slop which was in the double U-joint between the steering column and the steering shaft. Just tightened the 2 setscrews on either end of the joint and all slop was gone. Now steering is very responsive. Set the front toe and we are good for the road.
steering system.jpeg
When I first started reading I had the worst feeling I was going to read about you wadding up the bucket! Great to hear all is well and gives us a great heads up to make ours safer!
Do you still get a little bit of lateral movement in that double U-joint or no?
Thanks for the reply on your rack brand. One of my cars has Mustang 2. I never noticed that it has an adjustment or not. I think that I may have a spare that I can checkout.
The setscrew adjustment is real touchy. Too tight and the steering will be hard and it won't come back to center after a turn. Too loose and you get the slop. The article says to make it just finger tight. Mine wouldn't turn by finger, so I just did a series of wrench turns, maybe 1/8 turns, followed by road tests, until I had the best balance.

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