Too much play in Steering Wheel

Mrs Homer

Original poster
Feb 17, 2012
Sorry if I'm posting this in the wrong section. Here's the problem. There is too much play in my steering wheel. Last night, we replaced the DS tie rod and the hub on that side. This morning I took it in for an alignment. The repairs were needed anyway but I thought it would also cure the sloppy steering wheel. No such luck. Any suggestion on what's going on, what I should look at or what I should be tightened up? In my search for clues as to what is going on I came upon something about a teflon coated spline connection wearing out and being a common problem. Where might I find that?


Jan 1, 2013
Not really an adjustment to these for freeplay. I am sure you could but with a rack and pinion it would be hard. I have only seen a few failures like this in a rack system, and not one on a T/B.
The teflon spline is inside the intermediate steeing shaft. I have seen several fail across almost all platforms. However they are normally too tight. This causes the thump/clunk/rattle(due to a slip/stickcondition) over uneven surfaces most common to T800 fulsize trucks(04-07) and Z body cars(05&up Malibu/G6).

If all your front end parts are tight. I recommend having the shaft checked. Most likely it will be a 2 person job, unless you are Gumby:biggrin: and can reach under the truck while turning the steering wheel. Push up the rubber boot on top of the rack,and have someone wiggle the wheel and see how much it turns before the rack input turns.
You could also remove the shaft to check it. When you have the boot up you will see the pinch bolt holding the shaft to the rack. The upper end has a bolt through the steering shaft under the dash. Then you can pull the shaft out to see how much play is in it.

Mrs Homer

Original poster
Feb 17, 2012
That sound like what I was reading. Hopefully we can wait till it's a bit warmer. I don't relish the idea of working on it in the cold. This is part of what I found about a quick fix, but I'm sure you're right it's more of a truck problem.

"Pretty common problem. I redid my entire front end and still had the problems you describe. Bob Lamey replaced the teflon coated spline connection and all was about as good as it gets. Expensive but worth it.

BTW, some of the GMCers have fixed this inexpensively using shims and have had excellent results. Maybe one of them will chime in here."

The shim fix:

"I looked at the wink or play in the steering while gently rotating the long steering wheel shaft that goes vertical from the wheel to the CV joint. ( with the drivers side hood open, just grab the shaft and twist it. I could see that all of the play was in the slip joint (the blue stuff). I guessed from looking at the play that the wear was probably about .005 " in the joint.

All I did was to get several sizes of brass shim stock from a friend at the airport. I cut two strips of brass .001" stock , two of .003", and two of .005". All were about 1/4 wide by 3 inches long.

I twisted the steering shaft one direction and slid the .001, stock down the seam between the collar and the shaft. I tried the same with .003 and then finally .005. At .005 on mine all of the play was gone. (Yours may be different depending on how much the blue stuff has worn.) At that point I rotated the shaft 1/2 turn and inserted the second .005 shim down the open seam on the opposite side of the shaft. I guess you could put two more in if you wish, at the 90 and 270 degree points on the shaft, but I was happy with two.

Both sides got stuck after inserting them to about the 2 inch point. At that point I folded the remaining stock back down over the collar. Then I took a cable tie and cinched it down around the (collar) and shim stock. This way the shim will not work its way out over time. Finally I greased the slip joint with a grease gun while covering the bottom hole with my finger so the grease would come out of the top.

It took longer to write this note than it did to do the actual work. This totally eliminated my steering wheel play. Several people stopped by my coach at BG to see this installation. When we looked at their coaches they had the same problem. I did not think to bring some shim stock with me or we could have fixed theirs on the spot. I can not see how you can do any harm installing this and If it wears out in 20,000 miles, just replace it with thicker shim stock.

Last week, I removed the entire slip joint assembly to replace a torn CV joint boot. At that time I thoroughly cleaned the shaft and collar. I saw no difference in the wear pattern on the blue stuff comparing the two teeth where I had the shims and the two where I did not put the shims. I had only put about 6000 miles on the coach since the shims were installed. I also saw no wear on the brass shims.

While I had it apart, I tried to put the shims in the slip joint and then reinstall the assembly. This did not work because I had to compress the joint past the worn point in order to reinstall the shaft assembly. When I did compress it, the slip joint jammed. So I went back to the original installation outlined above."

I wish there was a diagram so I could get some idea of what I'm looking at lol.

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