Originally Posted by bobinyelm
I am new to Samurai (former Jeep owner) and am rebuilding am '87 Sami SE I acquired. Before disassembling the vehicle for engine rebuild and paint ( front clip, engine, trans, doors, windshield, roll hoop removed) , I noticed that the steering wheel was off-center going straight, and there was excessive play in the wheel. There is no "pull" to either side, and the Sami will track straight, albeit with the play mentioned.
I did a "Search" but didn't see anything relevant-
By centering the steering wheel (1/2 lock-to-lock position which corresponds to proper steering wheel position for straight ahead), there is NO play (since the steering sector on worm boxes are normally cut tight in the center, and with play on either side). This is as it SHOULD be, and my Sami box is perfect in this regard.
The problem is that with the steering wheel straight, the front tires are turned slightly to the right, meaning to make the Sami go straight, one must hold the wheel slightly left, resulting in the play described (since the steering is no longer at the center of the steering worm). This is with the toe set properly (there is no abnormal tire wear), BTW.
Since the only adjustment is toe on one side, there is no way to set both front wheels straight with the steering wheel straight.
The only ways I can see to accomplish an aligned steering wheel are:
1) Reposition the Pitman arm on the steering gear one tooth off to hopefully recenter the tie rod (assuming the splines will allow this) w/ the steering wheel positioned straight ahead, or
2) Loosen the "U" bolts securing the front axle to the springs, and slightly repositioning the entire front axle to one side slightly (probably by less than 1/4"), causing the wheels to be straight ahead w/ the steering box/wheel centered. I am not sure this is physically possible, either, if there are locating pins or tabs to hold the axle in position.
Failing 1) or 2) (above) are there tie rods, or Pitman arm-to-tie-rod steering rod assemblies available that have adjustments possible as with virtually every other 4WD vehicle I have owned?
Surely Suzuki cannot think that adjustment will never be required on a vehicle intended to rough service as is the Sami. I am not aware of any frame damage (nor is any evident), BTW.